Karen M. Johnson-Weiner is a Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology at SUNY Potsdam in Potsdam, NY, where she teaches courses in linguistic anthropology. She received the B.A. in 1975 from Hope College (Holland, MI) and the M.A. from Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) in 1976. She earned her Ph.D. in linguistics from McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) in 1984 and has been studying patterns of language use and cultural maintenance in Amish and Mennonite communities for nearly 30 years.
Her first book, Train up a Child: Old Order Amish and Mennonite Schools, was published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in 2007, and her second, New York Amish: Life in the Plain Communities of the Empire State, in 2010 by Cornell University Press. With Donald B. Kraybill and Steven M. Nolt, she is the author of The Amish (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). Johnson-Weiner has also authored a number of articles on Old Order language, culture, and education, including most recently articles on the importance of the 1972 Supreme Court decision in Wisconsin v. Yoder et al. for Amish education in the 21st century (JAPAS 2015) and on the 19th century Amish settlement in Lewis County, New York, the first Amish settlement in New York State. The fall 2015 Snowden Fellow at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, she is currently working on a book on Amish women. Johnson-Weiner has twice been awarded a President’s Award for Research and Creative Endeavors (2004, 2011) and was awarded a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities (2005). She is married and the mother of two.