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  • 0 read more On Postcolonial Mennonite Writing: Theorizing a Queer Latinx Mennonite Life

    On Postcolonial Mennonite Writing: Theorizing a Queer Latinx Mennonite Life

    by Daniel Shank Cruz


    In her 2017 essay "The Scope of This Project," one of the most important pieces of Mennonite literary theory ever, Sofia Samatar calls for an investigation of "postcolonial Mennonite writing," which includes work by Mennonite writers from global postcolonial contexts as well as "minority writers in North America."[1] Samatar's advocacy for hybrid Mennonite identities that encompass multiple ethnicities, nationalities, cultures, theologies, geographies, and, implicitly, sexualities—which I view as a necessary addition to Samatar's concept—epitomizes intersectional, anti-oppressive ideals. When I read Samatar's essay, something clicked for me. I felt that finally the theoretical tool existed for ...

  • 0 read more Mennonite Writing of the Post Colony

    Mennonite Writing of the Post Colony

    by Ann Hostetler

    Sofia Samatar, in our spring 2017 issue (vol. 9, 2), offered a vision of a world Mennonite literature in her essay, The Scope of the Project. The writers for such a literature already exist, Samatar writes, but “like any literature, world Mennonite literature has to be created. That is the daunting truth, the vast scope of this project.”

    This issue on Writing Across Borders offers a sampling of Mennonite Writing from one of the groups included in Samatar’s world vision, namely “the work of minority writers in North America, of black, Latinx, and indigenous Mennonites, whom I include in ...

  • 0 read more My Island, the Mennonites, and Me

    My Island, the Mennonites, and Me

    by Rafael Falcón

    My parents were Catholic, yet they enrolled me in the kindergarten at the Methodist Church alongside the town square. For them, my attendance at this school was more convenient, and there simply were not many other options in our small town in central Puerto Rico. I remember very little from that experience, other than a vague image of taking naps on a blanket in the upstairs loft of the church. I do recall, though, our teacher, an attractive olive-skinned young woman, who treated all of us children very kindly. Even after only one year in her classroom, she would still ...

  • 0 read more Documents and Documentation

    Documents and Documentation

    by Raylene Hinz-Penner

    Excerpts from a writing collaboration with Elizabet Barrios and Elsa Goossen

  • 0 read more In Search of Women's Histories: Crossing Space, Crossing Communities, Crossing Time

    In Search of Women's Histories: Crossing Space, Crossing Communities, Crossing Time

    by Sofia Samatar

    An address prepared for Crossing the Line: Women of Anabaptist Traditions Encounter Borders and Boundaries. This conference took place at Eastern Mennonite University in July 2017.

  • 0 read more Introduction: Postcolonial Studies (After Identity)

    Introduction: Postcolonial Studies (After Identity)

    by Ervin Beck

    A funny thing happened on Ellah Wakatama's way to writing a postcolonial critique of Sofia Samatar's prize-winning fantasy novel, Stranger in Olondria. She became seduced by the act of reading, independent of ideology and literary theory. Her awareness of postcolonial elements in Samatar's work comes through, but her reader's delight in words and thought predominate in her essay, which is in the tradition of reader-response criticism and the much earlier "appreciation" approach to literature. Ellah is indeed a voracious and perceptive reader, as illustrated by her having to read dozens of books for the Dublin and ...

  • 0 read more A Chronicle of Ghosts -- Reading Sofia Samatar

    A Chronicle of Ghosts -- Reading Sofia Samatar

    by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

    There are many horizons that must be visited, fruit that must be plucked, books read, and white pages in the scrolls of life to be inscribed with vivid sentences in a bold hand. -- Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North

    I. The Reader

    When the invitation comes I am immediately uneasy about the request for a scholarly article. I am a reader and – perhaps somewhat defiantly – not an academic. While the theories and language of the academy inform and illuminate my understanding of literature, as a publisher, an editor, what I am most interested in is the ...

  • 0 read more The Scope of This Project

    The Scope of This Project

    by Sofia Samatar

    1. Notes Toward a Dream

    These are notes toward a dream: the dream of a world Mennonite literature.

    When I was asked to write an essay on postcolonial Mennonite writing, this dream occurred to me, or rather revived in me, welled up, for it is a dream I have dwelt with for some time.

    To me, the phrase "postcolonial Mennonite writing" means work by Mennonite writers of the postcolony. It means work by writers from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It means the literary production of those regions where the Mennonite church is largest. It means the writing of the ...

  • 0 read more Sofia Samatar: Service for Culture

    Sofia Samatar: Service for Culture

    by Ervin Beck

    I treasure my copy of Sofia Samatar's A Stranger in Olondria, not only because it is a brilliant achievement by a former student, but especially because of her inscription on the title page: "For Ervin, who introduced me to Gabriel Garcia Marquez—a lifelong influence." She alludes to the International Literature class at Goshen College, which exposed her to the magic realism that blossomed into her achievement in fantasy fiction circles. She might also have cited Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, from that overstuffed course syllabus, which, as a Muslim successor to A Thousand and One Nights, seems even ...

  • 0 read more From International to Postcolonial Literature at Goshen College

    From International to Postcolonial Literature at Goshen College

    by Ervin Beck

    In 1973 the English Department at Goshen College inaugurated a new course, International Literature. It may have been the first postcolonial literature course offered in the United States. It certainly was a pre-cursor that, as with the interest in "new literatures" or "emergent literatures," naturally morphed into a study of literature from the postcolonial theoretical and critical point of view.

    Evidence for the significance of the course in American literary studies comes from the March 1974 issue of College English, which at that time had as its main mission English pedagogy in higher education. My essay, "International Literature for American ...