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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.
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