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“Bard College Border Pedagogy: Experiential Learning, Syllabi, and a Model Unit on Encounters with Border Patrol” appeared in a special issue of the journal EuropeNow, titled Networks of Solidarity During Crises. The article highlights research by recent Class of 2020 graduates Giselle Avila, Lily Chavez, and Hattie Wilder Karlstrom that grew out of a spring 2020 tutorial exploring the border crisis and the context necessary for grasping it. The publication includes their reflections on the research, with links to the projects-in-progress, each of which is intended as a critical tool and resource for teaching. The students were advised by Peter Rosenblum, professor of international law and human rights, and Danielle Riou, associate director of the Human Rights Project at Bard College.
This course took place in conjunction with the launch of the Border Pedagogy Working Group, an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students in the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education, of which Bard is a member.
Bard anthropology professor Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins has been awarded the Albert Hourani Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) for her book, Waste Siege: The Life of Infrastructure in Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2019). The Albert Hourani Book Award was established in 1991 to recognize outstanding publishing in Middle East studies. The award was named for Albert Hourani to recognize his long and distinguished career as teacher and mentor. Announced at the awards ceremony at MESA’s annual meeting, the Albert Hourani Book Award honors a work that exemplifies scholarly excellence and clarity of presentation in the tradition of Albert Hourani. In the words of the award committee, “This book offers an outstanding and novel contribution to the study of Palestinian life as a waste siege. Through a rich ethnography and a sophisticated theoretical analysis this book focuses on the governance and governing power of waste.”
The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) is a non-profit association that fosters the study of the Middle East, promotes high standards of scholarship and teaching, and encourages public understanding of the region and its peoples through programs, publications and services that enhance education, further intellectual exchange, recognize professional distinction, and defend academic freedom in accordance with its status as a 501(c)(3) scientific, educational, literary, and charitable organization. For more information, visit mesana.org.
Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins is assistant professor of anthropology at Bard. Her research interests include infrastructure, science and environment, colonialism, austerity, the “sharing economy,” the Middle East, and Europe. Her first book, Waste Siege: The Life of Infrastructure in Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2019), is an ethnography of waste management in the absence of a state. She is currently working on a new book titled Homing Austerity: Airbnb in Athens. Her articles have been published in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, Jerusalem Quarterly, Jadaliyya, and The New Centennial Review, among others.
# # #(10.13.20)
“There’s no such thing as pure capitalism. I think what we’re looking at is trying to understand the role of government and the extent of that role. Because even when you think of a free market economy, we have a lot of socialized [services]—think of veteran benefits, veteran health insurance. Here we have Trump speaking at a veterans event and talking against socialism when we actually have socialized veteran health care. The police force is socialized security, public education is socialized education. So I feel that these red herrings, these very tense kinds of divisions, have not been able to advance the conversation. The way I see it is that if we want to have an economy that is a little more stable—and that’s a market economy—we need to be able to provide some basic provisions to deal with economic security.”
Bard College announces the appointment of Professor Christian Crouch as the incoming Dean of Graduate Studies, beginning July 1, 2021.
Professor Crouch has been Associate Professor of History and Director of American Studies at Bard since 2014. Her work focuses on the histories of the early modern Atlantic, comparative slavery, American material culture, and Native American and Indigenous Studies. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. with Distinction in Atlantic History from New York University, and an A.B. cum laude in History from Princeton University.
She has taught in the Clemente Course in the Humanities since 2010 and served as Curatorial Advisor for the 2020–2021 Brooklyn Museum exhibition “Jeffrey Gibson: When Fire is Applied to a Stone it Cracks.” Her book, Nobility Lost: French and Canadian Martial Cultures, Indians, and the End of New France 1600–1848 (Cornell University Press, 2014) won the Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Prize for best book in French colonial history from the French Colonial Historical Society in 2015. Her recent scholarly work includes articles in William and Mary Quarterly (2018), Early American Studies (2016) and chapters in the edited volumes France, Ireland, and the Atlantic in a Time of War: Reflections on the Bordeaux–Dublin Letters, 1757 (Routledge 2017) and The French Revolution as Moment of Respatialization (De Gruyter 2019).
Professor Crouch currently serves on the council of the Omohundro Institute and is a member of the inaugural cohort of Bright Institute Fellows. In 2019, she received a Georgian Papers Program Fellowship and previously was a 2016–2017 Hutchins fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. Her research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the American Philosophical Society, the Yale Center for British Art, the John Carter Brown Library, the William L. Clements Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Newberry Library. Her current manuscript in progress, Queen Victoria's Captives: A Story of Ambition, Empire, and a Stolen Ethiopian Prince, studies the human consequences of the 1868 Maqdala Campaign.
“I am delighted that Professor Crouch has agreed to accept this vital leadership position, said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “Graduate education has been a crucial part of the college's mission for nearly half a century. Its significance is defined by the specific constituencies each separate program serves, the capacity of graduate education to enrich the experiences and opportunities available to undergraduate students at Bard, and the contribution the graduate programs make to the long-term sustainability of Bard.”
Professor Crouch succeeds Professor Norton Batkin, who stepped down on September 1 after 15 years as Dean of Graduate Studies. During his tenure, Norton Batkin oversaw the growth and success of Bard’s graduate programs. He came to Bard in 1991 as visiting associate professor of philosophy and art history and director of the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS). “Bard owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Norton for his exemplary stewardship, energy and dedication,” Botstein said. “He demonstrated resilience and creativity as CCS Director, and Graduate Dean. Norton will continue teaching philosophy in the undergraduate college.”
The College also announces that Michael Sadowski, executive director of Bard Early College Hudson Valley programs and director of inclusive pedagogy and curriculum in the office of the Dean of the College, has agreed to assume the position of Interim Dean of Graduate Studies for this academic year 2020–2021. Sadowski was the founding executive director of Bard Early College Hudson, Bard’s first early college program in the Hudson Valley. He also teaches courses in youth identity development for the Master of Arts in Teaching program, and on LGBTQ+ issues in American education in the Human Rights Program. He has been an instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he earned his doctorate, and was a visiting professor in 2016–17 at Stanford University. He will serve as Dean of Graduate Studies until July 1, when Professor Crouch assumes the position.
Rising junior Maxwell Toth ’22, a joint French and American studies major, has been awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for study abroad. Max was awarded $4,000 toward his studies in Paris with the Institute for Field Education, a program that matches undergraduates with international internships aligning with their academic interests.
“I’m really honored to have received the Gilman Scholarship,” says Max. “As someone who’s barely traveled outside their home region of New England, studying abroad has been a dream of mine for quite some time.”
Max had originally planned to study abroad this fall, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic he chose to defer his plans to the spring and return to Annandale instead. This fall, he’s taking “a nice smorgasbord of courses,” ranging from The Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre to Contagion: Rumor, Heresy, Disease, and Financial Panic. Outside the classroom, he’ll continue his work as a Peer Counselor, campus tour guide, and Bard nursery school aide—“You can see I wear many hats on campus!”
“Regardless of how my semester abroad may be altered due to the pandemic, I am very excited,” Max says. “Beyond the City of Light, I really want to hop a train to Salzburg at some point and take the ‘Sound of Music’ tour—provided travel restrictions have loosened up by then!”
Bard College announced today the appointment of Tania El Khoury as Distinguished Artist in Residence of Theater and Performance and Ziad Abu-Rish as Visiting Associate Professor of Human Rights. Together they will lead a pioneering Master of Arts program in Human Rights and the Arts, planned to commence in Fall 2021. Designed by Bard’s Human Rights Program, the Fisher Center at Bard, and the Central European University, and launched through the Open Society University Network (OSUN), the interdisciplinary program will bring together scholars, artists, and activists from around the world to explore the highly-charged relation between artistic practices and struggles for truth and justice.
