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Chair’s Welcome

CSSH Head Shots09 copy 2The Department of Cultures, Societies and Global Studies is focused on meeting the demands of today’s students for increased trans-disciplinary mobility and a broader set of tools for life-long learning. We offer a dynamic multi-functional platform of experiential education and research in the humanities and social sciences that provides a series of graduated structured paths on the road to cross-cultural sense-making and professional competency.

Our global community faces grave challenges of governance and environmental sustainability as we enter an age where, as some would argue, an emerging “collaborative economy” may be propelled by new sustainable sources of energy. Yet, while we may have the technological means to move forward, we are only beginning to develop the cultural forms and political vision that could sustain our continued, collective and successful stewardship of our planet in all its richness and potential. The type of cultural innovation that is key to the long-term survival of people and of life as we know it depends on responsible inquiry and participatory social critique. Our mission, unique to Northeastern’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities, is to form global citizen-leaders who are true change-makers in social movements and culture. We are particularly interested in having you consider the perspectives of the broadest section of humanity, peoples for whom “national security” and “the economy” are not issues as pressing as their immediate concerns for human security and their demands for social opportunity.

Consequently, we approach culture not as defined and inert object of study but as an amazing set of tools for environmental adaptability, social innovation and resilience. As our machines come to occupy larger sectors of our vital space, culture and the public sphere must remain exclusively human domains. Entire fields and professions that we now claim will and should be turned over to our robots while we celebrate and continue to develop the ways of knowing and of being, old and new, that make us who we are in all our full potential for creativity and transcendence. Never before has there been a greater need for the study of culture and the need to ponder the question of what and why we should be so mindful of ourselves and our surroundings.

Thus, we offer you the guidance and furnish you with the technical means and targeted global experiences that will enable you to make the future of humanity a project for life-long learning and professional fulfillment. Other schools and programs train students to become experts in specific scholarly fields, professional disciplines and trades. We put the world in front of you with the promise and the challenge to lead the rest of us into a future of general well-being for one and all.

José F. Buscaglia, M. Arch, PhD