2022–23 FacultyProgram Directors: Paul Cadden-Zimansky, Alex Kitnick and Alys Moody
Co-Director of First-Year Seminar, Associate Professor of Physics
Paul Cadden-ZimanskyCo-Director of First-Year Seminar, Associate Professor of Physics
At age 18, Paul Cadden-Zimansky's first classroom jobs were working at a day care on the lower east side of Manhattan and teaching music theory at the National Guitar Summer Workshop. Since then he's earned a BA in Liberal Arts from St. John's College, an MSc in History and Philosophy of Science from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in Physics from Northwestern University; taught at the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University; and held research appointments at Argonne National Laboratory and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of an international collaboration of scientific societies planning celebrations to mark a century of quantum mechanics in 2025. In his labs at Bard, students learn to create and manipulate the thinnest material in the world (graphene). On weekends he still Zooms with a few of his college classmates to read and discuss philosophy.
Co-Director of First-Year Seminar, Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Culture
Alex KitnickCo-Director of First-Year Seminar, Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Culture
Alex Kitnick is Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at Bard. He graduated from Wesleyan University where he majored in something called the College of Letters (which is kind of like a very long FYSEM). He later went on to earn his Ph.D from the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University. His scholarly focus is on modern and contemporary art, primarily in the US and England. A particular interest of his is artist writings and art criticism. Alex is an active critic himself, and his writing has appeared in publications including Artforum and October. He has also contributed to many museum exhibition catalogs. His first book is currently under contract with University of Chicago Press.
Co-Director of First-Year Seminar, Associate Professor of Literature
Alys MoodyCo-Director of First-Year Seminar, Associate Professor of Literature
Alys Moody is Assistant Professor of Literature at Bard College. She was born and raised on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales, Australia, in the hills outside a town best known for its large concrete banana. She lived and taught in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and France, before coming to Bard in 2019. Alys’s research looks at twentieth-century literature as an international undertaking, and particularly (for better or worse) at the way literature has engaged with histories of hunger and starvation in the twentieth century. In addition to FYSEM, she teaches courses on world literature, global modernism, decolonisation, and hunger. In her teaching and her research, she sees literature as part of a larger history of ideas and culture, and she is excited about FYSEM’s ability to help us think creatively about ideas and their history. And as a new faculty member, she is looking forward to getting to know Bard with and through its incoming first-year cohort.
Wallace Benjamin Flint and L. May Hawver Professor of Chemistry
Craig AndersonWallace Benjamin Flint and L. May Hawver Professor of Chemistry
Craig Anderson is the Wallace Benjamin Flint and L. May Hawver Professor of Chemistry and the Director of Undergraduate Research at Bard College. He received his BSc and MSc in chemistry from Western University and his PhD in chemistry from the University of Montreal. In his lab at Bard, students synthesize metal compounds to study their interaction with light and biomolecules, and to learn more about fundamental organometallic reactions. He is a certified Sivananda Yoga instructor, enjoys performance art and discussing philosophy with friends.
Assistant Professor of Historical Studies
Nate AschenbrennerAssistant Professor of Historical Studies
Nathanael Aschenbrenner is a historian of cross-cultural contacts in the late medieval and early modern Mediterranean. He grew up in Alaska and served as an officer in the US Navy before following that well-worn path from the military to medieval history. He earned a Master's at Georgetown University and King's College, London, and received his PhD in History from Harvard in 2019. He is co-editor of The Invention of Byzantium in Early Modern Europe (Dumbarton Oaks Press, 2022), and has published articles on the history of scholarship, Byzantine oratory, and late medieval politics. He is currently working on a book about the political and ideological legacy of the Roman Empire in the late medieval Mediterranean. Other projects investigate the collection and interpretation of medieval material culture in the early modern Mediterranean and the unrecognized intersections between scholarship and colonialism.
