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Lunchbox Lecture: Anabaptist Faith and Capitalist Ventures: Mennonites, Amish and Hutterites in the Modern Economy, 1865-1970


CERES Palais, room "Ruhrpott" (4.13)

Guest lecture by Martin Lutz (Berlin)

The lecture gives an overview of an ongoing research project that tackles the question of how Mennonites, Amish and Hutterites were able to remain competitive in the capitalist economy of the United States. The project looks at processes of adaption to and rejection of capitalist modernity in Anabaptist communities in a long-term historical perspective from the end of the Civil War through the 1970s.

On the one hand, Anabaptist communities remained anchored in traditional path-dependencies, for example pre-modern techniques of production. On the other hand, they embraced certain aspects of industrial modernity and increasingly participated in local, regional, and national markets.

The project is based on the hypotheses that religious values as well as communal traditions influenced Anabaptist economic strategies. It aims to contribute to the current debates on secularization and the persistence of religion in modern societies, the diversity of modernization processes, as well as the cultural embeddedness of economic action.