The Courage to Be

"The Courage to Be" project explores the philosophical and religious foundations of moral and spiritual courage.  The Courage to Be project sponsors new research and fosters curricular innovations that ask: Why it is that some people have the spiritual courage to act conscientiously where others abandon themselves to mass movements. The Project includes: Student Fellowships for young scholars working in philosophy, theology, and psychology; Lectures by internationally renowned experts in diverse fields; A new series of courses at Bard College titled, "The Practice of Courage." The program asks; how can we encourage moral action in a bureaucratic age? And how can we nurture an inner-sense of spiritual inflexibility at a time when private and inner life are besieged by distraction and conformism? 

The Courage to Be

Current Courage To Be Fellows

Current Courage To Be Fellows
This program is made possible by the generous grants from the Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Gilder Foundation, Inc. 

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    Paris Adorno

    Paris Adorno is a Junior Theater and Performing Arts major at Bard College from New York City. Within her major, Paris focuses on Dramaturgy, theater analysis and critique. She hopes to pursue a senior project on the intersection of power and privilege in performance through the lenses of race and gender. When not in class, Paris enjoys listening to a good podcast and cooking for friends.
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    Sacha Medjo-Akono​

    My name is Sacha Medjo-Akono and I'm a freshman at Bard, intending to major in Biology with a concentration in Mind, Brain and Behavior. I chose this path because I am very interested in the structure of the human brain and mind. My favorite thing to do is Rock climbing and some of my other hobbies include writing, making music and baking.
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    Isabella Emma Menuez Santana

    My name is Isabella Emma Menuez Santana and I a sophomore and intended Human Rights major with a concentration in Art History. I chose Human Rights as my major because I am an aspiring social justice attorney. When I am not in studying, I am making art, cooking, or exploring the outdoors; whether it be the magical Hudson Valley or the Southern Coast of California, where I call home.

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    Maeve Schallert

    Maeve Schallert is a violinist in the Conservatory of Music and intended Philosophy Major. She is not only interested in the overlap of the two majors, but also exploring new realms in music through exploration of different styles of playing (jazz and bluegrass), and philosophical thought (skepticism, ethics, the study of love). In her spare time, Maeve can be found in the woods, jamming with her pals, reading, or serving kale and eggs at Murray's.

College Seminar

The courses taught within the College Seminar “The Practices of Courage” are open to Sophomores and Juniors and are limited to 16 students. Each course is unique and fulfills independent distribution and divisional requirements. There are common texts throughout all courses in "The Practices of Courage." Students are required to attend all of the evening dinner/lecture series, which take place on Mondays from 6-8. Throughout the semester, there may be informal dinner discussions with guest speakers and students from other sections of the College Seminar.
  • Crusading for Justice: On gender, sexuality, racial violence, media & rights: Tabatha Ewing and Truth Hunter
    T/TH 4:40 - 6:00 pm
    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.  Expand >

  • Scholars at Risk: Thomas Keenan
    W 10:10 am-11:30 am
    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 >

  • Introduction to Caribbean Philosophy: Ariana Stokas
    W 10:10 am-12:30 pm
    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.  Expand >

  • Collaboration with West Point: equality, Bruce Chilton
    T /Th 11:50 am-1:10 pm
    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 >

2017 Dinner and Lecture Series

Students enrolled in the Courage To Be College Seminar are required to attend. The Courage To Be Lecture and Dinner series brings students, scholars and experts in diverse fields together to attend to the question of the foundation of moral and spiritual courage in an age when the traditional religious grounds of such courage are said to be weak.

Our 2017 Speaker Series includes:
  • Penny Gill
    Tuesday February 7, 2017 at 6 pm
    Penny Gill has been teaching European politics and comparative politics at Mount Holyoke for more than three decades. In 2001, the date of her thirtieth anniversary at MHC, Gill received the Mount Holyoke College Faculty Prize for Teaching. The citation noted Gill's "accessibility, concern for each student, love of her subject, and infinite patience," and also cited her instrumental role in organizing Pasts and Presences in the West, a yearlong, interdepartmental survey course for first-year students. The citation reads, in part, "Pasts and Presences testifies to Penny's passionate interest in pedagogy, in finding new ways to goad students into asking fundamental questions of themselves and their society while exposing them to a broad sweep of human experience." Expand >

  • Tania Brugera
    Tuesday February 28, 2017 at 6 pm
    Tania Bruguera was born in 1968 in Havana, Cuba. Bruguera, a politically motivated performance artist, explores the relationship between art, activism, and social change in works that examine the social effects of political and economic power.  Expand >

  • Mariame Kaba
    Tuesday April 11, 2017 at 6 pm
    Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator and curator. Her work focuses on ending violence, dismantling the prison industrial complex, transformative justice and supporting youth leadership development. After over 20 years of living and organizing in Chicago, she recently moved back to my hometown of New York City. Expand >