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

Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literatures



Nicole Caso (director) and Stephanie Kufner (coordinator), Matthew Amos, Franco Baldasso, Odile S. Chilton, Robert L. Cioffi, Lauren Curtis, Mika Endo, Mar Gómez Glez, Elizabeth N. Holt, Franz R. Kempf, Marina Kostalevsky, Rana Saadi Liebert, Wah Guan Lim, Patricia López-Gay, Sara Marzioli, Oleg Minin, William Mullen, Melanie Nicholson, Dina Ramadan, James Romm, Nathan Shockey, Eric Trudel, Marina van Zuylen, Olga Voronina, Thomas Wild, Li-Hua Ying, Junji Yoshida


At Bard, the study of a foreign language provides students with the opportunity to acquire a critical appreciation of foreign cultures and literatures in addition to language skills. Integral to the process is the mastery of the foreign language and the use of this mastery in the study of written texts—not only literature, but also texts from such fields as philosophy, history, and theology—and of nonverbal expressions of culture such as art history, music, and cinema.

Languages currently taught at Bard include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and ancient Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit. Bard maintains a state-of-the-art language facility, the Center for Foreign Languages and Cultures, at the F. W. Olin Language Center, which is described in the campus facilities section of this catalogue.

Most of the languages taught through the Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literatures (FLCL) Program offer an immersion format that allows students to complete the equivalent of two years of language study within just a few months. Such courses include a one- or two-month summer or winter program in a country of the target language. After studying abroad, students demonstrate an impressive increase in linguistic capacity. They also gain cultural knowledge, and the exposure to different manifestations of cultural activity alerts them to the interrelatedness of diverse disciplines.


While each area of language study has its own intellectual and academic plan, all are connected by the study of literature and other cultural expressions through the medium of language. Students are free to work with the languages and texts of more than one culture; thus they can combine the plans of more than one language for Moderation and in their Senior Project. Moderation requirements may vary depending on the focus language; students should refer to information provided by the specific area of study. For all FLCL students, a Senior Project can be a purely literary project or any combination of literary and nonliterary expressions of a given culture.

Recent Senior Projects

  • Dazwischen: In between Weltliteratur and Liminality in Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan
  • “The Divine Comedies: Speech and Characterization in al-Ma’arri’s Epistle of Forgiveness and Dante’s Divine Comedy
  • “Intimacy and Absentmindedness: Contemporary Egyptian Short Stories in Translation”
  • Un libro más justiciero: Violeta Parra’s Political Mysticism,” a translation and analysis of Parra’s sung poetry


The descriptions below are a sampling of courses from the past four years.


Beginning Arabic
Arabic 101-102
This course focuses on speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension skills in Modern Standard Arabic, the form of Arabic shared by all Arab countries. Class time is devoted to conver­sation (skits and discussions) and grammar ­exercises. Emphasis is also placed on authentic resources that derive from the most updated cultural contexts, realities, and creative work of the Arab world. Topics include gender issues, the role of the media, Arab-Muslim and Arab-Christian traditions, social clubs, and ethnic groups.

Intermediate Arabic
Arabic 201-202
This course focuses on developing a significant level of linguistic and communicative competence. The four basic language skills—reading, speaking, listening, and writing—are dealt with simultaneously. Selected texts from Arabic media are read to expand active and passive lexicon and grammatical structures. Prerequisites: Arabic 101 or at least one year of Modern Standard Arabic and approval of the instructor.

Advanced Arabic
Arabic 301-302
Students learn more complex grammatical ­structures and expand their vocabulary through extended readings and the use of audio and video materials. They also read selections from Arabic literary journals, with a particular focus on poetry and prose from the 1950s and ‘60s.


Beginning Chinese
Chinese 101
Modern (Mandarin) Chinese is introduced through intensive drilling in oral and written forms. Emphasis is placed on speaking, basic grammar, and the formation of characters. This course is followed by an intensive course (8 hours per week) in the spring and a summer immersion program (6 weeks) in China.

Intensive Chinese
Chinese 106
For students who have completed Chinese 101 or the equivalent. The focus is on the language’s oral and written aspects. Regular work in the language lab and private drill sessions with the Chinese tutor are required. This course is followed by a summer immersion program in China.

Theater and Performance in the Chinese-Speaking World
Chinese 208
An introduction to Chinese-language theater from the early modern period to contemporary times in China as well as the diaspora, centering on avant-garde performances. The class examines the interwoven relationships among the state, politics, identity, and performance, and in particular it investigates how, despite the state’s efforts to define artistic creativity, the theater has always defied the status quo.

Echoes of the Past: Chinese Cinema and Traditional Chinese Literature
Chinese 211
This course eschews a chronological coverage of Chinese literature and culture in favor of examining touchstone texts from premodern Chinese ­literary traditions and analyzing how their legacy is drawn upon, appropriated, and reinvented in contemporary cinema. Canonical texts include poetry, historical writings, and fictional narratives; films include works by such influential directors as Wong Kar-wai, Ang Lee, Zhang Yimou, Jia Zhangke, and Lu Chuan.

The Chinese Novel
Chinese 215
Students read The Story of the Stone (aka Dream of the Red Chamber), which one-fifth of the world considers to be the best novel ever written, and discuss it both as literature and as cultural artifact.

Advanced Chinese I-II
Chinese 301-302
These courses are for students who have taken the equivalent of five semesters of basic Chinese at Bard or elsewhere. The goal is to expand students’ reading and speaking capacity and enrich their cultural experiences. Texts may include newspapers, journals, and fiction.

Chinese Fantastic Tales
Chinese 303
Students read tales written in classical Chinese as well as their renderings in modern Chinese. Texts are selected from well-known classical works such as Zhuang Zi, Lie Zi, and Huainan Zi, written in the pre-Qin and Han Dynasties. Stories written in later periods (Tang through Qing), such as Liaozhai Zhiyi, are also included. By reading the classical form and its modern translation, students are able to compare the similarities and differences between ancient and modern Chinese language. Prerequisite: two years or more of Chinese.

