A Peculiar Mixture

German-Language Cultures and Identities in Eighteenth-Century North America

Paper or softback
Jan Stievermann, Oliver Scheiding
Published 14 Jun 2013
List Price £23.95



Through innovative interdisciplinary methodologies and fresh avenues of inquiry, the nine essays collected in A Peculiar Mixture endeavor to transform how we understand the bewildering multiplicity and complexity that characterized the experience of German-speaking people in the middle colonies. They explore how the various cultural expressions of German speakers helped them bridge regional, religious, and denominational divides and eventually find a way to partake in America’s emerging national identity. Instead of thinking about early American culture and literature as evolving continuously as a singular entity, the contributions to this volume conceive of it as an ever-shifting and tangled “web of contact zones.” They present a society with a plurality of different native and colonial cultures interacting not only with one another but also with cultures and traditions from outside the colonies, in a “peculiar mixture” of Old World practices and New World influences.

Aside from the editors, the contributors are Rosalind J. Beiler, Patrick M. Erben, Cynthia G. Falk, Marie Basile McDaniel, Philip Otterness, Liam Riordan, Matthias Schönhofer, and Marianne S. Wokeck.




Jan Stievermann

Part 1 Migration and Settlement

1 Rethinking the Significance of the 1709 Mass Migration

Marianne S. Wokeck

2 Information Brokers and Mediators: The Role of Diplomats in the Migrations of German-Speaking People, 1709–1711

Rosalind J. Beiler

3 The Palatine Immigrants of 1710 and the Native Americans

Philip Otterness

Part 2 Material and Intellectual Cultures in the Making

4 Of Dwelling Houses, Painted Chests, and Stove Plates: What Material Culture Tells Us About the Palatines in Early New York

Cynthia G. Falk

5 (Re)Discovering the German-Language Literature of Colonial America

Patrick M. Erben

6 “Runs, Creeks, and Rivers Join”: The Correspondence Network of Gotthilf Henry Ernst Mühlenberg

Matthias Schönhofer

Part 3 Negotiations of Ethnic and Religious Identities

7 Divergent Paths: Processes of Identity Formation Among German Speakers, 1730–1760

Marie Basile McDaniel

8 Defining the Limits of American Liberty: Pennsylvania’s German Peace Churches During the Revolution

Jan Stievermann

9 Pennsylvania German Taufscheine and Revolutionary America: Cultural History and Interpreting Identity

Liam Riordan