Bio: As Associate Dean of Academic Personnel and Administration in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University since 2017, Sonja Fritzsche works with the Dean to support Chairs and Program Directors as well as faculty and academic staff. Most significantly, part of the Culture of Care and Charting A Pathway to Intellectual Leadership (CPIL) initiatives, equitable and inclusive searches and faculty review procedures, College-wide faculty development and leadership initiatives, creating habits of diversity, equity, and inclusion across the College, and a focus on non-tenure stream mentoring and career pathways.
A Professor of German Studies, Sonja’s current medical humanities book project is in the area of disability studies – a comparative German and US study of “self-help” memoirs by parents of autistic children that focuses on issues of identity, ableism, gender, and performativity. Parents who have come to terms with their own ableism will better be able to support their own neurodiverse children. Sonja’s past scholarship has appeared in six languages and focuses on German and Central/Eastern European literary history and film in the area of utopian/dystopian studies and comparative science fiction of the Cold War and related topics (See c.v.) A primary goal of her scholarly career has been to foster greater awareness of science fiction beyond Anglo-American contexts (global SF) and to support young scholars doing work on the SF of their own countries of origin. This has led to several edited volumes that also include a current project co-editing the Routledge Companion to Gender and Science Fiction with Lisa Yaszek, Keren Omry, and Wendy Peterson (2023). Sonja is also co-PI on the Big Ten Academic Alliance Less Commonly Taught and Indigenous Languages Partnership funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. Among other pieces, this iteration of the grant focuses on Anishnaabemowin as well as creating cross-institutional partnerships to sustain and grow LCTL instruction as central to the DEI mission of MSU and higher education. Consider submitting a proposal to publish in the book series that Sonja co-edits with Gerry Canavan (Marquette) – World Science Fiction Studies with Peter Lang Oxford. Sonja was President of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL) in 2015.
Finally – remember: practice transformative change to establish the “everyday utopia” (Davina Cooper 2013) and go through life with the radical humility (2022), kindness, generosity (Fitzpatrick 2019), and grace (Kyodo Williams 2016) that one gets from a life spent tandem cycling many, many miles. May the road rise to meet you and may the wind be always at your back.