Critical Engagements: Questions That Matter is a new initiative at CHSBS starting in fall 2017. Designed to draw attention to the ways in which the college and its departments address crucial themes directly relevant to the contemporary world, it centers around a common theme or question each year. We address the question by sponsoring special events such as public talks, discussions, and panels relating to theme, and by highlighting the scholarship and activities our faculty and students already pursue. 


The primary planning group for Critical Engagements (CE) and the 2017–2018 academic year consists of Christi Brookes, Pam Gates, Greg Smith, Cherie Strachan, and Marcy Taylor. Christi and Greg are the primary contacts for questions and suggestions about CE as a whole as well as specific events relating to the first year's theme. 

Founding Documents

In September 2017 Christi Brookes and Greg Smith presented Critical Engagements to the Board of Trustees Faculty Liaison Committee, offering an overview of the project's origins and goals. Other documents and explanations abound but this might be the best single way to get a sense of the whole in brief compass. 

2017–2018 Theme and Events

The theme for 2017–2018 is People On the Move: Borders, Boundaries, and Migration. While we have tried to make the title as specific as possible, we feature events, classes, and other activities that address "borders, boundaries, and migration" from a broad range of perspectives. This might include, for example, a project that examines people who wish to move but can't, or events that address the subject of boundaries and boundary-crossing in less literal ways.

Keynote / Kickoff Event (November 16, 2017)

Our first featured speaker is Marcello Di Cintio, critically acclaimed author of Walls: Travels Along the Barricades. See the keynote page for more details, including a link to publicity.

Future Themes and Next Steps

We plan to have future annual themes ready to go at least a year in advance. Please see the themes page for more details, including next year's theme and a sketch of plans in the works.