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Marlene Epp


The CHA Journal Prize ( The best article from #1 and #2 issues)


Marlene Epp, “Pioneers, Refugees, Exiles, and Transnationals: Gendering Diaspora in an Ethno-Religious Context”

In this innovative paper, Marlene Epp combines general theorizing about diaspora with the personal, immediate, and specific technique of story-telling to examine the lived experiences of four Mennonite women and assess the nature of identity among migrant peoples. She shows how notions of diaspora help to illuminate womens experiences, while at the same time showing that a study of gender can help to enrich our understanding of diaspora. In the process, she also challenges the collective myths of the Mennonites themselves (and some historians) to propose that the key elements of these womens identities were not religion or ethnicity, but rather the lived experience of transnationality itself, and their experience of place in patriarchal systems, including their own families. Both historiographically and methodologically, this essay provides considerable food for thought.