Tag Archives: Miriam Suzanne

Queering Mennonite Literature: Archiving, Activism, and the Search for Community

I am excited to announce that my book Queering Mennonite Literature: Archives, Activism, and the Search for Community has just been released by Penn State University Press!

Though the terms “queer” and “Mennonite” rarely come into theoretical or cultural contact, over the last several decades writers and scholars in the United States and Canada have built a body of queer Mennonite literature that shifts these identities into conversation. I bring this growing genre into a critical focus, bridging the gaps between queer theory, literary criticism, and Mennonite literature.

My analysis focuses on recent Mennonite-authored literary texts that espouse queer theoretical principles, including work by Christina Penner, Wes Funk, Jan Guenther Braun, Jessica Penner, Stephen Beachy, Corey Redekop, Casey Plett, Miriam Suzanne, and Sofia Samatar. Their books argue for the existence of a “queer Mennonite” identity on the basis of shared values: a commitment to social justice, a rejection of binaries, the importance of creative approaches to conflict resolution, and the practice of mutual aid, especially in resisting oppression. The book encourages those engaging with both Mennonite studies and queer studies to explore the opportunity for conversation and overlap between the two fields.

By arguing for engagement between these two identities and highlighting the aspects of Mennonitism that are inherently “queer,” the book gives much-needed attention to an emerging subfield of Mennonite literature. It makes a new and important intervention into the fields of queer theory, literary studies, Mennonite studies, and religious studies.

You can find Queering Mennonite Literature on the Penn State University Press web site at this URL: http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-27-108245-5.html. You can get 30% off by using the code NR18. Please ask your local libraries, whether institutional or public, to order a copy.

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Books Acquired Recently

Cvetkovich, Ann. An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.

I have become very interested in the concept of the archive recently. As part of my reading about it I encountered a citation to Cvetkovich’s book and it sounded interesting, so I decided to buy it. It, along with Kauffman’s and Dangarembga’s books, were purchased from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Dangarembga, Tsitsi. The Book of Not. Banbury, UK: Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2006.

I recently taught the prequel to this novel, Nervous Conditions, and realized that I had forgotten how good it was. It is good enough that it sequel deserves a read, as well.

Kauffman, Janet. oh corporeal. N.p.: Coldwater Press, 2010.

I have read much more of Kauffman’s fiction than of her poetry. In my slow move toward remedying this state of affairs I decided to buy this chapbook.

Suzanne, Miriam [as Eric M. Suzanne]. Riding Sidesaddle*. Denver: SpringGun Press, 2015.

I just recently found out about Miriam Suzanne, a trans Mennonite author, and bought her novel right away in part because queer Mennonite literature is my primary scholarly interest and in part because it is an unbound book that comes in a box! The reader can read the story in whatever order they choose. In this way it is similar to B.S. Johnson’s novel The Unfortunates (which is one of my favorite books), but even more so because every single page is unbound rather than being bound into chapters. I can’t wait to read it! You can buy it here.

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