met selfst aufschatse
After several months of building up this blog, one should find it prudent to audit and analyze one’s efforts. Truly, I have been amazed at the level of interest in the blog. What I intended as merely an intellectual exercise to organize my thoughts regarding the characteristics of the Russian Mennonite or Russländer Mennonite ethnicity has reached more people in more countries than I had expected. While I have attempted to maintain a high level of intellectual integrity, it seems that I might have need to make a few organizational changes to maintain clarity of thought and source and to more bluntly indicate the questions or issues under examination.
The feedback unsurprisingly indicates that readers are most interested in historical information or data. This is not surprising given the high regard of Russian Mennonites for their history and genealogies. Other areas of interest are in essays exploring the characteristics of the ethnic diaspora today, relations between the Russländer Mennonites and other groups and, truthfully, not so much interest in determining how or if traditional Russian Mennonite values remain pertinent to today’s world. Regrettably, in studying sociology, I gain the most personally from exploring the latter topics.
So the question has to be asked – does one attempt to meet the need for more and additional historical information regarding the Russian Mennonites and focus on developing that strand, or should one use this tool as it is most beneficial to myself personally.
I am going to attempt to meet both needs by posting more quotes, images and links to historical and ethnological information while continuing to write short essays regarding the characteristics and values of this ethnic perspective today. In order to make the essays more appealing, I will attempt to limit them to a relatively short 1200 words (it is much more difficult to write short essays than long ones), not including a short introduction.
In order to avoid appearances of “preach-iness” or agenda-driven observations, I will continue to encourage contributions by others, encourage comments, maintain a focus on recommending additional sources and materials and do my best to at least note different perspectives and opinions regarding historical events, values and interpretative tools. Please bear in mind that with the self-imposed limit in wording, it will be next to impossible to explore any of these topics in any great depth – so different perspectives might have to be contained in individual rather than comprehensive essays. Occasionally, I will allow myself to post essays in serial groupings.
In exploring relationships with and between other ethnicities, one must recognize that innocent intellectual investigations are often naively posited or even politicized. Please be assured that this blog will attempt to maintain the highest compliance with welcoming and inclusive dialogue. If anyone is offended or wary of any statements contained within this blog, please notify me via the blog email so that the matter might be addressed and any necessary changes made to prevent further offense.
One note – I have determined to continue to use or adapt Plattsdeutsche labels. Regrettably, I do not speak our folk tongue but depend on old writings, a few colloquialisms preserved in the community in which I grew up and on the various Plattsdeutsche or Plautdietsch dictionaries. Corrections or recommendations in this regard are both appreciated and welcomed. But, I believe that the value in attempting to preserve even the most cursory of acquaintances with our folk tongue far outweighs the fear of errors.