The appointments deepen Bard’s relationship with El Khoury and Abu-Rish, both of whom were visiting faculty at the college in 2019. Abu-Rish taught in the Human Rights Program, while El Khoury co-curated the 2019 edition of the Live Arts Bard Biennial at the Fisher Center at Bard. Where No Wall Remains: an international festival about borders included nine newly commissioned projects by artists from the Middle East and the Americas. In addition to their work with the new graduate program, they will also teach in the undergraduate college: El Khoury is joining the faculty of the Theatre & Performance Program; Abu-Rish is affiliated with the Human Rights Program.
The proposed M.A. program in Human Rights and The Arts links the study of advocacy, law, and politics to critical theoretical-historical reflection, and focuses on the power of aesthetic, performative, and curatorial forms in the fight for rights. Anchored in the intersection of art, research, activism and social change, it will offer students the opportunity to explore interdisciplinary training, creative knowledge production, and practice-based research. At its heart is a perspective that looks beyond the U.S.-based art and NGO industries to identify, assess, and engage with the ethical, intellectual, and political potential of this emerging hybrid form. Students in the program will pursue a core of interdisciplinary courses in human rights theory and practice, supplemented with electives across the arts and humanities, including, in particular, the study and practice of live arts and performance, and curatorial practices.
“The international and cross-disciplinary dimensions of this new program make it groundbreaking and timely,” said Gideon Lester, Artistic Director of the Fisher Center and Director of Bard’s Theater & Performance Program. “Students will work with artists, faculty, and curators across OSUN's international network and beyond. Artists and human rights experts will inform each other’s practices, offering a fully integrated pedagogy. At a time when the ideals of open society and liberal education are threatened, this program will offer unique and fertile opportunities to study and share best practices across the world.”
El Khoury is internationally recognized for her installations, performances, and video projects. A Soros Arts Fellow for 2019, El Khoury's work explores political histories and contemporary issues through richly-researched and aesthetically-precise events focused on audience interactivity and concerned with the ethical and political potential of such encounters. In as Far As My Fingertips Take Me, a one-on-one performance, a refugee artist painstakingly inscribes a drawing on the arm of a guest while narrating the story of his sisters' escape from Damascus. In Gardens Speak, an interactive sound installation, the audience is asked to dig in the dirt to exhume stories of the Syrian uprising. El Khoury holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London. She is affiliated with Forest Fringe in the United Kingdom and is the co-founder of the urban research and performance collective Dictaphone Group in Lebanon.
Abu-Rish was previously Assistant Professor of History and Founding Director of the Middle East and North Africa Studies Certificate Program at Ohio University. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles, and serves as Co-Editor of Arab Studies Journal. He has a highly successfully track-record of institution building, public scholarship initiatives, and graduate student training. He co-edited Jadaliyya, organized summer institutes for graduate students, and contributed to various research centers and academic associations. Abu-Rish has published widely on politics, economics, and popular mobilizations in Lebanon and Jordan, and is a co-editor, with Bassam Haddad and Rosie Bsheer, of The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of An Old Order? (2012). He is currently completing a book entitled The State of Lebanon: Popular Politics and the Institution Building in the Wake of Independence.
“Almost 20 years ago Bard was the first U.S. institution to offer a full, free-standing, interdisciplinary B.A. in Human Rights,” said Thomas Keenan, director of Bard's Human Rights Program. “Tania El Khoury and Ziad Abu-Rish will expand this to the graduate level and explore the forces that emerge at the intersection between human rights and the arts. The program will underscore the importance of the arts and humanities in confronting pressing social issues, and serve as an incubator of new ideas and strategies within the human rights movement at a time when it is widely understood to be under assault.”
The program is supported by the newly-founded Open Society University Network, a global project of Bard College, the Central European University, and the Open Society Foundations, with university and research partners stretching from Germany and Kyrgyzstan to Ghana and Colombia.
# # #7/8/20
Roger Berkowitz, professor of political studies and human rights and academic director of the Hannah Arendt Center, reflects on the progress that the Movement for Black Lives has made over the last five years. “We are witnessing the rise of a revolutionary movement of political civil disobedience with the power to reimagine the tragedy that is race in America,” writes Berkowitz. “By risking their lives — both in the face of police violence and the coronavirus — these civil disobedients are engaging in the kind of courageous political action that Hannah Arendt so valued. What is going on is neither protest nor riot: it is a mobilization of political action through civil disobedience, and it is unfolding on a scale not seen in my lifetime.”
With Covid-19 ravaging economies, Bard College professor Pavlina Tcherneva, and colleagues around the globe, have issued an urgent plea: we need to transform the way we work.
On May 16, more than 4,000 researchers across all five continents signed on to the op-ed “Let’s democratize and decommodify work,” which was published in 41 publications, in 27 languages, in 36 countries around the world. It is an urgent call to policymakers to rewrite the rules of our economic system in the midst of an unprecedented health, climate, and political crisis intensified by Covid-19, and is centered on these three principles: democratize (firms), decommodify (work), and remediate (policies) in order to respect planetary boundaries and make life sustainable for all.
This new initiative, known as Work: Democratize, Decommodify, Remediate, was launched by a core group of eight women, all leading scholars in their fields, including Bard College professor Pavlina Tcherneva; Julie Battilana, Harvard Business School; Helene Landemore, Yale University; Julia Cagé, Sciences Po Paris; Dominique Méda, Université Paris Dauphine; Isabelle Ferreras, University of Louvain; Lisa Herzog, University of Groningen; and Sara Lafuente Hernandez, European Trade Union Institute. A central tenet is the need for a job guarantee in line with Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
A job guarantee would not only offer each person access to work that allows them to live with dignity, it would also provide a crucial boost to our collective capability to meet the many pressing social and environmental challenges we currently face. Guaranteed employment would allow governments, working through local communities, to provide dignified work while contributing to the immense effort of fighting environmental collapse. Across the globe, as unemployment skyrockets, job guarantee programs can play a crucial role in assuring the social, economic, and environmental stability of our democratic societies.
“Around the world, you see various forms of large-scale employment programs for the unemployed, but a job guarantee is different,” says Professor Tcherneva. “It is a missing piece of the safety net.” Tcherneva, who studies macroeconomics and full employment, is a longtime advocate of a federal program that ensures a job for anyone who wants one. Her new book The Case for a Job Guarantee, forthcoming from Polity in June, provides a primer.
To learn more about the Democratize, Decommodify, Remediate initiative, visit democratizingwork.org.
Read the full op-ed in the Guardian.
Humans are not resources. Coronavirus shows why we must democratise work
Kevin Barbosa has won a Fulbright Award to Mexico City. The Class of 2018 alumnus was a member of the men’s swim team and speaker of the student government at Bard. He has been selected for a Binational Business Internship, a unique program supported by Fulbright that allows grantees to live and work full time in Mexico City. “I wanted to live in Latin America and use the knowledge I gained in banking and finance to help an organization that was specifically targeting economic issues common in Latin America, and the Binational Business Program in Mexico was the perfect solution,” Barbosa explains. The program is currently delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Barbosa will be interviewing with a group of financial technology companies in the fall. He is also studying for his law school exams.
Bard College seniors Hattie Wilder-Karlstrom ’20 and Sabrina Slipchecnko ’20, have been awarded prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowships, which provide for a year of travel and exploration outside the United States. Continuing its tradition of expanding the vision and developing the potential of remarkable young leaders, the Watson Foundation selected Wlider-Karlstrom and Slipchecnko as two of 47 students to receive this award for 2020-21. The Watson fellowship offers college graduates of unusual promise a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel—in international settings new to them—to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community. Each Watson Fellow receives a grant of $36,000 for 12 months of travel and independent study. Over the past several years, 21 Bard seniors have received Watson fellowships.
