Amish America: Plain Technology in a Cyber World

June 6-8, 2013

Two Amish boys texting on a cell phone

This international conference will highlight the challenges and impact of recent technology (the Internet, social media, and telecommunications, for example) on manufacturing, family life, consumption, medicine, and leisure for Amish and other Plain communities in North America. In addition, conference presentations and seminars will cover many other aspects of Amish life including health care, mental health, social services, agriculture, business, history, quilts, and Amish-themed fiction. (View conference brochure.


The conference will include more than 100 presentations in a variety of formats plenary lectures, academic papers, panel discussions, seminars, and poster sessions.

Live Video: If you can't join us in person then join our live video stream for 5 select sessions:

Thursday, June 6
3:30-5:00 p.m. Seminar: "From the Buggy to the Byte: How the Amish Tame Technology" - Donald B. Kraybill > Join Live Video
> Read Abstract
7:00 p.m. Plenary Session: "What the Amish Can Teach (and Learn From) Nerds and Geeks" - Kevin Kelly > Join Live Video
> Read Abstract
Friday, June 7
10:30 a.m. Plenary Session: "A Tale of Two Kitchens: Gender and Technology in Amish Communities" - Karen Johnson-Weiner
 "Gender and The Amish" (film) Callie Wiser
> Join Live Video
> Read Abstract
1:30 - 3:00 p.m. Panel: Meet the Authors of THE AMISH
Authors Donald Kraybill, Karen Johnson-Weiner, and Steven Nolt discuss their new book
> Join Live Video
> Read Abstract
Saturday, June 8
11:15 a.m. Plenary Session: "Amish Participation in Medical Research: A Partnership of Trust and Mutual benefit" - Alan Shuldiner > Join Live Video
> Read Abstract

Special features: pre-conference field trips, two new book releases, seminars by the producer of the PBS film The Amish and by the federal prosecutor in the recent beard-cutting case in Ohio, traditional Amish singing, and discussion with an Amish author of romance fiction.

Plenary addresses:

  • “What the Amish Can Teach (and Learn From) Nerds and Geeks” by Kevin Kelly, cofounder of Wired and widely read writer on the nature and impact of technology

  • “A Tale of Two Kitchens: Gender and Technology in Amish Communities” by Karen Johnson-Weiner, professor of anthropology at SUNY Potsdam

  • “Thrill of the Chaste: The Secret Life of an Amish Romance Novel” by Valerie Weaver-Zercher, writer and editor

  • “Amish Participation in Medical Research: A Partnership of Trust and Mutual Benefit” by Alan Shuldiner, founder and director of the Amish Research Clinic

Who should attend? Scholars, researchers, extension educators, government officials, health care professionals, and others who study or serve members of Amish or other Plain communities. The conference will provide a forum for exploring the role of technology in human relations, understanding the impact of technology in Amish life, presenting research findings, networking with colleagues, enhancing services to Plain communities in sensitive ways, and discovering new resources for understanding Amish culture. General Continuing Education Units are available to attendees.


The conference opens at 1:00 pm on Thursday, June 6, and closes at 12:15 on Saturday, June 8. The complete schedule is available now.


For an additional fee, conference attendees may register for one of two tours on Thursday, June 6: Technology in Agriculture and Business includes visits to Amish farms and businesses and opportunities to speak with farmers and business owners; Health and Medical Services includes visits to providers that serve Plain communities and opportunities to interact with members of those communities. Both tours include a meal in an Amish home. The tours leave the college at 8:00 a.m. and return at approximately 3:30 p.m. Both the Health and Medical Services tour and the Agriculture and Business tour are now full.


Cost for the full conference is $210 if registered by May 1. Cost for full-time students and members of Plain communities is $110 if registered by May 1. After May 1, the rates are $235 and $125, respectively. Daily rates are also available.

The registration deadline is May 20.

Registration options: (1) Register online [link has been disabled] and pay by credit card. (2) Fax your registration form and payment information to (717) 361-1443. (3) Mail your registration form and payment to Amish Conference 2013,  Young Center, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022-2298.


Limited housing is available in residence halls and apartment buildings on the college campus. The conference has also negotiated special rates at several local hotels and compiled a list of lodging in the area. 


Elizabethtown College is located in northwestern Lancaster County, approximately 90 minutes from Baltimore, two hours from Philadelphia, three hours from Washington, D.C., and four hours from New York City and Pittsburgh. The interactive campus map shows the location of the Young Center and other facilities on the college campus.


If you have questions about the conference, please send an e-mail to Amish or call (717) 361-1470.