Catching up with…Joyce Madancy

Publication Date

Joyce Madancy got the travel bug early. Her father worked as a civilian for the Army Corps of Engineers, so she spent five of her first six years living on a base near Tokyo.

Joyce Madancy, professor of history, at the Cliffs of Moher

Joyce Madancy, professor of history, at the Cliffs of Moher on the Galway term abroad in fall 2021.

A professor of history, Madancy has led multiple terms abroad to York, England, and Galway, Ireland. She has also led a mini-term to South Africa.

She enjoys traversing the globe with her husband, Jack Kennedy. Over the past seven years, the couple has visited four continents and 16 countries, with and without Union students.

“We loved Australia and New Zealand, where we visited the Hobbiton set for the Lord of the Rings films,” she said. “We also fell in love with the food and wine in Spain and Portugal.”

Madancy teaches classes on East Asian history, including “The Samurai: Lives,

Catching up with...

"Catching Up With..." is a new feature that launched in fall 2020 in The Chronicle. Each week a faculty or staff member is profiled. Answering a series of short questions, the profiles are intended to be light, informative and conversational.

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Loves and Legacies.” At the end of the month, she plans to take her class outdoors for a sword skills workshop (using wooden swords).

Now in her 28th year at Union, Madancy conducts research focused on the history of opium in 19th and 20th century China. Her latest projects involve public history and the way that certain people from the past are remembered and represented in the present.

She and her husband live in Delmar with their daughter, Maya Kennedy.

FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING:

Weatherbug, to see what I should wear.

ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES:

I reread books all the time, but lately my go-to reread is a heartwarming Swedish novel, “A Man Called Ove,” by Fredrick Backman. It always makes me laugh and cry.

BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED:

My grandmother told me that the four most important things in my life should be education, education, marriage and travel. She said spend your money on travel, not stuff.

FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS:

I love looking at Jackson’s Garden from the back of the music building, where that lovely statue of the dancing woman is. I also love my office in Lippman Hall. It is chock full of artifacts and art related to my courses and my life. Come visit and see all of my cool stuff (I do spend my money on travel AND stuff)!

GO-TO BREAKFAST:

OJ, homemade Irish brown bread with butter or jam, and some strong black tea.

NETFLIX OR AMAZON:

We enjoy both, but probably watch Netflix most of the time. We enjoy the shows “Squid Game,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead,” “Ozark,” “Better Call Saul” and “Last Kingdom.”

FAVORITE PODCAST:

I really do not have a favorite, since I have only listened to a few. I do find the whole trend interesting, though. When so many of us communicate through short bursts like tweets and emojis, people are also flocking to podcasts. It seems like modern-day equivalents of the radio programs my parents used to listen to. I need to listen to more and am open to suggestions for good ones.

ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD:

Just one? I have always wished that I had musical or artistic talent.

ANOTHER SUBJECT YOU WISH YOU COULD TEACH:

Computer science. I wish I understood my machines.

MOST CREATIVE EXCUSE YOU HEARD FOR A LATE ASSIGNMENT:

I have not gotten any that were especially creative, but many have been downright disgusting. Many students seem to think that the more graphic they are about the symptoms that are preventing on-time submission, the more believable they are.