American Studies Events

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Events Archive



  Monday, November 11, 2019
A Reading by Sigrid Nunez
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Sponsored by: Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series
Nicole Nyhan  845-758-7054
  Monday, October 28, 2019
A Reading by Peter Orner
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Sponsored by: Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series
Nicole Nyhan  845-758-7054
  Thursday, October 24, 2019
Nadia Nurhussein (American Studies Lecture)
Nadia Nurhussein
Associate Professor of Literature, Johns Hopkins University

Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium  5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Sponsored by: American Studies Program
Christian Crouch  845-758-6874
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Parks, Plazas, and Planters: Homelessness and Ecological Development
Eric Goldfischer, University of Minnesota
Olin, Room 102  6:00 pm – 7:15 pm
In the 1990s, the well-known tactic of "broken-windows policing" targeted homeless people by removing them from core areas of New York City and other global mega-cities. Yet today, with a progressive administration and softer policing in place, homeless New Yorkers still find themselves unable to exist comfortably in public space. How should we understand this shift? In this presentation, I argue that the regime of anti-homelessness in New York has shifted to what I call "ecological development," and present evidence from an ethnographic study to show how green spaces, linear parks, and urban plaza areas have taken up the mantle of anti-homelessness, and how homeless activists resist these nefarious tools of urban planning and development.

Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Anthropology Program; Center for Civic Engagement; Historical Studies Program; LAIS Program; Sociology Program
Gregory Morton  773-853-1901
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
How to Resist, Harlem to the Amazon: Perspectives from Homeless and Landless Activists
Event with Marcus Moore, Charmel Lucas, and Nikita Price (Picture the Homeless, USA) and Ayala Dias Ferreira (MST- Landless Workers Movement, Brazil)
Olin, Room 102  4:45 pm – 6:00 pm
In the US and Brazil alike, the housing crisis sweeps millions into its grasp each year, producing homelessness, destroying public space, and forcing people to migrate long distances. But homeless activists have powerfully resisted this trend through community organizing, collective action, and legislative change. Landless activists have occupied plantations, successfully resettling hundreds of thousands of people on land that used to be controlled by big agriculture. Come hear from housing organizers in New York City and landless organizers in Brazil. Learn more about how we can create new models of land and public space so that all have a right to a home.

Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Anthropology Program; Center for Civic Engagement; Historical Studies Program; LAIS Program; Sociology Program
Gregory Morton  773-853-1901
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
A Reading by Valeria Luiselli
2018 American Book Award–winning author Valeria Luiselli reads from her work
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
On Tuesday, April 23, at 6:00 p.m. in Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center, Valeria Luiselli reads from her work. Presented by the Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series and the Written Arts Program, and introduced by MacArthur Fellow Dinaw Mengestu, the reading is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. Books by Valeria Luiselli will be available for sale, courtesy of Oblong Books & Music.

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City in 1983 and has lived in Costa Rica, South Korea, South Africa, India, Spain, France, and New York City. She is the author of a book of essays, Papeles falsos/Sidewalks (2012, 2014), and the internationally acclaimed novel Los ingravidos Faces in the Crowd (2013, 2014), which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. In 2014, she won the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 prize, an annual award honoring young and promising fiction writers. Her novel La historia de mis dientes The Story of My Teeth (2013, 2015) won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and the Azul Prize in Canada; was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Best Translated Book Award, and the Impac Prize 2017; and was named one of the New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of the Year. Her recent book Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions won the 2018 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism.

Luiselli received her PhD in comparative literature from Columbia University. Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages, and her writing has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Granta, McSweeney’s, Harper’s, and the New Yorker. Her latest novel, Lost Children Archive (2019), which was written in English, was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Luiselli was recently appointed as writer in residence in the Division of Languages and Literature at Bard College.
“The novel truly becomes novel again in Luiselli’s hands—electric, elastic, alluring, new. . . . She is a superb chronicler.” —New York Times

“Riveting, lyrical, virtuosic. . . . Luiselli’s metaphors are wrought with devastating precision. . . . The brilliance of the writing stirs rage and pity. It humanizes us.” —New York Times Book Review

“Daring, wholly original, brilliant . . . fascinating. . . . Luiselli is an extraordinary writer [with] a freewheeling novelist’s imagination.” —NPR

“A comprehensive literary intelligence.” —James Wood, New Yorker

“A master. . . . Luiselli confronts big picture questions: What does it mean to be American? To what lengths should we go to bear witness? Will history ever stop repeating itself? All the while, her language is so transporting, it stops you time and again.” —Carmen Maria Machado, O Magazine

“One of the most fascinating and impassioned authors at work today.” —Literary Hub

Sponsored by: Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series and the Written Arts Program
Nicole Nyhan  845-758-7054
Monday, April 22, 2019
Jessie Morgan-Owens, author of Girl in Black and White, in Conversation with Christian Crouch
Olin, Room 204  5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Jessie Morgan-Owens is a photographer, dean of studies at Bard Early College–New Orleans, and author of a very well-received new book called Girl in Black and White: The Story of Mary Mildred Williams and the Abolition Movement. On Monday, April 22, she will be on campus to read from the book and to join Christian Crouch in conversation about the issues it raises. Please join us for what should be a terrific and far-ranging discussion of racial politics, the abolitionist movement, U.S. history, the history of photography, the power of images, and more.