Hattie Wilder-Karlstrom ’20, from Amherst, Massachusetts, will explore the ways that structured play, including but not limited to soccer and music, functions as a form of humanitarian aid, especially in refugee communities, in Kenya, Greece Germany, Canada, Chile, and Colombia. A history major with a concentration in Latin American and Iberian Studies, Wilder-Karlstrom says, “In a world full of division, constructed and natural, it is easy to remain in our comfort zones, keeping the ‘us’ in, and the ‘others’ out. I believe that finding commonalities with strangers is one of the great beauties of life and that humanity has an amazing ability of cropping up everywhere, despite all odds. A border region is a place of mixture, of conflict, of transition, and as such is endlessly fascinating. Therefore, my project looks to understand the impact of borders, break down boundaries through structured play, and in a time of rising fascism and nationalism, begin to ask the question of what borderlessness and welcoming could mean for the world.”
Bard College Berlin senior Sabrina Slipchecnko ’20, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will spend the year in Austria, Greece, Ukraine, Argentina, and Turkey, where she will explore crossovers of queerness and Orthodoxy in Jewish social life, to connect history to the present, to rediscover mystic enchantment, and will make a series of animated movies from her investigations. “As a queer person, the idea of God has been a refuge in uncomfortable times. I want to know that queer people can have meaningful spiritual lives. I want to recognize us as a constant part of religious society, to undo the ingrained hatred and supposed impossibility of our existence. When I encounter the proof of our being, from the past to the present, I feel that we can claim a place in our spiritual communities again—because we’ve always been here,” says Slipchecnko.
A Watson Year provides fellows with an opportunity to test their aspirations and abilities through a personal project cultivated on an international scale. Watson Fellows have gone on to become leaders in their fields including CEOs of major corporations, college presidents, Emmy, Grammy and Oscar Award winners, Pulitzer Prize awardees, artists, diplomats, doctors, entrepreneurs, faculty, journalists, lawyers, politicians, researchers and inspiring influencers around the world. Following the year they join a community of peers who provide a lifetime of support and inspiration. Nearly 3000 Watson Fellows have been named since the inaugural class in 1969.
Robert Cioffi, Assistant Professor of Classical Studies, recently spoke at an online Open House for the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C., where he is currently a fellow. He led a presentation and discussion on the timely topic of ;“Disease and Social Order: The Plague Narratives of Thucydides and Lucretius,” which was live streamed on YouTube.
For the upcoming summer of 2020 (or 2021, depending on COVID-19), Bard College Classical Studies Major Em Setzer ’22 has been awarded a Digital Humanities Internship at the Center for Hellenic Studies, a research institute for Classics in Washington, D.C. As an intern, Em will reside in D.C. at the Center, and over the course of eight weeks, will work on the Free First Thousand Years of Greek project and on the Digital Corpus of Literary Papyri. Congratulations, Em!
Bard College and Foreign Policy Interrupted (FPI), in cooperation with the Open Society University Network (OSUN), announce the launch of the FPI-Bard Fellowship. The FPI-Bard Fellowship is for midcareer women in foreign policy who are eager to share their expertise and engage in policy discussions.
The fellowship is a six-week online workshop that covers such topics as op-ed writing, media training, editorial story pitching, and public speaking. It is intended for women over 30 in the middle of their careers in international relations, finance and investing, technology, foreign policy, or national security. There are five slots for the FPI-Bard Fellowship, which will take applications through Friday, April 3. Interviews will be conducted mid-April. Final decisions will be made by May 1.
FPI started the fellowship in 2014 and has trained over 40 women, across a wide range of areas, including cybersecurity, Asian defense, conflict resolution, science, and technology. Previous FPI Fellows have been published in the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, the New Republic, and the New York Times.
“I’m thrilled to partner with Bard College and the OSUN network on an expanded version of the fellowship program,” said FPI cofounder and CEO Elmira Bayrasli. “Bard and OSUN’s global reach and focus on building community and creating value makes it the right partner.” Bayrasli was named director of the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program (BGIA) in January.
“This is a fellowship for women around the world, from different backgrounds and disciplines. Bard and OSUN provide wonderful networks to help FPI reach more talented women whose voices and expertise can only add value to today’s pressing challenges,” said Jonathan Becker, executive vice president of Bard College and vice chancellor of OSUN.
For information about applying for an FPI-Bard Fellowship, write to email@example.com.
On Friday, February 28, the Bard Debate Union together with the Center for Civic Engagement hosted the Ninth Annual Middle and High School Debate Tournament at Bard. The tournament was the largest it has ever been, welcoming over 150 students, teachers, and parents from schools in Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Poughkeepsie, Arlington, Cold Spring, Garrison, and Dover.
The three topics up for debate, all drawn from this year's World Universities Debating Championship, were: abolishing the Olympic Games, whether news platforms should be required to uphold BBC–style impartiality, and the pros and cons of social credit systems. The students had been researching and preparing for their debates for nearly two months. At Bard, each of the three debates were judged by panels of Bard Debate Union members and teachers and coaches from the participating schools. At the end of the day, top speakers and teams were announced, with the winning high school team from Poughkeepsie High School and the winning middle school team from the Manitou School.
"As always," says Co-Director of the Bard Debate Union Ruth Zisman, "the middle and high school tournament is our favorite day of the year. Not only does it give us all a chance to remember the excitement and power of debate by watching people do it for the first time, but it gives us an opportunity to connect with debaters and educators from all over the Hudson Valley for an exciting day of open discourse and conversation."
Since 2012, when the tournament first took place, the Bard Debate Union has worked tirelessly to help foster the development and growth of debate programs all over the world, often in unlikely places: in 10 local school districts, three New York State Prisons, seven Bard Early Colleges and Early College Centers, and five international partner institutions from Kyrgyzstan to Russia to Palestine. For the Bard Debate Union, debate is about much more than just competition; it is about opening space for important and difficult conversations, connecting with the community both locally and globally, and helping to empower the young leaders we need in the 21st century.
The Middle and High School Debate Tournament was only the beginning of a big weekend for the Bard Debate Union. Bard students went on to win the Empire Debates at the King's College in New York City the next day, Saturday, February 29. Read that story here.
Upcoming events for the Bard Debate Union include:
Mar 15–20: Fourth Bard Network Debate Conference at Central European University (Budapest, Hungary)
Mar 27–29: North American Women and Gender Minorities Debating Championship (Rochester, New York)
Apr 18–20: US Universities Debating Championship (Chicago, Illinois)
May 1: Bard Prison Initiative Public-Style Debate (Eastern New York Correctional Facility)
May 9: Bard Early College Debate Tournament (Bard High School Early College Newark)
The Bard Debate Union won the 9th Annual Empire Debates at the King's College in New York City on Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1. The tournament—an annual favorite for the Bard Debate Union—welcomes college and university debate teams from throughout the United States. All participants debated in five preliminary debates on topics ranging from the reunification of Northern Ireland to the use of state travel bans to the celebritization of political figures. Top placing teams advanced to a semifinal and then final round.
After a very close final round against teams from McGill, Morehouse, and Vanderbilt, Bard Debate Union members Gwen Stearns '21 and Pascal O'Neill '23 were named champions of the tournament. Hadley Parum '21 and Elaina Taylor '20 were semifinalists. The team also won a number of speaker and judge awards: Gwen Stearns '21 was Fourth Open Speaker, Matt Caito '20 placed 10th Open Speaker, Pascal O'Neill '23 was named Third Novice Speaker, Dalia Alayassa (PIE student from Al-Quds Bard, currently studying at BGIA) was Second ESL Speaker, and Rayo Verweij '20 advanced as a judge. An outstanding showing by the entire team.
