- Acknowledging Bard's Origins
- History of Bard
- Learning at Bard
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- Division of the Arts
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- Division of Social Studies
- Interdivisional Programs and Concentrations
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Bard College Catalogue 2022-23
Social Studies Overview
The Division of Social Studies offers academic programs in anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, politics, religion, and sociology. Additional courses of study are available through interdivisional and area studies programs, such as Human Rights and Middle Eastern Studies; and concentrations, such as Environmental Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Medieval Studies. Students are encouraged to take courses from multiple fields in the division in order to develop an interdisciplinary perspective on fundamental questions about the human experience that is historically rooted but geared toward contemporary issues. Students draw on the interpretive strategies and analytic methods of multiple disciplines to develop a critical perspective on various aspects of society, politics, thought, and culture. Although the main emphasis in the division is interdisciplinary, students are encouraged to design programs of study that address particular areas of inquiry that are personally meaningful and can also provide pathways for graduate or professional work or a future career.
Typically, courses in the Upper College are seminars characterized by active discussion, intensive reading, synthetic analysis, and independent research. Major conferences, tutorials, fieldwork, and research projects prepare the student for the Senior Project. The Senior Project may take any form appropriate to the student’s field, subject, and methodology; most are based in independent research, but a project may also take the form of a critical review of a literature, a close textual analysis, a series of related essays, or even a translation.
Several special interdisciplinary initiatives offer courses that are clustered thematically. Racial Justice Initiative (RJI) courses critically analyze systems of racial hierarchy and power from multiple disciplinary perspectives; Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences (ELAS) courses link academic work with civic engagement; Courage to Be seminars address the practice of courageous action in the 21st century; Hate Studies Initiative (HSI) courses examine the human capacity to define and dehumanize an “other”; Migration Initiative courses address the global refugee crisis and the issue of forced migration; Asian Diasporic Initiative (ADI) courses look at the cultural, political, and historical impacts of Asia’s various regions and peoples; Thinking Animals Initiative (TAI) courses introduce ways of thinking about animals that encourage interdisciplinary connections; and Calderwood Seminars help Upper Class students think about translating discipline-specific writing to a general audience.
The course descriptions listed in this chapter represent a sampling of courses taught in the last three years.
Division chair: Michelle Murray