Jewish Chaplain; Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities
Joshua BoettigerJewish Chaplain; Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities
Joshua Boettiger is Bard's Jewish Chaplain and also serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities, He is a Bard alum who has an MFA in Poetry (Pacific University, 2018) and a Masters in Hebrew Letters/rabbinic ordination (Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, 2006). Joshua is a Rabbis Without Borders fellow, and in the larger community continues to teach Meditation and Mussar – Jewish approaches to mindfulness and service. He is excited to be back at Bard and to be part of the FYSEM journey.
President of the College; Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities
Leon BotsteinPresident of the College; Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities
Leon Botstein, conductor, music historian, and leader in education reform, has been president and Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities of Bard College since 1975.
Assistant Director; Office of Institutional Support
Johnny BrennanAssistant Director; Office of Institutional Support
Johnny Brennan ('10) is the Assistant Director of the Office of Institutional Support at Bard, where he aids faculty and staff in their grant-seeking efforts. He holds a BA in philosophy and music from Bard, an MA in philosophy from the New School for Social Research, and a PhD in philosophy from Fordham University. His research focuses on the ethics and epistemology of trust—what trust is, its social importance, and what significance it has for issues of moral status, moral injury, knowledge, and expertise. His work has been published in Philosophical Studies, Journal of the American Philosophical Association, European Journal of Philosophy, Philosophy & Technology, and Social Epistemology.
Before returning to Bard, Johnny was a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Fordham, where he taught Intro to Philosophy and Ethics as part of the core curriculum required of all undergraduate students. Similar to FYSEM, this core curriculum investigates fundamental questions about what it means to be human. He also has experience in faculty development, having managed Fordham's Preparing Future Faculty program—an advanced pedagogy certificate for PhD students.
Language and Thinking Program
Rachel CavellLanguage and Thinking Program
Rachel Cavell teaches in Bard’s Language and Thinking Program, and is a Faculty Associate with Bard’s Institute for Writing and Thinking. She teaches Essay and Revision at Bard, and writing and Civics at the Bard Prison Initiative. She has worked with faculty development at Bard-Smolny College (St. Petersburg State University in St. Petersburg, Russia), and has taught in the Bard Masters in Teaching Program. Rachel is also a writer, with recent publications in the Adelaide Literary Journal; an attorney, and a practitioner of Restorative Justice. She is very excited to be discussing, thinking and writing about the great texts in First-Year Seminar.
Felicitas Thorne Postdoctoral Fellow in Music
Sean ColonnaFelicitas Thorne Postdoctoral Fellow in Music
In addition to editorial work for Musical Quarterly and assisting with the Bard Music Festival, Sean Colonna is teaching First Year Seminar as Felicitas Thorne Postdoctoral Fellow in Music. A Bard graduate from the class of 2012, Sean went on to work as a Teach for America Corps Member and a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant before receiving his PhD in historical musicology from Columbia University in 2023. His research centers on the relationship between musical aesthetics, mind-altering substances, and theories of consciousness and selfhood. He is currently working on an article that analyzes the ways in which musical experience and intoxication were theorized as tools for re-enchantment during the early Romantic era, enabling individuals to experience themselves as inhabiting a magical world of spirits in which nature is conscious and communicative. Sean enjoys a daily meditation practice, and one of his favorite reads so far this year is Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology
Jussara dos Santos RaxlenVisiting Assistant Professor of Sociology
Jussara dos Santos Raxlen is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Bard College for the next two academic years.
Jussara’s research and teaching interests include medical sociology; sociology of knowledge; sociology of work; the body; gender and sexuality; ethics of care; and sociological, feminist, and political theory. Her current research focuses on the multiple actors, political philosophies, institutional logics, practices, and spaces involved in providing long-term care for the elderly in the US. In times of shifting economic, social welfare, labor, gender, and cultural regimes, she uncovers the social forces that shape the tensions and contradictions of our current “care” system.
