“In and around Amish country, it’s easy to find countless stores and websites advertising Amish quilts, Amish candy and Amish crafts. But though Mr. Zook is Amish, it would be impossible to tell from the name of his Evansburg farm, Maple Run, or his products, whose homemade labels make no mention of their maker’s religion. In fact, it’s a good bet that if the word ‘Amish’ appears on a store or a product, the Amish themselves didn’t put it there. Experts and Amish alike say that the name, used as a marketing tool, is almost exclusively the domain of the non-Amish.”
While being an interesting topic in and of itself, this article is also an way way to introduce various concepts of cultural geography: folk culture, cultural commodification and cultural appropriation.
Questions to Ponder: Why is there cultural and economic cachet in being affiliated with the term ‘Amish’ in the United States today? When do you feel cultural commodification is ‘crossing the line’ or is everything marketable fair game? What are other examples of cultural appropriation that you can think of?