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.

Bard College Catalogue 2016-17

Bard College Catalogue 2016-17

Campus-Based Affiliated Programs and Institutes

The following programs offer opportunities for undergraduates to attend talks, conferences, and other events, and to participate in noncredit-bearing programs, workshops, and internships to supplement their studies.
Bard Prison Initiative (BPI)   The Bard Prison Initiative offers credit-bearing course work leading to associate’s and bachelor’s degrees at three long-term, maximum-security prisons and three transitional, medium-security prisons in New York State. At these six sites, incarcerated students are engaged in robust course work in the humanities, foreign languages, sciences, mathematics, and studio arts. They also complete the five pillars of the Bard curriculum: the Language and Thinking and Citizen Science Programs, First-Year Seminar, Moderation, and the Senior Project. Through BPI, Bard College has conferred nearly 450 degrees to incarcerated men and women. Increasingly, BPI alumni/ae are leaving prison and pursuing careers in private industry, the arts, social service, the nonprofit sector, and academics.
In addition to operating its six New York State sites, BPI has founded the national Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, based at Bard College. The Consortium cultivates and supports new programs at other colleges and universities as part of an ongoing initiative to expand quality college-in-prison opportunities across the United States.

Founded by Max Kenner ’01, the Bard Prison Initiative continues to have a profound effect on the intellectual life of the College. Each week, students at the Annandale campus visit regional prisons and volunteer as tutors in advanced math, languages, academic writing, and other subjects. Many of these volunteers go on to graduate school or to careers related to their involvement in BPI. For more information, visit

Bard Summer Research Institute  Students in the Bard Summer Research Institute spend eight weeks in residence over the summer working on individual research projects in either the social or natural sciences. Each student has a faculty mentor for the duration of the program and receives a stipend of $3,000.

Center for Civic Engagement  The Center for Civic Engagement supports a wide array of initiatives that engage Bard students, faculty, and administrators with the most important issues facing society. The Center sponsors lectures, conferences, and workshops; facilitates internship, volunteer, and service-learning opportunities; and awards fellowships that are designed to reinforce the links between education, democracy, and citizenship. For additional information, see “Civic Engagement” in this catalogue or visit

Center for Moving Image Arts (CMIA)  The mission of the Center is twofold: to facilitate the study of cinema’s history and future in an interdisciplinary environment focused primarily on undergraduate education, and to bring various aspects of film culture—public screenings, publications, educational initiatives, and archival development—under the same umbrella. The “moving image arts” rubric extends broadly from the 19th century to the contemporary moment, and CMIA’s primary goal is to secure, exhibit, and contextualize major works of cinematic art from all periods and regions, some of which will become part of the permanent collection. The CMIA launch season included extensive 35mm retrospectives of filmmakers Alfred Hitchcock, Josef von Sternberg, and Michael Powell. CMIA’s first major international retro­spective project—focused on Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien—traveled to prominent venues around the world in 2015 (the films screened at Bard in fall 2014). CMIA programs during the 2015–16 academic year included “Color” and “Film among the Arts.” All programs are open to the entire Bard community, and the Center coordinates a number of educational workshops and internship programs for students. Richard I. Suchenski, associate professor of film and electronic arts, is the Center’s founder and director. To learn more, visit

Center for the Study of the Drone  The Center for the Study of the Drone is an interdisciplinary research and education initiative working to understand the implications of unmanned and autonomous technology in both civilian and military domains. The Center was founded in 2012 by Arthur Holland Michel ’13 and Dan Gettinger ’13, along with a group of Bard College faculty members. The Center conducts in-depth original research, sponsors undergraduate seminars and student research initiatives and paid internships, provides educational resources to the public, and works closely with media organizations to improve news coverage of unmanned technology. The Center’s website,, features interviews, conference transcripts, artwork, and a weekly news roundup.

Chinua Achebe Center  The Achebe Center was established in 2005 to continue the legacy of the late Nigerian novelist and critic Chinua Achebe, who taught at Bard from 1990 to 2009. The Center sponsors readings, panels, and other events on campus, and has played host to visiting African performers, artists, scholars, and statesmen, including President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, who in 2013 delivered the inaugural Chinua Achebe Leadership Forum Lecture. The Leadership Forum serves as a high-profile international platform to discuss Africa’s challenges in keeping with Professor Achebe’s values and life’s work, and showcases voices of Africa on literary, cultural, social, and political issues in an intellectually stimulating environment. For more information, visit

Distinguished Scientist Scholars Summer Research Scholarship  Moderated scholarship recipients may apply for a stipend (up to $1,500) for summer research projects following the sophomore and junior years. Applications for a stipend are made through the Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing.

Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities  he Arendt Center sponsors courses on Hannah Arendt and topics connected to its annual fall conferences, and hosts lectures, special events, and themed dinner parties where students and faculty come together to discuss contemporary issues. The Center also cares for and makes available the Hannah Arendt Library, which houses nearly 5,000 books from Arendt’s personal library, many with marginalia and notes; and oversees a variety of programs—The Courage to Be, Hate and the Human Condition, and the American Jewish Peace Archive—that combine conferences, courses, symposia, blogs, and oral histories to bring Arendt’s fearless style of thinking to a broad audience. Above all, the Center provides an intellectual space for passionate, uncensored, nonpartisan thinking that reframes and deepens the fundamental questions facing our nation and our world.
In October 2015, the Center hosted its eighth annual conference, “Why Privacy Matters,” with a keynote address by Edward Snowden. The 2016 fall conference, “How Do We Talk about Difficult Questions?: Race, Sex, and Religion on Campus,” asks how college can be a safe and inclusive space for addressing hard and uncomfortable questions essential to our democracy.
Bard undergraduates can take Arendt Center reading seminars alongside graduate student fellows. In 2015¬16, the Center introduced The Practice of Courage, a seminar open to sophomores and juniors that was part of the Courage to Be Program. The Center also provides opportunities for students to serve as research assistants, media interns, and blog contributors. To learn more about the Arendt Center and its activities, visit To learn more about the Arendt Center and its activities, visit To subscribe to the Center’s mailing list, e-mail

