Award-winning writer discusses World War II film Dec. 7 at Elizabethtown College's Young Center

Dr. Steven Reschly lectures on pacifists' role

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Dr. Steven Reschly

ELIZABETHTOWN, PA (11/17/2010)(readMedia)-- The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies presents "This Tractor for Hire: Enlisting Pacifist Farmers and Black Farmers during World War II," a lecture by Dr. Steven Reschly at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, in Bucher Meetinghouse. The event is open to the public.

Reschly's lecture focuses on the nine-minute film, "The Farmer at War," which was produced by Columbia Pictures and the U.S. Office of War Information in March 1943. Moses Zimmerman, a plain farmer from Lancaster County, is the main focus of the short film. Although a religious pacifist, Zimmerman produces food for the war effort.

During World War II, all combatant nations used mass media, especially film, to motivate their populations to support the war. In the United States, wartime food production was a focus of government agencies and, thus, the film industry. Planners enlisted farmers in the effort, even farmers from pacifist religious groups such as the Mennonites. Even the historic peace churches were part of the warring nation, along with black farmers, women, rich doctors, and college students.

Reschly has been a professor of history at Truman State University since 1994. He earned his doctoral degree from the University of Iowa in 1994, and also holds a master's degree from the University of Northern Iowa, a master's degree in divinity from Goshen Biblical Seminary, and a bachelor's degree from Goshen College. Reschly's teaching interests include American social history, women's history, the frontier and the West. His current research examines rural consumer culture in Amish and related groups during the 1930s in Lancaster County, Pa.

In 2002, Reschly's first book, "The Amish on the Iowa Prairie, 1840-1910," was named Book of the Year by the Communal Studies Association. His second book, "Strangers at Home: Amish and Mennonite Women in History," is a co-edited collection. From 2003-2004, Reschly taught at Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany as a Fulbright Senior Scholar. In 2007, he taught two courses at the University of Rostock in northern Germany. He has led 14 Study Abroad courses in Europe and the Caribbean, taking more than 200 students overseas. He is a member of the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Agricultural History Society, Western Historical Association, Women's and Gender Historians of the Midwest, and Rural Women's Studies Association.

Contact: Stephen Scott, 717-361-1470.

Elizabethtown College, in southeastern Pennsylvania, is a private coed institution offering more than four dozen liberal arts, fine and performing arts, science and engineering, business, communications and education degrees. Through personal attention, creative inspiration and academic challenge, Elizabethtown College students are encouraged to expand their intellectual curiosity and are given the opportunity to become an important part of the bigger world through experiential learning-research, internships and study abroad. Elizabethtown College's overall commitment to Educate for Service is fulfilled as students are taught intellectually, socially, aesthetically and ethically for lives of service and leadership.

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