Lu Xun and the Modern Chinese Short Story
Chinese 304
This course involves close reading of short stories by major writers of 20th-century China, including Lu Xun, Eileen Chang, Shen Congwen, Ding Ling, Bai Xianyong, and others. While focusing primarily on textual analysis, the class also seeks to understand the concept of modernity in the context of Chinese literary and cultural traditions, addressing issues such as social commitment, artistic style, and historical background.

Contemporary Chinese Culture
Chinese 305
For students who have studied Chinese for at least three years. The course examines various aspects of contemporary popular culture in China, including print culture, cinema, television, pop music, visual arts, fashion, advertising, and cyberculture.

Classical Chinese
Chinese 308
This course provides a foundation in the grammar, diction, and style of Classical Chinese (also called Literary Chinese), the operative language for more than two millennia of China’s literary traditions. The earliest materials covered are texts from the Warring States period (c. 5th century b.c.e.). Students work directly with original texts of historical narrative, philosophy, and poetry, becoming conversant with premodern writings as well as literary elements that are part of modern written Chinese. Prerequisite: two years of Chinese or Japanese.


Ancient History
Classics 100 / History 100
See History 100 for a full course description.

The Odyssey of Homer
Classics 125 / Literature 125
See Literature 125 for a full course description.

The Iliad of Homer
Classics 145 / Literature 145
See Literature 145 for a full course description.

Fifth-Century Athens
Classics 157
In the fifth century b.c.e., Athens developed from a small, relatively unimportant city-state into a dominant power in the Aegean basin. This course confronts some of the ambiguities and tensions (slavery, exclusion of women and noncitizens from political power), as well as the glories, of Athenian art, literature, and history during this period. Designed primarily for first-year student.

Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World
Classics 2191 / History 2191
See History 2191 for a full course description.

Plato’s Writing: Dialogue and Dialectic 
Classics 2209 / Literature 2209
See Literature 2209 for a full course description.

The Practice of Courage: Military and Civilian Courage
Classics 228
cross-listed: human rights, literature
The courage of warriors is an unending theme, as is the courage shown by civilians who resist oppression and speak out to power. This section of the Practice of Courage seminar puts the two kinds of courage in dialogue, using plays, speeches, poetry, biography, and films. These include Sophocles’s Antigone and Philoctetes; speeches by Pericles and Lincoln; poetry by Yeats and Akhmatova; the films Breaker Morant and Restrepo; Emerson’s Self-Reliance; and selections from von Clausewitz, Tillich, and Arendt.

The Age of Augustus:Poetry, Politics, and Power
Classics 231
cross-listed: historical studies, literature
An exploration of the Age of Augustus in Rome as represented in the period’s literature. Readings, all in English translation, are drawn from the poets Virgil (epic), Horace (lyric), and Ovid (elegy and epic), and from prose authors including Livy and Tacitus (historiography), Suetonius (biography), and the emperor himself (autobiography).

Greek Religion: Magic, Mysteries, and Cult
Classics 2361
An examination of the ways in which polytheism was practiced and conceptualized by the ancient Greeks from the Mycenaean period into the Hellenistic era. The course emphasizes the ritual aspects of Greek polytheism through the analysis of religious institutions, beliefs, and rites in their wider sociocultural contexts. Literary expressions of Greek religion (the connection between myth and religion, for example), and the ways in which Greek religious beliefs and practices profoundly affected the development of Greek culture and history, are also explored.

Classical Mythology
Classics 242
What is the meaning of our mythologies? How do we understand and interpret traditional stories about the past? What is the relationship between mythology and history? This course seeks to answer these questions by examining selected myths of ancient Greece and Rome and applying to them theoretical approaches to interpreting myth. Topics include origin myths, Greek gods and heroes, war, the human-divine relationship, madness, divine love and lust, death and the afterlife, and Greco-Roman mythology in its wider Mediterranean context. Readings in English translation.

Indo-European Epic
Classics 276
Linguists and archaeologists have a rough agreement that there existed a people speaking a language called Proto-Indo-European. They shared not only a common language and social structures but also common literary genres, principally epic and lyric, in which there are signs of common metaphors and even meters. It is possible to compare passages from epics that originated in oral traditions and later crystallized into such texts as Mahabharata and Ramayana in India, Iliad and Odyssey in Greece, the Norse Elder Edda, and the Irish Táin Bó Cúailnge. All texts read in English.

Self and Society in Classic Greek Drama
Classics 311
This course looks at the major plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides in English translation, with the aim of gaining familiarity with the genre of tragedy as a complex art form and as a vehicle for the transmission of core Western values. Emphasis falls equally on tragedy’s formal aspects (plot, character, poetic language, questions of evolving genre) and its psychological, social, and political dimensions. Attention is also paid to staging and performance, both in ancient times and contemporary productions.

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Classics 315
cross-listed: historical studies
Students read the first 50 (of 71) chapters of Edward Gibbon’s masterpiece, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, as well as the last chapter, “Four Causes of Decay and Destruction,” pausing at points to consider theories that supplement or contradict history as to the “true causes” of Rome’s decline and fall. Some of these theories are by early 20th-century scholars, some from recent books and articles.

The Epic in European Literature
Classics 316
cross-listed: literature
A grasp of epic poetry—its techniques, themes, structure, and ideology—is fundamental to the understanding of the European literary tradition. This course examines the evolution of the epic from Homer (eighth century b.c.e.) to ,em>Milton’s Paradise Lost(1667). The first half of the semester is devoted to the classical epic: the Iliad, Odyssey, Theogony, Argonautika, De Rerum Natura, Aeneid, and Metamorphoses. The second half traces the epic across the map of Europe: Beowulf, Chanson de Roland, Neibelungenlied, Divine Comedy, Orlando Furioso, and Milton.

Archaic Greece
Classics 357
This course covers a temporal span from roughly the 7th century b.c.e. through the 5th, and its texts are non-Athenian. Readings start with Hesiod and the Homeric hymns, then move on to the lyric poets: Alkman, Sappho, Alcaeus, Archilochus, Anacreon, Simonides, Bacchylides, and Pindar. The Elegiac poets, most of the pre-Socratics, and Hecataeus are also covered.


