• B.A., Earlham 1982
  • M.A., Ph.D., Stanford 1991


Areas of Interest

As a member of the faculty since 1992, McConnell is a leading authority on Amish society and education and has conducted extensive fieldwork in the Holmes County Settlement in Ohio and in Amish communities throughout the U.S. He has directed study abroad programs in East Africa since 2007 and is a co-founder and trustee of the Maragoli Community Development Foundation in western Kenya.  He also teaches a regular course on Japanese society and has maintained a scholarly interest in East Asia for more than two decades.

McConnell’s research interests include anthropology and education, the anthropology of development, environmental anthropology, and the dynamics of social and cultural change in rural communities. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Japan, in western Kenya, and in Amish communities in the U.S. His most recent book project (with Lyn Loveless, Professor Emeritus of Biology) looks behind the popular image of the ecologically-conscious Amish and explores the complex and diverse ways the Amish engage with nature and the environment in their daily lives.

Courses Taught
  • ANTH 110: Introduction to Anthropology
  • ANTH 231: Peoples and Cultures: Amish
  • ANTH 231: Peoples and Cultures: Japan
  • SOAN 201: Education in Sociocultural Context
  • ANTH 352: Contemporary Anthropological Theory



  • 2019 “Leaving the Amish.” Pp. 154-163 in Handbook of Leaving Religion, edited by Daniel Enstedt, Goran Larsson, and Teemu T. Mantsinen. Leiden: Brill Publishing.
  • 2018 Nature and the Environment in Amish Life.  Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press (co-authored with Marilyn Loveless)
  • 2018 The Amish live simply, but don’t confuse them with environmentalists.” The Conversation. October 29. (co-authored with Marilyn Loveless)
  • 2014 “Participatory Development in Maragoli, Kenya: Reflections on Practicing Anthropology”.Practicing Anthropology.  36 (3): 11-16. (Co-authored with Jan Kees den Bakker, Samuel Amukono Kidini, and Joyce Adisa Bunyoli)
  • 2014 “Amish Economic Transformations: New Forms of Income and Wealth Distribution in a Traditional ‘Flat’ Community”. Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies 2(1):1-22. (Co-authored with Amyaz A. Moledina, Stephanie Sugars, and Bailey Connor.)
  • 2013 “The Changing Landscape of Amish Agriculture: Balancing Traditional and Modernity in an Amish Organic Farming Cooperative.” Human Organization 72 (2): 154-163. (Co-authored with Matt J. Mariola)
  • 2011 “Culture and Politics in the Anthropology of Japan.” Reviews in Anthropology 40(4): 265-291.
  • 2010 An Amish Paradox: Diversity and Change in the World’s Largest Amish Community (The Johns Hopkins University Press)
  • 2008 Soft Power Superpowers: National and Cultural Assets in Japan and the United States (M.E. Sharpe)
  • “No ‘Rip Van Winkles’ Here: Amish Education Since Wisconsin v. Yoder”. Anthropology and Education Quarterly. 37(3): 236-254.
  • 2000 Importing Diversity: Inside Japan’s JET Program (University of California Press)
  • Japan’s Ohira Prize by the Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Foundation
  • A Spencer Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
  • A Fulbright Grant
  • A Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship
  • A Thomas J. Watson Fellowship