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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2019



This book poses two questions: How do mobile populations fashion collective narratives as nations, religions, and diasporas? Specifically, how did German-speaking Mennonites – a part of the larger German-speaking diaspora – conceive of themselves as Germans and Christians during the era of high nationalism? I answer these questions by tracing the movements of two groups of Mennonites between 1874 and 1945. One was composed of 1,800 voluntary migrants, the other of 2,000 refugees. Both groups originated in nineteenth-century Russia, took separate paths through Canada and Germany, and settled near each other in Paraguay’s Gran Chaco between 1926 and 1931. The settlement of voluntary migrants was named the Menno Colony. The settlement of refugees was named the Fernheim Colony.