Basic Greek I, II
Greek 101-102
In this two-part course, Greek grammar and fundamental vocabulary are introduced, with attention given to pronunciation and recitation of poetry and prose. Reading includes significant passages from Homer and the Christian New Testament in Greek. Students with high school Greek are welcome and should see the instructor about placement.

Intensive Greek
Greek 106
This course makes it possible for students with no background in ancient languages to read Homer, Plato, Greek tragedy, Herodotus, and other classical texts after one semester. Daily drills and frequent quizzes, together with ample access to tutoring and extra help, ensure that students stay on track as they master Greek grammar and vocabulary. In Greek 107, the focus is on consolidating knowledge of forms and syntax, and gaining exposure to a variety of classical authors.

Intermediate Greek I: Herodotus and Beyond
Greek 201
The course begins with the first book of Herodotus’s Histories, paying close attention to the formal aspects of his language and to the historiographical implications of his narrative. Herodotus is considered “the father of history,” and the class explores how and why history writing began as it did. Students then choose whether to continue with Herodotus’s fifth-century Ionic narrative or move to Plato’s Apology and Attic Greek. Attention is also paid to grammatical forms and syntax.

Intermediate Greek II: Euripides’s Bacchae
Greek 202
Euripides’s last tragedy was also his greatest masterpiece, named after its choruses of women followers of Dionysos, god not only of wine but also of transformation and theater. Students read the entire play, with attention to the meters of the speaking parts and choruses, the interplay between metrical pattern and sense in each line, the word order peculiar to Greek poetry as opposed to prose, and above all to the difficult and challenging word order of the choral odes.

Advanced Readings in Greek I-II
Greek 301-302
Select readings of poetic texts on the topic of Helen (e.g., Homer, Euripides, Gorgias, and Isocrates). Discussion centers on the problem of Helen’s beauty and/or character, and the rhetoric used to construct the various argumentative positions. Subject to class discussion, topics may also include Plato’s Apology and Crito. Prerequisite: successful completion of Greek 202 or permission of the instructor.

Advanced Readings in Greek III
Greek 403
The class reads selections from the three most important ancient Greek historians, with an emphasis on Thucydides and relevant passages from Herodotus and Polybius.


Beginning Latin
Latin 101-102
This two-semester sequence is designed to bring students with no prior knowledge of Latin to the level of reading ancient poetry and prose. The first semester focuses on grammatical exercises and drills, but the class gradually works toward reading short selections from classical Roman and medieval literature.

Basic Intensive Latin
Latin 106
Students learn to read authors such as Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, and Augustine in the original language after one semester’s intensive work (the equivalent of two semesters of college Latin). Daily drills and frequent quizzes are combined with an emphasis on reading: students begin with short selections from classical authors after only a few weeks and longer passages by midterm.

Intermediate Latin I-II: Virgil’s Aeneid
Latin 201-202
Students read large portions of the first half of Virgil’s ,em>Aeneid, the greatest Roman epic, in Latin, concentrating on negotiating Latin forms and syntax, and exploring the poem’s themes and literary characteristics. The class also reads the entirety of the Aeneid in English.

The Age of Nero
Latin 208
Despite its depressing slide into autocracy, the age of Nero (54–68 a.d.) saw a great flowering of Roman literature, including the comic novel Satyricon by Petronius, and the tragedies and essays of Seneca, as well as the mysterious historical drama called Octavia. The class reads selections from all of these texts, spanning a wide range of styles in both poetry and prose. Readings in English help situate the texts against the troubled history of Nero’s reign.

Roman Medea
Latin 302
An examination of how the mythic figure of Medea was reimagined and reinterpreted by the Romans, in particular Ovid and Seneca. The class reads works of both authors in Latin, together with their Greek sources, Euripides and Apollonius of Rhodes, in English.

The Origins of Rome
Latin 305/405
This course examines how Romans of the Augustan age conceived of the origins of their city, culture, and history. Students do a close reading in Latin of book one of Livy’s monumental historical work, Ab Urbe Condita, which treats Rome’s earliest history up to the founding of the Republic in 509 b.c.e. Livy’s work contributed to a vigorous contemporary debate—shared by fellow writers such as Virgil, Propertius, and Ovid—about Roman origins. Prerequisite: 200-level Latin or permission of the instructor.


Sanskrit I, II
Classics 140, 141 / Religion 140, 141
See Religion 140 and 141 for course descriptions.


Basic Intensive French
French 106
For students with little or no experience of French who wish to acquire a strong grasp of the language and culture in the shortest time possible. Students complete the equivalent of three semesters of college-level French in a semester course that meets 10 hours a week and is followed by a four-week stay in France.

Intermediate French I-II-III
French 201-202-203
This introduction to contemporary French civilization and culture is for students who have completed three or more years of high school French or who have acquired a solid knowledge of elementary grammar. Students reinforce their skills in grammar, composition, and spoken proficiency through the use of short texts, newspaper and magazine articles, and video.

French through Translation
French 215
This course helps students fine-tune their command of French and develop a good sense of the most appropriate ways of communicating ideas and facts in French. The course emphasizes translation as an exercise, as well as a craft in its own right, and addresses grammatical, lexical, and stylistic issues. Translation is practiced from English into French (and vice versa) with a variety of texts from different genres.

French through Film
French 220
Students in this intermediate course explore major themes of French culture and civilization through the study of individual films ranging from the silent era to the present and covering a wide variety of genres. Students also examine the interaction between the French and their cinema, in terms of historical circumstances, aesthetic ambitions, and self-representation.

Of the Ancients and the Moderns: Past, Present, and Future in the French Literary Tradition
French 235
The “querelle des anciens et des moderns” is what we call the conflict that raged at the heart of French letters from the late 17th to the early 18th century, and which pitted those who found the ancient Greeks and Romans to be untouchable in terms of artistic merit against those who considered contemporary aesthetic innovations to be a progression beyond the inheritance of antiquity. Readings focus on several authorial oppositions, including Corneille/Racine, Voltaire/Rousseau, Balzac/Flaubert, and Sartre/Blanchot. In French.

