Bard College Catalogue

The Bard College Catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the College's undergraduate programs and courses, curriculum, admission and financial aid procedures, student activities and services, history, campus facilities, affiliated institutions including graduate programs, and faculty and administration.

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Bard College Catalogue 2013-14

Bard College Catalogue 2013-14

Experimental Humanities


Maria Sachiko Cecire (coordinator), Alexander Bonus, Ben Coonley, Andrew J. Eisenberg, Miriam Felton-Dansky, Lianne Habinek, Thomas Keenan, Laura Kunreuther, Marisa Libbon, Kristin Lucas, Susan Merriam, Gregory B. Moynahan, Keith O’Hara, Dina Ramadan, Nathan Shockey


New media has transformed the ways that we gather, communicate, and produce knowledge as a global society. The Experimental Humanities (EH) concentration 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 the inevitable developments on the horizon. Experimental Humanities is committed to the study of what it means to be human and, recalling the scientific impulse to experimentation, to physically testing theories in a controlled and informed environment. The concentration 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.


Experimental Humanities draws upon the courses offered by its core faculty and includes two dedicated and required introductory courses: History of Experiment and Intro­duction to Media. To moderate into EH students must have successfully completed (or be enrolled in) both of these courses 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 Experimental Humanities 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 Experimental Humanities.

To graduate, Experimental Humanities students must complete two additional EH or EH cross-listed courses, including one above the 200 level, and at least one production-based course beyond the standard arts requirement. Computer science courses are considered production courses for the purposes of Experimental Humanities.

Core Courses

History of Experiment grounds students in the history of the experiment, with a focus on the conceptual separation of the humanities from the sciences. Students become familiar with major figures and experimental approaches, such as poetics, the philosophical thought experiment, and the scientific method, and are challenged to reconsider existing categories of and approaches to knowledge formation. Introduction to Media provides a foundation in media history and theory and explores how students can use aspects of traditional humanistic approaches (such as 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: Going Viral: Performance, Media, Memes; Rights and the Image; The Science of Creativity; The Book Before Print; Persons and Things; Machine-Made Music, Past and Present; Framing the Election; and Rereading The Family of Man. Production courses include Cybergraphics, Sculpture II: Network Art; Virtual Environments; Computing for the Digital Humanities; and Writing Fiction for New Media.