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, 2018–19

Bard College Catalogue, 2018–19

Affiliated Programs and Institutes

Campus-Based Programs, Centers, and Initiatives

The following programs offer opportunities for undergraduate students 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) BPI offers credit-bearing course work to incarcerated students at six prisons in New York State. For a full description of this program, see "Educational Initiatives" or 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.

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 from 2014 to 2016. Past CMIA programs have included “Color,” “Cinematic Romanticisms,” and “Remembering the Great War.” All programs are open to the entire Bard community, and the Center coordinates a number of educational workshops and internship programs for students. Richard 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 systems 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, student research initiatives, and paid internships; provides educational resources to the public; and works closely with media organizations to improve news coverage of unmanned systems technology. The Center’s website,, features reports, interviews, research resources, and a weekly roundup of news, commentary, analysis, and technology.

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 2011. The Center sponsors readings, panels, and other events on campus, and has played host to visiting African performers, artists, scholars, and statesmen, including then president John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, who in 2013 delivered the inaugural Chinua Achebe Leadership Forum Lecture.

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  The Arendt Center sponsors courses on Hannah Arendt and topics connected to its annual fall conference, 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 conference, “How Do We Talk about Difficult Questions? Race, Sex, and Religion on Campus,” featured Claudia Rankine and asked how college can be a safe and inclusive space for addressing hard and uncomfortable questions essential to our democracy. The Center celebrated its 10th annual conference, on “Crises of Democracy,” in 2017. This fall, the topic will be Citizenship and Civil Disobedience.

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 Center and its activities, visit To subscribe to the Center’s mailing list, email

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 participate in project work, collections management, and research collaborations. Some current subjects are assessment of the biological impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, studies of rare plants and animals in wetlands and other habitats, documentation of the interactions of weeds with other biota and people, management of a regional herbarium, and the education of professionals in land use and conservation. To learn more, visit

Human Rights Project (HRP)  he 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 collaborations include projects on human rights forensics (with the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London), the intersections between the visual arts and human rights (with the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard), and workers’ rights in the Hudson Valley (with the Worker Justice Center in Kingston, New York). HRP has incubated Human Rights Radio, a broadcast and podcast series on contemporary rights issues; The Draft, a student-led discussion forum and journal; and the Center for the Study of the Drone, an independent research and analysis project on drones in military and civilian contexts (see page 258). Media projects include an online video archive of the trial of Slobodan Milosˇevi´c at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague (in partnership with the Internet Archive) and a web-based research, documentation, and advocacy platform focused on labor rights in India’s tea sector. In 2014–15, the Project, together with the Center for Curatorial Studies, inaugurated the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism. In partnership with Bard College Berlin, HRP is developing an interdisciplinary research and teaching initiative focused on migration. HRP also sponsors a regular lecture and film series on campus. 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 Montgomery, Alabama, to Cairo, Egypt. To learn more about HRP activities, visit

Institute of Advanced Theology (IAT) The Institute began its program of local discussion among professional theologians in 1988, and on that basis developed research projects, interdisciplinary conferences, and focused sequences of lectures. The great majority of events are open to the public, and membership is offered for those who wish to take advantage of the full range of activities. To learn more, 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 “Educational Initiatives” or visit

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. 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.

Landscape and Arboretum Program at Bard College  The Landscape and Arboretum Program is charged with promoting tree conservation and preservation on the Bard campus, and offers horticultural education, outreach, and research. Noncredit, adult education courses—offered at the College through the New York Botanical Garden—are open to the public and to members of the Bard community. Other events sponsored by the program include an annual Arbor Day tree celebration, campus garden tours, and lectures. Additionally, the Arboretum offers a summer internship and work-study positions to several undergraduate students each year.

With the recent acquisition of Montgomery Place, the Bard campus is home to several of New York’s biggest tree species, as listed on the New York Big Tree Registry. In 2017, the Arboretum established the Friends of Blithewood Garden in partnership with the Garden Conservancy to rehabilitate the architectural elements of the historic garden. For up-to-date information on events and courses, visit

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 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; and the Customary Authorities Project, which works with young South Sudanese researchers to document the changing role of traditional leadership in South Sudan, using field-based oral history and community meetings. 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 cofounder of RVI and was executive director until 2017. He is currently lead researcher on the South Sudan Customary Authorities Project. The U.S. board of the Institute consists of Ryle, Kwame Anthony Appiah (New York University), and Kenneth Anderson (American University). Bard students have various opportunities to assist with RVI activities, including editing video material, remote collaboration on the Customary Authorities Project, and work on a new project involving visual documentation of East African textiles. The Institute sponsors talks, films, and other events on campus.