Having been a theatre performer and a social theatre practioner, Jussara likes to explore the possibilities of using theatre practices as tools for knowledge production and social change – in and outside of the academy.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern and Historical Studies
Ibrahim ElhoudaibyVisiting Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern and Historical Studies
Ibrahim Elhoudaiby is a historian of the modern middle east, with a specialty in the political and legal history of nineteenth-century Egypt. His recent publications include “The National Game: Genealogy of the Egyptian Football League,” in Football in the Middle East: State, Society, and the Beautiful Game (2022); and “The Birth of the Investor: Shareholding, Modern Islamic Law, and the Rise of Islamic Finance,” in Islamic Law and Society (2022) among others. In addition to his academic work he has served as a research fellow at FRIDE in Madrid; the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Berlin; and the House of Wisdom Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo. Honors and fellowships include Leibniz Institute for European History Dissertation Completion Fellowship and; Heyman Center for Humanities Fellowship; and Margaret Abdel-Ahad Pennar Fellowship.
BA, Political Science, American University in Cairo; Diploma of Islamic Studies, High Institute of Islamic Studies, Cairo; MA, political science, American University in Cairo; MA, MPhil, PhD, Columbia University. At Bard since 2022.
Visiting Instructor in the Humanities
Nesrin Ersoy McMeekinVisiting Instructor in the Humanities
Nesrin Ersoy McMeekin is a Visiting Instructor in the Humanities at Bard College. Born in Bulgaria, and emigrated to Turkey as a child, Nesrin has taught at Bard for the past six years. She has taught FYSEM each term since she arrived, and she has been teaching a version of it at Bard Early College Hudson since Fall 2017. Nesrin's research focused on Turkish-Bolshevik relations during 1917 to 1930s, and she is interested in Turkish emigration-mainly from the Balkans to Modern Turkey- after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. She enjoys teaching FYSEM and having lively conversations on our texts.
Associate Dean of Students, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Humanities
Molly FreitasAssociate Dean of Students, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Humanities
Molly J. Freitas is Associate Dean of Studies and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Humanities at Bard. As an educator, Molly’s greatest passion is helping students to develop the skills and confidence necessary to achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals. She holds a Ph.D. from Tufts University and an M.A. from Georgetown University, both in English. Prior to coming to Bard, Molly was an Assistant Professor of English and led the prestigious scholarship program at West Point, the United States Military Academy. She has also taught literature, critical thinking, and professional development courses at Tufts University, Emerson College, and the University of Illinois at Chicago and was a book editor at Oxford University Press. A feminist literary critic by training, Molly has an academic book, From Subjection to Survival: The Artistry of American Women Writers, forthcoming from Routledge on aesthetics and American women writers; her scholarly articles have also appeared in American Literary Realism, Soundings, and Studies in the Novel. She lives in Beacon, NY with her husband and two young daughters, who are the light of her life.
Outreach and Education Librarian, Stevenson Library
Alexa Gordon MurphyOutreach and Education Librarian, Stevenson Library
Alexa Gordon Murphy is Outreach and Education Librarian at Stevenson Library, where she supports students in their reading and research endeavors throughout their careers at Bard. Alexa received her B.A. in International Studies from Bard College at Simon’s Rock (then called Simon’s Rock at Bard College), and has an M.A. in Professional Writing from University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons University. Before becoming a librarian, Alexa worked in educational publishing for 15 years as a writer and editor. She’s excited to take the FYSEM journey with students, having once experienced the course as an undergraduate herself.
Assistant Professor of Medieval History
Valentina GrassoAssistant Professor of Medieval History
Valentina A. Grasso is a Sicilian professor of Medieval History at Bard. At the age of 19, she realized that she wouldn't become a post-punk bass guitar star or the clever engineer her parents had dreamed her to be. Thus, she published a convoluted novel and some poems and took root in the UK to confect her Ph.D. on the history of pre-Islamic Arabia between ferocious water polo matches against Oxford, sherry-hazy formal dinners, and dainty old manuscripts in Arabic, Syriac, and Ge'ez. Having conducted fieldwork in Iraq, Jordan, and Ethiopia and having taught in NYC and DC, Valentina is excited to experience a less exciting life in the Hudson Valley where she will work on several new projects on Afro-Eurasia in the “Medieval period”, questing her cat soul mate whom she will name Mani.
Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy
Seth HalvorsonVisiting Associate Professor of Philosophy
Seth David Halvorson is Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bard College. He earned his BA from Macalester College, an MA from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from Columbia University, where he taught in the Core Curriculum. For the past 11 years he was Associate Professor of Philosophy, History, and Political Studies at Bard High School Early College, Newark- where he was founding faculty and coach of the debate team. Professor Halvorson has taught Language and Thinking at Bard for many years and his interests include Political, Ethical, and Social Philosophy, Policy Analysis, Legal Studies, and Philosophy of Technology. He has presented at national and international conferences on diverse topics. Prior to his graduate education, he spent 3 years at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. He is undertaking a book-length study of the civic, moral, and educational dimensions of speed in the spheres of social life. In addition to FYSEM, Halvorson teaches classes in the intersection of Politics, Ethics, Law, Education, and the History of Ideas. Originally from Minnesota, Seth is a painter and a musician and with his partner, a practicing Psychoanalyst, is laughing with and learning from their two young children. Their youngest child is also an incoming first year student at Bard, at the Abigail Lundquist Botstein Nursery School. He is thrilled to teach FYSEM because of his love of open dialogue with students on the big issues and questions that spring from the texts and class discussions.
Scholar in Residence
Assistant Professor of Political Studies
Mie InouyeAssistant Professor of Political Studies
Mie is an Assistant Professor in the Politics program at Bard. She is originally from Massachusetts, but her favorite state is Rhode Island. She studies the political theories of organizers and social movements, with a focus on the twentieth-century American labor and civil rights movements. Mie thinks of political practice as an important source of political theory, and she tries to bridge theory and practice in her research, writing, and teaching. She recently published an article on civil rights organizer Ella Baker’s theory of radical democracy in The American Political Science Review. She also writes about organizing, social movements, and religion and politics for magazines like Jacobin, Boston Review, Political Theology Network, and The Forge. Through her teaching, she encourages students to think of themselves as political theorists in their own right. In addition to FYSEM, she teaches classes on political organizing, Western political thought, American political thought, identity politics, and revolutionary theory and practice. When she’s not being a professor she likes to organize, watch reality TV, and go for hikes with her dog, Yoshi.
Assistant Professor of Political Studies
Pinar KemerliAssistant Professor of Political Studies
Prof. Pınar Kemerli teaches political theory and Middle East politics at Bard College. She completed her PhD in the Department of Government at Cornell University, and holds a BA from Boğaziçi University in Turkey, and MA degrees from Goldsmiths College of the University of London and Cornell University. Her interdisciplinary research addresses theories and practices of resistance, decolonization, violence/nonviolence, and religion and politics, and she offers courses on these topics. She is currently completing a book manuscript on decolonization and antiwar politics in Turkey. Her articles and reviews have appeared in a range of journals including Political Theory, New Political Science, Theory & Event, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Radical Philosophy, and Political Theology.
Associate Vice President for Academic Initiatives, Associate Dean of the College
Nicholas LewisAssociate Vice President for Academic Initiatives, Associate Dean of the College
Nicholas Lewis is Associate Vice President for Academic Initiatives and Associate Dean in the office of the Dean of the College at Bard, where he has newly rejoined the campus community in January 2022. His main areas of interest reside at the intersection of music, African diasporic cultures, religion, and social ethics. Nicholas is also a clarinetist and composer steeped in the sensibilities of improvisational music with a Blues aesthetic. He is the clarinetist and co-founder of the BLAK-New Blues Ensemble, an ensemble co-founded with composer-pianist Anthony Kelley and based at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. As the ensemble’s manifesto reads, the BLAK-New Blues Ensemble was created to “explore an ensemble’s ability to circumnavigate, through improvisation, the codes and tropes of African-American, European, and music of other parts of the world in ways that produce a coherent and fresh musical product.”
