Interdivisional Concentrations

Experimental Humanities


How does technology mediate what it means to be human? The Experimental Humanities (EH) concentration is Bard’s liberal arts–driven answer to the Digital Humanities. Digital Humanities is an evolving field that typically employs digital tools and research methods to investigate humanities subjects. In addition, EH engages with media and technology forms from across historical periods, combining experimental research methods with critical thinking about how such forms function as a part of cultural, social, and political inquiry. We encourage the reconsideration of older media in light of today’s technologies and look ahead to the developments on the horizon.
EH emphasizes:
  • Critical thinking about media and technology and their productive intersections
  • The relationship between digital methodologies and humanities scholarship
  • Collaboration between traditionally disparate disciplines such as computer science, literature, and the arts
  • The role of experimentation, often associated with the sciences and the arts, in humanities research
Experimental Humanities students take two core courses, Introduction to Media and History of Experiment, which provide them with a critical and historical framework with which to approach electives from across the College. The concentration embraces the ethos of practice and making that characterizes the digital arts and humanities even as it insists on the importance of writing and theory as humanistic practices in their own right. Students moderating into Experimental Humanities do so simultaneously with their primary program, with the option of adding a practice-rich component to their Senior Project, in conjunction with that program.


Experimental Humanities draws upon the courses offered by its core faculty and includes two dedicated and required introductory courses: Introduction to Media and History of Experiment. To moderate into EH students must have successfully completed (or be enrolled in) one of these courses and one other EH cross-listed course, and fulfilled the Moderation requirements of the primary program. All candidates for Moderation must demonstrate a clear idea of how the EH concentration will work with their major program of study in their short papers (or, if not moderating simultaneously into a primary program, submit a separate two- to three-page paper addressing this question). At least one member of the Moderation board should be a faculty member affiliated with EH.
To graduate, Experimental Humanities students must have completed both core courses, two additional EH or EH cross-listed courses (including one above the 200 level), and at least one practicing arts course beyond the College arts requirement or a Computer Science course.

Core Courses

Introduction to Media provides a foundation in media history and theory. It also explores how students can use aspects of traditional humanistic approaches (e.g., close reading and visual literacy) to critically engage with texts of all kinds. Students consider how material conditions shape discourse and assess their own positions as consumers and producers of media. History of Experiment considers major figures and experimental approaches, such as poetics, the philosophical thought experiment, and the scientific method, and challenges students to reconsider existing categories of and approaches to knowledge formation.
Other recent courses include: Art and the Internet; Experiments in Art and Technology; Games at Work: Procedure, Participation, and Play; Going Viral: Performance, Media, Memes; Ethnography in Image, Sound, and Text; Machine-Made Music, Past and Present; Radio Africa; Rights and the Image; Technologies of Reading; The Book before Print; and Woman as Cyborg.