Who Are The Amish?

Mark L. Louden, Professor of German, UW–Madison
From UW Showcase, November 2013

The Old Order Amish are one of the most familiar religious groups in America today. Spread out across thirty U.S. states (including Wisconsin) and Ontario, the Amish population is doubling every twenty years. While many outsiders are aware of certain visible aspects of Amish culture, including their distinctive dress, use of horse-and-buggy for transportation, and limitations on technology, this presentation explores the faith and values that are at the heart of their society. Along the way it clarifies a number of misunderstandings about the Amish, including many propagated by popular media.

Mark L. Louden is a Professor of German at the UW–Madison and co-directs the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies there. A fluent speaker of Pennsylvania Dutch, he received his undergraduate and graduate education at Cornell University and taught at the University of Texas at Austin before joining the UW faculty in 2000. His main research and teaching interests include Germanic linguistics and German-American studies. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Pennsylvania Dutch: The Story of an American Language.