Royden Loewen of the University of Winnipeg says it's exciting as they will be out for four months collecting oral histories and gathering ethnographic research. The history professor and chair of the Mennonite studies program outlines the study.
Neubergthal, near Altona, will be one of the villages in the study and other countries include Siberia, Bolivia, Zimbabwe, the Netherlands, Java and Kansas in the U.S. Over the next few years Susie Fisher Stoesz will be in Neubergthal to collect information from local farmers and residents about changes over the past 100 years. He notes the places all deal with different types of government, culture and climate but are all Mennonite and they are after a global history of Mennonites and land. He tells us more about the more exotic locations.
Dr. Loewen points out that each of the students travelling speaks the local language such as Spanish, Russian, etc. The Mennonite studies program has received a 239 thousand dollar grant from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to support the project which begins this fall.