Contemporary Challenges Cluster

For academic year 2024-2025. 

Our theme for this year is imagining being “for and with others.” Our cluster acknowledges that our Jesuit Mission challenges us to live lives in service of and in solidarity with others, but what does this actually entail? What structural, cultural, ethical, epistemic, and historical challenges exist that might restrain our ability to enact this call to its fullest? Through explorations of history, literature, music, emotion, and science we seek both positive models of cura personalis as well as interventions into the contemporary challenges to this mission. We will ask essential questions, such as: What systemic and cultural obstacles to this goal can different disciplines identify and address? How can art help us understand the challenges of the past to build a community of the future? How can the pursuit of more diverse and inclusive institutions support the Jesuit mission? How can developing a scientific understanding of contemporary challenges—and probing the nature of science itself—help lead us to possible solutions? How can cultural literacy help us see commonality as well as distinction? Ultimately, what the contemporary challenges cluster aims to explore is what it looks like for communities of individuals to live lives for and with others.