Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences (ELAS) courses are designed to link coursework and critical thinking skills developed and practiced by Bard undergraduates in the classroom with civic and other forms of engagement activities that contextualize course materials and enhance learning. A significant portion of the learning takes place outside of the classroom: students learn through engagement with different geographies, organizations, and programs in the surrounding communities or in the national and international venues in which Bard is involved. ELAS courses challenge students to develop creative approaches to social, cultural and scientific issues. Students are exposed to an array of perspectives and contexts and given the opportunity to apply theory to practice.


Engaged liberal arts and sciences classes may involve a variety of activities, but emphasize reflective learning. Community engagement is not based on “service,” but on respect and reciprocity. Such an emphasis encourages open exchanges, collaboration, and the potential to produce new forms of knowledge.




ARTH 225

 Art through Nature: landscape, environment and design in america

Julia Rosenbaum

 T  Th     3:10 pm-4:30 pm




Cross-listed: American Studies, Environmental and Urban Studies, Experimental Humanities This course explores the relationship between the natural world and American culture: How have 19th and 20th century Americans understood “nature” and imagined its role?  How have visions of landscape shaped perceptions about social order, health, identity and sustainability?  The course is structured around historical case studies and focuses on three conceptions of the land: visual representations in the form of landscape painting; physical shaping through landscape design; and preservation in terms of the development of cultural heritage sites. Visits to local sites and to New York City will also be part of the class. Class size: 22  (1800-present, Americas)



ARTH 260

 New / Old Amsterdam

Susan Merriam

 T  Th     1:30 pm-2:50 pm

OLIN 102



Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies,  American Studies This course looks at the visual culture of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century New Amsterdam (New York City) and its namesake, the Dutch shipping capital Amsterdam. Amsterdam emerged as a global power in the early seventeenth century, having replaced Antwerp as the northern European center of capital and trade. With the help of the extraordinarily successful East and West India companies, the Dutch began exploring and colonizing locations throughout the world, including lower Manhattan. Although the Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British in 1667, they maintained a vibrant presence in New York for decades, shaping the growing city as well as its environs (including the Hudson Valley) well into the nineteenth century. We will look at how images and objects produced in both contexts during this time shaped ideas about nationhood, citizenship, and early modern science, and consider how colonial relationships are forged through representation. Taught at Bard with three visits to New York City and interaction with the BHSECs in Queens and Newark. This is an ELAS class.  Class size: 22  (1400-1800, Europe)



BGIA 301

 Core Seminar: NYC

James Ketterer





Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; Global & International Studies Non-state actors have gained increasing importance in international affairs, and the expanded role of cities is often overlooked.  Particularly in the post-9/11 era, cities are directly managing a wide variety of international issues and are hubs for the international movement of people, money and ideas. New York City is the ideal case study: city police are deployed overseas to monitor terrorist networks, financial institutions manage the global flow of trillions of dollars, the UN is the headquarters of international diplomacy, the city hosts a diverse mix of NGOs and major media, and New York is the destination for immigrants arriving from all corners of the world. This course explores the theoretical debates and practical policy effects of cities as non-state actors in international affairs. How should we define non-state actors? Where do cities fit in those debates? What strategies do different non-state actors use to influence national and global policy-making, with a particular focus on cities?  In addition, the course contextualizes students’ internship experiences within this broader discussion to critically examine how ideas about the role of non-state actors in world politics play out in practice. We will take advantage of our New York City location with guest speakers from a wide spectrum of organizations within the field, such as the United Nations, US State Department, New York Police Department, the Federal Reserve, Human Rights Watch, New York State Homeland Security, Council on Foreign Relations, World Policy Institute, Open Society Foundation, and many others. Class size: 25



BIO 117

 Botany for Herbivores

Emily Pollina


T  Th      1:30 pm-2:50 pm

M            1:30 pm-4:30 pm

RKC 103

RKC 114



Wild relatives of many important crop species, including potatoes, tomatoes, and broccoli, contain potent defenses against animals that might eat them.  How did these plants become safe for us to eat?  How do we deter other organisms from eating them? In this course, designed for non-majors, we will explore the ways in which humans have modified, and continue to modify, the plants we use as food and the challenges of ecosystems dominated by crop plants.  Through critical examinations of papers about agricultural science and laboratory explorations on plant physiology, growth, and defense, this course will equip you to evaluate evidence for the safety and efficacy of crop development and food production strategies. Class size: 20



