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Global Society Cluster

For academic year 2020-2021. 

A Montserrat student on a class trip canoeing down the Quaboag River.
Canoeing down the Quaboag River

This year’s Global Society cluster will explore the theme of Displacement, Disruption & Creation from multiple perspectives and approaches, including cinema, literature, visual art, history, and theater. Together, we will focus on a range of geographical regions including Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as the United States, a culturally diverse nation of immigrants. Global Society seminars will explore a variety of topics, including the experiences of migrants, refugees and diasporic communities, public art as disruptive social practice, the complex realities that drive displacement and movement across boundaries, filmic and theatrical representations of multi-lingual communities, systems and infrastructure that contribute to the way we live, and the construction of identity through visual and literary narratives. Cluster cocurricular activities will encourage building new perspectives through dialogue, active listening and writing, as we reflect on our shared responsibilities as global citizens in the world. In keeping with the Holy Cross Mission Statement, we aim to be patient with ambiguity and uncertainty as we develop a more nuanced understanding of local and global communities. Students in the Global Society cluster will have opportunities to explore Worcester and to participate in interactive performances and the creative arts.


Global 1: Displacement, Diaspora, Identity

Common Area Designation(s): Historical Studies

Global Migration (fall) 

What makes people leave their homes and embark on a journey, sometimes even dangerous ones, to a new place? What kind of paths do they take? And once they arrive at their destination, how do they adapt to a new place? In this course, we will focus on the often-marginalized experiences of migrants. Through literary texts, memoirs and films, this seminar will highlight places of origins, winding roads and high seas – the myriad paths in which people traversed, sometimes against their will, always with dread and uncertainty, en route to new homes. We will also examine the ways in which migrants forge new homes, adapt to strange cultures, and are accepted (or not) by host societies. We will especially pay attention to the roles that gender, race and class play in human mobility and the creation of new migrant communities.

Migrants & Refugees of MENA (spring) 

This seminar focuses on migrants and refugees in and of the Middle East. We are going to look into the histories of human mobility within and from the region in the past two centuries, as certain ethnic and religious groups became precarious minorities in search of safe haven. We are also going to examine histories of migration to and from the Middle East and North Africa in search of fame, fortune, and the good life. In short, we will pay close attention to the reasons Middle Easterners have migrated, and how some ended up refugees and asylum seekers as a result of war, persecution, or other forms of violence. We will then explore how Middle Easterners and Muslim migrants have been received in the US and Europe, focusing, among other things, on migrants’ experiences of islamophobia, racism, and other forms of exclusion.


Global 2: Drawing Connections

Common Area Designation(s): Arts

Identity Networks (fall) 

Who am I?  Where do I go? What do I do? Let us embark on a journey to find the self. This course will explore identity through artistic process. Expression of the self is implemented through a multitude of art practices. Draw, cut, shape, mark, form, speak, move and dance! Students will gain experience in the creation of artwork. Coursework will cover techniques in drawing, portraiture, collage, relief and experimental approaches to expression. We gain exposure to a variation of artists working in different disciplines. Individual and group projects focus on making connections between informal research and concepts for the creation of work. The group engages in presenting personal work, analysis of visual imagery and dialogue. This studio art course carries a standard $50 fee for course supplies.    

Visualizing Systems (spring) 

We use the spring semester to widen our lens and examine how artists have used identity and systematic approaches to create social and public works of art. Utilizing studio art practices we take a closer look at our community’s infrastructure. What critical systems provide our basic needs to live? How do we use our natural environment? The course investigates concerns of water use, waste management and food distribution. We will gain a further understanding of the complexity of the city’s infrastructure through inquiry. Getting exposure to these systems will fuel the continuation of artistic practices for individual and group projects. Projects focus on enhancing and empowering the student voice through artmaking. This studio art course carries a standard $50 fee for course supplies.


Global 3: Images From Latin America

Common Area Designation(s): Arts or Cross-Cultural Studies 
C.I.S. Concentration: Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Studies

Latin America Through Cinema (fall)

What do you think of when you hear “Latin America"? In this seminar, we will explore cinema from and about Latin America to expand our understanding of this culturally diverse region comprised of more than twenty countries and territories. Together, we will examine topics such as race, gender, identity, globalization, displacement, migration, politics, and memory through the lens of films by Latin American screenwriters and directors. Students will gain experience in film analysis, learning how to articulate the relationship between content and artistic form. Through this cinematographic encounter, we will begin to see and understand Latin America in a new way.

Diverse Art of Latin America (spring) 

We will focus on a wide range of movements and styles present in 20th through 21st century art from Latin America, engaging with the following questions: In what ways do Latin American artists dialogue with European, African, and indigenous aesthetic traditions? What are the implications of framing painting as “art for art’s sake” or creating art for political purposes? How do gender, ideology, and race interface with artistic production? What are some of the different ways that Latin American public art has functioned since the 1970s to the present day? Students will perform close readings of art works with a focus on the formal elements of painting. Together, we will take trips into the local Worcester community to see public art and we will participate in a collaborative art project.   


Global 4: Migration and Human Rights

Common Area Designation(s): Cross-Cultural Studies or Literature
C.I.S. Concentration(s):  Africana Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies

African Migrations (fall)  

The course builds on film and literature to tackle a very important contemporary African issue: population displacement.  Whether these migratory trends occur within national boundaries, across borders within Africa, or involve destinations overseas, they happen for complex reasons. The texts and films highlight some of the persistent root causes of migrations: human rights abuses, insecurity, educational opportunities, environmental crisis, poverty, etc. The course examines ways and actions to address the difficult choices Africans must make as well as it emphasizes African agency in the making and, most importantly, in working to solve the challenges facing the youth and disenfranchised of the continent.   

Writing Human Rights (spring)

What is a human right—and who is responsible for protecting those rights? How does the way we read and write about human rights impact the way they are articulated, understood, and enacted? This seminar explores human rights through writing: by reading testimonies of human rights violations in literature and by using our critical and creative writing to come to terms with our own responsibilities for upholding a culture of human dignity in our global world. Together, we will examine the way that authors use texts to help readers empathize with others, reflect on the past, learn about injustices, and imagine new realities. Through writing projects that analyze, challenge, and extend authors’ points, we will seek to understand the way that words both fuel and mitigate conflict—in potentially productive and destructive ways.


Global 5: Truth, Fiction and Identity

Common Area Designation(s): Arts or Literature
C.I.S. Concentration: Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Studies


Seeking the "Other" (fall) 

The experience of love and connection has frequently provided the impetus for artists to create great works. In this seminar, we will explore numerous forms of artistic creation from the Hispanic world including poetry, fiction, theater, film, visual art, and performance as we ask, “can we ever truly know another human being?” Primary sources will inspire us to delve into the themes of love, conflict, and alienation. A sampling of texts includes works by García Lorca and the Generation of ‘27, Neruda, Paz, Lope de Vega, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and others. Performance, improvisation, and public speaking will have a central role in the course. No previous acting experience is required.   

Writing the Self (spring)

In this seminar, we will read one of the most important novels of all time, Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, as well as a post-Civil War novel by Rodoreda, In the Time of the Doves.  The consideration of the meaning of self, self-expression, and identity will form the foundation of our explorations as we probe universal questions such as the nature of truth versus fiction, madness versus sanity, and self versus society. Performance, improvisation and public speaking will have a central role in the course. No previous acting experience is required. 




Cluster Director 

Global Society: 

Bridget Franco, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Spanish