Seventy-Five Years of Amish Studies, 1942 to 2017: A Critical Review of Scholarship Trends (with an Extensive Bibliography)
Keywords:Citation network analysis
Main path analysis
Gertrude Enders Huntington
Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies
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Publisher:Ohio State University. Libraries
Citation:Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies v. 5, no. 1 (2017), p. 1-65.
After 75 years, Amish studies has received no field reviews, an oversight I rectify using several citation analysis techniques. I offer criteria for defining Amish research, which results in 983 references. Amish studies has a very highly centralized core; the top one percent of cited references account for 20% of every citation in Amish studies, with Hostetler, Kraybill, Nolt, and Huntington dominating the top list. Few consolidated subareas exist, exceptions being language and health/population research. Analyzing Amish studies chronologically, the field early on accepted the definitive-sympathetic-authoritative-comprehensive-insider research approach, which legitimated "The Throne" (so-called) in Amish studies, i.e., a central scholar, a few close to him, and the irrelevant hinterlands. The seat was first occupied by Hostetler, then Kraybill. The absence of driving research questions, theory developments, and debates creates place for The Throne, whom scholars often cite to legitimize a given study emerging from an otherwise fragmented field, this field failing to provide scholars self-legitimization. Other troubles with The Throne model are also presented. My call to Amish studies is (1) to develop honed research questions that address specific sub-areas and to consider how any given reference fits into the literature, and (2) to distance our empirical work from fence-straddling popular/scholarly models, e.g. rejecting "the Amish" as a brand name, approaching the Amish as purely scholars and not partially tourists, and foregoing a protective- or reformist-mentality toward the Amish.
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