Current News and Notes
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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.
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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.
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