Contemporary Challenges Cluster

For academic year 2022-2023. 

Crossing Divides: Rebuilding Community

Our theme for this year is “Crossing Divides: Rebuilding Community.” Our cluster acknowledges that on international, national, and local levels, social, political, and cultural divisions threaten the cohesiveness of communities on large scale and local levels. We seek to contextualize these divisions through explorations of history, art, and science in order to seek pathways towards rebuilding the communities fractured by recent world events. We will explore essential questions in this regard: what can the recent past teach us about the present? How can we learn to communicate more effectively with those around us? Where can we discover common ground, or at least a shared sense of purpose, given our personal and ideological differences?  How can we build communities of belonging in the face discriminatory beliefs, such as racism, homophobia, or misogyny? How can we interrogate the concept of community itself, which can imply in and out groups, while still moving forward to a common goal?