The Debate Union's victory was the second act in a big weekend for the team. The day before, they had hosted the largest-yet Middle and High School Debate Tournament on the Bard campus. Read that story here.
In a live recording at the Brooklyn Public Library, Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz and author Anand Giridharadas discuss how the Democratic Party can win over voters in the 2020 election, moderated by Elmira Bayrasli, Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program director.
Bard College student Sonita Alizada addressed the United Nations on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. Sonita is a rapper and a human rights activist from Afghanistan. She spoke movingly about how she was sold into child marriage twice, escaped, and went on to become an advocate for education for girls worldwide.
Sonita's family left Afghanistan for Iran when she was a girl, and lived in Iran for several years as undocumented refugees. During this time, Sonita began to make music to express her frustration and fear as her family began to discuss selling her as a child bride. "I was breaking the law in Iran at that time. And still now women are not allowed to sing or rap solo," she explains. "Honestly, back then I knew the law, but I felt like my dreams were bigger than the fears that I had from police."
She met the Iranian filmmaker Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, who helped Sonita make a music video for her song "Brides for Sale," which went viral and called attention to Sonita and the plight of many Afghan girls. Maghami made a documentary about Sonita's struggle to escape child marriage, Sonita, which was released by New Wave Films in 2016. Sonita won the World Documentary Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the IDFA Amsterdam Film Festival. With support from Maghami, the True Life Fund, and the Strongheart Group, Sonita was able to move to the United States, complete her secondary education, and continue to college.
Sonita was taking English language classes at American University in Washington, D.C. when a friend told her about Bard. "I felt like this would be the best place for me, because I like a close connection with my professors. So when I came here I realized that professors here, they were supportive, students were diverse, and it’s been—I really like it here and am happy with the decision that I made because they're not only supporting my education; they also support me with my advocacy work, which is very important."
Sonita is taking classes in human rights and international studies at Bard. "I'm taking First-Year Seminar, of course. I loved Mary Shelley's Frankenstein—not so much Darwin!" She enjoys working with other Bard students who are English language learners. Denise Minin, the English language program coordinator at the Learning Commons, has become a friend and an advocate to Sonita. She continues to write music and perform, regularly booking the recording studios on campus so she can work on her first album.
Sometimes, her music and her advocacy work have her studying on the train or in a hotel before an event. "I usually have some time before the performance or before the speech, so I do my homework in between," she explains.
These days, Sonita misses her family. "I didn’t tell my family when I came to the U.S. They wouldn’t have let me come here, so I basically ran away." Though her parents were initially angry, seeing Sonita's success with music and school has changed their way of thinking. "Right now they are my biggest fans," she says. Her sister rejected a marriage prospect, and their parents didn't force her. The transformation Sonita has seen in her own family gives her hope.
They understand that a girl can actually support herself. My mother, she thought I had no chance of saving myself, because they always think that we have to marry a guy, and only the guy can take care of us. So now it’s proven to her that girls are strong, they can make their own decisions, they can support themselves, they can also support others. It took a long time. It’s not that easy. But I’m just saying that change is possible even in families, Afghan families that are very conservative. They just follow old traditions. But for my mother to change that much, it was very shocking for me. I felt like if I can change my mom, if I can change my family, I can change other families, too, to think about their girls, to see that there are other possibilities for their girls other than just being mothers while they are children.Sonita has been nominated for a Women Building Peace Award, as presented by the United States Institute of Peace. The award honors a woman peacebuilder whose substantial and practical contribution to peace is an inspiration and guiding light for future women peacebuilders. Sonita will find out the results over the summer.
Sonita has a busy semester shaping up. In addition to coursework and her album, she's started to write a book about her life. She's looking forward to performing at a Human Rights Watch event in San Francisco next month. She will also likely be speaking at the UN again in March, on behalf of the organization Girls Not Brides.
She continues to push to address the root causes of child marriage—poverty and lack of education—and to advocate for local people to take the lead in reform in their own countries. "The problem with some organizations is that they come from the U.S., they come from other countries, to a country like Afghanistan, but they don't really understand the root of this problem," she observes. "You can't just fight with your ideology against their culture. So they need to ask leaders from their communities to help them with what changes they want to bring." Organizations need to not only support the girls, she explains, but also educate the parents.
Sonita finds that her roles as a college student and public figure exist in harmony. "There are so many courses here that talk about human rights," she observes. "The students here are very engaged with human rights and helping the environment—with everything. My friends, they're very supportive of girls’ education. So whatever I do most of the time they’re like, 'This is kind of what we do.' They are doing projects, too. We're doing the same kind of work, I just do it somewhere else." She describes her friends working on civic engagement projects and volunteering, then laughs, "I find them more active than me sometimes."
Brothers at Bard cofounders and Class of 2017 alumni Harry Johnson and Dariel Vasquez have been named among the 40 Under 40 Movers and Shakers by the Dutchess County Chamber of Commerce. The awards are given annually to 40 individuals under the age of 40 who have shown a strong commitment to the Hudson Valley. The awards ceremony, which is open to the public, is a celebration of these individuals and their accomplishments. It will take place on Thursday, April 2, at 5:00 at the Changepoint Theater in Poughkeepsie. Johnson and Vasquez, both sociology majors, founded Brothers at Bard as students, and the initiative has grown into a full-fledged program of Bard College. Brothers at Bard provides support for young men of color on campus and Bard alumni of color, and coordinates a successful mentoring program for high school students in Kingston and throughout New York City. Brothers at Bard is a leader in the national conversation about tapping into the potential of young men of color, recognizing their leadership, and supporting them as they pursue higher education and career success.
Using Orwell’s Down and Out to Understand and Write Histories of Homelessness Then and NowBard College presents its annual Eugene Meyer Lecture in British History and Literature, with Nick Crowson, Chair in Contemporary British History at the University of Birmingham. The lecture takes place in the Lásló Z. Bitó ’60 Auditorium (Room 103) of the Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Center for Science and Computation on Tuesday, February 18, at 4:45 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
What does George Orwell's classic account of homeless living in London during the interwar years offer the historian? Where should we locate this semi-fictionalised account in the tradition of the incognito social investigator? Professor Crowson's lecture will address these questions and ask how Orwell helps us understand the physical manifestations of homelessness in modern Britain. In doing so, he shows how historians can play a crucial role in facilitating better, historically-informed public discourse around homelessness.
Nick Crowson holds the Chair in Contemporary British History at the University of Birmingham. The author and editor of many books, including Facing Fascism: The Conservative Party and the European Dictators 1935–40; Britain and Europe: A Political History since 1918; and A Historical Guide to NGOs in Britain: Charities, Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector since 1945, he is writing a new history of homelessness in modern Britain seeking to integrate the lived experience with the policy responses. His research is widely used by a range of policy and cultural organisations, including Crisis, Shelter, the Museum of Homelessness and the Cardboard Citizens Theatre Company.
This annual lecture forms part of the endowment of the Chair in British History and Literature that was established in 2010 to commemorate Eugene Meyer (1875–1959)—the owner and publisher of the Washington Post, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and first President of the World Bank. The endowment has given Bard the opportunity to extend its commitment to teaching and research in modern British studies. Professor Richard Aldous holds the Eugene Meyer Chair.
Photo courtesy Peter Berthoud.
