As the new academic year approaches, I intend here to set some expectations for myself and others who work with me, or might wish to work with me. For the next year, thanks to a BUCH Junior Fellowship, I am on a research leave, which means I am not teaching and I am taking a step back from a number of things.
To be honest, being able to take a research leave like this would have been an immense privilege even under regular circumstances. But in the face of the coronavirus crisis, and how it is being handled across the country, it is a miracle. I know how lucky I am, and I don’t take any of this lightly.
Inspired, in part, by Adrienne Maree Brown’s recent discussion of what it means to take a sabbatical (part 1 | part 2), I am taking a conscious step back from some of the spaces which I regularly inhabit, including digital ones. In some cases, this will mean less visibility, in others more. After I finished a big project this summer, I unexpectedly found myself naturally disconnecting from twitter, which has always been a place of community and collaboration for me. At the same time, instagram has interestingly become a renewed site of creativity and communication. And as I reconsider my own relationship to writing in the wake of finishing the project to which many years of my life were devoted, I find myself wanting to write here on the blog more and more. In essence, I expect there to be a kind of hybridity to the presences and absences of my leave taking.
Living in the context of the pandemic has been a revelatory experience for me in many respects. As I wrote here a few days ago, the conditions created by the coronavirus have exposed for me the ways of thinking, doing, and being that do not serve me or the communities which I am a part of. It is with the mindful spirit of recalibration and renewal that I go into this next year. Yet while I may be less present, and at times less available, than I am accustomed to be, there are still a number of ongoing projects which I am involved with and will continue to give my care and attention to. At the same time, I will likely be less responsive to new requests, and I am thankful for your patience when that inevitably ends up being the case.