From the Storming of the Bastille to Stromae: Introduction to French Culture and Civilization
French 239
The course begins with an analysis of the political, socioeconomic, and cultural reconfigurations that occurred in France and its colonies from the death knell of the Ancien Régime in 1789 through the multifarious wars and revolutions of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The class then considers today’s France and the many challenges it faces: of national identity in a postcolonial society, of the maintenance of a social model in the face of globalized economic competition, and even of the quality of baguettes in the local boulangerie.

Why Literature? Topics in French Literature
French 240
This course focuses on an assortment of novels, short stories, poems, plays, and essays that reflect on themselves as texts and as literature. Works by Diderot, Rousseau, Stendhal, Balzac, Nerval, Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Breton, Sartre, and Duras, among others. In French.

Advanced Composition and Conversation
French 270
Students consider a diverse selection of writings (short works of fiction, poems, philosophical essays, political analysis, newspaper editorials, magazine articles) loosely organized around a single theme. The readings provide a rich ground for cultural investigation, intellectual exchange, in-class debates, in-depth examination of stylistics, and vocabulary acquisition. A general review of grammar is also conducted.

Proust: In Search of Lost Time
French 315 / Literature 315
See Literature 315 for a full course description.

Advanced Composition and Conversation
French 270
Students consider a diverse selection of writings (short works of fiction, poems, philosophical essays, political analysis, newspaper editorials, magazine articles) loosely organized around a single theme. The readings provide a rich ground for cultural investigation, intellectual exchange, in-class debates, in-depth examination of stylistics, and vocabulary acquisition. A general review of grammar is also conducted.

Class Matters: Vocabularies of Contempt from Balzac to Eribon
French 321
In Le Peuple (1846), the French historian Michelet proclaims that almost all those who benefit from social mobility end up betraying the character and originality of their initial class. “The hard thing,” he writes, “is not [so much] to ascend, but while ascending, to remain oneself.” This seminar scrutinizes novels and essays for their insights about the ways in which various cultural and socioeconomic mutations shape and undermine the complex link between distinction and authenticity. Readings from Stendhal, Balzac, Huysmans, Proust, Ernaux, and Eribon.

Autobiography and Its Discontents
French 329
What does it mean to write one’s life? How does one write the self? This course considers the ongoing debates about the status of autobiography in 20th- and 21st-century French literature and literary criticism. Authors include Christine Angot, Roland Barthes, François Bon, André Breton, Marguerite Duras, Annie Ernaux, André Gide, Michel Leiris, Georges Perec, Georges Perros, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Nathalie Sarraute. Additional texts by critics such as Georges Gusdorf, Phillippe Lejeune, Paul de Man, Serge Doubrovsky, and Régine Robin. In French.

Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Mallarmé
French 335
A poetic revolution was brought to the theory and practices of 19th-century French poetry by three of its most illustrious figures: Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stéphane Mallarmé. As Victor Hugo’s age of lyric romanticism came to an end, these poets took full measure of a modern subjectivity in crisis by making it a crisis of form, with increasing disenchantment, irony, self-reflexivity, and obscurity. Readings: Les Fleurs du Mal and Le Spleen de Paris (Baudelaire), Illuminations and Une Saison en enter (Rimbaud), and Poésies (Mallarmé).

The Lost and Found Art of Conversation: From Montaigne to Beckett
French 344
Since Socrates, conversation has been admired for its seamless ability to integrate knowledge into society, and supplement savor (knowledge) with savoir-vivre (the art of living). But conversation has often been condemned as merely artful, dangerous for its proximity to the decadent and the idle. This course examines how these tensions are played out on rhetorical and thematic levels. Texts by Aristotle, Marx, Nietzsche, Pascal, Molière, Stendhal, and Proust. In French.

Literature of Private Life
French 354
cross-listed: human rights
The representation of private life in the 19th- century French novel coincided with the advent of realism. Realism described both the institutions that shaped private life (marriage, education, religion) and the discrete dramas occurring backstage—the solitude of the spinster (Flaubert’s Un Cœur simple), plight of the child (Vallès’s L’Enfant), despair of domesticity (Maupassant’s Une Vie), and nature of neuroses (Zola’s Nana). The course examines writings (novels, stories, journals, correspondence) previously considered too personal to be viewed as literature.

Defying Death: The Literary Experience in the French Tradition
French 355
Aristotle states in Poetics that the representation (mimesis) of death does not result in the disgust or depression that follows upon actually witnessing a carcass or cadaver. Instead, the representation of death allows us to learn about the state that awaits us all. Aristotle touches here on the ultimate point of human experience (death), by limiting its intellectual contemplation to the realm of art. This seminar explores how literature deals with the task that Aristotle assigns it. Readings from Montaigne, Racine, Hugo, Baudelaire, Sartre, Camus, and Bataille, among others. In French.


Beginning German
German 101-102
Instruction includes grammar drills, review of reading, communication practice, guided composition, and language lab exercises. The course develops listening comprehension, speaking ­profi­ciency, and reading and writing skills.

Intensive German
German 106
The course enables students with little or no previous experience in German to complete three semesters of college German within five months: the spring semester at Bard, plus four weeks in the summer at Bard College Berlin. Students progress from learning the language for everyday communication to reading and discussion of classical and modern texts (such as Goethe, Heine, Kafka, Brecht). In Berlin, they further explore German language and culture, and participate in guided tours that introduce the city’s history, architecture, and vibrant cultural life.

Transitional German
German 110
For students with varied backgrounds in German whose proficiency is not on the level of German 201. While the emphasis is on a complete review of elementary grammar, all four language skills (speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing), as well as cultural proficiency, are also honed. Speaking and vocabulary exercises are combined with conversational practice, reading, writing simple compositions, and the dramatization of modern German texts. This accelerated course covers three semesters’ worth of material and allows students to continue to German 202.