Bard Archaeologist in Residence Christophe Lindner and anthropology major Ethan Dickerman ’20 copresented a poster exhibit, “Cosmic Context, Emancipated Persons, Germantown Parsonage,” at the annual international conference of the Society for Historical Archaeology in Boston this January. The poster details the hearth at the Maple Avenue Parsonage, or minister’s residence, in Germantown, New York, a site that Bard Archaeology has been excavating since 2009. The hearth dates from 1767–1911, an era in which African Americans first lived in the residence as slaves, next in 1830 as free people with the family of the minister’s physician nephew, and then, in 1852, as owners of the property, where they lived with their relatives until 1911. The excavation revealed a West African cosmography diagram etched in the wooden frame of the cellar fireplace as well as objects concealed beneath the hearthstones, emplaced during rituals of healing and well-being performed on behalf of the community.
Dickerman, who coauthored the poster, recently completed his Senior Project on the Parsonage site and its surrounding communities, from its immediate neighborhood to the larger Mid-Hudson region. Through the Bard Archaeology Field School, a hands-on for-credit summer learning program that he directs, Lindner has worked with Bard undergraduates, local high school students, and colleagues in the community to excavate the site and research the descendants of the 1710 Palatine migration and their later neighbors, including free African Americans. The Palatines in 1710 constituted the largest single mass migration into the colony of New York and established, 10 miles north of Bard, the first substantial German-speaking settlement in the New World.
Lindner will report on this background research and its symbolic material aspects at the Bard Graduate Center symposium “Revealing Communities: The Archaeology of Free African Americans in the 19th Century.” Fourteen speakers will discuss how they have approached researching these communities, many of which were bulwarks in the abolition and early civil rights movements, and places where residents formed positive social connections both between and across racial lines. Yet these important communities have been largely excluded from mainstream American history.
Free and open to the public, the symposium will be held at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City on February 7. For more information or to register, click below.
Emma Briant, visiting research associate in human rights at Bard, comments that what has been revealed so far in the new Cambridge Analytica leak is “the tip of the iceberg.... The documents reveal a much clearer idea of what actually happened in the 2016 US presidential election, which has a huge bearing on what will happen in 2020. It’s the same people involved who we know are building on these same techniques,” she said. “There’s evidence of really quite disturbing experiments on American voters, manipulating them with fear-based messaging, targeting the most vulnerable, that seems to be continuing. This is an entire global industry that’s out of control.”
The leak began on New Year’s Day, and more than 100,000 documents are set to be released in the coming months, revealing the defunct company’s work in 68 countries. Emma Briant specializes in the topics of propaganda and political communication, and is interested in changing technologies and their implications for democracy, international security, migration, inequality, and human rights. She is currently writing a book on Cambridge Analytica, Propaganda Machine: The Hidden Story of Cambridge Analytica and the Digital Influence Industry. This semester, Dr. Briant is teaching Migration and Media and Propaganda: Dark Arts at Bard College.
Bard alumna Eva Quinones ’17 has been named an Andrew Goodman Puffin Democracy Fellow. This multiyear fellowship will help Eva continue her work to increase voting access for young people. Eva majored in Economics and Global and International Studies at Bard, where she was an Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Ambassador and Team Leader and worked with Election@Bard to combat student disenfranchisement. Eva was also a member of the Bard Debate Union and the Student Government during her time on campus. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Political Science at Yale University, where she studies the political economy of voting behavior and democratic backslides. She also holds an MA from Yale.
On November 20 at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. House Committee on the Budget will hear testimony about the growing debate on the costs and consequences of debt, the different perspectives that are driving this important conversation, and the implications of recent economic developments for how we think about our fiscal challenges. Among the expert witnesses is L. Randall Wray, professor of economics and senior scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. The hearing will stream on the Committee’s website and Professor Wray's remarks will be available on the Levy Economics Institute website.
Thomas Chatterton Williams has been teaching the Bard College course Retiring from Race this semester, and he spoke, alongside some of his students, at the Hannah Arendt Center fall conference last month.
From the languages we speak to politics, philosophy, art, and architecture, the ancient Greeks and Romans have profoundly shaped the history of ideas. By engaging with their legacy, we can develop critical tools for considering our own ideas and beliefs in a fresh light. Studying the ancient past, then, is a vital part of a liberal arts education, as we prepare students to engage critically, imaginatively, and empathetically with the contemporary world around us. To encourage and support students pursuing this important course of study, Bard College has established a new scholarship in Classical Studies. Generous donor support for this scholarship reaffirms that classical studies are more important today than ever.
The Classical Studies Scholarship recognizes academically outstanding students committed to classical studies. Scholarships cover up to full tuition for four years and are awarded based on need. Scholarship students must maintain a 3.3 grade point average or higher while earning at least 32 credits per year. Recipients are also eligible for a $1,500 stipend for classics-related summer programs (e.g. archaeological excavations, American School at Athens/Rome, language study) following their sophomore or junior year. Transfer students are also eligible for Classical Studies Scholarship funding.
Desirable experiences for selection as a Classical Studies Scholar include a proven interest in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds and their legacies; an interest in, and potential for, learning Greek and Latin; strong performance in high school classes related to English and world literature, languages, history, and/or other related humanities subjects. For more information or to apply, go to connect.bard.edu/register/classics_scholar.
“We in the Classical Studies Program are thrilled about this new initiative. These need-based financial aid scholarships, which include support for summer opportunities such as travel abroad and intensive language study, allow Bard College to make a unique contribution to ongoing efforts to widen access and increase equity in the field of Classics. We are excited to welcome the first scholars to Bard in Fall 2020, where they will join our thriving program and work with our award-winning faculty to pursue their passion for the ancient world,” says Associate Professor of Classical Studies Lauren Curtis.
The Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard) and the Human Rights Project announced today that Turkish sociologist, activist, and architectural theorist Pelin Tan has been selected as the sixth recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism. Her appointment coincides with the generous renewal by the Keith Haring Foundation of the five year-grant supporting the Fellowship, an annual award for a scholar, activist, or artist to teach and conduct research at CCS Bard and the Human Rights Project at Bard College. Tan’s appointment marks the beginning of the Fellowship’s second phase, and reaffirms the shared commitment of the College and the Foundation both to exploring the interaction between political engagement and artistic practices and to bringing leading practitioners from around the world into Bard's classrooms.
“The Keith Haring Fellowship brings some of today's most incisive and engaged voices to Bard. This innovative, cross-disciplinary, fellowship provides for research, teaching and production of new ideas among the undergraduate and graduate programs,” said Tom Eccles, Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.
Pelin Tan's current research concerns political movements that focus on climate justice, landscape, agriculture, and indigeneity, and particularly activist projects that put interactions with the non-human world at the forefront of their practice. She asks about how our concepts of justice and rights can be extended to landscape and territory, and about the role that critical artistic and architectural interventions can play in making these claims. She also continues to explore, and experiment with, alternative modes of pedagogy, new modes of teaching that work from the bottom up to challenge and transform the institutions of art and design education.
Her practice combines scholarship, curating, and artistic and architectural creation. She was Associate Professor and Vice-Dean of the Architecture Faculty at Mardin Artuklu University in Turkey from 2013-2017, and has held visiting fellowship and research positions around the world, from Hong Kong to Cyprus. Most recently she curated the Gardentopia: Cosmos of Ecologies project, in Matera, Italy, a program of European Cultural Capital 2019.
"Throughout her career, the work that Pelin Tan calls 'action research' has demonstrated that the borders between scholarship, activism, and creation can and must be transgressed if we want to pursue justice in this world. In this way, Pelin is an artist very much in the spirit of Keith Haring," said Thomas Keenan, director of Bard's Human Rights Project.
Tan will take up her one-year appointment in September 2019, and spend the spring semester of 2020 teaching at the College. She succeeds the artist and curator Tiona Nekkia McClodden, curator Galit Eilat, architects Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal, the artist and curator Shuddhabrata Sengupta, and the first recipient, artist Jeanne van Heeswijk.