To borrow from the publisher’s blurb: “When a decades-long court battle resulted in her family’s freedom in 1855, seven-year-old Mary Mildred Williams unexpectedly became the face of American slavery. Famous abolitionists Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry David Thoreau, and John Albion Andrew would help Mary and her family in freedom, but Senator Charles Sumner saw a monumental political opportunity. Due to generations of sexual violence, Mary’s skin was so light that she ‘passed’ as white, and this fact would make her the key to his white audience’s sympathy. During his sold-out abolitionist lecture series, Sumner paraded Mary in front of rapt audiences as evidence that slavery was not bounded by race. Weaving together long-overlooked primary sources and arresting images, including the daguerreotype that turned Mary into the poster child of a movement, Jessie Morgan-Owens investigates tangled generations of sexual enslavement and the fraught politics that led Mary to Sumner. She follows Mary’s story through the lives of her determined mother and grandmother to her own adulthood, parallel to the story of the antislavery movement and the eventual signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Girl in Black and White restores Mary to her rightful place in history and uncovers a dramatic narrative of travels along the Underground Railroad, relationships tested by oppression, and the struggles of life after emancipation. The result is an exposé of the thorny racial politics of the abolitionist movement and the pervasive colorism that dictated where white sympathy lay―one that sheds light on a shameful legacy that still affects us profoundly today.”

Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; American Studies Program; The Bard Early College Network
Christian Crouch  845-758-6874
Monday, April 22, 2019
From 1924 to Trump: The Roots of America’s Immigration Debate
Jia Lynn Yang, Deputy National Editor, The New York Times
Olin, Room 102  4:45 pm – 6:30 pm
This talk will trace the current immigration debate back to the Supreme Court fight in 1922 over whether a Japanese-born man could naturalize, and the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924, which established ethnic quotas favoring “Anglo-Saxons.” Because immigration debates have long been predicated on who counts as sufficiently “white,” the current system—in which there are far more Asian and Hispanic immigrants than European—challenges traditional notions of who counts as American. Yang will discuss how the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act set us on this current course, but left much unfinished work around race and national identity that we confront today during the Trump administration. The talk will also address media coverage of Trump’s immigration policies as well as how to infuse journalistic work with a sense of history.

Jia Lynn Yang is a deputy national editor at the New York Times, where she helps oversee coverage of the country. Previously, she was deputy national security editor at the Washington Post, where she was an editor on the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2018 for its coverage of Trump and Russia. She is writing a book on the history of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, Un-American Elements, forthcoming from W. W. Norton in 2020.

Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Asian Studies Program; Global and International Studies Program; Historical Studies Program; Human Rights Project; Japanese Studies Program; Political Studies Program
Nathan Shockey
Monday, March 25, 2019
If Only I Were That Warrior 
Film screening and roundtable discussion
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
If Only I Were That Warrior (2015) is a feature documentary film focusing on the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1935. Following the recent construction of a monument dedicated to Fascist general Rodolfo Graziani, the film addresses the unpunished war crimes he and others committed in the name of Mussolini's imperial ambitions. The stories of three characters, filmed in present-day Ethiopia, Italy, and the United States, take the audience on a journey through the living memories and the tangible remains of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia—a journey that crosses generations and continents to today, where this often overlooked legacy still ties the fates of two nations and their people. 

The film screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers, Valerio Ciriaci and Isaak Liptzin, and Bard faculty member Dinaw Mengestu.

Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; American Studies Program; Italian Studies Program; Literature Program
Karen Raizen  845-758-6822
Monday, March 4, 2019
Technics of Space: Caricature and Empire on Hogan’s Alley
Joshua Kopin '12
PhD Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin

Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Part of a larger dissertation project, this talk makes a connection between the subjects of early comics, which often included immigrants and their children, like the Irish-American Yellow Kid; and political cartoons about immigration and American imperialism from the periods of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Spanish-American War. Drawing on his long-established connection to yellow journalism and noting that, while explicitly Irish, the Yellow Kid is drawn in the visual idiom of anti-Chinese caricature, this talk posits that caricature is a technology of empire and inclusion that, through ideas about immigrants and expansionism that were often clothed in metaphors of childhood, served to differentiate acceptable, if unruly, white citizen subjects from imperial others. 

Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Asian Studies Program; Historical Studies Program; Human Rights Program; Irish and Celtic Studies (ICS) Program; Literature Program; the Social Studies Division
Tabetha Ewing  845-758-7548
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Film Screening: In Whose Honor?
Film and discussion with Charlene Teters and Jay Rosenstein
Olin, Room 102  5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Charlene Teters was a graduate art student at the University of Illinois when she started a campaign to retire the school’s racist team mascot and was met with death threats. Emmy and Peabody Award–winning filmmaker Jay Rosenstein—professor of media and cinema studies at the University of Illinois—made In Whose Honor? to chronicle the controversy. It was aired in 1997 on PBS. Rosenstein is still receiving threats over the film.

The screening of In Whose Honor? (48 minutes) will be followed by a conversation with Teters and Rosenstein moderated by Kenneth Stern, director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate.

Free and Open to the Public
Questions: Danielle Riou at
Trailer: Watch Now

Sponsored by the Bard Center for the Study of Hate. Cosponsored by the American Studies Program, Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and the Humanities, Difference and Media Project, Human Rights Program, and Human Rights Project.

Sponsored by: Bard Center for the Study of Hate
Danielle Riou

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