Working with the chaplain’s office in collaboration with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Sustainability, LGBTQ students, and others, I will facilitate a series of conversations, activities, and events that focus on boundaries and borders, especially how to look and move beyond borders and boundaries. The diverse encounters will take place during fall 2019 semester and will be mostly on-campus with some short excursions beyond the borders of Susquehanna and Selinsgrove.
Borders and boundaries come in many forms. These include the political and legal borders that keep people in or out of countries, communities, and from opportunities. The issues of what has happened at US borders, particularly the Southern Border, raises many concerns and questions.
As a Bible scholar, I hope to revisit ancient stories that may sound familiar to us today—stories of exile, border crossings, walled cities, and liberation. The exploration and performance of these stories can prove a jumping off point to discuss the conditions that led to the current immigration crisis in the USA.
As the grandson of immigrants who arrived in the early 20th Century shortly before the border closed in reaction to terrorism, I hope to create a space where we can share personal stories about the boundaries and borders we have faced in our own lives and families.
During the residency we will explore viewing gender identity and presentation beyond the traditional binary. As an LGBTQ activist, I see that even in the LGBTQ+ community spaces tensions and even violence erupts when some members question or refused to include transgender and gender non-conforming people and issues. What borders and boundaries are put in place because of privilege, even by those who have been discriminated against?
We will also consider how we can and must cross the boundaries that keep our imaginations in check when pursuing our passions. Sometimes the most difficult borders to cross are the ones that keep us from thinking in new ways, that hold us back from breaking through to bigger solutions and creative visions of the future.
Events will take place throughout the fall semester at Susquehanna University. Some of these will be open to the public. We will post these public events in this space once we have the details confirmed.
(featured image by Christine Bakke)