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 2017-18

Bard College Catalogue 2017-18

Additional Interdisciplinary Courses

Big Ideas

Big Ideas courses are designed by two or more faculty members with expertise in different disciplines and engage with more than one distribution area (thereby earning credit in those two distributional areas with a single course). Students are limited to one Big Ideas course per semester.

Chernobyl: The Meaning of Man-Made Disaster
Idea 130
cross-listed: eus, human rights, political studies, res
In April 1986, the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, suffered a major technical problem leading to a meltdown in the reactor core. The radiation release and ensuing clean-up operation required Soviet authorities to evacuate a large local region, affecting millions of people. The region remains mostly uninhabited. Through readings, lectures, and lab sessions, this course explores the issue of nuclear power, what led to the accident, the authorities’ response to it, and the environmental and social impacts on the region since that time.

Games at Work: Participation, Procedure, and Play
Idea 135
cross-listed: computer science, experimental humanities, film and electronic arts
Designed for students in the Lower College, the course is an intensive, interdisciplinary investigation of games and their pervasive role in contemporary life. What constitutes a game? Why do people play them? What makes digital games different from nondigital games? How have game-like incentive systems and other forms of "gamification" infused nongame contexts, such as social media, fine art, democracy, education, war, and the modern workplace? Readings, screenings, and game play augment and inform class investigations of these questions.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Literature and Performance
Idea 220 / Theater 220
See Theater 220 for a full course description.

Modern Literacies

These courses introduce forms of analysis and modes of thinking that represent, process, and convey information. These approaches increasingly mediate our experience of the world, and might include coding, statistical analysis, visual data analysis, and the analysis of geographic or spatial information.

Uncertainty and Variation
ML 102
cross-listed: eus, human rights, political studies, res
This 2-credit course provides a nontechnical introduction to the ideas of statistics and how they are used and portrayed in politics, science, economics, and the media. By focusing on real-world case studies, the class learns to critique the use and misuse of statistics in everyday life. No mathematical prerequisites.

What Is Religion?

These 1-credit courses meet once a week for five weeks.

What Is Freemasonry?
Humanities 135A
Perhaps the most well-known “secret society” in the world, Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that stresses moral development and public service, and utilizes architectural symbolism and theatrical rituals. Although membership is confined to those who believe in a supreme deity, many of its rites involve occult ideas. This course provides a general history of the organization, its offshoots, and the architecture and décor of Masonic Lodges, as well as the symbolism of their visual artifacts.

What Is Millennialism?
Humanities 135B
Human history will close with a thousand years (a millennium) of utopia. That promise, voiced in the last book of the New Testament (Apocalypse 20:3-4), has been incorporated within modern forms of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In all three, however, millennialism today is more threat than promise, and has emerged with programs of violent action that the class seeks to understand.

What Is Spiritualism?
Humanities 135C
Although many cultures have believed in and practiced communication with the dead, spiritualism as it developed in the 19th century had particular doctrines and political ramifications that are explored in this class. Topics covered include the history of the movement as it developed in the United States, Europe, and Brazil; spirit photography; artwork done in trance by mediums; and the role of women in spirtualism.

What Is Zen Buddhism?
Humanities 135D
“Zen,” meaning meditation, is a practice rooted in the transformative power of insight into one’s own nature. Zen Buddhism is therefore called “a special transmission outside the scriptures.” If experience itself is wordless, how then can it be talked about or pointed to? For this reason the Zen arts (poetry, calligraphy, painting, tea ceremony, flower arrangement), as expressions of the inexpressible, play a crucial role in walking this way/dao. The course looks at the origins of Zen Buddhism and considers central texts by both ancient and contemporary Zen masters.