Sabbatical Productivity: January

I am on sabbatical this semester and have been keeping a list in my journal of the academic activities I engage in. This practice is partly for myself so that I make sure I am using the time productively and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in January (along with the end of December after the Fall semester ended), generally in chronological order.

1. Wrote and submitted an invited abstract for a possible issue of Political Theology on Mennonite political theology.

2. Accepted an invitation to write an essay for a collection about new “Anabaptist Visions” and sent the editor a rough proposal for the essay’s topic.

3. Wrote and submitted an abstract for the 2020 Mennonite/s Writing conference.

4. Wrote a rough draft of a panel proposal (link here, and see number 14) for the 2021 MLA convention on Dungeons & Dragons.

5. Typed up the senryu I wrote between mid-October and the beginning of January.

6. Worked on revising my current book project (this continued throughout the month).

7. Asked two friends to read a draft of the book project and they both accepted.

8. Attended and presented at the 2020 MLA convention and got helpful feedback on my presentation.

9. Evaluated abstracts for the 2020 Mennonite/s Writing conference and worked with another member of the organizing committee on a draft conference program. Read a few late abstracts throughout the month.

10. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing in the U.S. Bibliography.

11. Compiled a list of authors who have published books with Pinchpenny Press (including myself!) who are currently involved in the Mennonite literary scene for the upcoming Pinchpenny anniversary celebration.

12. Emailed a fellow Mennonite literary critic working on a paper about David Bergen, who I have written about (see section 3).

13. Began prepping a new course for the Fall 2020 semester, Latinx Literature.

14. Talked with a colleague about co-facilitating the 2021 MLA convention panel on Dungeons & Dragons mentioned in number 4, agreed to do so, and submitted the Call for Papers.

15. Looked at other 2021 MLA CFPs and made notes on which panels I might want to submit abstracts to.


Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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