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BARD COLLEGE RECEIVES HENRY LUCE FOUNDATION GRANT FOR PROFESSOR IN HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY, AND NEW MEDIA Grant Will Help Foster Studies of the Impact of The Internet on Human Rights

Mark Primoff
845-758-7412
primoff@bard.edu
09-18-2001

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded Bard College a major grant to create a faculty chair focused on the political, social, and philosophical implications of new media for democracy and human rights. The Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights, Democracy, and New Media, who will be named next year, will lead an exploration of the ways that recent developments in information technology have fundamentally changed how people communicate across the globe, often over otherwise unassailable borders, and how these changes have profoundly affected how global events are viewed. The Bard grant is one of only two such grants awarded this year by the Henry Luce Foundation.

Today it is not uncommon to receive e-mail from a war-torn city, read censored documents on a web page, or see high-resolution satellite images of a refugee camp in the newspaper. Yet, while this transformation in communication, particularly the widespread use of computers and the Internet, is now taken for granted, little academic research has examined its dramatic effects on the human rights movement. The Luce Professor at Bard will explore this and related topics by directing an interdisciplinary program of teaching and research that will bring together students and faculty from literature, social studies, the arts and humanities, and the technical sciences.

"The Luce grant affirms our vision of interdisciplinary work in human rights for undergraduates at Bard," said Thomas Keenan, associate professor of comparative literature and director of the Human Rights Project. "The Luce chair will anchor our program in human rights and allow us to focus on the impact of media in struggles for democracy, and to investigate the changes which new digital media seem to bring with them."

In addition to teaching and research, the Luce Professor will oversee a program of student internships in human rights and new media, as well as organize an annual conference that will bring together scholars, activists, and technicians to debate and come to terms with leading-edge technologies and their application to human rights issues. The Luce Professor will also become a core part of the Human Rights Project at Bard College, which was created in the fall of 1999. The project has developed innovative courses, supported student-based human rights initiatives, and conducted a vigorous program of lectures, films, and seminars featuring human rights activists and scholars, emerging media analysts, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, artists, and writers from across the world.

As part of the Human Rights Program, the Luce Professor will work in concert with several other Bard programs, including the International Human Rights Exchange (IHRE) and the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program (BGIA), as well as the college's partnerships with Smolny College in St. Petersburg, the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt-Oder, and the Central European University in Budapest. The IHRE, an innovative collaboration led by Bard and the University of Cape Town, allows selected undergraduate students from seven universities in South Africa and Zimbabwe and seven United States liberal arts colleges to participate in an intensive, one-month course on human rights in an international setting. The BGIA Program offers undergraduates, through a residential program in New York City, a unique opportunity to undertake specialized study with leading practitioners and scholars and gain internship experience with international-affairs organizations.

For more information on the Luce Professorship or the Human Rights Program at Bard College, call 845-758-7387, e-mail keenan@bard.edu, or log onto www.bard.edu/hrp.

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(9.18.01)

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This event was last updated on 09-23-2004