BIO 340


Gabriel Perron

 T  Th     1:30 pm-4:30 pm

RKC 111 / 112



How does the extensive genetic diversity of microbes affect human health? How do anthropogenic actions such as pollution affect microbial populations around us? This research intensive course will use genomics and metagenomics to study the ecology and evolution of antibiotic resistance in environmental microbes. For one week prior to the start of the semester, students will meet daily with the instructor to design and conduct their own metagenomic survey of microbial populations found in the Saw Kill and the agricultural lands surrounding it. During the semester, students will learn how to use open-access bioinformatics tools such as de novo assemblers and how to create their own customized database to analyze their unique metagenomic dataset. More specifically, students will learn how to assemble DNA sequence reads generated by next-generation sequencers and to identify antibiotic resistance genes among diverse microbial genomes. Students will also use statistics and phylogenetics to study the links between antibiotic resistance in environmental microbes and human pathogens. The course format creates an immersive research experience where students will study the applications of evolutionary biology and genomics to pressing public health issues, while taking an active role in an ongoing research program. Students can request campus room and board for the duration of the August laboratory session for an additional charge. Contact the instructor for more information. Prerequisite: Upper College standing in biology, or permission of instructor. Class size: 20



EUS 305

 EUS Practicum: Farm to Bard

Katrina Light

  W  F     11:50 am-1:10 pm

OLIN 310



Cross-listed: American Studies Complex cultural, political, regulatory, and economic forces shape the chain of food production from farm to table to compost. This course explores the structure and functions of the contemporary food system, focusing on Bard’s foodshed. Students will work across disciplines to analyze quantitative and qualitative arguments addressing social, economic, environmental, or health questions. We will work with computer programs designed to navigate purchasing from farm to school. We will examine Bard’s dining service procurement strategies and engage with local food producers. We will conduct site visits to community partners such as Montgomery Place, Bard Dining Service, and local food purveyors including Hudson Valley Fresh, Bread Alone, Hudson Valley Harvest, and Saw Mill and other farms. Research teams will present and defend specific proposals to strengthen Bard Dining’s relationship with regional food producers and to bring more sustainable products into the institutional buying framework. Open only to moderated Upper College students.  Class size: 11



HIST 123

 the WiNdow at Montgomery Place in the nineteenth century

Myra Armstead

 T           4:45 pm-6:05 pm

HEG 204





Cross-listed: American Studies  2 credits  In 1802, when widow Janet Montgomery (1743-1824) acquired a 380-acre property on the Hudson River, she began the process  of converting the landscape  from a "wilderness"  into a "pleasure ground."   This transformation was a physical one, reflecting prevailing ideas about the ideal, aesthetic relationship between humans and "nature" as well as emerging notions regarding scientific agriculture. After her death, her successors continued this task.  Additionally, the creation and development of Montgomery Place mirrored contemporary social relations and cultural conventions, along with shifts in these realities at the national level. As it was populated by indentured servants, tenants, slaves, free workers, and elites, Montgomery Place will be approached as a historical laboratory for understanding social hierarchies, social roles, cultural practices, and the evolving visions of the nation and "place" that both sustained and challenged these things during the nineteenth century in the United States.  

Class size: 22



HR 153


Anya Luscombe

   W          10:00 am- 12:00 pm

RKC 200



2 credits 

Cross-listed: American Studies  As First Lady of the US from 1933-1945, Eleanor Roosevelt is remembered as a campaigner for social, economic and civil rights; one of the most influential public diplomats of the twentieth century; a journalist; and a teacher.  Under her chairmanship, the United Nations Human Rights Commission drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly in December 1948.  She was also keenly interested in the Bard College curriculum, and particularly approved of Bard’s public engagement activities.  In all of her work as a political activist. ER promoted her ideas by astute use of various forms of communication--including radio, print media, and even photography.  Furthermore, she strongly believed in the transformative power of liberal arts pedagogy.  In this 300-level course students will use archival material available through the FDR Library to investigate the ways Eleanor Roosevelt deployed the media forms of her day to "educate" the broader public of her views, and to further examine her views on liberal arts education. We will also consider how current forms of communication--including social media, the Internet, visual media, radio, and print media-- promote active citizenship, can be either progressive or conservative forces, and are utilized by first ladies.  Class size: 15



