Sabbatical Productivity: May

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 May, generally in chronological order. I did less than in some previous months (you can read about what I accomplished in April here) because it’s been difficult to be productive due to the pandemic. I feel like I am slowly getting back on track, though.

1. Finished and submitted a book review of Nikki Reimer’s My Heart is a Rose Manhattan.

2. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies and blog throughout the month.

3. Wrote a draft of an essay about Mennonite speculative fiction for a special journal issue on Mennonite political theology.

4. Agreed to peer review a book in one of my fields for a university press and received the manuscript.

5. Had a special session panel proposal for MLA 2021 on Dungeons & Dragons that I co-authored accepted.

6. Agreed to serve on the MLA’s Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada for a three-year term.

7. Began writing my portion of a Call for Papers for an essay anthology that a colleague and I are working on.

8. Emailed presenters from the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference that was scheduled for October 2020 to let them know that it has been postponed to October 2021 due to the pandemic.

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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