Assistant Professor of Political Studies
Chris McIntoshAssistant Professor of Political Studies
Christopher McIntosh is an Assistant Professor of Political Studies who works on the intersection of contemporary global politics, political violence, time, and critical/poststructural international theory. Originally from Marietta, Georgia, he has studied at and received degrees from the University of Georgia, Georgetown, and the University of Chicago. He is currently working on a book that argues how we understand time and choose to relate past, present, and future play a crucial role in the practice of politics. Beyond FYSEM, he teaches courses on time and political violence, gender, global ethics, sovereignty and war, terrorism, nations and nationalism, security, and international relations. He has taught FYSEM since 2010.
Visiting Instructor in the Humanities
Antonio OrtizVisiting Instructor in the Humanities
Antonio Ortiz is a Visiting Instructor in the Humanities at Bard College, teaching Language and Thinking (L&T) and First Year Seminar (FYSEM). Antonio graduated from Bard College in 2018 with a BA in Economics, specializing in macroeconomic policy and the economic history of Latin America. After graduating from Bard, he attended Yale Divinity School where he earned his Master of Divinity degree in 2023. During his time at Yale, Antonio's research focused on the Hebrew Bible; in particular, how biblical narratives of violence were used to construct communal identity in ancient Israel, and surrounding ancient West Asian cultures. In addition to his teaching role, Antonio is also a Program Associate in the Office of the Dean of the College, working directly with the Associate Vice President for Academic Initiatives and Associate Dean of the College, Nicholas Alton Lewis, on building a climate of inclusion and community at Bard College. Outside of academia, Antonio is a practicing Buddhist, and an avid soccer fan.
Assistant Professor of Politics
Lucas G. PinheiroAssistant Professor of Politics
I’m an Assistant Professor of Politics at Bard. My research bridges political theory and social history by focusing on the development of global capitalism, empire, and the legacies of racial slavery in the Atlantic world since the seventeenth century. My current book manuscript, Factories of Modernity: Political Thought in the Capitalist Epoch, develops a new historical and conceptual framework for understanding modern capitalism and confronting its enduring patterns of racialization, discipline, and inequality from slave plantations to Amazon warehouses. My essays and reviews have been published in Political Theory, Modern Intellectual History, Contemporary Political Theory, and Disability and Political Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2016).
Before coming to Bard, I held positions at Dartmouth, the New School, and the University of Chicago, where I taught in the core curriculum—a similar program to FYSEM that invites students to participate in a year-long conversation about questions that have puzzled thinkers for millennia, from Plato to Judith Butler. I also explore many of the themes in my research and teaching through new media artforms. To that end, I’ve curated exhibitions at the New Museum, Rhizome, and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. My artwork has appeared in LEFT: A Book of Words and Pictures and MACRO: An Anthology of Image Macros.
Assistant Professor of Italian
Karen RaizenAssistant Professor of Italian
Karen Raizen is Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian at Bard, where she started teaching in 2017. Her main area of interest is Italian opera and theater of the 17th and 18th centuries, and she is currently working on a project on the clown character Pulcinella. She has also written on the 20th-century Italian intellectual figure Pier Paolo Pasolini. In addition to teaching Italian, Karen has taught courses at Bard in music and gender and sexuality, and is excited to bring these areas into dialogue with the FYSEM texts. She is also a former violist and current amateur ukulele player, and enjoys both viola jokes and ukulele jokes.
