Undergraduate Courses

Arendt's writings are taught in the Language & Thinking Program, The First Year Seminar, and The College Seminar, as well as many other courses. Listed below are current courses connected with Arendt's Work. While Arendt herself is not read in all these courses, the courses listed address works, themes and traditions that are important foundations for those who want to engage in political and humanist thinking about the world in conversation with Hannah Arendt. 

Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2017 Course Offerings

  • ARTH 234 Of Utopias - Olga Touloumi​
    Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies   What is the shape of utopia? To imagine and write about a future ideal society requires a reconsideration of the ways in which life will be organized in space. Utopian thinkers utilized drawings, maps, and plans to give shape to their vision and illustrate future social and political reconfigurations. Expand >

  • ARTH 257 Art in the Age of Revolution European Painting, 1750-1850 - Laurie Dahlberg
    Cross-listed: French Studies The mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century, a period brimming over with revolution and political upheaval in Europe, witnessed profound changes in the way art was produced, understood, criticized, marketed, distributed and exhibited.  This course seeks to introduce major themes, objects, persons, and social currents of European Art from the 1770s to the 1850s.  We will follow currents in Spain, Germany, Great Britain, and France.  Expand >

  • ARTH 312 Roma in Situ - Diana DePardo-Minsky
    Cross-listed: Classical Studies; Environmental & Urban Studies; Italian Studies Roma in situ considers the temporal and spatial experience of art, architecture, and urbanism by combining two intensive weeks in Rome in January with seminar-style meetings in the spring semester.  In Rome, the first week focuses on the ancient city, studying the evolving role of public monuments as the republic transformed into an empire.  Expand >

  • HR 251 - Donald Trump and his Antecedents - Roger Berkowitz, Peter Rosenblum
    2 credits - On January 20, Donald Trump will become the President of the United States. His election is unprecedented as he is the first president with no prior experience in government, the military, or public service. Trump’s election has drawn comparisons with past populist demagogic leaders. His rise coincides with the resurgence of authoritarian and nationalist leaders across the globe, particularly in Europe and Eurasia. In this course we will read texts on and about the history of conservative, populist, authoritarian, fascist, and demagogic leaders in the U.S. and elsewhere Expand >

  • HR  / PS 243 Constitutional Law: Theory and Comparative Practice - Roger Berkowitz, Peter Rosenblum
    Cross-listed: Philosophy; Political Studies  This course will provide an introduction to constitutional theory and practice in comparative context.   The first part of the semester looks at the history of the idea of constitutionalism in Ancient Greece, 18th century England,  France, and the United States. The remainder of the semester will be devoted to a critical examination of the contemporary workings of constitutional law, focusing primarily on decisions of the highest courts of United States, India and South Africa relating to critical human rights issues. Expand >

  • HR 247 The Perversities of Power: Human Rights and U.S. Foregin Policy - Mark Danner
    (Human Rights core course) Half a million people, most of them civilians, have died in Syria’s civil war, and hundreds more die every week. Does the United States, far and away the world’s most powerful nation, have a responsibility to stop the killing? Virtually every week the United States acts to assassinate people in Pakistan or Yemen or Somalia using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. Does the world’s strongest country have any responsibility to justify these extra-judicial killings? Today scores of prisoners sit imprisoned in Guantanamo, having never been charged with a crime. Expand >

  • HR 3206 Evidence
    Cross-listed: Literature  What can culture and the arts teach us about evidence? Evidence would seem to be a matter of facts, far from the realm of literary or artistic invention. But, whether as fact or fiction, we are regularly confronted by all sorts of signs, and we need to learn how to read the traces of things left behind at this or that scene, of a crime for instance. Matters of interpretation, presentation, even rhetoric, arise immediately. Expand >

  • LIT / PHIL 322 Citizens of the World, Ancient, Modern, Contemporary - Thomas Bartscherer​
    Cross-listed: Experimental Humanities; Human Rights; Literature “I am a citizen of the world.” First attributed to the 4th century philosopher Diogenes, the concept of “global citizenship” has a complex history and urgent relevance to the present historical moment. This course explores a tension at the heart of the idea of global citizenship: the relationship between the particularity that defines membership in a given cultural and political community and the universality that characterizes the human condition. Expand >

  • LIT 218 Free Speech - Thomas Keenan
    Cross-listed: Human Rights (core course)  An introduction to debates about freedom of expression. What is 'freedom of speech'? Is there a right to say anything? Why? We will investigate who has had this right, where it has come from, and what it has had to do in particular with literature. and the arts. What powers does speech have, who has the power to speak, and for what? Expand >

