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Amish is not an ethnicity, I think

 
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
Posts: 2064

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 8:21 am    Post subject: Amish is not an ethnicity, I think Reply with quote

Under Special Title Listings, the recommendation is to make any comments here.

Under "Inter-Ethnic," several of the books have "Amish" listed as an ethnicity, contrasted with the other party's "English."

The Amish are a religious group rather than an ethnicity, mainly of Germanic background. Their roots are in 16th century Anabaptism. Many of the settlers, before coming to America, experienced a period of residence in eastern Europe or Russia. They aren't, however, a specific ethnic group any more than the Mennonites, who have a similar background, are.
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Sunita



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 7:06 pm    Post subject: ethnicity and religion Reply with quote

Quote:
Under "Inter-Ethnic," several of the books have "Amish" listed as an ethnicity, contrasted with the other party's "English."

The Amish are a religious group rather than an ethnicity, mainly of Germanic background. Their roots are in 16th century Anabaptism. Many of the settlers, before coming to America, experienced a period of residence in eastern Europe or Russia. They aren't, however, a specific ethnic group any more than the Mennonites, who have a similar background, are.


To my great surprise, I was about to disagree with veasleyd1 (I'm almost always nodding my head in agreement at her posts). But then I reread what she said, and I think she's absolutely right. If the comparison were between religions, i.e., Amish and Catholic, rather than Amish and English, then it would work. But this opposition is odd, or at least inconsistent, because in one case we're talking about religion, the other national origin, and they are not really comparable types of ethnic identity.

The category might work better if it were titled "inter-cultural" rather than "inter-ethnic," since ethnicity has a pretty definite set of meanings.

I don't use the special title listings much, so if this is already covered, then as Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, "never mind" ...
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AAR Rachel



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would actually argue that Amish is an ethnicity, given that these are almost completely closed communities. Some people leave the Amish lifestyle, but almost no one "converts" to it. Therefore, you have a genetically separate group of interrelated people with a common culture. Amish culture stems from strong religious beliefs and a stringent need for separatism and that separatism has created a genetically and culturally separate people.

But I can change the name of the list to Intercultural Romances, if it bothers you.
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MarianneM



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 374
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 9:45 pm    Post subject: Ethnicity or religious designation? Reply with quote

AAR Rachel ... I have to disagree with you that Amish is an ethnicity. Ethnicity, strictly speaking, is an anthropological term used when designating racial origins. The Amish are a religious group, just as are Quakers, Methodists, other Protestant sects, Catholics, Coptic Christians, Greek Orthodox, etc. And, I suppose, Muslims, although they obviously don't believe in the Judeo-Christian tradition.. All of these religions can and do have members drawn from various races of the world. There are many anthropological texts which address this. The one I have left from my Harvard course in Anthropology is Carlton Coon's The Races of the World, a definitive text from which I have drawn some of my information.

I think it's important not to be reluctant to address these things simply because it is fashionable now to be politically correct, and multicultural in one's attitudes. Political correctness and multiculturalism can lead one into factual errors. I read an article on the Internet not long ago which spoke of African Negroes, people who were born and grew up as African Negroes, as African Americans, proving what ridiculous errors one can be led into by such political correctness. Which is one of the reasons why I don't adhere to those rules.

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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AAR Rachel wrote:
I would actually argue that Amish is an ethnicity, given that these are almost completely closed communities. Some people leave the Amish lifestyle, but almost no one "converts" to it. Therefore, you have a genetically separate group of interrelated people with a common culture. Amish culture stems from strong religious beliefs and a stringent need for separatism and that separatism has created a genetically and culturally separate people.

But I can change the name of the list to Intercultural Romances, if it bothers you.


I think that "Intercultural" would be so vague as nearly meaningless. In a way, all of the urban vs. rural romances would go there, as would, for instance, one I'm vaguely remembering about early 19th century Welsh miners with a Methodist heroine and an upper-class English Anglican hero. What about novels in which the heroine is Italian-American and the hero WASP?

"Ethnic" has a pretty well defined meaning.
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Sunita



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Ethnicity, strictly speaking, is an anthropological term used when designating racial origins


The anthropological theories of race and racial difference that were popular in the interwar and immediate post-WW2 period have been pretty thoroughly discredited, although that shouldn't be held against the scholars, since they were products of their times and worked with what was available to them then. In social science research and teaching since at least the 1970s, "ethnicity" as a concept rarely includes race. This change has nothing to do with American "political correctness" (especially since it predates the popularization of the term) but rather represents the natural evolution that theories undergo when they are tested with more data gathered by many more researchers; it's pretty much a scholarly consensus.

