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Donald B. Kraybill is an author, lecturer, and educator on Anabaptist faiths and living. Kraybill is widely recognized for his studies on Anabaptist groups, and is the foremost living expert on the Old Order Amish.
Kraybill is Distinguished College Professor, and Senior Fellow of Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. He previously served as chairman of the Sociology and Social Work Department at Elizabethtown from 1979 to 1985 and as director of Young Center from 1989 to 1996. He was provost of Messiah College (PA) from 1996 to 2002, before returning to Elizabethtown College in 2003.
In October 2005, Young Center was awarded a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a three-year collaborative research project entitled "Amish Diversity and Identity: Transformations in 20th Century America." In addition to Kraybill as senior investigator, the investigative team includes Steven Nolt, Professor of History at Goshen College in Indiana, and Karen Johnson-Weiner, Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York at Potsdam. A national panel of seven scholars will advise the research team throughout the project.
The NEH grant will enable the researchers to investigate the Amish experience at the national level, giving attention to geographic expansion, the growth of diversity, changing conceptions of identity and evolving patterns of interaction with the larger society. The team will also explore how the Amish have contributed to shaping the identity of a nation that made exceptions in the areas of education, Social Security, and child labor for a religious minority living on its cultural margins.
Kraybill is the author or editor of more than 18 books and dozens of professional articles. His books have been translated into six different languages and his research on Anabaptist groups has been featured in magazines, newspapers, and on radio and television programs across the United States and in many foreign countries.
Kraybill writes almost exclusively on the Anabaptists faiths. In addition to academic books — largely published by Johns Hopkins University Press — he also writes popular books sold in gift shops to tourists, interested in learning more about the plain sects. He is one of two experts — the other being D. Holmes Morton — frequently quoted by reporters to give background to news stories involving the Amish.
- Our Star-Spangled Faith, 1976. ISBN 0-8361-1797-2
- Puzzles of Amish Life, 1990. ISBN 1-56148-001-0
- Old Order Amish: Their Enduring Way of Life (with Lucian Niemeyer), 1993. ISBN 0-8018-4426-6
- The Amish Struggle With Modernity (Co-edited with Marc Alan Olshan), 1994. ISBN 0-87451-684-6
- The Riddles of Human Society (with Conrad L. Kanagy, 1999. ISBN 0-7619-8562-X
- The Riddle of Amish Culture, 2001. ISBN 0-8018-6772-X
- Anabaptist World USA (with C. Nelson Hostetter), 2001. ISBN 0-8361-9163-3
- On the Backroad to Heaven: Old Order Hutterites, Mennonites, Amish, and Brethren (co-author: Carl Bowman), 2001. ISBN 0-8018-6565-4
- The Upside-Down Kingdom, 2003. ISBN 0-8361-9236-2
- The Amish: Why They Enchant Us, 2003. ISBN 0-8361-9241-9
- Who Are the Anabaptists: Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites, 2003. ISBN 0-8361-9242-7
- The Amish and the State, 2003. ISBN 0-8018-7236-7
- Amish Enterprise: From Plows to Profits (with Steven M. Nolt), 2004. ISBN 0-8018-7805-5
- Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy (with Steven M. Nolt and David L. Weaver-Zercher), 2007. ISBN 0-7879-9761-7.
- The Amish of Lancaster County (with photography by Daniel Rodriguez), 2008. ISBN 0-8117-3478-1.
- The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World (with Steven M. Nolt and David L. Weaver-Zercher), 2010. ISBN 0-470-52069-8.
- Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites, 2010. ISBN 0-8018-9657-6.