With great sadness, I share news of the recent passing of Robert Strikwerda (Oct 6, 1950-Dec 3, 2022) and Jeffrey Longhofer (Sept 3, 1955-Jan 31, 2023). Both of these scholars were strongly committed social theorists who brought engaging debates to Amish and plain Anabaptist studies.
Robert Strikwerda's contributions at our APASA conferences will be greatly missed. His recent JAPAS article made a splash and currently ranks #2 in downloads:
This work re-opened discussions about gender roles and relations among the Amish, challenging the "soft patriarchy" characterization of the Amish, so prevalent in the literature. This was his last Amish studies publication. At the time of his passing, he had been working on mobilizing Durkheimian theory, aiming to offer a fresh interpretation of the Amish.
Jeffrey Longhofer's involvement as an editorial board member of JAPAS--dating back to our very first issues--leaves a conspicuous hole in our organization. Jeffrey was a social work professor at Rutgers. I will especially remember his sharp theoretical critiques in Amish and Mennonite studies. His 1990s research is among the most insightful I have read in our area, and includes articles about genetics and mental health, representations of Amish agriculture, and elder care. These articles help inform portions of a collaborative study four JAPAS editorial board members published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion in 2019. This was his last Amish studies publication.