  • LIT 2481 Theater and Politics: the Power of Imagination - Thomas Wild
    Cross-listed: German  Studies; Theater  How do theater and politics interrelate? What is the role of imagination in politics as well as in literature to challenge the realities of our existing world? We will pursue the dialog around these questions along four major themes: Expand >

  • LIT 2507 Barbarians at the Gate: Degeneration and the Culture Wars of the Fin-de-Siecle - Stephen Graham
    This course tracks the idea of degeneration—the nightmare offspring of Darwinian progress—from the 1857 prosecution of Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil, to the simultaneous trials of Oscar Wilde (for gross indecency) and Captain Alfred Dreyfus (for treason) in 1895. Using as our focal point Max Nordau’s 1892 bestseller Degeneration, which argued that contemporary artists like Oscar Wilde, Emile Zola, Richard Wagner, Henrik Ibsen and Friedrich Nietzsche were clinically insane, we will explore the prevalent late nineteenth-century identification of new literary forms with madness, criminality and perversion; Expand >

  • LIT 340 American Literature and the Reinvention of the Human - Matthew Mutter
    Cross listed: American Studies Related interest: Sociology  In his Harvard Phi Beta Kappa poem of 1946, W.H. Auden commanded his listeners, “Thou shalt not sit / With statisticians nor commit / A social science.” In an essay of 1962, James Baldwin wrote, “I am far from being convinced that being released from the African witch doctor was worthwhile if I am now—in order to support the moral contradictions and the spiritual aridity of my life—expected to become dependent on the American psychiatrist.” Expand >

  • LIT 358 Exile & Estrangement Fiction - Norman Manea
    Cross-listed: Human Rights   Reading and discussion of selected fiction by such writers as Mann, Kafka, Nabokov, Camus, Singer, Kundera, Naipaul, etc. examining the work for its literary value and as a reflection of the issue of exile – estrangement as a fact of biography and a way of life.  Expand >

  • PHIL 230 Philosophy and the Arts - Garry Hagberg
    This course explores the ways that philosophers (and philosophically engaged critics) have approached issues concerning the nature and value of art. After a discussion of Plato’s influential account of representation and the place of art in society, we will turn to questions raised by painting, photography and film, and music. Expand >

  • PHIL 245 Marx, Nietzsche, Freud - Ruth Zisman
    Cross-listed: German  Studies; Human Rights This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the works of Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud, three German-language thinkers who in radical and yet radically different ways revolutionized modern philosophy. Writing from the mid-19th century through the 1930s, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud each worked to reformulate notions of selfhood and subjectivity, history and politics, god and religion, art and interpretation. Expand >

  • PS 202 Radical Political Thought - Samantha Hill
    Cross-listed: Human Rights  This course offers students an introduction to traditions of radical political theory, focusing on the themes of reason, critique, and power. Moving from the tradition of 19th century German critical thought through the birth of Poststructuralism and the 68’ moment, this course traces the transformation of radical political thought from a theoretical discourse centered on Neo-Marxist critiques of social, political, and economic institutions to a form of politics centered on freedom, justice, and individualism. Expand >

  • PS 215 Western European Politics and Society - Kevin Duong
    Cross-listed: Global & International Studies Today, the nations of Western Europe are involved in a shared common project of transnational government. Nevertheless, they each possess their own governance systems, economic priorities, and political cultures. What are the sources of their similarities and differences?  Expand >

  • PS 231Humanitarian Military Intervention - Michelle Murray
    Cross-listed: Global & International Studies; Human Rights (core course)  When should states use military force to alleviate human suffering?  Does the need to intervene to stop human rights violations outweigh the right of states to maintain control over territory?  The international states system is built upon the principles of sovereignty and nonintervention.  Yet over the past two decades human rights have emerged as an increasingly accepted justification legitimizing the use of force. Expand >

  • PS 237 Dictators, Democrats and Demagogues: Comparative Politics of the Middle East and North Africa - James Ketterer
    Cross-listed: Africana Studies; Global & International Studies; Middle Eastern Studies This course introduces students to the major questions and theoretical approaches involved in the study of comparative politics as applied to the states of the Middle East and North Africa Expand >

