Sabbatical Productivity: February

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 February, generally in chronological order. You can read about what I accomplished in January here.

1. Worked on revisions of my current book project throughout the month, including incorporating feedback on an earlier draft that I received from a friend.

2. Finished a draft of a book proposal to begin sending out to publishers.

3. Attended a poetry reading by Wendy Chin-Tanner.

4. Attended the Mennonite Arts Festival in Cincinnati and networked with other Mennonite writers there.

5. Contacted a potential keynote speaker for the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference in October 2020 in my role as a member of the organizing committee. She accepted the invitation.

6. Wrote and submitted an abstract for a panel at MLA 2021 on Queer Lists.

7. Responded to abstracts throughout the month that were submitted for the MLA 2021 panel on Dungeons & Dragons that I am co-organizing.

8. Revamped my website.

9. Built and launched a website for the three Mennonite/s Writing bibliographies that I curate, which is here.

10. Began work on an invited essay for a forthcoming collection about Anabaptist vitality in the twenty-first century.

11. Began work on another invited essay for a special issue of Political Theology on Mennonite political theology. (And yes, I am surprised that my new work is turning even more toward the theological, but my general practice when people invite me to write things is to say yes.)

12. Received an email from a journal asking me to submit the longer version of my MLA 2020 presentation to them. It is already under contract elsewhere (forthcoming later this year!), so I declined.

13. Received an email about another journal interested in reviewing Queering Mennonite Literature and in the possibility of me curating a special issue on queer literature and religion.


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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