Hudsonia, Ltd.  Founded in 1981 and based at the Bard College Field Station, Hudsonia is an independent, not-for-profit institute for environmental research and education. Funding for Hudsonia projects comes from government agencies, foundations, conservation and citizens’ groups, businesses, and individuals. Hudsonia focuses on biodiversity mapping and assessment, conservation science of rare species and their habitats, wetland and aquatic ecology, the Hudson River, urban biodiversity, and ecology and management of non-native plants. Student interns and employees assist in project work, which currently includes assessment of the biological impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, studies of a rare plant in Hudson River tidal wetlands, and the use of non-native weeds for a bioenergy feedstock. To learn more, visit

Human Rights Project (HRP)  The Human Rights Project enables students to learn about, and engage in, the human rights movement. The Project links theoretical inquiry and critical explorations of human rights practice with active research and involvement in contemporary issues. Ongoing initiatives include projects on human rights forensics (with the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College in London), music and torture, the intersections between the visual arts and human rights (with the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard), Human Rights Radio, and the Center for the Study of the Drone, a student-initiated project on drones in military and civilian contexts. In 2014–15, the Project, together with the Center for Curatorial Studies, inaugurated the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism, as well as a new project on workers rights in the Hudson Valley. HRP also sponsors a regular lecture and film series on campus. Archival projects include an online and broadcast-quality digital videotape archive of the trial of Slobodan Milosˇevi´c at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, and the Bhopal Memory Project, a web-based ­documentary resource about the 1984 chemical disaster in Bhopal, India. Since 2001, HRP has supported extensive research travel by students as well as dozens of student internships at human rights and humanitarian organizations, governmental and international agencies, media outlets, community groups, hospitals and clinics, and research centers from Kingston to Cairo. To learn more about Human Rights Project activities, visit

Institute for Writing and Thinking (IWT)  Since its founding in 1982, IWT has been guiding teachers in developing and refining writing practices with the goal of enriching classroom learning. For more information on the Institute and its events, see “The Bard Center” in this catalogue or visit

Institute of Advanced Theology (IAT) The Institute was founded in 1996 to foster critical understanding, based on scholarship, that will make true religious pluralism possible. Through an interdisciplinary program of research, education, and outreach, IAT faculty and fellows seek to achieve a deeper understanding of biblical history, the New Testament, and other important religious documents. The Institute regularly sponsors lectures and conferences.

John Cage Trust  The John Cage Trust was created in 1993 to maintain and nurture the artistic legacy of John Cage, the late American composer, philosopher, poet, and visual artist. Since 2007, the Trust has been in residence at Bard College, and in 2013 that residency became permanent. Located in Griffiths House, near the main Bard campus, the Trust provides access to its diverse holdings through on-site research, courses, workshops, concerts, and other educational activities and programs. For more information, see

Laboratory for Algebraic and Symbolic Computation (ASC)  Bard’s ASC Labora­tory is committed to the advancement of the state of mathematical knowledge through computing. ASC’s goal is to extend the capabilities of existing theorem provers, model searchers, and computer algebra systems through improved connectivity and knowledge management. Current domains of interest include universal algebra and the constraint satisfaction problem. At ASC, Bard faculty, students, and staff work together to produce new theorems and algorithms, solve intricate problems within metadata design, and develop websites that integrate several complex software systems.

Rift Valley Institute (RVI)  The Rift Valley Institute is an independent, nonprofit organization, founded in Sudan in 2001 and currently working in seven countries in Eastern and Central Africa. The aim of the Institute is to advance knowledge of the region and its diverse communities, bringing understanding of local realities to bear on social and political action. In those countries where government structures are intact and educational institutions remain functional, RVI offers specialist services to development agencies, universities, and research organizations. Where war has disrupted government and eroded civic life, the Institute aligns itself with researchers and community activists—from the region and its diasporas—in an effort to sustain local institutions and restore standards of research and public information. In 2014 RVI was ranked in the top 10 in the University of Pennsylvania’s list of leading think tanks in Eastern Africa.
RVI programs are designed for long-term impact: shaping aid interventions, expanding space for public participation in policy, supporting local research capacity, preserving communal histories, and promoting social justice. Current programs include the Usalama Project, which documents armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Nairobi Forum, which sponsors a continuing series of seminars and public meetings designed to facilitate discussion between policy makers, researchers, and community leaders in the region. The Institute is implementing justice and security projects in Somalia and Somaliland, and a program for the conservation and digitization of the National Archive of South Sudan. RVI is a signatory of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (2001); all Institute publications are free for download from

The Institute’s U.S. office is located at Bard College. John Ryle, Legrand Ramsey Professor of Anthropology at Bard, is RVI’s executive director. The U.S. board of the Institute consists of Ryle (Bard College), Kwame Anthony Appiah (Princeton University), and Kenneth Anderson (American University, Washington, D.C.). Bard students have various opportunities to assist with RVI activities, including digital archiving and editing of video material for the Institute’s websites ( and and administrative assistance to the executive director. The Institute organizes talks, films, and other events on campus.