On Monday, October 7, four cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point joined four members of the Bard Debate Union for a public debate on whether the U.S. prison system should be abolished or reformed. The debate served as an opening event for the annual Hannah Arendt Center Conference, "Racism and Antisemitism," which takes place Thursday and Friday, October 10–11. West Point argued in favor of prison reform, while the Bard team argued in favor of abolishing prisons, drawing upon key arguments about institutionalized racism and criminal justice from Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colourblindness.
The debate was moderated by Dyjuan Tatro '18, a Bard alumnus who began his college career with the Bard Prison Initiative while incarcerated, completed his degree at Bard College in Annandale, and now serves as BPI's government affairs and advancement officer. Dyjuan was also a member of the famous BPI Debate Union team that defeated Harvard in 2015 and is featured in the upcoming PBS documentary College Behind Bars, directed by Lynn Novick and executive produced by Ken Burns. This four-part series follows a dedicated group of BPI students as they pursue their educations while incarcerated. The film is currently in previews and will air and stream on PBS on November 25 and 26.
James Beard Award–winning Chef Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge reservation and founder of the company The Sioux Chef, is committed to revitalizing Native American cuisine. Chef Sean comes to the Fisher Center to discuss The (R)evolution of Indigenous Food Systems of North America, Tuesday, October 29, in the LUMA Theater at 5 p.m. The talk will be followed by a question and answer period and book signing. Admission is free; to reserve tickets and for additional information visit fishercenter.bard.edu or call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900.
Through his research Chef Sean has uncovered and mapped out the foundations of the indigenous food systems through an indigenous perspective. His book, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, earned a 2018 James Beard Award and was a top 10 cookbook of 2017. He has become renowned nationally and internationally in the culinary movement of indigenous foods and is leading a movement to completely redefine North American cuisine.
Copies of The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen will be available for purchase in the lobby of LUMA Theater courtesy of Oblong Books. In addition, Ken Greene from Seedshed will be showcasing Haudenosaunee crops grown in the Native American Seed Sanctuary, a collaborative initiative with the St. Regis Mohawk tribe Seedshed and The Hudson Valley Farm Hub.
This event is sponsored by Bard College’s Center for the Study of Land, Air and Water, American Studies, Environmental and Urban Studies, Bard Farm, Bard Office of Sustainability, Experimental Humanities, The Bard Center for Civic Engagement, Trustee Leader Scholar Program, and Oblong Books. The Fisher Center’s presentation of the event is in tandem with the upcoming Live Arts Bard Biennial, Where No Wall Remains: An International Festival About Borders, November 21–24, 2019.
Chef Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, born in Pine Ridge, SD, has been cooking across the US and Mexico over the past 30 years, and has become renowned nationally and internationally in the culinary movement of indigenous foods. Chef Sean has studied extensively to determine the foundations of Native American indigenous foods systems to bring back a sense of Native American cuisine to today’s world. In 2014, he opened the business titled The Sioux Chef as a caterer and food educator in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. He and his business partner Dana Thompson also designed and opened the Tatanka Truck, which featured pre-contact foods of the Dakota and Minnesota territories.
In October 2017, Sean was able to perform the first decolonized dinner at the James Beard House in Manhattan along with his team. His first book, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen was awarded the James Beard medal for Best American Cookbook for 2018 and was chosen as one of the top ten cookbooks of 2017 by the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the Smithsonian Magazine. This year, Chef Sean was selected as a Bush Fellow, as well as receiving the 2019 Leadership Award by the James Beard Foundation. The Sioux Chef team of twelve people continues with their mission to help educate and make indigenous foods more accessible to as many communities as possible through the recently founded nonprofit North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS). Learn more: natifs.org.
The Fisher Center develops, produces, and presents performing arts across disciplines through new productions and context-rich programs that challenge and inspire. At once a premier professional performing arts center and a hub for research and education, the Fisher Center supports artists, students, and audiences in the development and examination of artistic ideas and perspectives from the past, present, and future. The organization’s home is the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and located on the campus of Bard College in New York’s Hudson Valley. The Fisher Center offers outstanding programs to many communities, including the students and faculty of Bard, and audiences in the Hudson Valley, New York City, across the country and around the world. The Fisher Center illustrates Bard’s commitment to the performing arts as a cultural and educational necessity. Building on a 150-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders.
When Hannah Arendt came to the United States as a stateless refugee, she began writing for small Jewish journals and reflected upon the similarities and differences between racism in American and antisemitism in Europe. Arendt argued that racism is an ideology like antisemitism, thereby offering a pseudo-scientific justification for violence that elevates one group at the expense of another. From The Origins of Totalitarianism to The Crises in Little Rock, Arendt’s thinking on race is controversial and has often led many to quickly dismiss her thoughts on race and antisemitism entirely. The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College’s 12th annual conference, “Racism and Antisemitism,” gathers a diverse group of thinkers to explore these oft shunned concepts in Arendt’s work in the context of our contemporary political moment, which is marked by antisemitic and racist violence.
The two-day conference takes place on Thursday, October 10 and Friday, October 11 in Olin Hall, on Bard’s Annandale-on-Hudson campus. For registration information, please visit hac.bard.edu/conference2019. Speakers will discuss questions such as: What is racism? Is antisemitism a form of racism? What does anti-racism mean today? Is it antisemitic to criticize the state of Israel? Is equality possible in a world where prejudice exists? How can we respond to racist fantasies?
Featured speakers include:
Kenyon Victor Adams, multidisciplinary artist and curator; Peter Baehr, research professor in social theory, Lingnan University, Hong Kong; Étienne Balibar, emeritus professor of philosophy, University of Paris-Nanterre, and anniversary chair of contemporary European philosophy at Kingston University, London; Aliza Becker, associate fellow, Hannah Arendt Center; Kathryn Sophia Belle, associate professor of philosophy, Pennsylvania State University, and author, Hannah Arendt and the Negro Question; Roger Berkowitz, academic director, Hannah Arendt Center; Robert Boyers, editor, Salmagundi, director, New York State Summer Writers Institute, and professor of English, Skidmore College; Ian Buruma, Paul W. Williams Professor of Human Rights and Journalism, Bard College; Joy Connolly, president, American Council of Learned Societies; Deirdre d’Albertis, dean of Bard College; Lewis R. Gordon, professor of philosophy, University of Connecticut-Storrs; Nacira Guénif-Souilamas, professor of sociology and anthropology, University Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis; Eric Kaufmann, professor and assistant dean of politics, Birkbeck, University of London; Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning historian, speaker, and author of Stamped From The Beginning; Jennifer Kidwell, performing artist and cocreator of the Obie Award-winning play Underground Railroad Game; Rev. Jacqui Lewis, public theologian and senior minister, Middle Collegiate Church in Manhattan; John McWhorter, associate professor of English and comparative literature, Columbia University; Marwan Mohammed, sociologist, research fellow, Centre Maurice Halbwachs in Paris, and visiting scholar, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY); Shany Mor, associate fellow, Hannah Arendt Center, and research fellow, Chaikin Center, Haifa University; Nikita Nelin, writer and winner of 2019 Dogwood Literary Prize; Emilio Rojas, multidisciplinary artist; Peter Rosenblum, professor of international law and human rights, Bard College; Batya Ungar Sargon, journalist and opinion editor, The Forward; Amy Schiller, associate fellow, Hannah Arendt Center; Adam Shatz, contributing editor, London Review of Books, and contributor, to New York Times Magazine, New York Review of Books, New Yorker, and other publications; Scott R. Sheppard, OBIE Award-winning theater artist, codirector, Lightning Rod Special, and cocreator of the Obie Award-winning play Underground Railroad Game; Allison Stanger, Russell Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics at Middlebury College, technology and human values senior fellow at Harvard University’s Edmund J. Safra Center for Ethics, New America Cybersecurity fellow, and external professor, Santa Fe Institute; Kenneth S. Stern, director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, a program of Bard’s Human Rights Project; Mebrak Tareke, writer and a content strategy advisor; Eric K. Ward, executive director, Western States Center; Marc Weitzmann, journalist and author of 12 books, including Hate (2019), which explores the rise of antisemitism in French society; Thomas Chatterton Williams, author, Losing My Cool, and contributing writer, New York Times Magazine; Ruth Wisse, former Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and professor of comparative literature, Harvard University, and distinguished senior fellow, Tikvah Fund.