The Ring of the Nibelung
German 187
A study of Richard Wagner’s cycle of four music dramas—a story about gods, dwarves (Nibelungs), giants, and humans that has been called a manifesto for socialism, a plea for racialism, a study of the human psyche, and a parable about the new industrial society. As we travel down the Rhine, across the rainbow, and through the underworld, our tour guides are the Brothers Grimm, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, the anonymous authors of the medieval Nibelungenlied and of the Old Norse Poetic Edda. In English.

Intermediate German
German 201-202
Designed to deepen the proficiency gained in German 101 and 102, this course increases students’ fluency in speaking, reading, and writing, and adds significantly to their working vocabulary. Readings include selected 20th-century literary texts, such as Kafka’s Die Verwandlung, supplemented by audiovisual materials.

Sympathy for the Devil: Goethe’s Faust
German 206 / Literature 206
See Literature 206 for a full course description.

Berlin: Capital of the 20th Century
German 2194 / Literature 2194
See Literature 2194 for a full course description.

Rebels with(out) a Cause: Great Works of German Literature
German 270 / Literature 270
A survey of representative works of German literature from the 18th century to the present, from Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774) to Mother Tongue (1990), a collection of stories by Emine Sevgi Özdamar, a Turkish-German woman writer. Other authors include Schiller, Eichendorff, Heine, Hauptmann, Wedekind, Rilke, Kafka, Mann, Brecht, Dürrenmatt, and Jelinek. Conducted in English. Students with an advanced proficiency in German are expected to read the works in the original.

Grimms’ Märchen
German 303
Unfortunately, we seem to know the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm only in adaptations that greatly reduce their power to touch our emotions and engage our imaginations. Through a close reading of selected tales, this course explores the tales’ poetics and politics, and their origins in folklore and myth. The class considers major critical approaches (Freudian, Marxist, feminist); creative adaptations (Disney, classical ballet, postmodern dance); and other fairy-tale traditions.

Modern German Short Prose
German 320
A survey of novellen, erzählungen, parables, and other short forms of mainly 20th-century prose. Students combine detailed literary analysis with an examination of social/political/historical contexts. Readings include works by Kafka, Musil, Mann, Walser, von Kleist, Jeremias Gotthelf, Benjamin, Hans Erich Nossack, Ingeborg Bachmann, Frisch, Dürrenmatt, Ilse Aichinger, Jenny Erpenbeck, Thomas Bernhard, Handke, and Yoko Tawada. Conducted in German.

Poetry and Philosophy
German 331
Is there something like sensory reasoning? Who has the capacity to formulate the unspeakable? Is humor a thought or a sentiment? Poetry and philosophy have for centuries offered fascinating responses to such questions—not least in the German tradition. Poets, philosophers, and poetic thinkers have addressed these concerns, including Goethe, Kant, Schiller, Hölderlin, Heidegger, Rilke, Benjamin, Brecht, and Arendt. The beauty and precision of their language(s) provokes a semester of conversations with these thinkers of and in the German language.

19th-Century German Literature
German 405
“Exit metaphysics, enter sauerkraut” alludes to the experience of many 19th-century German intellectuals and writers: awareness of the loss of security that idealistic philosophy had provided and an attempt to find new absolutes. This course focuses on the evolution of this experience as manifested in literature. Close readings are made of works by Nestroy, Grillparzer, Grabbe, Hebbel, Heine, Mörike, Droste-Hülshoff, Keller, Stifter, Fontane, C. F. Meyer, Schnitzler, Hauptmann, and Wedekind. Conducted in German.

German Expressionism
German 418
Less a style than a Weltanschauung of a rebellious generation, German Expressionism—flourishing roughly between 1905 and 1925—is generally seen as an artistic reflection of a common feeling of crisis; the disappearance of individualism in burgeoning urban centers; the hypocrisy of Imperial Wilhelminian Germany; and the soulless materialism and (self-) alienation of increased industrialization. Texts by Wedekind, Benn, Heym, Lasker-Schüler, Kafka, Kaiser, and Trakl. Painting, music, and film are also considered..

The Experience of the Foreign in German Literature
German 421
cross-listed: human rights
This course examines representations of foreignness in German literature and opera (Lessing, Mozart, Novalis, Heine, Kafka, Frisch); in contemporary films (Bohm, Fassbinder, Akin); and in works of non-native Germans writing in Germany today (Tawada, Ören, Özdamar, Schami). Issues addressed include multiculturalism, homogeneity, and xenophobia. In German.

German Literature and Film after 1989
German 422
What is at stake for contemporary German writers, filmmakers, and intellectuals? What topics do they address in their movies, novels, poems, and plays? How do these artworks reflect Germany’s multiethnic society and its pivotal role in a rapidly changing Europe? Discussion centers on texts by Herta Müller, W. G. Sebald, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Terézia Mora, Ingo Schulze, and Emine Sevgy Özdamar, among others; and on films by Fatih Akin, Hans-Christian Schmid, and Michael Haneke.

Correspondences: Figures of Writing
German 467
“One alone is always wrong; but with two involved, the truth begins,” reads an aphorism by Friedrich Nietzsche. He also proposes an alternative mode of thinking and writing to the isolated genius: creative collaboration. This seminar explores several such collaborations: Hannah Arendt and Hilde Domin, Bertolt Brecht and Walter Benjamin, Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann.


See Jewish Studies.


Intensive Italian
Italian 106
This course enables students with little or no previous knowledge of Italian to complete three semesters of college Italian in five months: 8 credits at Bard and 4 (in January) in Italy, where students continue daily intensive study of the language and culture while living with Italian families. The course methodology is based on a communicative approach, which includes grammar drills, guided compositions, oral practice, role-playing, and readings and analysis of authentic material.

Intermediate Italian I-II
Italian 201-202
Designed for students who have completed the equivalent of one year of college Italian, the course ­offers practice in writing and conversation. Students engage in discussion and must complete compositions and oral reports based on Italian literary texts and cultural material.