William Lensing Senior Lecturer in the Humanities, Dean of Studies & Assoc. VP for Academic Affairs & OSUN-Bard Programs
David SheinWilliam Lensing Senior Lecturer in the Humanities, Dean of Studies & Assoc. VP for Academic Affairs & OSUN-Bard Programs
David Shein was a first-generation college student who studied philosophy and political science as an undergraduate and earned his PhD in philosophy. He has been at Bard for 25 years and currently serves as the William Lensing Senior Lecturer in the Humanities and also as Dean of Studies & Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and OSUN-Bard Network Programs. His work in philosophy focuses on metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of science- what's the world like, how do we know it, and is the scientific world view the only one worth considering in answering these questions? He also is interested in international education and works closely with the Open Society University Network (OSUN) to develop and implement liberal arts and sciences curricula across the globe. His section of FSEM will be a Network Collaborative Course: students will meet in person (just like the other sections) and, at select moments in the semester, will also connect (synchronously and asynchronously) with FSEM classes taking place elsewhere in the world so students at great distances can learn from and with one another.
Assistant Dean of Students
Corey SullivanAssistant Dean of Students
Corey Sullivan (’03) is a multidisciplinary artist and educator working in theater, film, and interactive media. He is currently the Assistant Dean of Students and, as a Bard graduate who benefited greatly from taking FYSEM, he is very much looking forward to addressing class materials from a broad spectrum of perspectives. Prior to returning to the Bard community, Corey was an Associate Professor of Arts and Humanities at New York University, where he taught courses in performance theory, film, literature, and art history in New York, Shanghai, and Abu Dhabi. He also taught courses in directing and media theory at Harvard University as well as workshops and lectures on interdisciplinary collaboration for academic and artistic institutions across five continents. He holds degrees from Bard College and Harvard University.
As a member of the experimental arts collective Theater Mitu, he works as a dramaturg, filmmaker, interactive media designer, performer, writer, and director. Notable presentations include: Brooklyn Academy of Music (Brooklyn, NY); New York Theatre Workshop (New York, NY); Mass MoCA (North Adams, MA); Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans, LA); Manarat Al Saadiyat (Abu Dhabi, UAE); MESS Festival (Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina); Cairo Opera House (Cairo, Egypt); Teatro La Memoria (Santiago, Chile); and Kontakt International Theater Festival (Toruń, Poland). He has also presented work at The Public Theater, American Repertory Theater, Galapagos Art Space, Moscow Art Theater, and EYEBEAM, among others.
Assistant Professor of Classics
David UngvaryAssistant Professor of Classics
David Ungvary is Assistant Professor of Classics at Bard College. Hailing from Buffalo, NY, he studied Classics at Duke University, the University of Oxford, and Harvard University before joining Bard in 2018. Prof. Ungvary is a literary historian whose current research centers on intersections of Christian asceticism and poetry in the Late Roman and early medieval worlds. He teaches courses in Greek and Latin language and literature, Roman cultural history, and late ancient religion. Through FYSEM, he is excited to join students as they discover the complexities of their own philosophies of literature – what it means and what is at stake when we read and write about specific texts. He also bakes for his students.
Visiting Instructor of Humanities; Librarian, Levy Economics Institute
Bill WalkerVisiting Instructor of Humanities; Librarian, Levy Economics Institute
Bill Walker is at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College where he directs Library and Research activities. He is currently involved in working closely with the Masters students there, especially in the writing and editing of their theses. Prior to coming to Bard, Bill worked in Professional and Reference Publishing in NYC for over 25 years as a writer, editor, and Publisher.
Chaplain, Dean of Community Life: Vicar, St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church
Mary Grace WilliamsChaplain, Dean of Community Life: Vicar, St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church
The Rev. Mary Grace Williams, Chaplain of the College/Dean of Community Life, came to Bard in 2016 excited to work with college students. She received her B.A. from Rutgers University where she studied Theater Arts (Acting and Directing) which led her to move to NYC directly after college to pursue a career in theater. While living in the West Village, she rediscovered her deep interest in spirituality and religion and that inspired her to do a M.A. in Religious Education from Fordham University. Eventually this led her to seek ordination as an Episcopal priest and she attended Yale Divinity School and earned a M. Div. Mary Grace is a single mother of two adopted daughters, one of whom is currently attending Bard College.