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This Ground

For the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years, our theme is Contested Spaces. This broad topic supports many contemporary conversations, such as the actual “contested space” of a nation. The theme of Contested Spaces aligns with our values of community, deep inquiry, self-awareness, equity & justice, and ethical stewardship, allowing us to contemplate these values on our campus, across the nation, and globally.

Whereas in 2018-2019 we focused on the sub-theme of “Race, Nation, and Conflict,” in 2019-20 the Contested Spaces focal point is “This Ground,” as all contributors grapple with how local concerns play out across time and space. This Ground might be Virginia, where we are reflecting upon the 400 years since 1619 and its consequences. This Ground also applies to Berlin, Germany, as we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the toppling of the Wall. Our program of events aims to encourage participants to foster deep and meaningful conversations that, in the words of Patrice Rankine, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, “demonstrate how our disciplines address societal challenges and how together, as a community, we have the tools to better ourselves and the world around us.”