The creation of an identity: The conscientious objector in Canadian Mennonite memory
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This thesis considers the Mennonites of Canada, an ethno-religious group that has a long history of opposition to war and has evolved a distinct group identity. The thesis considers three texts: the three-volume history series, "Mennonites in Canada," and the unifying theme of peace that is woven through the texts with the aim of bringing disparate Mennonite groups together; the memoirs written by Canadian conscientious objectors that contain clues about Mennonite masculinity and how Mennonites have socialized their menfolk to be Mennonite men; the documents of four western Canadian archives that pertain to the conscientious objector and the role of the archivist in collecting those documents and promoting peace. The story of the Mennonite conscientious objector is an example that shows the agency the community holds in reinventing its identity. The shaping or reinvention of identity is not some dishonest twisting of history, but rather a repositioning of the community in relation to the larger society.