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Events Archive



Thursday, November 30, 2017
Harlem and the Roots of Gentrification, 1965-2003
Brian Goldstein, Swarthmore College
Olin, Room 102  4:40 pm
In the last four decades of the twentieth century, Harlem, New York—America’s most famous neighborhood—transformed from the archetypal symbol of midcentury “urban crisis” to the most celebrated example of “urban renaissance” in the United States. Once a favored subject for sociologists studying profound poverty and physical decline, by the new millennium Harlem found itself increasingly the site of refurbished brownstones, shiny glass and steel shopping centers, and a growing middle-class population. Drawing from Brian Goldstein’s new book, The Roots of Urban Renaissance: Gentrification and the Struggle Over Harlem (Harvard University Press, 2017), this lecture will trace this arc by focusing on competing visions for Harlem's central block. In doing so, it will reveal the complicated history of social and physical transformation that has changed this and many American urban centers in the last several decades. Gentrification is often described as a process controlled by outsiders, with clear winners and losers, victors and victims. In contrast, this talk will explore the role that Harlemites themselves played in bringing about Harlem’s urban renaissance, an outcome that had both positive and negative effects for their neighborhood. 

Sponsored by: Art History Program and American Studies Program; Environmental and Urban Studies Program
Olga Touloumi  845-758-6822
Monday, November 27, 2017
Stories of Abduction and Tales of Breaking Free: From ADHD Monsters to Space Aliens in the Contemporary U.S.
Susan Lepselter
Associate Professor of Anthropology &
Associate Adjunct Professor of American Studies,
Indiana University

Olin, Room 102  6:00 pm
Americans know their dominant national story centers on ideals of freedom, social mobility, and progress. But those ideals are constantly shadowed by the counter-figures of captivity and immobility. This talk is going to muse on different ways we talk about hard-to-articulate feelings of captivity and containment, from the inner subjective states of neurodivergence, to stories of uncanny captivity in UFO abduction. I will think about how idiosyncratic individual experiences and public narratives of captivity resonate with each other. How do these narratives move from the margins to the center of political discourse – and to what effect? This talk will touch on neurodiversity forums on tumblr, the medicalized idea of the monster, and UFO abduction stories. In the second half of the talk, I will invite members of the audience to tell their own stories of captivity, in both uncanny or ordinary registers.  Come with a story to tell!​

Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Anthropology Program; Experimental Humanities Program
Laura Kunreuther  845-758-7215
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Mid-Hudson Valley All Day Sacred Harp Singing
Come join the Mid-Hudson Valley Shapenote Singing Community in filling Bard Hall this Saturday with sounds of the Sacred Harp, an early American oblong tunebook arrayed in 4-part dispersed harmony. Lend your voice or your ears and witness a centuries-old living tradition, with the first bi-annual convening of the Mid-Hudson Valley Sacred Harp Association at Bard Hall.
Bard Hall, Bard College Campus  10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Keillor Mose  845-679-1273
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Shooting the Enemy
Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin
Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm

"When I started college in the early 1980s, I really wanted to learn how shoot, light, and, especially, develop 35mm B&W film. I took an evening class, and began to photograph whatever was around me. At that time, I was hanging out with a mobile d.j. crew, based on Long Island, where I lived. So, much of what I shot was of them.

"Eventually, though, I gave up photography, put my negatives in a bag, and began to write, ultimately growing to be a print and radio journalist with a focus on hip-hop.

"Those d.j.s, however, went on to become hip-hop legends Public Enemy and, their history-making production arm, the Bomb Squad. My photos—some of the only photo-documents of them during that period—soon were enlisted into the service of documentaries for the BBC, MTV, VH-1, and other productions. As well, a number of them were recently acquired as part of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture's permanent collection.

"This year is the 30th anniversary of Public Enemy's debut, Yo! Bum Rush the Show. In 2018, it will be three decades since the release of their landmark It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.

"Since I lived through, worked during, and documented the rise of hip-hop culture as a media professional—and this even earlier era with my camera—I’m bringing the entirety of what I've seen to Bard College, doing so in the spirit of openness and learning."

Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin, publishes the blog Media Assassin at There he writes about race, politics, and culture, much as he does for VIBE, The Source, The Village Voice, and other publications, and has been doing so for over twenty years.

Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; American Studies Program; Dean of Inclusive Excellence; Division of Social Studies; Experimental Humanities Program
Christian Crouch  845-758-6874
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Professor Tyler Bickford (University of Pittsburgh)
New Media Poetics and the Politics of Childhood: Doing Media Ethnography in School
RKC 103  5:30 pm
Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork at an elementary school in New England, this talk explores the politics and poetics of children’s everyday performances of mass media texts in school contexts. Elementary schools are places where the expressive environment is tightly regulated. But because schools’ pedagogical emphasis on literacy privileges language and communication as a field of action, expressive repertoires from popular music and entertainment media provide a powerful resource for children to challenge adult authority and claim childhood as a space of opposition, intimacy, and solidarity. An ethnographic perspective on the situated everyday activities in which children engage with poetic, musical, and narrative texts reveals that, in the “wild” of everyday school life, mass media texts circulate in fragmentary and partial forms, as snippets, tropes, half-remembered quotations, puns, improvisations, and momentary performances that are powerful in part because of their ephemerality and incompleteness. In their everyday performances, children put forward a poetics tightly linked to new media forms—drawn from the internet, mobile music devices, video games, and social media—to politicize and complicate the bureaucratic regime of school literacy and adulthood. In doing so, children’s performances point to new ways of thinking about the social structures that organize schools.

Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Bard Ethnomusicology, the IDEA Fund, Experimental Humanities; Music Program
Maria Sonevytsky  845-758-2405
Monday, September 25, 2017
A Reading by Quincy Troupe
The American Book Award–winning poet, journalist, and Miles Davis biographer reads from his work
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  2:30 pm
The founding editor of Confrontation and author of James Baldwin: The Legacy, Miles: The Autobiography, Miles and Me: A Memoir of Miles Davis, and poetry collections including Errançities reads from his work at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, September 25, 2017, in Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center. Presented by the Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series, introduced by novelist and Bard literature professor Bradford Morrow and followed by a Q&A, the reading is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.

In addition to his work as a biographer and essayist, Troupe has published many collections of poems, including The Architecture of Language, Transcircularities: New and Selected Poems, and Snake-Back Solos: Selected Poems 1969–1977, which received an American Book Award.

He has received honors and awards from the National Foundation for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts; and served as poet laureate of the state of California.
"It has been said that Miles Davis was a great poet on his instrument. In a similar vein, it can be said that Quincy Troupe is a great instrument in his poetic delivery. As fate would have it, these two very talented individuals would form a mutual and intriguing bond. Miles and Me, Quincy Troupe's latest book, is an honest, serious and sometimes hilarious memoir of his warm and cherished friendship with Miles Davis." —QBR: The Black Book Review

"Brilliant, poetic, provocative, Quincy Troupe's Miles and Me reveals the man behind the dark glasses and legend." —Ishmael Reed

Any supporter who donates $500 or more to Bard’s literary journal Conjunctions receives a BackPage Pass providing VIP access to any Fall 2017 or future event in the Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series. Have lunch with a visiting author, attend a seminar on their work, and receive premium seating at their reading. Or you can give your BackPage Pass to a lover of literature on your gift list! To find out more, click here or contact Nicole Nyhan at or (845) 758-7054.

Sponsored by: Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series
Micaela Morrissette  845-758-7054
Monday, September 18, 2017
“Never Catch Me”: False Endings in Black Music from the Soul Era to the Present
Emily Lordi, Associate Professor of English
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

RKC 103  6:15 pm
Often invoked but seldom defined, the word “soul” occupies a central yet slippery place in the African American cultural tradition. Is it a musical genre? A racial essence? A spiritual quality? I believe it is none of the above, exactly, but instead a story about black experience that we can read through generations of musical practice. In the late-1960s, soul emerged as a name for the social and aesthetic grace wrought from racialized pressure—what black people earned by surviving the historical and daily trials of white supremacy. One of the musical manifestations of this concept, I suggest, was the “false ending,” the practice of bringing a song to its close only to strike it back up for another chorus or two. This strategy structurally enacted—and, thanks to its evident roots in gospel music, helped to render sacred— soul’s message of black group resilience. 

After discussing false endings in the work of Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, and Marvin Gaye, I will suggest this device finds its contemporary counterpart in two recent music videos: Flying Lotus (and Kendrick Lamar)’s “Never Catch Me,” which begins with a false ending by staging the death and resurrection of two black children; and Beyoncé’s Lemonade, which likewise begins with a suicidal swan-dive that initiates the visual album’s healing journey. To trace this device through the Black Lives Matter era is to see how what scholars call “post-soul aesthetics” are in fact haunted by the “false ending” that is the supposed death of soul itself—and, more to the point, by the persistent need for the models soul offers for translating black loss into what theorist Fred Moten calls a “will to proceed” against intractable odds.