Food, Art, and Identity
Italian 222
Employing a multidisciplinary approach in a variety of media, this course invites students to consider such issues as the intimate relationships between food and territory, food and cultural expression, and the role that food played—and still plays—in shaping the Italian identity. Topics discussed include the Slow Food manifesto and its politics in relation to globalization and localization, food as a means of interaction among immigrants and locals, and the construction of new identities in today’s multicultural Italy. Taught in Italian.

Women in Modern Italian Literature
Italian 226
This course examines how women are represented in modern Italian literature, from Giovanni Verga (1870s) to Franca Rame (1970s). The dramatic changes in women’s social, political, and economic roles in this period provide the context for class discussion. Topics include women under fascism; representations of women as wives and mothers; freedom and dignity; love, abortion, and divorce; and the struggle for sexual self-determination. Texts by Sibilla Aleramo, Anna Banti, Alberto Moravia, and Dacia Maraini. Prerequisite: two years of Italian or equivalent.

Sicily and Writing
Italian 227
South of Europe but at the center of the Mediterranean world, Sicily has been at the crossroads of cultures and peoples since Homer. The majestic, skeptical, bitter narratives of Sicily’s writers, from Giovanni Verga to Luigi Pirandello and Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, trace a philosophical counternarrative to Italy’s modernity. Filmmakers such as Luchino Visconti and Francesco Rosi amplify the tensions of Sicilian narrative through visually striking cinematic interpretations. Prerequisite: Italian 202 or permission of the instructor.

History of Italian Theater
Italian 230
A historical overview of Italian theater, its protagonists, and its fundamental role in the evolution of Italian society. The class reflects on the relation between text and its representation, comedy and “comic,” the role of improvisation, the role of theater itself in our society, and the variety of theatrical forms in the 21st century. Plays of the Commedia dell’Arte, Goldoni, Pirandello, De Filippo, Fo, Maraini, and Martinelli are studied. Course work in Italian.

Italian Cinema in the New Millennium
Italian 234
cross-listed: film and electronic arts
There has been a resurgence of Italian cinema in recent years, especially in films about the cultural changes created by waves of immigration from Asia, Northern Africa, and Eastern Europe. This course focuses on contemporary Italian films, including Il Divo (Sorrentino), Best of Youth (Giordana), and I’m Not Scared (Salvatores). Conducted in Italian.

Topics in Italian Culture: Imagining Italian Cities from Dante to Calvino
Italian 235
cross-listed: eus
Unlike other European countries, Italy has no central stage in the construction of its national culture. It grounds its multifold identity on the differences and peculiarities of cities such as Florence, Venice, Naples, and Milan. Living, walking, and imagining the city is a key experience for Italian culture, from the Middle Ages to the postmodern. This course draws from the works of Dante, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Marinetti, Pasolini, Calvino, and Ferrante. Prerequisite: Italian 202 or permission of the instructor.

Advanced Italian: Composition and Conversation
Italian 280
Students increase fluency in written and spoken Italian through the study of advanced grammar structures and new vocabulary. With special focus on the cantautore (songwriter) genre of Italian music texts, the class analyzes works by artists who best perceived and filtered important social and cultural moments of Italian life over the last 60 years. Also considered are interviews, videos, and articles about the composers and the issues—religion, terrorism, racism, Mafia—addressed in their songs. In Italian.

Italian 3205 / Literature 3205
See Literature 3205 for a course description.

Democracy and Defeat: Italy after Fascism
Italian 331
cross-listed: human rights
This seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach to the cultural and intellectual history of Italy from 1943 to 1950. The heterogeneous aspects of the Italian cultural field after World War II are considered in a wide-ranging framework, in which postwar histories are informed not simply by the external context of the Cold War but also by preceding wartime discourses. Readings from Italo Calvino, Curzio Malaparte, Carlo Levi, Primo Levi, and Rosetta Loy. Prerequisite: Italian 202 or permission of instructor.


Introductory Japanese I-II
Japanese 101-102
This two-semester sequence introduces the ­fun­da­mentals of modern Japanese. Students ­sys­tematically develop listening, speaking, writing, and reading abilities. Because fluency in Japanese requires sensitivity to the social setting in which one is speaking, the course also provides an introduction to basic aspects of daily life and culture in contemporary Japan.

Intermediate Japanese I-II
Japanese 201-202
This course accelerates the learning of characters begun in Japanese 101-102 and introduces more complex grammatical patterns and expressions, to refine students’ mastery of reading, speaking, writing, and listening. Study includes intensive grammar review and practice of idiomatic expressions.

Human Rights and Modern Japanese Literature
Japanese 2216 / Literature 2216
cross-listed: asian studies, human rights
Students in the course examine how human rights dilemmas are represented in major works of modern Japanese literature and film. Topics include women’s rights, the Burakumin liberation movement, and the rights of citizens vis-à-vis corporations. Texts include works by Tanizaki Junichiro, Kurihara Miwako, Nakagami Kenji, Ishimure Michiko, Shirow Masamune, and Shimazaki Toson, with additional readings on historical context and theoretical approaches. Texts in English.

Advanced Japanese I
Japanese 301
The course introduces more complex grammatical structures, especially those common to written material, and accelerates character acquisition and advanced vocabulary. Students learn the fundamentals of dictionary use and acquire the skills necessary for speed-reading and accurate composition of written material. Prerequisite: Japanese 202 or the equivalent.

Advanced Japanese II
Japanese 302
Students deepen their reading skills and engage in essay-writing exercises and formal oral presentations. Materials are selected on the basis of student interest and include newspaper articles, handwritten letters, popular songs, haiku, and selections from films.

Reading and Translating Japanese: Theories, Methods, Practice
Japanese 315
For students who have had at least three years of Japanese and who can read at the advanced level. The class considers the nature and limits of translation within the Japanese context. While focusing on the techniques and craft of translation, students are also introduced to translation theory, both Western and Japanese, and examine well-known translations by comparing source and target texts. Prerequisite: Japanese 302 or equivalent.


For a description of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Smolny College) and the Bard–St. Petersburg State University exchange program, see “International Programs and Study Abroad.”