Arendt Center conferences are attended by nearly a thousand people and reach an international audience via live webcast. Past speakers have included maverick inventor Ray Kurzweil; whistleblower Edward Snowden; irreverent journalist Christopher Hitchens; businessman Hunter Lewis; authors Teju Cole, Zadie Smith, Masha Gessen, and Claudia Rankine; Wall Street Journal columnist Walter Russell Mead; and political activist and presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Previous conferences have explored citizenship and disobedience, crises of democracy, the intellectual roots of the economic crisis, the future of humanity in an age increasingly dominated by technology, the crisis in American education, and American exceptionalism. The Arendt Center’s 13th annual conference, “Revitalizing Democracy: from Sortition to Federalism,” will take place October 15–16, 2020.
For a full conference schedule and bios of featured speakers, please visit hac.bard.edu/conference2019. For more information or answers to questions about the conference, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The halls and classrooms of Olin were bustling last weekend as the Bard Debate Union hosted the Bard IV Debate Tournament. The tournament welcomed over 200 visitors to campus from regional, national, and international debating programs. Among the participating institutions were Cornell, Colgate, Vassar, Middlebury, University of Vermont, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, as well as Bard Network institutions Al-Quds Bard (Abu-Dis, East Jerusalem), Smolny College (St. Petersburg, Russia), and the Bard High School Early Colleges in Queens and Cleveland. Students from the fledgling debate program at Bard College at Simon's Rock also joined as observers on Saturday.
All participants in the tournament competed in five debates on topics ranging from universal basic income to "cancel culture" to Puerto Rican statehood. Top scoring teams then debated in quarter-final, semi-final, and final rounds. Hobart and William Smith Colleges won the final round, making them the tournament champion. Bard High School Early College Queens won the novice final round, making them the novice champions.
Bard Debate Union codirectors Ruth Zisman and David Register ran the tournament, together with 20 members of the Bard Debate Union and alumni/ae Eva-Marie Quinones '17 and Clarence Brontë '18. "It was wonderful to see members of the Bard Debate Network from near and far join together in the spirit of competition and collaboration for an exciting weekend of debating," said Ruth Zisman. "We are so proud of our students and the debate leaders throughout the Bard Network for all of the work they put into this event. It is a testament to the value and importance of public discourse and exchange today."
Upcoming Bard Debate Union events include: the Annual Hannah Arendt Center Conference Public Debate on October 7 (topic: U.S. Prison System: Abolish or Reform) and the Annual Family Weekend Faculty-Student Roundtable on October 26 (topic: Trump and American Foreign Policy). Visit the Bard Debate Union website for a complete list of events.
The Greater Hudson Heritage Network (GHHN) has announced Gilsonfest, a project of Bard College and Historic Red Hook, among the winners of its 2019 Awards for Excellence. The awards recognize and commend exceptional efforts among Hudson Valley heritage organizations. Awards are made to projects that exemplify creativity and professional vision resulting in a contribution to the preservation and interpretation of the historic scene, material culture, and diversity of the region. Gilsonfest is one of seven projects receiving awards this year.
Gilsonfest is a Bard College–led collaboration including Historic Red Hook, the Dutchess County Historical Society, and the Red Hook Quilters, funded by the Lumina Foundation, focusing on the life of Alexander Gilson (ca. 1824–1889). Gilson was an African American who labored for 50 years at Montgomery Place, an estate that utilized slave labor, eventually becoming the head gardener. Gilsonfest featured lectures, exhibitions at the Historic Red Hook Annex and Bard’s Montgomery Place Campus, new signage, a commissioned quilt, an artistic digital display, and a brochure. Bard students in Professor Myra Young Armstead’s spring 2019 course The Window at Montgomery Place, an Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences offering, conducted historical research and assisted in developing the exhibition in partnership with local historians and Bard staff. Gilsonfest focused on and interpreted the life of Gilson, which allowed the project to illuminate the contributions of African Americans in 19th-century New York and the Hudson Valley, including the experiences of slaves, indentured servants, and free-born blacks.
The awards will be presented at GHHN’s Experimenting With History Annual Conference on Tuesday, September 24, at the Bear Mountain Inn and Conference Center, in Bear Mountain, N.Y. Awardees will also be featured in a poster session at the conference.
The Bard Archaeology Field School has just wrapped four weeks of intensive archeological study at historic sites in Germantown, New York, near the Bard campus. Undergraduates, high school students, and community members are eligible to participate in this monthlong summer learning program for college credit. Students worked with anthropology professor Christopher Lindner to excavate sites related to the Palatine settlers of 1710, their descendants, and neighbors, including the Mohican people and, by the early 1800s, African Americans.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation, Bremen, Germany, has awarded its Hannah Arendt Award for Political Thought to Roger Berkowitz, founder and academic director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College. The annual award was created to honor individuals who identify critical and unseen aspects of current political events and who are not afraid to enter the public realm by presenting their opinion in controversial political discussions. The Hannah Arendt Award is a public prize, and therefore not based solely on academic achievement. Funded by both the state government of Bremen and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the prize is endowed with 10,000 Euros and is awarded by an international jury. Berkowitz shares the 2019 award with fellow recipient Jerome Kohn, trustee of the Hannah Arendt Bluecher Literary Trust and editor of many volumes of Arendt's posthumous work.
The jury praised Berkowitz’s merits as a constitutional theorist and for his work as director of the Arendt Center, a place where “students from all over the world are encouraged to learn to politically think and to study the writings of a political philosopher who never respected the restraints of philosophical thinking.”
The Heinrich Böll Foundation is a catalyst for green visions and projects, a think tank for policy reform, and an international network. We work with more than 100 project partners in over 60 countries and currently maintain 32 international offices. For more information, visit boell.de/en.
Roger Berkowitz is the founder and academic director of the Hannah Arendt Center and professor of political studies, philosophy, and human rights at Bard College. Berkowitz writes and speaks about how justice is made present in the world. He is author of The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition, co-editor of Artifacts of Thinking: Reading Hannah Arendt's Denktagebuch (2017), Thinking in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics (2010), The Intellectual Origins of the Global Financial Crisis (2012), and editor of the annual journal HA: The Journal of the Hannah Arendt Center. His essay “Reconciling Oneself to the Impossibility of Reconciliation: Judgment and Worldliness in Hannah Arendt's Politics,” has helped bring attention to the centrality of reconciliation in Hannah Arendt's work. The Arendt Center organizes an annual conference every October. Professor Berkowitz edits the Hannah Arendt Center's weekly newsletter, Amor Mundi. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Bookforum, Chronicle of Higher Education, Paris Review Online, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, The American Interest, and many other publications.
For more information on Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College, visit hac.bard.edu.
Jonathan Brent, Bard faculty member and executive director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, received the Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania from H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania. The honor recognizes Brent’s work in promoting cooperation between Lithuania and YIVO and for the preservation of the prewar Jewish archives of Lithuania.
