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“If strategies such as fact-checking and digital literacy efforts are to be trusted and if labelling and removal of false or misleading claims are to gain public acceptance, then the limits to how governments involve themselves in tackling influence operations online must be clear and transparent for their citizens,” writes Briant, visiting research associate in human rights.
Last month, Assistant Professor of History Jeannette Estruth sat down with filmmaker Swetha Regunathan at a virtual event at Bard College. Dr. Regunathan’s work often grapples with homelessness, immigration, exile, and climate change, telling the stories of people misrepresented or underrepresented in American film.
In her introduction to their conversation, Professor Estruth writes, “Regunathan’s films bear out the urgent reality that home—as place and as concept, as shelter and as structure of social belonging, as physiological human need and as place of physical safety—is an economically, structurally, and ecologically precarious idea for increasing numbers of people, especially people of color, women, and young people. When homes disappear or become untenable, people are forced to make new homes, new stories, and new meanings about these places and themselves. Regunathan’s films do the invaluable work of showing us that our past and present dreams of home persuasively compel urgent action today for our collective future.”
The Brooklyn Museum commissioned Bard College artist in residence Jeffrey Gibson to revive a neglected collection. Collaborating with associate professor of history Christian Ayne Crouch, the curators “took aim at the museum’s archive, cracking open the ideological biases—the ignorant and often racist beliefs and values—on which its collecting was premised,” writes Lynne Cooke of Artforum. Jeffrey Gibson: When Fire Is Applied to a Stone It Cracks at the Brooklyn Museum is curated by Jeffrey Gibson and Christian Ayne Crouch with Eugenie Tsai and Erika Umali, and is on view through January 10, 2021.
The Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard) and the Human Rights Project announced today that Ama Josephine B. Johnstone has been selected as the seventh recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism. Her appointment is made possible by the Keith Haring Foundation as part of the second series of a five year-grant supporting the Fellowship—an annual award for a scholar, activist, or artist to teach and conduct research at Bard College. Johnstone’s appointment marks 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 in Art and Activism is an ongoing dialogue with leading artists, writers and scholars, bringing new modes of thinking, pedagogical models and ways of working into the Bard community. International in scope, the Fellowship continues to evolve, raising issues that are current and introducing innovative responses to the challenges of the present,” said Tom Eccles, executive director of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.
Ama Josephine B. Johnstone is a speculative writer, artist, curator and pleasure activist whose work navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology and feminism, working to activate movements that catalyze human rights, environmental evolutions and queer identities. Johnstone is a PhD candidate in psychosocial studies at Birkbeck, University of London. She describes her research as taking “a queer, decolonial approach to challenging climate colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa with a particular focus on inherently environmentalist pleasure practices in Ghana and across the Black universe.”
“Ama says that her work 'thrives in the fecund liminal spaces between the museum and the academy, the gallery and the protest,' and in this sense, among many others, she exemplifies the spirit and practice of Keith Haring. Her fearless creativity, coupled with her relentless critical curiosity, especially about human rights discourse itself, are going to be essential guides in any journey through our perilous times,” said Thomas Keenan, director of Bard's Human Rights Project.
Johnstone will be in residence at Bard during the spring 2021 semester to teach and develop local collaborations in the Hudson Valley, succeeding Pelin Tan as the 2019–20 Fellow. Details on the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism and previous fellows can be found at ccsbard.edu.
About the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College and the Human Rights Project at Bard College
Bard College seeks to realize the best features of American liberal arts education, enabling individuals to think critically and act creatively based on a knowledge and understanding of human history, society, and the arts. Two pioneering programs developed under this mission are the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard) and the Human Rights Project.
CCS Bard was founded in 1990 as an exhibition and research center for the study of late 20th-century and contemporary art and culture and to explore experimental approaches to the presentation of these topics and their impact on our world. Since 1994, the Center for Curatorial Studies and its graduate program have provided one of the world’s most forward thinking teaching and learning environments for the research and practice of contemporary art and curatorship. Broadly interdisciplinary, CCS Bard encourages students, faculty, and researchers to question the critical and political dimension of art, its mediation, and its social significance.
The Human Rights Project, founded at Bard in 1999, developed the first interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program in Human Rights in the United States. The Project maintains a special interest in freedom of expression and the public sphere, and through teaching, research, and public programs is committed to exploring the too-often neglected cultural, aesthetic, and representational dimensions of human rights discourse.
Since 2009, CCS Bard and the Human Rights Project have collaborated on a series of seminars, workshops, research projects, and symposia aimed at exploring the intersections between human rights and the arts, and doing so in a manner that takes neither term for granted but in fact uses their conjunction to raise critical, foundational questions about each. While academic in nature, this research and teaching nevertheless draws heavily on the realm of practice, involving human rights advocates, artists, and curators.
About the Keith Haring Foundation
Keith Haring (1958-1990) generously contributed his talents and resources to numerous causes. He conducted art workshops with children, created logos and posters for public service agencies, and produced murals, sculptures, and paintings to benefit health centers and disadvantaged communities. In 1989, Haring established a foundation to ensure that his philanthropic legacy would continue indefinitely.
The Keith Haring Foundation makes grants to not-for-profit entities that engage in charitable and educational activities. In accordance with Keith’s wishes, the Foundation concentrates its giving in two areas: The support of organizations which enrich the lives of young people and the support of organizations which engage in education, prevention and care with respect to AIDS and HIV infection.
Keith Haring additionally charged the Foundation with maintaining and protecting his artistic legacy after his death. The Foundation maintains a collection of art along with archives that facilitate historical research about the artist and the times and places in which he lived and worked. The Foundation supports arts and educational institutions by funding exhibitions, programming, and publications that serve to contextualize and illuminate the artist’s work and philosophy. haring.com
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For further information, images, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
BARD COLLEGE CONTACT:
Director of Communications
Tel: +1 845.758.7412
CCS BARD CONTACT:
Director of External Affairs
Tel: +1 (845) 758-7574
“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.
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“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 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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 the 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.
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