Response: How Do We Know What We Know About the Amish and Other Minorities?

Donald B. Kraybill, Elizabethtown College


The appraisal by Cory Anderson, Joseph Donnermeyer, Jeffrey Longhofer, and Steven Reschly (hereafter, appraisers) highlights a methodological divide that is important to the study of the Amish and other ethnic or religious minorities. In my reply, I discuss how my work is rooted in a cultural analytic paradigm that differs from the appraisers’ methodological orientation. My reply includes a deconstruction of the appraisal and a discussion of its “shortcomings.” I conclude by showing how the discourse surrounding this appraisal raises important epistemological questions of how we understand human societies.