Academic Programs

Interdivisional Concentrations

Experimental Humanities

Overview

How does technology mediate what it means to be human? How has it done this in the past? The Experimental Humanities (EH) concentration is Bard’s liberal arts–driven answer to the digital humanities. EH provides students with the historical context, theoretical background, and analytical and technical skills to engage productively with new forms of humanistic inquiry in our digital age. It also places emphasis on reconsidering “old” media in light of today’s technologies and looks ahead to developments on the horizon. EH is committed to the study of what it means to be human and to the role of experimentation in scholarship, learning, and the arts. Experimental Humanities embraces the ethos of “practice” and “making” that characterizes the digital 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 doing a “practice-rich” Senior Project in conjunction with that program.

Requirements

Experimental Humanities draws upon the courses offered by its core faculty and includes two dedicated and required introductory courses: Literature 2217, History of the Experiment, and Literature 235, Introduction to Media. 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 requirements of the primary program. All candidates for Moderation must submit a short paper that demonstrates a clear idea of how the EH concentration will work with their major program of study, and 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 production-based course beyond the College arts requirement. Computer science courses are considered production courses for the purposes of Experimental Humanities.

Core Courses

History of the Experiment grounds students in the history of the experiment, including the conceptual separation of the humanities and sciences. The course 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. 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.

Other recent courses include: The Book Before Print; Going Viral: Performance, Media, Memes; Experimental Ethnography; Machine-Made Music, Past and Present; Rights and the Image; and The Science of Creativity. Production courses include Art and the Internet; Virtual Environments; Cybergraphics; (De-)Coding the Drone; Hapax Legomena and the Words We Use; and Computing for the Digital Humanities.