Late post today. First event of the morning was the International Perspectives panel with speakers sharing impressions of the Amish from within their respective countries (Italy, China, Japan, and Belgium). We learned that stereotypes and misconceptions of the Amish extend beyond North American borders, and that some countries have few publications on the Amish (Italy) and some have quite a few (Japan).
It’s actually been a busy day as I played convener for this and two other sessions. Convening is not the most fun as you have to cut off speakers if they go over time, or at least corral them in the direction of finishing all the while keeping an eye on the time. Nonetheless I was able to take in a number of interesting talks including one by Rich Stevick on the implications of Facebook use among youth and another on newspaper photography of Amish schoolchildren in northern Indiana by Denise Reiling.
There are a handful of Amish people at the conference (PA, OH, IN) and numerous Plain people of other persuasions (Mennonite, Brethren). Tonight will be a treat with a group of Amish people from Lancaster coming to the center to sing for conference attendees.
It’s also been a pleasure meeting blog readers where. I just got some having dinner with Richard Lee Dawley who has written much on Amish in Wisconsin and often shares helpful info on that page of this site. I was also tickled when one of my Amish friends from Indiana came after reading about the conference in posts here. I also had a nice chat with Marta Perry today among others.
Valerie Weaver-Zercher is giving a talk now on Amish fiction so time to go again.
Update: Valerie speaking.