Beginning Russian
Russian 101
An introduction to the fundamentals of the spoken and written language as well as Russian culture. Creative expression is encouraged through autobiographical and fictional compositions.Successful completion of the sequence qualifies students to enroll in a four-week June program in St. Petersburg or pursue a semester or year of study at Smolny College.

Intensive Russian
Russian 106
For students who have completed Russian 101 (or the equivalent). The course culminates in a June program in St. Petersburg that includes 24 hours a week of Russian-language classes. Successful completion of the course qualifies the student to ­pursue study at Smolny College.

Intermediate Russian I-II
Russian 201-202
The focus of this sequence is on the continuing acquisition of advanced grammar, pertinent vocabulary, and reading and conversational skills that enable students to communicate effectively. Advanced grammar constructions are introduced through a wide variety of adapted texts and contexts. In addition to textbook material, students read literary and journalistic texts.

An Appointment with Dr. Chekhov
Russian 220
While studying to become a doctor at Moscow University, Chekhov began writing in order to earn money. Students analyze how his “general theory of objectivity” had an impact on his writing and how his “treatment” of human nature and social issues brought an entirely new dimension to Russian literature. Readings include Chekhov’s prose, plays, and letters.

Art of the Russian Avant-Garde
Russian 225
This multidisciplinary course addresses major developments in Russian modern and avant-garde art in the first three decades of the 20th century. It looks at particular movements, ideas, and seminal names, from Vrubel and symbolism to Tatlin and constructivism. The course also offers a methodology and context for the appreciation of the evolution of Russian visual culture and its contribution to the international art arena.

St. Petersburg: City, Monument, Text
Russian 231 / Literature 231
See Literature 231 for a full course description.

Advanced Russian through Reading and Writing
Russian 315
Designed for students with at least two years of Russian language study and for heritage speakers who want to practice reading and speaking Russian. A variety of written and oral exercises serves to improve students’ grammar, morphology, and syntax; narrative and conceptual proficiency is enhanced through readings of selected texts by leading Russian writers, including Chekhov, Pushkin, and Dostoevsky. Writing in Russian is an important part of the course.

Russian in an Academic Context
Russian 321
Readings include nonfiction texts in a wide array of disciplines, as well as poetry and fiction. The goal is to help students acquire vocabulary and build language skills that will allow them to participate in a semester-long program at a Russian college or university and to conduct independent research in Russian.

The Golden Age of Russian Literature
Russian 326
With a focus on select 19th- and 20th-century prose and poetic texts, the course aims to build vocabulary and improve the student’s ability to communicate in Russian. Texts by Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Sologub, Bunin, and Blok. Conducted in Russian.

Russian Poetry
Russian 409
A historical study of Russian versification—the technical aspects of poetry, structural analysis of poetic texts, and translation of selected poems. Poets studied include Pushkin, Lermontov, Baratynsky, Tyutchev, Fet, Blok, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Tarkovsky, Pasternak, Mayakovsky, Brodsky, and Rein. In Russian.

The Language of the Russian Silver Age and Avant-Garde
Russian 416
A historical study of Russian versification—the technical aspects of poetry, structural analysis of poetic texts, and translation of selected poems. Poets studied include Pushkin, Lermontov, Baratynsky, Tyutchev, Fet, Blok, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Tarkovsky, Pasternak, Mayakovsky, Brodsky, and Rein. In Russian.

Russian through Popular Music and Culture
Russian 423
An examination of key developments, personalities, and texts in Russian popular music and culture from 1960 to the present. While certain concepts, genres, and themes remain central (the singer-songwriter tradition, rock-and-roll as entertainment and music of social protest, the Russian anecdote and comedy), the course also explores cultural marginalia, such as select popular television programs and talk shows of the post-Soviet era.


Basic Intensive Spanish
Spanish 106
This course enables students with little or no previous knowledge of Spanish to complete three semesters of college Spanish in five months (8 credits at Bard and 4 credits in Mexico). Students attend eight hours of class per week, plus two hours with a Spanish tutor. Oral communication and reading and writing skills are developed through a variety of approaches.

Accelerated First-Year Spanish
Spanish 110
Designed for the student with prior exposure to Spanish or command of another Romance language, the course covers major topics in gram­mar with intensive practice in speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing. Practice with a Spanish tutor and work in the language lab are required. The course prepares students for summer language programs abroad or for Spanish 201.

Intermediate Spanish I
Spanish 201
This course is designed to perfect the command of all four language skills (speaking, comprehension, reading, writing) through intensive grammar review, conversation practice, reading of modern Spanish texts, writing simple com­po­sitions, and language lab work. Prerequisites: Spanish 106 or 110 (or equivalent), and permission of the instructor.

Intermediate Spanish II
Spanish 202
Advanced study of grammar is ­supplemented with readings on a variety of topics related to Spanish and Latin American history, ­literature, music, and art. Texts include excerpts from Don Quixote, indigenous Mexican poetry, and a short modern novel. Prerequisite: Spanish 201 or permission of the instructor.

Spanish for Heritage Speakers
Spanish 212
Designed for students who have been exposed to Spanish at home and wish to achieve confidence in speaking, writing, and reading the language. Grammar study capitalizes on prior contact with the language and allows more rapid progress than in a standard setting. Written ­composition, grammar review, and discussion of issues pertinent to Hispanic ­cultures are emphasized.

Latino Presence in the United States
Spanish 220
cross-listed: human rights
An in-depth study of historical, social, political, legal, and linguistic issues surrounding the Hispanic presence in the United States. The course gives advanced Spanish students an opportunity to improve their communication skills and broaden their cultural perspectives.

Cultures and Societies of Latin America
Spanish 223
cross-listed: human rights
The Spanish-speaking world comprises a rich variety of cultures that have historically been in dialogue, as well as resistance, over the centuries. This course focuses on key moments and events that have defined the multifaceted societies of Spain and Latin America. Special emphasis is placed on elements such as social movements, questions of race and ethnicity, postmodernity, constructions of gender and sexuality, and national and diasporic identities. Prerequisite: Spanish 202 or permission of the instructor.