Emily Lordi is an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the author of two books: Black Resonance: Iconic Women Singers and African American Literature (Rutgers UP, 2013) and Donny Hathaway Live (Bloomsbury 33⅓ series, 2016). She has published scholarly articles on topics ranging from literary modernism to Beyoncé, as well as works of cultural criticism in such venues as The Atlantic, Slate, The Root, the Fader, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is writing a book about soul.
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; American Studies Program; Ethnomusicology; Literature Program
Peter L'Official  845-758-7556
  Thursday, September 7, 2017
Inventing the Immigration Problem: The Dillingham Commission and Progressive-Era America
Katherine Benton-Cohen
Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University

Olin, Room 101  4:30 pm
“Inventing the Immigration Problem: The Dillingham Commission and Progressive-Era America,” examines the enormous impact of the largest study of immigrants in US History. From 1907 to 1911, a staff of 300—over half of them women--compiled 41 volumes of reports and a potent set of recommendations that shaped immigration policy for generations to come. The talk will discuss the Commission’s surprising origins in US-Asia relations, its enthusiasm for distributing immigrants throughout the United States, and its long-term effect not just on federal policy, but on how Americans think about immigration in general.
 Katherine Benton-Cohen is associate professor of history at Georgetown University. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including those from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
She is the author of Borderline Americans: Racial Division and Labor War in the Arizona Borderlands (Harvard University Press, 2009), as well as her forthcoming book on the history of the Dillingham Commission.

Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Historical Studies Program; Sociology Program
Joel Perlmann  845-758-7667
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Middle Eastern Studies 
Open House 
Kline, Faculty Dining Room  5:00 pm
Come celebrate the end of the year with fellow MESers. Meet faculty, hear about exciting new courses, study abroad programs, senior projects, and a number of incredible iniatives MES students are working on. Snacks will be served. All are welcome.

Sponsored by: Middle Eastern Studies Program
Dina Ramadan  845-758-7506
  Monday, May 8, 2017
American Studies Open House
An open event for all students with an interest in American Studies
Hopson Cottage  5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Come meet the faculty and students of the American Studies program! Enjoy some free food, hear about upcoming fall courses, and celebrate seniors who have just turned in their projects. 

Sponsored by: American Studies Program
Alex Benson  845-758-6822
Monday, April 10, 2017
Living and Dying in the Vicinity of Amherst
Gillian Osborne
Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm
This talk draws from a larger “bioregional biography.” Surveying roughly fifty years and fifty square miles in the middle of Massachusetts in the mid-nineteenth-century, In the Vicinity of Amherst draws on environmental history, scientific studies past and present, geography, literature, and the arts, to explore how lives—plant, animal, and human—are connected across time through a shared environmental context. While Emily Dickinson provides the occasion for such close scrutiny of a particular time and place, it’s not Dickinson only I’m seeking here: rather, an understanding of how any text converses with its context. The talk will also feature fossils, paintings of mushrooms,
mica, and shale.

Gillian Osborne is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Center for the Environment and co-editor of a collection of critical essays, forthcoming from University of Iowa Press, on modern and
contemporary ecopoetics.

Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Environmental and Urban Studies Program; Literature Program
Alex Benson  845-758-6822
Friday, March 31, 2017
A Reading by Dawn Lundy Martin
The author of Life in a Box Is a Pretty Life reads from her poems
Bard Hall, Bard College Campus  5:00 pm
At 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 31, in Bard Hall, the John Ashbery Poetry Series presents a reading by Dawn Lundy Martin.

The activist poet and editor, winner of the Cave Canem Prize and Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry, and cofounder of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh is also the author of such books as A Gathering of Matter/A Matter of Gathering, Discipline, and the forthcoming Good Stock Strange Blood.

Introduced by Ann Lauterbach and followed by a conversation and Q&A, the reading is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.

"Every time I read Good Stock Strange Blood, a new, deepened book awaits me. Which is to say, it’s got trap doors, trick sleeves; it takes swerves, detours, and dives. Dawn Lundy Martin’s poems read like a real-time excavation of what poetry can and can't do; how the past is never past; how to stand in the blur, the 'griefmouth' of personal and collective pain and somehow—against all odds—make thought, make fury, make song. We need this resilience, this bloody reckoning, this wit and nuance, now." —Maggie Nelson

"A relentless pressure placed on the body that is fetishized, shackled, split, strangled, beaten, hated, compressed, trashed, drowned, measured, mirrored, dragged, discarded, disappeared, opened, punctured, displayed, encased. The question of 'what allows the body to survive' is at the heart of Good Stock Strange Blood. If there's an answer in this book to that question, then perhaps it has to do with how we confront and give words and breath and sound and silence to a life of meticulously drawn images that are ghostly, brutal, and vivifying." —Daniel Borzutzky

Sponsored by: John Ashbery Poetry Series
Micaela Morrissette  845-758-7054
Thursday, March 30, 2017
A Reading by John D'Agata
The controversial essayist presents a free public reading
Bard Hall, Bard College Campus  6:00 pm
Thursday, March 30, at 6:00 p.m. in Bard Hall, game-changing essayist and editor John D'Agata reads in the Written Arts Series.

