Manitoba Mennonite Archives And Canadian Mennonite Collective Memory
Kroeker, Don. Manitoba Mennonite Archives and Canadian Mennonite Collective Memory; A Thesis Submitted to the FacuIty of Graduate Studies in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts, Department of History (Archival Studies), University of Manitoba. Winnipeg, 2000.
"Collective memory" is the term given to the widely shared reconstructed versions of the past that are assembled by both individuals and groups in order to define their present and prepare for the future. The construction of a collective memory is often the result of conflict between opposing groups with differing agendas but collective memory can also serve as a unimg force that provides a society with inspirational symbols in a time of crisis. Although archives contain many of the materials out of which collective memory is constructed, the literature is still largely silent about the contributions that they make to this process. This thesis focuses on two Mennonite archives in Winnipeg, Manitoba and the attempts that they have made to assist in the construction of a collective memory for their respective denominations Mennonite archives face two main problems. First, they serve Protestant denominations with an active interest in missions and social issues and are often forced to defend the spiritual necessity of preserving the past. Second, Mennonites are often uncertain as to whether they should be defined by their religious faith or their ethnicity. Many Mennonite leaders are reluctant to commemorate their ethnic heritage out of a fear that such an emphasis might prevent cross-cultural outreach.