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

Fall 2017 Course Offerings

  • GER 106 Beginning German Intensive - Thomas Wild
    Beginning German Intensive is designed to enable students with no or little previous experience in German to complete three semesters of college German within five months: fall semester at Bard, plus an intensive course abroad at Bard College Berlin during winter break (upon successful completion carrying four additional credits). Students will take eight class hours per week during the semester at Bard, plus a weekly conversation meeting with the German language tutor. The communicative approach actively involves students from day one in this class. Expand >

  • GER 467 Correspondences: Figures of Writing - Thomas Wild 
    “One alone is always wrong; but with two involved, the truth begins,” reads an aphorism by Friedrich Nietzsche. His criticism of the isolated genius thinker also proposes an alternative mode of thinking and writing: creative collaboration. The seminar will explore several instances of such creative collaborations, e.g. Friedrich Nietzsche and Lou Andreas Salome, the latter and Rainer Maria Rilke, Hannah Arendt and several poet friends of different languages, Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann, Oskar Pastior and Nobel Prize Winner Herta Müller. Expand >

  • HIST 2112 The Invention of Politics - Tabetha Ewing
    Cross-listed: Human Rights   Individuals and groups spoke, wrote, and fought to make their claims to public power in the period between 1500 and 1800 in ways that forced a reimagining of political relationships.  The greatest institutions in place, particularly monarchies and the papacy, used their arsenals of words, documents, symbols, and ritual to maintain their legitimacy in the face of subtle or uproarious resistance.   Expand >

  • HR 314 Humanitarian Action - Thomas Keenan
    Cross-listed: Global & International Studies  A critical introduction to the ideas and practices of modern humanitarianism. Starting with the founding of the Red Cross in 1863, we'll trace the pathways that have led to the contemporary landscape of non-governmental relief organizations and state-sponsored humanitarian intervention. How does the suffering of others attract our attention in the first place? How do charity, law, politics, and logistics interact in crisis situations?   Expand >

  • PHIL 130 Philosophy & Human Rights - Ruth Zisman
    Cross-listed: Human Rights (HR core course)  From the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, to privacy and marriage, the language of rights permeates our understanding of political life, of citizenship, and of personhood itself. Expand >

  • PHIL 383 Philosophy and the Arts - Garry Hagberg
    This advanced seminar on aesthetics will work through three of the great masterpieces in the field. Beginning with Aristotle's Poetics, we will look closely into questions of representation in the arts, the role and experience of the spectator, the connections between ethics and aesthetics, and the relation between art and knowledge. Expand >

  • PHIL 335 Spinoza's Ethics - Oli Stephano
    Spinoza’s notorious Ethics, published posthumously and banned upon its release in 1677, methodically treats classical philosophical questions including the nature of God, human knowledge, and how one might live well. Expand >

  • PHIL 343 Plato's Republic  - Jay Elliot
    Cross-listed: Classical Studies Today everyone is talking about the collapse of democracy into demagogy  and tyranny, but Plato got there first, writing over two thousand years ago in the Republic that a tyrant always poses as a "friend of democracy" who wants only to "make the city safe." Expand >

  • PS 115 Political Theory - Keving Duong
    (PS core course) 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. Expand >

  • PS 228 Tragedy and Political Theory - Libby Barringer 
    Cross-listed: Classical Studies  In ancient Greece, going to the theater was understood as a political activity and part of democratic, civic education. This seminar critically examines how the classical tragedy of ancient Greece provides ways of thinking through fundamental political questions, and considers ‘tragic thought’ within political theory. We will examine ancient and modern works by (among others) Sophocles, Thucydides, Aristotle, Nietzsche, and Arendt. Expand >

  • PS 252 What is Democracy? - Kevin Duong
    Cross-listed: Human Rights What is democracy? What are its benefits and perils? Who ought to be included in "the people"? These questions have preoccupied political theorists since ancient times. In recent years, they have also taken on urgency as democracy has become conflated with individual liberty and the free market. This class introduces students to the study of democratic theory. We will examine classical accounts of democracy by canonical political theorists. Expand >

  • PS 270 All Politics is Local - Jonathan Becker
    Cross-listed: American Studies  This course focuses  on the study or, and engagement  with, local politics in the United States. Students will participate in a series of seminars, including meetings with local, county and state officials, attend sessions of local government  bodies near Bard, and read primary and secondary sources concerning the issue of local governance. Expand >

  • PS 352 Terrorism - Christopher McIntosh
    Cross-listed: Global & International Studies; Human Rights The September 2001 terrorist attacks irrevocably changed US politics and foreign policy, giving rise to more than a decade of war, expanded surveillance domestically and abroad, the use of torture and indefinite detention and most recently a targeted killing policy through the use of drone strikes around the globe.  While only recently coming to dominate the US national security agenda, terrorism as a political activity has a long history.  This seminar will provide a theoretical and empirical examination of terrorism as a political phenomenon.  Expand >

  • PS 358 Radical American Democracy - Roger Berkowitz
    Cross-listed: American Studies; Human Rights; Philosophy  This seminar is an exploration of radical American democracy. While most characterizations of democracy see it as a form of government, this course explores the essence of democracy as a specifically modern way of life. To do so, it turns to some great thinkers of American democracy such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Ralph Ellison, W. E. B. DuBois, and Hannah Arendt. What unites these radical democrats is the conviction that democracy is a practice of individuals rather than an institutional form of governance. Expand >

  • PS 122 American Politics: Issues and Institutions - Samantha Hill
    Cross-listed: American Studies (PS core course )  This course introduces students to the basic institutions and processes of American government. The class is meant to provide students with a grasp of the fundamental dynamics of American politics and the skills to be an effective participant in and critic of the political process. Expand >

  • PS 167 The Quest for Justice: Foundations of the Law - Roger Berkowitz
    Cross-listed: Human Rights; Philosophy (PS core course )   Corporate executives hire high-priced lawyers to flout the law with impunity. Indigent defendants are falsely convicted, and even executed for crimes they did not commit. We say that law is the institutional embodiment of justice. And yet, it is equally true that law, as it is practiced, seems to have little connection to justice. As the novelist William Gaddis writes: “Justice? Expand >

  • SOC 141 Culture, Society, and Economic LIfe
    Cross-listed: American Studies  This course will introduce students to sociological principles and perspectives through a focus on the economy. We will begin by asking the obvious question: why would sociologists study the economy? We will briefly explore three “classical” answers to this question, which come from foundational thinkers: Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim. 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.