Introduced by Mary Caponegro '78, Richard B. Fisher Family Professor in Literature and Writing, and followed by a Q&A, this event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.

D'Agata is the author of Halls of Fame, The Lifespan of a Fact, About a Mountain, and the three-volume New History of the Essay series.

“John D'Agata is one of the most significant U.S. writers to emerge in the past few years. His essays combine the innovation and candor of David Shields and William Vollmann with the perception and concinnity and sheer aesthetic weight of Annie Dillard and Lewis Hyde. In nothing else recent is the compresence of shit and light that is America so vividly felt and evoked.” ―David Foster Wallace

"The Lifespan of a Fact is a Talmudically arranged account of the conflict between Jim Fingal, zealous checker, and John D’Agata, nonfiction fabulist." … "It is less a book than a knock-down, drag-out fight between two tenacious combatants, over questions of truth, belief, history, myth, memory and forgetting." —New York Times Book Review and Magazine

"In About a Mountain's circuitous, stylish investigation, D'Agata uses the federal government's highly controversial proposal to entomb the U.S.'s nuclear waste located in Yucca Mountain, near Las Vegas, as his way into a spiraling and subtle examination of the modern city, suicide, linguistics, Edvard Munch's The Scream, ecological and psychic degradation, and the gulf between information and knowledge. It is testament to D'Agata's skillful organization and his use of a rapid sequences of montages that readers will be pleasurably (and perhaps necessarily) disoriented but never distracted from the themes knitting together the ostensibly unrelated voices of Native American activists, politicians, geologists, Levi's parents, D'Agata's own mother, and a host of zany Las Vegans." —Publishers Weekly

Sponsored by: Written Arts Program
Micaela Morrissette  845-758-7054
  Thursday, March 30, 2017
God Behind Bars: The Rise of Faith-Based Prison Ministries in an Age of Mass Incarceration
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  6:00 pm
Tanya Erzen
Associate Professor, University of Puget Sound
Director, Freedom Education Project Puget Sound
In prisons throughout the United States, punitive incarceration and religious revitalization are occurring simultaneously. Faith-based prison ministries operate under the logic that religious conversion and redemption will transform prisoners into new human beings. Why are Christian prison ministries on the rise amidst an increasingly punitive system of mass incarceration? How do people in prison practice religion in a space of coercion and discipline? What are theimplications of the state's promotion of Christianity over other religious traditions in some prisons? And, why have conservative Christians, particularly, embraced criminal justice reform?

Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Anthropology Program; Bard Prison Initiative; Religion Program
Laura Kunreuther  845-758-6822
Monday, March 13, 2017
A Reading by Robert Olen Butler
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author reads from his most recent novel, Perfume River
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  2:30 pm
On Monday, March 13, at 2:30 p.m. in Weis Cinema, Robert Olen Butler reads from his new novel, Perfume River, the sequel to his Pulitzer Prize–winning fiction collection A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain. Sponsored by the Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series, introduced by Bradford Morrow, and followed by a Q&A, this event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.

Butler is the author of sixteen novels, including Mr. Spaceman and Hell, and six fiction collections, including Tabloid Dreams. His stories have appeared widely in such periodicals as Conjunctions, The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, The Paris Review, VQR, and Granta; as well as in four annual editions of The Best American Short Stories, eight annual editions of New Stories from the South, and elsewhere.
 “What I so like about Perfume River is its plainly-put elegance. Enough time has passed since Viet Nam that its grave human lessons and heartbreaks can be—with a measure of genius—almost simply stated. Butler’s novel is a model for this heartbreaking simplicity and grace.” —Richard Ford

“Butler’s Faulknerian shuttling back and forth across the decades has less to do with literary pyrotechnics than with cutting to the chase. Perfume River hits its marks with a high-stakes intensity. Butler’s prose is fluid, and his handling of his many time-shifts as lucid as it is urgent. His descriptive gifts don’t extend just to his characters’ traits or their Florida and New Orleans settings, but to the history he’s addressing.”—New York Times Book Review

“A deeply meditative reflection on aging and love, as seen through the prism of one family quietly torn asunder by the lingering effects of the Vietnam War. This is thoughtful, introspective fiction of the highest caliber, but it carries a definite edge, thanks to an insistent backbeat that generates suspense with the subtlest of brushstrokes.” —Booklist (starred review)

Any supporter who donates $500 or more to Bard’s literary journal Conjunctions receives a BackPage Pass providing VIP access to any Spring/Fall 2017 or future event in the Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series. Have lunch with a visiting author, attend a seminar on their work, and receive premium seating at their reading. Or you can give your BackPage Pass to a lover of literature on your gift list! To find out more, click here or contact Micaela Morrissette at or (845) 758-7054.

