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  • Mennonites, Land and the Environment: A Global History Conference

    September 19, 2016


    Environmental history is a particular way of interpreting the past. In one respect it directs us to consider the effect of human activity on farmland, but then also nature’s effect on human culture. In short, human-land relations are dialectical in nature. It’s not that simple though, for humans have had a range of effects on the land. Oftentimes this activity has left the environment in a degraded state, the result of a kind of “environmental sin.” At other times humans have engaged in multiple ways to create sustainable environments. Some have done so by debating the very idea of “sustainability,” others by employing ancient farming methods, and yet others by harnessing the most innovative and technologically advanced agricultural systems.

    As a disproportionately rural people, Mennonites have often met to consider an ‘Anabaptist’ approach to the land, shaped by simplicity, peace and community. This conference considers the history of this relationship, mostly in the twentieth century. It has been a period of remarkable change: old organic-based, community-oriented approaches have given way to a new reliance on fossil fuels, herbicides, global markets, governmental programs, and economies of scale. But the conference also takes a much-needed global perspective, considering seven different Mennonite farming communities around the world, and seeking to understand how climate, specific commodities, levels of wealth, types of government, cultural and ethnic contexts, histories with colonialism, and settler-indigenous relations, have all affected the relationship of Mennonites with the land. Seven different communities; one faith trajectory.

    For full conference details, visit: http://mennonitestudies.uwinnipeg.ca/events/land_and_environ_2016/program.php

    All conference sessions will take place in Eckhardt Gramatté Hall, 3rd Floor Centennial Building, at The University of Winnipeg. Admission is free. Register at conference.

    Download Brochure and Poster.