LIT 131

 Women and Leadership

Deirdre d'Albertis

    F        10:00 am-12:00 pm




2 credits   It is 2017.  Why aren’t there more women in leadership positions?  According to a 2014 Pew Research Center report, the majority of American men and women acknowledge the capacity of women to lead. Yet in certain domains—most notably politics and business—women continue to be under-represented at the top.  Last year's Presidential race polarized the electorar around constructions of gender in particularly dramatic ways.  If we are living in a post-feminist society (as some claim), why do these questions and conflicts continue to arise? Identity is an urgent conversation in 21st-century politics and everyday life, and this includes awareness of how intersectionality shapes gendered experiences. What are the stories that we tell ourselves and each other about equality, representation, privilege, freedom, authority, and success? How do these inflect real-world outcomes for individuals and societies?  In this two-credit course we will explore some of the stories that circulate in our culture around women and power, both from an academic and from a practical, real-world perspective.  What does it mean to lead?   How do we use a language of empowerment?  Why has the United States embraced certain narratives of gender equity and success as opposed to those being created in other countries and cultures?  We will focus on learning from women who are committed to making a difference in the world through their personal and professional choices, hearing their stories, and reading texts that have been particularly important to them in their lives and work.  So too, we will engage with stories from the past (archival research), from across disciplines (the military, higher education, STEM, the arts, media) and from a wide range of perspectives.  As an Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences course, this seminar will provide students with the unique opportunity to bring theory and practice together in a very immediate sense: by the end of the term you will have identified a story only you can tell, whether it is based in political activism, community engagement, or work experience.  Drawing on the rich resources here in Annandale as well as through Bard’s other campuses, we will reach out to groups and organizations with a shared focus on gender.  Network building is something we will explicitly address.  This course is open to all first-year students, but enrollment is limited. Class size: 20





Mary Leonard

Michael Murray

 T           6:30 pm-7:45 pm

OLIN 205



Time: Tuesdays, 6:30-7:45 pm and four Saturdays between 9:00am-12:30pm (10/7; 10/14; 10/28; 11/4). There will also be one required day in which you will be teaching ninth graders from the Rhinebeck High School, scheduled for Friday from 9:00-2:00.

Credits: 2  This course is designed for Bard undergraduates who are working in one of the college’s many educational outreach programs and who are committed to the idea of civic engagement. Guided by readings in education, we will consider the inter-personal, cultural, social and ethical issues that arise in the context of civic engagement in schools.  In particular, we will consider:

         What are our personal and professional aspirations as tutors, mentors and leaders?

         What systemic or other changes might we like to see in our civic engagement and how might we best go about making or advocating for them?

         How can we improve our own communication skills so that we become better and more skillful listeners and responders?

·         What are the potential challenges we may face in supporting someone’s learning?

Throughout this course we will emphasize writing as a means of engaging with content, and we will workshop and critique problems that you may experience and encounter in your outreach work. This course is required of all junior-year MAT 3+2 students, who will be expected to tutor in Bard College’s Hudson-based programs. It is also recommended for tutors and mentors in all TLS education programs. It will be graded pass/fail and carries two credits (non-distributional).  Class size: 22



PS 270

 All Politics is Local

Jonathan Becker

 T           4:40 pm-7:00 pm

OLIN 201



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. This is an Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences course: students  will be required to do out of class fieldwork and a project that will allow them to contextualize their in-class study. Evaluation will be based on written assignments, including a paper, and class participation. Some seminars will be open to the broader community. The course will meet at least once weekly, from 4:40 to 6:00 pm or 4:40 to 7:00 pm; several additional sessions will be added to occur at night to correspond to public meetings  of local governing  bodies. A schedule  will be presented in advance so that students can plan their schedules. Class size: 22



REL 358

 Sanctuary: Theology and Social Action

Bruce Chilton

    F        3:00 pm-5:20 pm

OLIN 305





Cross-listed: Theology In recent discussion, Sanctuary has played a pivotal role in the discussion  of immigration  to the United States. But the application of the practice  and concept  of Sanctuary applies to a much wider spectrum  of activity  within the history of many religions. The purpose of the course is to investigate the roots of Sanctuary, and to engage with its practice within the local community in fields such as education, medicine, work, and environment, as well as immigration. Class size: 20