Americans in the 19th century wouldn’t have minded the partisanship or military parades, but would have balked at glorifying the commander in chief, writes Assistant Professor of Political Studies Simon Gilhooley.
Richard Davis—author of The Bhagavad Gita: A Biography—discusses the enduring appeal of this 2,000-year-old Indian text, which has attracted some surprising followers.
On Saturday, June 22, The Andrew Goodman Foundation awarded five young campus leaders from around the country for their dedication to ensuring their fellow college students have access to polling places and voter registration services. Bard College student Ava Mazzye ’20 was recognized for her work as part of a team in the fall 2018 semester that registered over 400 students to vote, hosted 26 events, and engaged over 550 people on Election Day with shuttles, educational materials, and a results return watch party. Mazzye also helped to inform her community around polling place accessibility issues, continued dialogues about a polling place relocation effort, and advocated in the community on behalf of legislation that aims to require polling places on campus in New York.
The Hidden Heroes Award honors The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s outstanding Vote Everywhere Ambassadors and Puffin Democracy Fellows for demonstrating a commitment to continuing Andrew Goodman’s legacy of expanding civic engagement and defending democracy in their communities. More than 100 of these civic leaders from around the country were considered for the award. Vote Everywhere Ambassadors are college students from schools around the country who lead voter campus registration drives, Get Out the Vote efforts, and remove the barriers that student voters face. The Puffin Democracy Fellows, the Foundation’s newest leadership program, work on innovative and impactful projects to expand voting rights and social justice in their local communities and nationally.
“This year’s Hidden Heroes award ceremony comes at an important time in our country’s history as more states push to restrict voter registration efforts. These extraordinary young leaders, along with all of our Vote Everywhere Ambassadors and Puffin Democracy Fellows, are standing at the front lines of these battles,” says Sylvia Golbin-Goodman, the Executive Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “We are in awe of their dedication and fearlessness in the face of these efforts and we couldn’t be more honored to recognize these outstanding young people.”
The awards ceremony took place during the Foundation’s fifth annual National Civic Leadership Training Summit where students from 59 campuses around the country meet to train and prepare Vote Everywhere Ambassadors for the upcoming school year. The event featured workshops and lectures with staff, alumni, and expert speakers. The Summit also commemorated the 55th anniversary of Andrew Goodman’s murder by the KKK in Mississippi while registering African Americans to vote.
Ava Mazzye ’20 is a BA candidate at Bard College where she studies Political Studies. She currently serves as a member of the Fiscal Committee in student government and as a Lead Peer Counselor.
In June 2019, Professor Lauren Curtis traveled to Fribourg, Switzerland, to participate in the conference, The Dance of Priests, Matronae, and Philosophers: Aspects of Dance Culture in Rome and the Roman Empire. She presented her new research about the relationship between dance and politics in ancient Rome, “Roman Rhythms: Music, Dance, and Imperial Ethics,” and learned about new approaches in ancient dance studies from specialists from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Students from 15 countries met at Blithewood June 16–22 for the 10th Annual Hyman P. Minsky Summer Seminar. Graduate students, recent graduates, and early career professionals participated in seminars on green jobs, guaranteed employment, the international dimensions of financial fragility, economic policy evaluation for Europe and Latin America, and Minsky’s economic counterculture, among other topics. Jan Kregel, Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, and L. Randall Wray organized this year’s events, with teaching staff that included well-known economists working in the theory and policy tradition of Hyman Minsky and Wynne Godley.
Other countries are taking steps to atone for past mistreatment of LGBT people; the United States should, too, writes Encarnación.
With its recent electoral win, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party has proved that it is possible for social democratic parties to prevail without emulating the rhetoric and policies of the populist right, writes Encarnación.
Robert Cioffi, assistant professor of classics, has been awarded two fellowships from Harvard University for work on his scholarly monograph, Narrating the Marvelous: The Greek Novel and the Ancient Ethnographic Imagination. One, from the Loeb Classical Library Foundation, provides funding for an additional semester of research leave. In addition, he has been named a Junior Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C., where he will be in residence for the spring semester of 2020.
The Bard Debate Union together with the Center for Civic Engagement hosted the 8th Annual Middle and High School Debate Tournament at Bard on Friday, March 1. More than 80 students attended the competition, representing eight schools throughout the Hudson Valley.
Bard College: The Montgomery Place Campus announces three spring series of events celebrating the history and arts of one of the Hudson Valley’s esteemed historic estates. Toward an Ethical Imagination: Gilsonfest, Spring Salon Series on Music of the Gilded Age, and The Gilded Garden: Historic Ornament in the Landscape at Montgomery Place are presented at Montgomery Place and locations in Red Hook, New York, beginning on Sunday, March 10 and culminating on Memorial Day weekend, May 24–27. Most of the events are free and open to the public. For reservations and more information go to bard.edu/montgomeryplace.
Toward an Ethical Imagination: Gilsonfest is a collaboration between Bard College, Historic Red Hook, Dutchess County Historical Society, and Red Hook Quilters focusing on the life of Montgomery Place gardener Alexander Gilson, an African American slave, who after being freed stayed on as head gardener and eventually opened his own nursery business.
Bard College is proud to be included on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2018–2019 Fulbright U.S. students.
Two Bard College students were awarded highly competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships by the U.S. Department of State. Getzamany Correa, a Global and International Studies major, will be studying at Central European University in the Department of International Relations in Budapest, Hungary. Biology major Elizabeth Thomas will be studying at the University College Roosevelt in Middelburg, Netherlands.
Since 2009, Bardians and local high school students have worked with anthropology professor Christopher Lindner at the 1746 Parsonage in Germantown, 9 miles north of the College.
McKim was honored by the ASC’s Women and Crime and Critical Criminology and Social Justice divisions for her 2017 book Addicted to Rehab: Race, Gender, and Drugs in the Era of Mass Incarceration, “a compelling and critical ethnography of drug rehabilitation” (CCSJ).
Bard students, staff, and faculty gathered for a Commemoration Walk on the afternoon of Monday, December 3, visiting new signage around campus designed to encourage critical reflection on Bard’s history. This is a project of students in Professor Myra Young Armstead’s Inclusion at Bard course, part of a series of Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences courses at Bard, sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement. The new placards on campus engage community practices of public memory, recognition, and forgetting.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at each location, with a historical presentation by students and remarks by a member of the faculty. Professor Armstead kicked off the event at the marker outside Aspinwall Hall highlighting John Lloyd Aspinwall, an early benefactor of St. Stephen’s College, Bard’s first incarnation. Like many antebellum donors to the nation’s colleges and universities, Aspinwall owed a significant portion of his wealth to commercial ventures that profited from slavery in the Americas.
A second placard near the library, overlooking Kline with a view of the Catskills, is dedicated to Vine Deloria Sr., Class of 1926. Deloria was an exceptional athlete at St. Stephen’s whose life and work were defined by a proud Native American cross-culturalism. He became the Episcopal archdeacon of Indian parishes in South Dakota and a vocal advocate for tribal governments.
A third placard near the Chapel of the Holy Innocents honors Matthew McDuffie, Class of 1889. Born a slave in South Carolina, he was literate by the age of five. Thanks to the efforts of his diligent parents, McDuffie was able to take advantage of opportunities for blacks that opened after the Civil War. He was one of a cohort of four African American students to integrate St. Stephen’s in 1884. McDuffie experienced discrimination from his classmates but he persisted in his education without protest, and went on to become the first resident priest of St. James Episcopal Church in Tampa, Florida.
“Creative Process in Dialogue: Art and the Public Today” will be held at BHSEC Manhattan on October 31, followed by a lunch hour talk at Bard at Brooklyn Public Library on November 1.
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