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For example, she draws on what John P.


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Walnut Creek has many exterior resting spaces for travelers; area restaurants offer food made from scratch that resembles slow, home-cooked meals; and Amish buggies evoke old-fashioned images and a slowness of time. She discusses how these images and experiences can create an experience where time in a sense slows down for the tourist momentarily compared to their fast-paced modern life. Shopping and dining establishments accentuate the female domestic realm.

Shops clearly target female customers. Cookbooks and feminine decorative items may not seem like a unique tourist experience as many tourist sites include gift shops with similar items. However, the underlying argument of the book is that the tourist can connect these themes of time and gender to stories that the tourist industry tells about the Amish. This connection is unique to Amish tourist sites. The Berlin site is the busiest Amish tourist town in the United States.

Trollinger illustrates how the tourist sector in Berlin uses the Amish, the frontier, and a s theme to present romanticized visions of earlier times. The frontier theme is illustrated with a fort motif for the shopping area and simple tools that are representative of that era as well as artwork depicting peaceful images of frontier life. The author goes on to describe how the Amish, like the pioneers, have a different relationship with technology than most mid-twentieth-century Americans. She cites a Gallup organization report which found that a significant number of Americans long for a time when they better understood and more easily controlled technology.

Peeking under the bonnet | Canadian Mennonite Magazine

Recurrent debates blame electronics for negative influences on family and community life, as well as on privacy and time management. Tourists can have a tactual relationship with these tools as if they were on the frontier carving out civilization.

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She critiques these themes as romanticized images, since life in the frontier was also associated with violent takeovers, familial and financial loss, and conflict. Sugarcreek, waning in popularity in comparison to the booming tourist industries in Walnut Creek and Berlin, is a tourist town oriented around a Swiss theme that has a history of cheese making.

As Trollinger notes, Sugarcreek depicts a romanticized view of the past, focusing on a time when Americans had a stronger sense of ethnic identity. The Amish in Sugarcreek serve as an example of Americans who have maintained their ethnic identity and agrarian lifestyle.

Peeking under the bonnet

She attributes the demise in popularity of Sugarcreek to the majority of Americans no longer identifying with any specific ethnic identity. White middle-class Americans are no longer the majority and they left their ethnic identity behind in the melting pot of American culture. She notes that it is not clear how the typical tourist can regain this connection to a clear ethnic identity.

The consumerism of these tourist sites, Trollinger argues, is antithetical to the plainness of the Amish. At the beginning and end of the book, however, she connects Amish Country tourism tangibly to the Amish with an interview of some Amish elders who view tourism as a way to reveal their Christian faith to the public. These interviews were with elders from a branch of the Amish that tends to be more liberal and salvation-oriented the New Order ; it would have been useful to also get a sense of what other Amish people think about the messages of the tourist sector and the tourists.

Trollinger does indicate that some Amish publications have printed silly questions that tourists ask and that some Amish may be frustrated with the misconceptions of tourists. Although the book is clearly about tourists, it would have been beneficial to get a wider view of the Amish perspective on tourism. Is there something special about Amish tourism? Or are these sites just more venues for a group of people who like to shop and eat? As pointed out earlier, perhaps there is nothing particularly special to have these kinds of shopping and eating experiences located in a tourist site.

Trollinger does not provide any direct evidence that the tourists are in fact making the connections outlined above. But this is not the goal of visual rhetoric.


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  • Amish Quilts explores how these objects evolved from practical bed linens into contemporary art. In this in-depth study, illustrated with more than stunning color photographs, Janneken Smucker discusses what makes an Amish quilt Amish. She examines the value of quilts to those who have made, bought, sold, exhibited, and preserved them and how that value changes as a quilt travels from Amish hands to marketplace to consumers.

    A fifth-generation Mennonite quiltmaker herself, Smucker traces the history of Amish quilts from their use in the late nineteenth century to their sale in the lucrative business practices of today.

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    Through her own observations as well as oral histories, newspaper accounts, ephemera, and other archival sources, she seeks to understand how the term "Amish" became a style and what it means to both quiltmakers and consumers. She also looks at how quilts influence fashion and raises issues of authenticity of quilts in the marketplace. Whether considered as art, craft, or commodity, Amish quilts reflect the intersections of consumerism and connoisseurship, religion and commerce, nostalgia and aesthetics.

    By thoroughly examining all of these aspects, Amish Quilts is an essential resource for anyone interested in the history of these beautiful works.