Micaela Morrissette  845-758-7054
Monday, March 6, 2017
"I am not a Feminist. I am a Graffitera:" Performing Feminist Community without Feminist Identity
Jessica Pabon 
Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
SUNY New Paltz

Campus Center, Weis Cinema  4:30 pm
In cities across the globe, graffiti grrlz (women who write graffiti art) enact the quintessential principles of feminist movement such as collectivity, support, and empowerment. They do so, however, without claiming a feminist identity; some emphatically rejecting a feminist mantle. In her talk, feminist graffiti scholar Dr. Jessica N. Pabón asks: do we need to call ourselves feminists in order to enact feminist change in the world? Incorporating the ethos of “action above words” that defines graffiti subculture, Pabón argues that the question of who is or is not a feminist becomes secondary to how feminism is being enacted through everyday performance.
Case studies are drawn from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Brazil as well as the United States.

Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Gender and Sexuality Studies Program; Historical Studies Program; Office of Inclusive Excellence
Myra Armstead  845-758-6822
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Pearl S. Buck vs. H. T. Tsiang
Olin, Room 102  6:00 pm
Who gets to speak for China? During the interwar years, when American
condescension toward “barbarous” China yielded to a fascination with
all things Chinese, a circle of writers sparked an unprecedented
public conversation about American–Chinese relations. Hua Hsu will
discuss his book, A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the
Pacific, and the rivalries which emerged between powerful writers and
gatekeepers like Pearl Buck, Carl Crow, and Henry Luce and largely
overlooked immigrant writers like the D.I.Y. oddball H.T. Tsiang. How
do these conversations about Asian American identity or transpacific
geopolitics continue into today? What role do market pressures and
imagined rivalries play in the creative process? How did failure
inspire one man toward radical dreams of floating away?

Hua Hsu is an associate professor of English at Vassar College, where
he also directs the program in American Studies. He is the author of A
Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific, published
last year by Harvard University Press. He has previously written for
Artforum, The Atlantic, Grantland, Slate, and The Wire. He is
currently a contributor to the New Yorker where he reviewed Kanye West's
 “The Life of Pablo'" and Run the Jewels’ “RTJ3.” He serves on the
 executive board of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.
All invited!

Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Art History Program; Asian Studies Program; Language and Literature Division
Tom Wolf  845-758-7247
Monday, February 27, 2017
A Reading by Francine Prose
The Rome Prize–winning author reads from her most recent novel, Mister Monkey
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  2:30 pm
On Monday, February 27, at 2:30 p.m. in Weis Cinema, Francine Prose reads from her new novel, Mister Monkey. Sponsored by the Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series, introduced by Bradford Morrow, and followed by a Q&A, this event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.

Bard College's visiting professor of literature and the former president of PEN American Center, Prose is the autor of many books, including Household Saints, Blue Angel, Reading Like a Writer, and Peggy Guggenheim: The Shock of the Modern.
 “Expertly constructed, Mister Monkey is so fresh and new it’s almost giddy, almost impudent with originality. Tender and artful, a sophisticated satire, a gently spiritual celebration of life, a dark and thoroughly grim depiction of despair, a screwball comedy, a screwball tragedy, it’s gorgeous and bright and fun and multifaceted, carrying within it the geological force of the ages. It’s a book to be treasured. It’s that good. It’s that funny. It’s that sad. It’s that deceptive and deep.” —New York Times Book Review

“How does Prose do it? With precision, intelligence and wicked jocularity. She measures art in monkeys. She demands an evolution. This book hilariously swings through a backstage rank with hormones, ambition and an unforgettable cast of characters.” —Samantha Hunt, former Bard Fiction Prize winner

Any supporter who donates $500 or more to Bard’s literary journal Conjunctions receives a BackPage Pass providing VIP access to any Spring 2017 event in the Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series. Have lunch with one of the three spring readers, attend a seminar on their work, and receive premium seating at their reading. Or you can give your BackPage Pass to a lover of literature on your holiday gift list! To find out more, click here or contact Micaela Morrissette at or (845) 758-7054.

Micaela Morrissette  845-758-7054

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