I will be speaking at the Institute of Historical Research Seminar Series, Society, Culture & Belief, 1500-1800. This paper addresses the issue of Anabaptist identities in the early modern era.
In the 16th and 17th century many Mennonites left the Netherlands to settle in lands in Prussia and Poland round Danzig and the Vistula delta. Following one group of Mennonites in Przechowka, this paper examines the question of the way in which Anabaptist communities across Europe and beyond maintained a sense of community and constructed their identity as groups travelled, moved, or were exile, as well as the longer term legacy of the Anabaptist diaspora up until modern times for the Przechowka Mennonites would continue their travels to Russia and then to Kansas in the 19th and 20th centuries. Research into their narratives re-opens the question of the way in which such groups negotiated their position in communities and shaped identity through personal and emotional bonds, member lists, histories and memories of their past, and material cultures.