This collection is the first scholarly treatment of the relationship between the Amish and the media in contemporary American life. The essays not only focus on the Amish as subjects in mainstream media—news, movies, TV—but also view them as producers and consumers of media themselves.
Of all the religious groups in contemporary America, few demonstrate as many reservations toward the media as do the Old Order Amish. Yet these attention-wary citizens have become a media phenomenon, featured in films, novels, magazines, newspapers, and television—from Witness, Amish in the City, and Devil's Playground to the intense news coverage of the 2006 Nickel Mines School shooting. But the Old Order Amish are more than media subjects. Despite their separatist tendencies, they use their own media networks to sustain Amish culture. Chapters in the collection examine the influence of Amish-produced newspapers and books, along with the role of informal spokespeople in Old Order communities.
With essays from experts in the fields of film and media studies, poetry, American studies, anthropology, and history, this groundbreaking study shows how the relationship between the Amish and the media provides valuable insights into the perception of minority religion in North American culture.