Marlene Epp

Professor of History and Peace and Conflict Studies, Director of Mennonite Studies


Marlene Epp

Marlene Epp is a Canadian historian with eclectic research and teaching interests in Mennonite studies, Immigrants and refugees, women and gender, the history of peace and nonviolence, and the history of food and culture. About research she says:  “I like to hear the stories of ordinary people’s everyday lives. It’s the underside of history, and one of the most important sides of history. I like writing, although it is often difficult. I love to put sentences together in a creative way in order to transmit my enthusiasm for a topic.” About teaching she says: “Students have a lot to offer from their own lives. Every student has a story, so I try finding ways to personalize my teaching and find out what life experience they bring to the classroom.”


  • B.A. University of Manitoba, 1980
  • M.A. University of Waterloo, 1990
  • PhD University of Toronto, 1996

Research and teaching interests

  • Mennonite history
  • Gender studies
  • History of immigration, refugees, and ethnicity in Canada
  • History of food and culture

Courses taught

  • MENN 125 (previously ARTS 125) Who are the Mennonites?
  • HIST 224 Food, Culture, and History
  • HIST 232/PACS 203 A History of Peace Movements
  • HIST 247 Mennonite History: A Survey 
  • HIST 351 Canada: The Immigrant Experience
  • PACS 301 Refugees and Forced Migration
  • PACS 321/GSJ 331 Gender in War & Peace
  • PACS 610 Contemporary Nonviolent Movements

Key areas of graduate supervision

  • Mennonite history
  • Food history
  • Immigration history
  • Peace history

Recent publications

  • With Franca Iacovetta. “Beyond Sisters or Strangers: Feminist Immigrant Women’s History and Rewriting Canadian History.” In Nancy Janovicek and Carmen Nielson, eds. Reading Canadian Women’s and Gender History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019, 225-54.
  • Refugees in Canada: A Brief History. Booklet #35 Immigration and Ethnicity in Canada / L’Immigration et l’ethnicité au Canada. Canadian Historical Association, 2017.  
  • “‘The dumpling in my soup was lonely just like me’: Food in the Memories of Mennonite Women Refugees.” In Donna R. Gabaccia and Franca Iacovetta, eds. Borders, Conflict Zones, and Memory: Scholarly Engagements with Luisa Passerini. London: UK, Routledge, 2017. Republished from Women’s History Review 25, no. 3 (June 2016): 365-81.
  • Sisters or Strangers? Immigrant, Ethnic, and Racialized Women in Canadian History. Editor, with Franca Iacovetta. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016, second edition.
  • “Peppernuts and Anarsa: Food, Religion, and Ritual.” Anabaptist Witness 2, no. 2 (November 2015): 87-90.
  • “Eating Across Borders: Reading Immigrant Cookbooks.” Histoire Sociale/Social History 96 (May 2015): 45-65.
  • Edible Histories, Cultural Politics: Towards a Canadian Food History. Co-edited with Franca Iacovetta and Valerie Korinek.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012.
  • Mennonites in Ontario: An Introduction. Waterloo: Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario, 1994, 2002, 2012.
  • Mennonite Women in Canada: A History. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2008, 378 pp.
  • Women Without Men: Mennonite Refugees of the Second World War. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000. Reprinted 2003.
  • “Catching Babies and Delivering the Dead: Midwives and Undertakers in Mennonite Settlement Communities.” In Myra Rutherdale, ed. Caregiving on the Periphery: Historical Perspectives on Nursing and Midwifery in Canada. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010, 61-83.
  • “Sexual Violence in War: Mennonite Refugees during the Second World War.” In Stephen J. Rockel and Rick Halpern, eds. Inventing Collateral Damage: Civilian Casualties, War, and Empire. Toronto: Between the Lines Press, 2009.
  • “The Semiotics of Zwieback: Feast and Famine in the Narratives of Mennonite Refugee Women.” In Marlene Epp, et al., eds. Sisters or Strangers? Immigrant, Ethnic, and Racialized Women in Canadian History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004.
  • “Midwife-Healers in Canadian Mennonite Immigrant Communities: Women who ‘made things right’.” Histoire Sociale / Social History 80 (November 2007): 323-44.

Web features and articles

Selected activities

  • Co-Chair, Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference & Festival, June 9-12, 2016
  • Member, Program Committee, Crossing the Line: Women of Anabaptist Traditions Encounter Borders and Boundaries, June 22-25, 2017, Eastern Mennonite University
  • "Mennonites and Foodways: A Miagrope of Meaning." Keynote address to Essex-Kent Mennonite Historical Association, May 2014, and Mennonite Historical Society of British Columbia, September 2014.
  • Presented Menno Simons Lectures at Bethel College, Kansas, October 2013.
  • Editor of Canadian Historical Association's booklet series on Immigration and Ethnicity in Canada/L'Immigration et l'ethnicité au Canada.

Professional affiliations

  • Director of IAMS, Conrad Grebel University College, July 2019
  • Member, Steering Committee, 16th Berkshire Conference on Women's History, University of Toronto, May 2014
  • Presenting Menno Simons Lectures at Bethel College, Kansas, October 2013
  • Editor of Canadian Historical Association's Canada's Ethnic Groups Booklets
  • Chair, Board of Directors, Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support

Awards and achievements

  • Winner of Best Article in Journal of the Canadian Historical Association,  for “Pioneers, Refugees, Exiles, and Transnationals: Gendering Diaspora in an Ethno-Religious Context”, 2001.

Contact information