The Literature Program at Bard is free from the disciplinary barriers that are often set up between different national literatures and forms of media, between the study of language and the study of literature, and between scholarship and creative expression. In addition to training students in a wide range of analytic and interpretive methodologies, the Literature Program at Bard helps students connect the practices of critical writing and reading with other areas of cultural, intellectual, and artistic inquiry—from philosophy to environmental and urban studies, and from gender studies to the performing arts.
Prior to moderating into the Literature Program, students must take Literature 201, Narrative/Poetics/Representation, and at least one of the sequence courses in English, U.S., or comparative literature. To moderate, students must also take at least three additional courses in the Division of Languages and Literature. One of these courses may be a Written Arts course and one may be a language instruction course. No more than one writing workshop and one language instruction course can count toward the Moderation requirements.
For Moderation, the student submits a 10- to 12-page critical essay based on work for one of the sequence courses, along with the two short Moderation papers required of all students. The first short paper reflects on the process that has led the student to this point in their studies; the second reflects on the student’s aspirations for work in the Upper College. The papers are evaluated by a board composed of the student’s adviser and two other members of the Literature Program faculty.
After Moderation, students must take a second sequence course from the same sequence as the first, although it need not be consecutive (for example, English Literature III may be taken before English Literature I). The second sequence course must be taken prior to the start of the senior year. Students must also take at least one course that focuses on literature written before 1800 and one course that focuses on literature written after 1800 (this requirement is in addition to the two sequence courses described above). Moderated students are also expected to enroll in 300-level seminars and are strongly encouraged to take at least one world literature course. All students must complete a Senior Project and enroll in Literature 405, the yearlong Senior Colloquium, in order to graduate.
Recent Senior Projects in Literature
- “Agony and Ajax: Investigation into Divinity in Antiquity”
- “Crickets Chirping Hallelujah: Mystery and Everyday Life in the Short Stories of Chekhov and O’Connor”
- “Inside the Fault Lines of the Heart: The Poetics of Exile in the Works of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and Etel Adnan”
- Textuality and Historical Crisis in John Edgar Wideman’s Philadelphia Fire”
Most writing-intensive courses and workshops in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are listed under the Written Arts Program.
Program Director: Matthew Mutter
Faculty:Jaime Osterman Alves
Maria Sachiko Cecire
Adhaar Noor Desai
Derek Lance Furr
Donna Ford Grover
Rebecca Cole Heinowitz
Franz R. Kempf
Susan Fox Rogers
Marina van Zuylen