The Critical Engagements team is currently developing a mechanism whereby we can solicit ideas for future themes from a broad audience inside and outside the college. But we're getting there by stages. Faced with a very short turnaround time in summer 2017, for 2017–2018 the team first selected "People On the Move" after consulting with the Dean's Advisory Committee and others.  For 2018–2019 we have generated the short (!) list of potential themes outlined below, on which we are soliciting feedback and a vote from college faculty. Finally, we plan to have the fully collaborative process in place in spring 2018 so that we can work together on themes for future years. Our goal is have themes announced at least a year in advance.

Potential Themes for 2018–2019

We're asking CHSBS faculty to vote on one of the following themes for 2018–2019. It's important to note that voting for one option does not mean the others are out for good or that this is an exhaustive list for the future. This is just about what you think would the best theme for the next academic year. Please also note that bullets and links below the titles do NOT mean we endorse the points in question, or whatever is behind the links. We're just trying to provide a better idea about what we think might work, and some of the thinking behind the list.

  1. People On the Move: Borders, Boundaries, and Migration 
    • Continue the 2017–2018 theme for another year
  2. The End(s) [or Edge] of the World: Crisis, Turning Points, Renewals
    • Apocalyptic literature, culture, religion; eschatology; fundamentalisms
    • Political, scientific and (many) other kinds of revolutions, sudden or slow, conscious or impersonal, celebrated or unnoticed
    • Environment and sustainability
    • Discovery of new concepts/things/places; disintegration of old concepts/things/places 
    • War
  3. What Does It Mean to Be Human? 
    • Robots, robot ethics, robot rights, robot definitions; the future of work in a world of robots
    • Hominids, biological anthropology
    • Language, linguistics, linguistic anthropology
    • Philosophical accounts of the self and personhood
    • Rights, human rights, animal rights
  4. Quantified Self, Quantified Society: The Promise and Problems of Numbers 
    • "Metrics," their value and limitations
    • Problems and possibilities of data
    • Increased public, commercial, and government interest in quantified results
    • Digital humanities vs./plus traditional humanities
    • Up- and downsides of algorithms in public policy; "weapons of math destruction?"
    • Who generates/controls/understands the numbers? Power, equality, democracy
    • Statistics, research, replication of results, private and public confidence in social and behavioral sciences (and other number-heavy fields)
  5. Coasts, Cities, and Everyone Else 
    • Urban and/vs. rural
    • Red vs. blue America
    • Rural issues in particular, including central Michigan: jobs, infrastructure, health, representation
    • Detroit, Flint, ... 
    • Resource accessibility/availability
    • Environment and sustainability in urban/rural contexts
  6. Medicine, Healing, and the Body 
    • History of medicine/body
    • Medical ethics 
    • Portrayals and practices 
    • Public policy
    • Mental health
    • Tradition and innovation; trust and mistrust of evidence-based medicine
  7. Experts, Elites, and Equality: Democracy When It's Complicated
    • Alternative facts; fake news; public attitudes toward expertise
    • Ivory towers and Ivy Leagues 
    • Canons, taste, and cultural capital
    • Accidental inequality: fair/unfair advantages of having educated parents, a culturally rich community, etc.
    • History / theory of education
    • "Pure" vs. applied liberal arts; open-ended vs. public-goal-directed scholarship

How to Vote

Any faculty member or instructor in CHSBS is welcome to cast a vote. We're using Microsoft Forms to collect responses, which requires you to login using cmich credentials but after that's it's easy. Click here to access the form.