Julia DeFabo ’14

Julia studies anthropology, French, and Africana studies at Bard. Her interest in Western representations of African art has brought her a long way from her hometown near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—as a Bard student she’s interned at an Atlanta museum and will spend a semester in Senegal studying the nation’s language and culture.

I’m an anthropology-French joint major with a concentration in Africana studies. I didn’t originally plan to have so many areas of study, but Bard has a way of making you do things that you never thought you could do. Last year, I took an art history class as a distribution requirement and I realized that there were all these problems in American museums with how African art is portrayed. I had the anthropological viewpoint on that, but I didn’t know much about the art. I decided that I wanted to go to graduate school for museum studies in African art. I interned this past summer at the High Museum in Atlanta with the African art curator, and I’m going abroad to Senegal next semester. I’m doing a home-stay and taking classes through the University of Dakar, and I really hope to get involved with the city’s arts festival. Especially if I’m going to focus my Senior Project on representation of African art in a Western context, I need to understand how it’s represented in an African context.

I never thought I would end up on the arts side of things. What I’m planning on doing with my life is completely different than anything I would have thought of before Bard. I think the College has really changed my life in that way. It’s also helped me understand how people in academia think and act and work with each other. I’m considering staying in academia to be a professor and do research. That’s something else I would never have seen as an option, but Bard has shown me that these things can be really exciting.

All those jokes about Bard students always talking about Hannah Arendt or Foucault or Derrida are pretty true. The Bard community is very intellectual. Students like to learn and like to be in the classroom and to think for themselves. Socially, Bard is a good place to find really close friends. The students here are very unique in how they approach the world. There’s a certain kind of person that’s drawn to Bard, and that’s someone that’s skeptical about the world and questions the everyday, and yet is very optimistic that we can make a difference to the future.