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People on the Move (2017-2018)

​The Critical Engagements theme for 2017–2018 is People On the Move: Borders, Boundaries, and Migration. While our title deliberately evokes the concrete reality of literal walls, political boundaries, and the people who move between them, we are delighted to feature research,  teaching, and special events that address borders, boundaries, and migration from a broad range of perspectives, including figurative ones. The events and activities listed below pick out some of the most important ways in which our college and university are addressing this critical issue.

Notable Events, Spring 2018

January 18 — Marc Kleijwegt on Documenting Slavery

In a presentation that features perforce the involuntary movement of people across boundaries of all kinds, Marc Kleijwegt, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will give a talk on “Documenting Slavery in Comparative Perspective: Evidence from the Ancient and the Transatlantic World” on January 18 at 5:00pm in Powers 200. Sponsored by the Department of History.

February 1 and 2 — Christia Mercer on Crossing Boundaries

On February 1 at 7:00pm in the Park Library Auditorium Christia Mercer, Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, will speak on “Crossing Boundaries/Rethinking Justice, or How the U.S. Prison Industrial Complex Undermines Our Democracy.” Professor Mercer will speak again at 4pm on February 2 on “Crossing Boundaries/Rethinking the History of Philosophy, or How Women Changed the Course of Philosophy,” also in the Park Library Auditorium. Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and Religion.

February 22 - Dale Hutchinson on Disease and Demography

Dr. Dale Hutchinson, professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will give a presentation on "Disease and Demography: Reconstructing Health in Colonial North America 5 p.m. Thursday, February 22 in Anspach 162. His research interests include the prehistory of the eastern United States and Andean South America, the origins and health consequences of social and economic transitions (agriculture, state, European contact), and skeletal biology as a means of interpreting the nutritional and health status of past populations. Sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work and the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences' Critical Engagements initiative. For more information, contact Sergio Chavez at 989-774-3656 or

February 27 - Film Screening with Alex Rivera

Join us for a screening and discussion with Sundance award-winning filmmaker Alex Rivera, director of the film Sleep Dealer, 6 p.m. Tuesday, February 27 in Anspach 161. Rivera tells urgent and visually adventurous stories about labor, immigration, technology, and trans-border exchange. He is a Sundance Fellow, Rockefeller Fellow and in 2012 was the Rothschild Lecturer in the History of Science Department at Harvard. Sponsored by the Department of World Languages and Cultures and the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences' Critical Engagements initiative. For more information, contact Roberto Mendoza (WLC) at 989-774-3786 or Open event flier

March 19 — Hendrik Meijer on Arthur Vandenberg

Hendrik Meijer, co-chairman and CEO of Meijer, Inc. and author of Arthur Vandenberg: The Man in the Middle of the American Century (University of Chicago Press, 2017), will give a talk about the book at the Park Library Auditorium at 7pm on March 19.  Vandenberg, who represented Michigan in the U. S. Senate from 1928 to 1951, was a prominent isolationist in the 1930s who came to question his position by the end of World War II. “Our oceans,” he declared in a famous speech in January 1945, “have ceased to be moats.” A lifelong Republican, Vandenberg went on to work with two Democratic administrations in the creation of the post-war foreign policy that would come to define “the American century.” A reception will follow the talk. Sponsored by the Clarke Historical Library and Critical Engagements.

March 21 — Megan Bradley (Abel Lecture)

Megan Bradley, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and the Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University, will deliver the spring 2018 Abel Lecture "Ending Exile: The Meaning and Making of Solutions to Refugee Crises" on Wednesday, March 21, at 7pm in the Powers Ballroom. Her research interests include refugees and forced migration, human rights, transitional justice, humanitarianism, peacebuilding, international organizations, and international development. She was a nonresident fellow in the Brookings Institution Foreign Policy program and is the editor of Forced Migration, Reconciliation and Justice (2015) and author of Refugee Repatriation: Justice, Responsibility and Redress (2013). Sponsored by the Harold Abel Endowed Lecture Series in the Study of Dictatorship, Democracy and Genocide

March 28 — Jason De León on Undocumented Immigration

Jason De León is a University of Michigan anthropologist and recent MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient whose research interests include theories of violence, materiality, death and mourning, Latin American migration, crime and forensic analyses, and archaeology of the contemporary. He directed the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), a long-term study of clandestine border crossing that uses a combination of ethnographic, archaeological, and forensic approaches to understand this phenomenon in a variety of geographic contexts including the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona, Northern Mexican border towns, and the southern Mexico/Guatemala border. His talk is scheduled for March 28 (further details, including location, will be announced shortly). Sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work.

Notable Events, Fall 2017

September 13 — “Boundary Voices: Snapshots of the Student Experience at Central Michigan University”

Exhibit opening, "125 Years Through 125 Voices,” Clarke Historical Library. Presentation by Brittany Fremion and Jay Martin on the oral history project on which the exhibit is based.

October 17 — Women and Gender: Boundaries, Borders, and Migration

Presentations included: Jon Humiston, “Defying Boundaries—Transgressing the Gender Binary”; Ulana Klymyshyn, “Assimilation Is Unavoidable”; Tara McCarthy, “Women and the Irish Diaspora”; Ted Clayton, “Who Sets the Boundaries? —Some Thoughts on Men and Feminism”; and Lisa Gandy, “Women in Tech: An Important Struggle.”

October 24 — The 21st–Century ‘Clean Energy’ Economy: Crossing Traditional Boundaries

Panel discussion featuring Scott Hawken, Apex Clean Energy; Liesl Clark, Michigan EIBC; Teresa Hatcher, CMS Energy; and Tom Rohrer, Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems. Sponsored by the Central Michigan University School of Public Service and Global Citizenship, Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems, and CHSBS.

October 30 — “Off the Record, On the Road: Borders, Boundaries and Migration” (Griffin Policy Forum)

Panelists for the Fall 2017 Griffin Policy Forum include Bill Ballenger, Zoe Clark, and Chuck Stokes. The forum was moderated by Tim Skubick, senior capitol correspondent for WKAR and anchor and producer of the weekly public television series “Off the Record.” 

November 9 — Laura Jockusch, “Between Vengeance and Reconciliation: Jewish Honor Courts in the Aftermath of the Holocaust" (Abel Lecture)

Laura Jockusch discussed Jewish legal responses to the Holocaust by looking at trials that the Jewish communities held against Holocaust survivors accused of having "collaborated" with the Nazis. Such court cases occurred in Jewish communities across Europe in the early postwar period and only later became a taboo topic for several decades. Dr. Jockusch is the Albert Abramson Assistant Professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University.

November 16 — Marcello Di Cintio, “The Wall Disease: What Does It Mean to Live Along the World’s Hardest Edges?”

The Critical Engagements inaugural keynote featured Marcello Di Cintio, who led discussions and delivered a public lecture entitled The Wall Disease: What Does It Mean to Live Along the World’s Hardest Edges? Marcello is the author of the award-winning book Walls: Travels Along the Barricades.

CMU, is an AA/EO institution, providing equal opportunity to all persons, including minorities, females, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.
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