About our program

The Chair in Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg was established to give students an opportunity to study the rich heritage of the Mennonites and their contribution to society. Mennonite Studies is an Interdisciplinary Program, combining history, religion, culture, and literature as they relate to the Mennonites in the past and present. In the courses and seminars students seek to understand the once maligned and persecuted people, and consider the contributions they have made, and are making, to the development of the Christian religion, culture, literature, and art. The question of how the Mennonites seek to come to terms with the world around them is a major part of the Programs' emphasis.

It is now possible to obtain a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Mennonite Studies. A major in Mennonite Studies is an excellent way to learn about an historic people's commitment to non-violence, community action, spirituality and religion. A major in Mennonite Studies can provide a useful preparation for fields in law, journalism, social work, pastorate, conflict resolution. To plan for a Major in Mennonite Studies consult with the Chair in Mennonite Studies.

The Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies (CTMS)

The Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies (CTMS), a new learning and research initiative at U Winnipeg which builds on the long-standing unofficial relationship of the Chair in Mennonite Studies and the D.F. Plett Historical Research Foundation. CTMS has four research areas: 1) Mennonites in Canada; 2) Mennonites in the Global South; 3) Low German Mennonites of the Americas; 4) Mennonites in Russia. CTMS sponsors conferences, publishes history books and is a partner organization of the Mennonite Heritage Archives.

Students will find courses in Mennonite Studies a useful and informative addition to a liberal arts education. While the Program itself is not aimed at any particular vocational preparation, the background it provides will be especially relevant to students of Mennonite origin, and to students who intend to pursue work or further study in the area of multiculturalism, peace and nonviolence, religion in society and Mennonite-related fields. The courses also prepare students who intend to write MA and PhD theses dealing with Anabaptist-Mennonite subjects. Students increasingly choose some area of Mennonite Studies to pursue further scholarly work in such disciplines as Conflict Resolution Studies, History, Religious Studies, Sociology and Women's Studies.

What Current and Former Students Say

Michaela Hiebert, History major, University of Winnipeg

Robyn Sneath, doctoral student, Oxford University:

To say that Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg changed the course of my life may sound like hyperbole, but it isn’t. I decided to take my first Mennonite Studies course on whim; I was majoring in History and German and Mennonite Studies seemed like it was a perfect complement. This course – and the ones that came after – awakened in me a curiosity and appreciation for my own (partly) Mennonite heritage. Because I wasn’t raised in the Mennonite church, I didn’t think of myself as Mennonite. Through studying Mennonite history, I was able to connect with my grandfather – who had left the Mennonite colonies in Mexico as a teenager; my interest in the subject rekindled his own and created a unique bond between us. I’m now in the middle of my PhD in Education at Oxford University, and the topic of my dissertation? The education of the Old Colony Mennonites of Mexico and Canada.

Peter Epp, history teacher, Mennonite Collegiate Institute, Gretna:

Without question, the University of Winnipeg’s Mennonite Studies courses were the most valuable part of my undergraduate education. Academically, I grew more in these classes than in any of my others. They combined exceptional rigour with caring, diligent guidance from professors. Professionally, they set the foundation for 7 years of teaching Mennonite studies at the high school level, easily the most enjoyable and rewarding part of my work. Personally, they provided me with the rare opportunity to step outside of my faith community and to wrestle with what I saw there with intellectual integrity. Mennonite studies sharpened me as a student, provided me with deeply meaningful vocational direction, and helped me to find my voice within my faith tradition.

Andrea Dyck, curator, Mennonite Village Museum, Steinbach and executive assistant, Plett Foundation:

Studying Mennonite history at the University of Winnipeg in my undergraduate years has impacted my life in profoundly significant ways. I enrolled in my first Mennonite Studies course at the start of my university studies with the vague idea that I should know something about my Mennonite heritage. Fuelled by the passionate enthusiasm of the professors, this first course quickly led to a second and a third, and eventually, to completing my Master of Arts with a focus on Mennonite history. Not only did I learn more about my roots, I also gained insight about my own place within this tradition. On an academic level, Mennonite Studies inspired an intellectual curiosity and the opportunity to develop valuable research and writing skills. The caring guidance of the professors encouraged me to cultivate the skills which have led me to deeply rewarding work as the curator at the Mennonite Heritage Village and as part of the staff at the D. F. Plett Historical Research Foundation.