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 2018 Course Offerings
  • PS 115 Political Theory- Samantha Hill
    This course offers a survey of Western political thought. We will examine themes like justice, freedom, and equality by exploring the writings of thinkers stretching from Plato to Malcolm X. In each case, we will attend to the particular crises these theorists addressed in their work, like civil war, revolution, democracy, and capitalism. We'll also learn how authors used their concepts and ideas to address the problems of their day, and how we may draw on them in our own political struggles.

  • PS 202 Radical Political Thought- Samantha Hill
    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. We begin the class with an examination of alienation, reification, and the call to revolutionary class-consciousness in the works of Marx and Lukács. These concepts provide a theoretical foundation for the tradition of critical theory that emerged from the so-called Frankfurt School in the works of Marcuse, Horkheimer, Adorno, and Benjamin. Expand >

  • GER 331 Poetry and Philosophy - Thomas Wild
    Is there something like a sensory reasoning? Who has the capacity to formulate the unspeakable? How can we address— with words— the crisis of language? Is humor a thought or a sentiment? Poetry and philosophy have for centuries offered fascinating responses to such questions— not least in the German tradition. Poets, philosophers, and poetic thinkers—from Goethe, Kant, and Schiller, to Hölderlin, Heidegger, and Rilke, or from Heine, Nietzsche, and Kafka, to writers of the Avant-Garde, and on to Benjamin, Brecht, and Arendt—have all had something to say on these questions. Expand >

  • IDEA 225 1989: Art, Literature & Politics In Transition- Alex Kitnick and Thomas Wild

    According to the political scientist Francis Fukuyama 1989 marked the “end of history.” The so-called triumph of Western-style capitalism and liberal democracy, frequently represented by the fall of the Berlin Wall, meant that there would be no more struggle and no more contestation: a single ideology would now dominate the world. But is this true? Today we find ourselves in a world in urgent need of re-imagining the ways we wish to live together. The radical shift in the political order marked by 1989 had both temporal and spatial effects: in addition to a new sense of “contemporaneity,” the fall of borders called forth an imagination of a globalized “whole earth.” It was in the context of this new world order that visual artists, writers, and theorists began to offer alternative narratives to this global shake-up. Focusing on questions of history, identity, memory, and site, for these cultural figures 1989 marked less the “end of history” than the emergence of new stories. Expand >

  • PHIL 254 Popular Sovereignty In Theory And Practice- Thomas Bartscherer 
    The principle of popular sovereignty posits that legitimate political authority rests with the people, the very people who are subject to that same authority. It is the principle underlying the idea of a government that would be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” In this course, we employ a diversity of materials and methods to interrogate this principle, examining its origins in antiquity; the philosophical arguments, both ancient and modern, that have been advanced for and against it as a governing ideal; and the relationship between this principle and the practice of representational democracy in a constitutional republic such as the United Sates.
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The Practice of Courage Courses 2018
  • HR 218 Free Speech 

    Roger Berkowitz
    Cross-listed: Political Studies 
    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 >

  • HR 227 Dissent, Ethics & Politics in East Europe, the Soviet Union and Beyond
    Helena Gibbs
    Václav Havel, in his seminal essay “The Power of the Powerless” (1978), defines Eastern European dissidents as “those who decided to ‘live in truth’.”  This course will examine the various conceptions and strategies of political resistance in former Soviet Bloc countries, with a focus on the specific role of intellectuals and writers. Central to this examination will be the question of what it means “to say no to power,” whether and how such an ethical position can be political in its effects, and the relevance of this question today, beyond the framework of totalitarian regimes of Eastern Europe and Soviet Union. Expand >

  • PS 284 American Protest: Disobedience, Dissent, & Resignation
    Samantha Hill 
    Cross-listed: Human Rights 
    What does it mean to engage in political protest? What motivates us to move into the public sphere of politics? How do we appear in public, and how does our sense of identity relate to our sense of self? This course strips down conventional notions of political protest within the American context to critically inquire after what motivates us to engage or disengage with politics.  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.  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
    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
    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
    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.