Ethnicity is more commonly used to described groups of people with a "shared mythic past," usually about national origins. Language can be a marker of this, or regional attachment. Religion can be a marker for ethnic identity when it is used to described the social and cultural practices that arise from religious attachment, rather than debates about doctrine or religiosity. So, for example, "jewish" or "catholic" can be thought of as ethnic terms when the important areas of opposition/conflict are about social rather than purely religious practices, especially if they are combined with differences in national origin. However, there are still scholars who consider religion and ethnicity as entirely non-overlapping conceptual categories and would therefore disagree with what I just stated.

And there's no need for ethnic groups to be genetically separate. Think of Serbs and Croats, who intermarried and spoke essentially the same language but then divided themselves into distinct ethnic groups in the 1990s.


Quote:
In a way, all of the urban vs. rural romances would go there, as would, for instance, one I'm vaguely remembering about early 19th century Welsh miners with a Methodist heroine and an upper-class English Anglican hero. What about novels in which the heroine is Italian-American and the hero WASP?


But the Welsh/English distinction *is* ethnic, at least as I read it; the cultural differences, which include differing religious practices, and the belief in different national origins, all fall within the domain of ethnic identity. (And I love that book, by Mary Joe Putney but I can't remember the title.) So does the Italian-American and the WASP example, since they have different (and internally important) nationality differences that are buttressed by differences in religious practice.

Having looked over the books in the category, I can see that it is trying to cover a broad range of crossover romances, but they essentially combine race, culture, ethnicity, really everything but sexual orientation under the "inter-ethnic" label. I agree that inter-cultural is extremely vague (crosscultural?), but the category's titles are so broad that the range can't be captured by a non-vague term.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A correction to a post above: "Muslims, although they obviously don't believe in the Judeo-Christian tradition".
As I understand it, Muslims are firmly in the Judeo-Christian tradition, recognizing Jewish and Christian religions. They simply say that the Koran is a later book (or the last word) in that tradition.
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Charlotte McClain



Joined: 04 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question. Are we trying to determine what ethnicity is or are we talking about whether books are about ethnicity? Wouldn't it depend more on the conflict of the book? If the English/Welsh book's conflict centered around the fact that one was English and the other was Welsh, then it would be about ethnicity. If that same book centered around heroine's fear of commitment or the hero's inability to see the heroine as more than a pal, then it's not.
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As I understand it, Muslims are firmly in the Judeo-Christian tradition, recognizing Jewish and Christian religions. They simply say that the Koran is a later book (or the last word) in that tradition.


This is correct, Mark, but the other major point of difference with Christianity at least is that while Muslims acknowledge Jesus Christ, it is only as a prophet, not the Messiah.

Elizabeth
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:31 pm    Post subject: Book Title Reply with quote

Sunita wrote:

But the Welsh/English distinction *is* ethnic, at least as I read it; the cultural differences, which include differing religious practices, and the belief in different national origins, all fall within the domain of ethnic identity. (And I love that book, by Mary Jo Putney but I can't remember the title.)


The title is Thunder and Roses, and I love this book too (in fact, I referred to it in a recent post about historical accuracy).
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't ethnicity something one is born with, rather than something one chooses? It's not like nationality (there can be numerous ethnic groups in a single country, and people can become citizens of a new country) or religion (people can convert or simply leave) or even class (money and education can make a difference). An ethnic Celt might be from Ireland or Scotland or Wales or Brittany, but there might be other residents or citizens of those places who are not Celts.
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SH



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I first read this post, I immediately agreed with veasleyd1, but Iíve been having second thoughts. For one thing, although the term
veasleyd1 wrote:
"Ethnic" has a pretty well defined meaning
I found its application quite arbitrary. For an example, are Native Americans (or American Indians) of several distinct ethnic groups or just one? I think it can be argued both ways, depending on one's perspective, no?

Sunita wrote:
Language can be a marker of this, or regional attachment. Religion can be a marker for ethnic identity when it is used to described the social and cultural practices that arise from religious attachment, rather than debates about doctrine or religiosity.

By this definition of ethnicity, I think Amish can be considered a separate ethnic group. Although what separated the Amish from the non-Amish might be religion alone more than 300 years ago, it is no longer so in the 21st century because of the groupís unique combination of religion, language and ways of living (social and cultural practices). I think it can be argued that the term has since evolved into an ethnic term.
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keepsbooks



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elizabeth Rolls wrote:
Quote:
As I understand it, Muslims are firmly in the Judeo-Christian tradition, recognizing Jewish and Christian religions. They simply say that the Koran is a later book (or the last word) in that tradition.


This is correct, Mark, but the other major point of difference with Christianity at least is that while Muslims acknowledge Jesus Christ, it is only as a prophet, not the Messiah.


Moslems don't believe Jesus to be the Son of God, but do recognize Him as a prophet, born of a virgin, that He rose after 3 days, and that it will be He who comes at the end of days. I _think_ that later belief qualifies as believing He is the Messiah (But heck, maybe not Confused ), but it would seem to firmly place the religion in with the Judeo-Christian belief system upon which it's based.

Leslie
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