Latin American Short Narrative
Spanish 230
This course traces the development of brief narrative forms from the Modernista period at the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Texts include the prose vignettes of Juan José Arreola; the ficciones of Jorge Luis Borges; short novels by Juan Rulfo and Elena Poniatowska; works by Horacio Quiroga, Ernesto Sábato, Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Marquez, Ana Lydia Vega, and Rosario Castellanos; and relevant critical, historical, and cultural texts.

Testimonies of Latin America
Spanish 240
cross-listed: gss, human rights
Students engage critically with texts that serve as a public forum for voices often silenced in the past. Some of the questions discussed are: How best to represent memories of violence and pain? What are the ultimate effects of mediations of the written word, translations to hegemonic languages, and interventions of well-intentioned intellectuals? The course integrates diaries, testimonial narratives, and films that portray the issues and time periods documented in them.

Is the Author Dead? Haunted by the Ghost of Cervantes
Spanish 245
cross-listed: literature
Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote is intratextually attributed to a fictional Moorish author, at a time when the Moors were being expelled from Spain. Authors trapped in fiction are sometimes persecuted and then killed by their characters; others become invisible as they hide behind the lines they write. This course reflects on the notion of authorship from the birth of the modern novel in Golden Age Spain to contemporary times. Texts by Larra, Azorín, Pessoa, Martín Gaite, Buñuel, Borges, Bolaño, and others.

Introduction to Literary Analysis
Spanish 265
Designed to bridge Spanish language classes and 300-level seminars on literature and culture from Spain and Latin America, the course is primarily engaged with four literary genres: poetry, narrative, drama, and essays. Works studied span the vast historical period from the Middle Ages to contemporary times, but the focus is on acquiring the basic skills for literary analysis.

Introduction to Spanish Literature
Spanish 301 This course explores some of the major literary works produced on the Iberian peninsula from the Middle Ages to the present day. Students become familiar with the general contours of Spanish history, and study in depth a number of masterpieces from authors such as Cervantes, Colón, Teresa de Jesús, Don Juan Manuel, Calderón de la Barca, Larra, Galdós, Unamuno, Lorca, Laforet, Llamazares, Orejudo, and Vila-Matas, among others. Conducted in Spanish.

Introduction to Latin American Literature
Spanish 302
This course covers a broad range historically—from ­pre-Conquest times to the present—and explores all literary genres, including poetry, short stories, novels, essays, and plays. In order to make sense of the broad chronological and geographical span of this literature, the class focuses on seven ­separate modules, each ­highlighting a core moment or key figure in the development of Latin American culture.

Five Latin American Poets
Spanish 306
The class examines the work of five 20th-century Latin American poets: Pablo Neruda (Chile), César Vallejo (Peru), Octavio Paz (Mexico), Nicolás Guillén (Cuba), and Alejandra Pizarnik (Argentina). Outside readings provide the historical, social, and political contexts in which these writers produced their work.

Federico García Lorca
Spanish 319
Poet, playwright, stage director, screenwriter, musician, and painter, García Lorca is also a symbol of resistance to Francoist repression and an icon for gay and left-wing activists. This course studies Lorca’s poetic and dramatic production, from the texts closest to realism, such as the Romancero gitano and Bodas de sangre, to the surrealist Poeta en Nueva York and El público. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisites: Spanish 301 and 302, or by permission of the instructor.

Archive Fever in Literature and Film
Spanish 325
cross-listed: experimental humanities, human rights, literature
Contemporary societies are marked by a widely shared desire to create personal and collective archives as a way of witnessing and memorializing our lives. With an emphasis on, but not limited to, Spanish and Latin American cultures, this course invites students to explore literary and filmic manifestations that are symptomatic of today’s archive fever. Selected films by Buñuel, Almodóvar, and Varda, among others, are put in conversation with literary works by Martín Gaite, Lispector, Chacel, Semprún, Partnoy, and Cercas.

Engaging the Other in Latin American Theory
Spanish 345
cross-listed: human rights
This seminar traces various ways in which the “problem” of the “other” has been addressed in 20th- and 21st-century writings by anthropologists, literary critics, politicians, art historians, and intellectuals from indigenous communities.

Mapping the City in Latin American Literature
Spanish 352
cross-listed: eus, lais
This course explores 20th-century texts that address the many tensions that arise in the process of modernization, paying close attention to centers and margins, inclusions and exclusions, feelings of alienation and, ultimately, a search for community. The class considers how state violence enters domestic spaces, the role of mass media in shaping local culture, and the effects of globalization on identity formation. Texts by Carlos Fuentes (Mexico), Roberto Arlt (Argentina), Fernando Vallejo (Colombia), Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru), and Diamela Eltit (Chile).

Contemporary Auto/biography in Literature and the Visual Arts
Spanish 354
This interdisciplinary course proposes a possible archaeology of auto/biographical visual and written accounts produced in contemporary Spain, put in dialogue with Latin American and French cultural manifestations. Works by writers, photographers, and filmmakers such as Marías, Vila-Matas, Lispector, Bolaño, Borges, Varda, Calle, Lacuesta, Fontcuberta, Jordà, and Erice. Prerequisite: Spanish 301 or 302, or the permission of the instructor.

Spanish Literature Translation
Spanish 356
Designed for students who have completed at least two years of college Spanish. Theoretical texts concerning translation are ­discussed as a basis for every class meeting, and students are required to write short reaction papers in Spanish. The first half of the semester is dedicated to the translation of brief texts from various genres; in the second half, students choose their own longer texts to translate.

Inventing Latin America
Spanish 358
Anticipating independence from Spain after a long colonial period, writers in the American hemisphere used the essay form to imagine what the possibilities of an emerging “Latin America” could be. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, issues of citizenship, nationhood, collective values, and identity were reframed by a long line of thinkers, including Simón Bolívar, Andrés Bello, Simón Rodríguez, Esteban Echeverría, Domingo F. Sarmiento, José Martí, Roberto Fernández Retamar, and Octavio Paz. The class considers texts by these and other writers.