  • PS 351 Ideology in America: From Jefferson to Trump - Simon Gilhooley
    Cross-listed: American Studies The successes of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election cycle has brought the issue of ideology to the fore once again. Claims that the United States has been sheltered from the ideological contests of the rest of the world or that we are in a post-ideological era are receiving more scrutiny than ever. This class will seek to explore the idea that the United States has been substantially free of ideologies by examining different moments within U.S. political history and seeking to assess the coherence, influence, and origins of prevailing systems of ideas. Expand >

  • SOC 213 Sociological Theory - Laura Ford
    Cross-listed: Human Rights This class introduces students to classical and contemporary sociological theories. It considers foundational theories that emerged from the social upheavals of modernization in the 19th Century, including those of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Simmel, and DuBois. The course thus introduces many enduring themes of sociology: alienation and anomie; social structure and disorganization; group conflict and solidarity; secularization and individualism; bureaucracy and institutions, the division of labor, capitalism, and the nature of authority. Expand >

  • SOC 235 Law and Society - Laura Ford
    Cross-listed: American Studies This class introduces students to the foundational roles that law has played, and continues to play, in our political communities, our social institutions, and our everyday lives.  Our focus will be on American law, both in its historical development and in its contemporary, lived reality. Expand >

Difficult Questions College Seminar Fall 2016

  • Difficult Questions College Seminar
    Difficult Questions College Seminar
    These courses ask difficult questions and in doing so explore how we can talk to each other across differences and other divides.  While each course is unique, they will share public fora in which students and faculty can come together to talk across our different perspectives. All students in The Difficult Questions College Seminar are required to attend parts of the Hannah Arendt Center 2016 Conference “Real Talk: Difficult Questions About Race, Sex, and Religion.” Both before and after the conference, there will be lectures, reading groups, and discussion groups. These events are open to students participating in the College Seminar courses so that students have the opportunity to talk with other students engaged in parallel but distinct explorations of the overriding question: How can college be a safe and inclusive space for asking hard and uncomfortable questions essential to our democracy?

The Practice of Courage Courses 2017

  • HIST 210 Crusading for Justice: On gender, sexuality, racial violence, media & rights

    Tabatha Ewing and Truth Hunter
    Cross-listed: Africana Studies; American Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Human Rights (Courage To Be College Seminar)  This course focuses on the activism of journalist Ida B. Wells, daughter of two American slaves. Her campaign against lynching in the late 19th- and early 20th-century continues to complicate understandings of how and why black bodies are raced.  Expand >

  • HR 355 Scholars at Risk
    Thomas Keenan
    Scholars, students, and other researchers around the world are routinely threatened, jailed, or punished. Sometime they are simply trapped in a dangerous place, while in other cases they are deliberately targeted because of their identity or their work.  Expand >

  • PHIL 361 Introduction to Caribbean Philosophy
    Ariana Stokus
    This course will introduce students to the rich tradition of philosophical ideas in the Caribbean. The course will aim at doing philosophy and not only knowing philosophers. This distinction is important as areas with a legacy of epistemological colonialism, like the Caribbean, have many works that contain a substratum of philosophical ideas but have not necessarily been welcomed as canonical works of philosophy.  Expand >

  • REL 240 Collaboration with West Point: equality
    Bruce Chilton
    Cross-listed: Theology  The theme of the third joint academic project between Bard College and West Point is the meaning and the nature of equality – equality for individuals, and equality for communities, societies and nations.   Expand >

Hate and the Human Condition Courses

Bard College (and its U.S. and international affiliates) is embarking on a programmatic and project-based initiative to focus and increase serious academic study on the question of human hate. To learn more about the program, click here. The courses taught within the Hate and the Human Condition Initiative are:

  • Al-Quds Bard College

  • Bard College Annandale

  • Bard College Berlin

  • American University of Central Asia

Affiliated Bard Programs

  • Human Rights Project Courses
    Human Rights Project Courses
    The Human Rights Project helps the Bard community examine the theory and practice of human rights through teaching, research, and public programs.

  • Political Studies Program Courses
    Political Studies Program Courses
    The political studies program curriculum is anchored upon a set of introductory courses generally regarded as the intellectual foundations of political science: Political Theory, Comparative Politics, International Relations, American Politics, Political Economy, and Foundations of the Law.

  • Philosophy Program Courses
    Philosophy Program Courses
    The philosophy course list that follows is divided into several categories: introductory courses; historical courses; ethics; logic; aesthetics; epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of language; and single-philosopher seminars. Courses numbered in the 100s are introductory courses; 200-level courses, while more specialized in content, also are generally appropriate as first courses in philosophy; 300-level courses require previous courses in philosophy and permission of the instructor for admission.