Complex Questions

Students at the Black Lives Matter protest on campus.
Black Lives Matter became a global call for action. But the organizing was very local. How and why do local anti-racist movements gain traction around the globe?



Pomegranate and Honey for New Year
The celebration of lived experiences, both those of the past and those wished for the future, is often visible in the art, literature, and communal practices of immigrants. What can we learn about the migration experience  from these cultural expressions?


PRIDE parades have evolved from declarations for freedom that entailed great personal risk to incredibly popular events with very little risk to participants. How does this evolution happen? Who leads the shift in social "norms"?

Man and child walk holding hands, wearing yamakas
Why and how does anti-Semitism persist? Are hate groups increasing in number? Who is funding them? What can communities and governments do to combat anti-Semitism? 


How does what we buy impact human rights? Does power lie in the hands of the consumer? or the corporation?

Rolled-up U.S. dollar bills arranged into a 3-tier "money cake" adorned with red ribbon
Who is driving the international black market trade of medicine and organs? Who is making the money? Who is paying the price?

Oppression of members of the LGBTQI+ community is often led by local homophobic and transphobic organizations. Yet these organizations often have international connections. What does the transnational network look like, and how does this impact the safety and human rights of LGBTQI+ individuals around the globe?

outline of two individuals against a blue backdrop
What does it mean to be an "ally"? What sorts of people are likely to embrace this role?


Image of symbol of "woman" with a fist holding a paint brush in the circle, reading "art plus feminism"
Why are some countries so committed to the rights of women, while some refuse to acknowledge them? Why are some countries in a perpetual tug-of-war between archaic patriarchy and non-gendered human rights?

What does it mean to be "feminist"? Is the meaning static across communities?


Genocides have been committed against many religious and ethnic people. These horrendous campaigns of violence have often relied heavily upon two things: international silence and local, non-state "gangs" or violent organizations. How can we explain these simultaneous choices of extreme silence and extreme violence when a population is under threat of elimination?

Among the monotheistic religions most practiced around the globe, "peace" is a consistent theme. Yet religious groups often declare and engage in violent war, committing egregious human rights violations. How have religious teachers contributed to discourse of violence of peace during war time? What was the relationship between religious leaders and religious voices of dissent?