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
Photo Credit: Jessica Chappe

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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    Ana Bauer

    Ana Bauer is a Junior written arts major at Bard College from Greensboro, North Carolina. Within her major, she focuses on nonfiction writing, specifically journalism and criticism. When she isn’t studying, Ana contributes music reviews to and co-hosts a podcast.  She is also involved with the Bard Center for Civic Engagement as a science fellow. 

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    Shila Bayor

    Shila Bayor is a junior and sociology major with a concentration in Africana Studies at Bard College. She is originally from Togo, but now lives in New York City. At Bard, Shila is the head of AfroPulse, and Tuimarishane. She is also a peer health educator. Shila enjoys reading. Her favorite book is Chinua Achebe`s Things Fall Apart. She also enjoys watching biopics, and historical films.
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    Oskar Dye-Furstenberg

    Oskar Dye-Furstenberg is a sophomore Anthropology and Human Rights major. He enjoys thinking and talking about 20th Century existentialism, cultural notions of public space, and film analyses he finds on YouTube. When not looking for answers to life’s questions in the library or on the internet, he likes to explore the woods, hike and climb trees.

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    Gemma Godfrey

    Gemma Godfrey is a Junior double major with Classics and Music. Within her major she is most interested in the theories and complexities of translation, in Latin and beyond. Her music focus tends towards the voice,  and electronic and experimental sound studies and practices. When she isn’t studying, Gemma plays in a female fronted band based out of Bard, works with the Dean of Students office, and is a member of the Women’s Soccer team.
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    Claire Harvey

    Claire Harvey is currently a senior here at Bard College, studying Comparative Literature. She is originally from Chicago. Although her primary interest is literature from the second half of the 20th century, she also enjoys renaissance art and a good ancient comedy. Outside of the classroom she likes to cook, hang out with friends, and talk politics.

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    Annah Heckman

    Annah Heckman is a Sophomore and a Human Rights major here at Bard. She grew up in New York City and though she still believes it to be the greatest place on earth, she is extremely happy to be at Bard. When she is not in class you can find her making coffee at Sawkill, cooking, working at the nursery, hiking and dancing like no one is watching.

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    Loreli Mojica

    Loreli Mojica is a Junior Written Arts major at Bard College from the South Bronx section of New York City. Loreli hopes to write her senior project about the environmental racism happening in her hometown. Loreli has contributed to The Brooklyn Rail and also writes for the theatre criticism website Center on the Aisle.

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    Stefan Stojanov

    Stefan Stojanov is a senior joint major in Computer Science and Mathematics. Within the two disciplines, he is mainly interested in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Related to his studies, he is also interested in free and open source software. Outside of class, he likes to read about the psychological, political and economic impact of modern technology and disruptive innovation.

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 >