We are a hub for experimental humanities pedagogy, public-facing and community-engaged projects, and collaborative interdisciplinary initiatives
Our interdisciplinary topic-based clusters emerge organically out of shared faculty interests and offer a framework for rethinking how we “do” the humanities, using the pervasive reach of technological change as a jumping-off point. In unique ways, each cluster considers how educational and scholarly approaches can take better advantage of available resources (human, technological, intellectual, and more) to enhance learning, scholarship, and community engagement in the world.
EH labs incubate exciting and varied collaborative projects that combine experimental research methods with critical thinking about how such forms function as a part of cultural, social, and political inquiry. Projects are often in partnership with local organizations and community stakeholders and aim to radically recenter local concerns, while placing them in global contexts.
EH senior projects take many forms and topics are wide-ranging depending upon ones primary program(s) of study. However, each senior project engages with one or more of the core questions and concerns of the concentration, including:
In an age of mass extinction, what does it mean to decolonize place and form? In what ways are ecological issues entangled with histories of racism, sexism, and economic disparities? A.T.E. is a lab for transdisciplinary experiments across media with focus on the messy and surprising links between human, ecological and technological landscapes. Emphasis is placed on ways in which collective and interdisciplinary creative practices might collapse hierarchies, cultivate curiosity in a “more-than-human world” and (re)imagine alternative ecological and social futures. A.T.E. lab kicked off its inaugural year with a collection of multimedia works (drone footage, 360 video, writing, and virtual simulations) focused on vultures and connections to shifting ecologies and land use in the Hudson Valley, NY.
Projects under A.T.E. Lab include:
The Digital History Lab (DHL) is an innovative process-driven humanities laboratory. We focus our work on the production of local history projects with the aim to foster an exchange between Bard College and the strong community of public history— e.g., citizens, public servants, historical societies, town libraries—in the Hudson Valley. We offer as our primary contribution to this community interactive digital representations of our shared local environs with the hope that we can use new humanities practices to expand the traditional constraints of history and make it accessible to more audiences.
Projects under the DHL include:
IMAL is a mobile collaborative framework for the creation and development of critical and structurally novel immersive media artworks. We test out specific ideas about how and why immersive illusions might be used in art contexts through the creation of unique projects. IMAL engages with questions such as: “How and why do humans aspire to create increasingly realistic simulations of lived experience? What kinds of intellectual and emotional experiences (if any) are intrinsic to 360-video or virtual reality? What kinds of new artistic expressions are made possible by immersive video and virtual reality? Projects under IMAL include:
The Mobile History Van uses digital technology to record and publish local history, and has worked closely with a local library and museum on digitizing archival materials and recording community history. Emphasis is placed on collecting stories from often ignored members of rural and urban communities near Bard’s campus.
This cluster asks how and whether the dichotomy of “attention vs. distraction” describes our present situation in the context of the digital age, as well as how we can move beyond this opposition and towards a more nuanced framework for understanding a spectrum of different types of attention and our relationships to them. It explores the assumptions about attention that are embedded in the undergraduate liberal arts experience, and how what the cluster learns might speak to social concerns beyond the academy.
The EH Food Cluster brings together an interdisciplinary group of faculty and community stakeholders who all have scholarly, teaching, and/or community engagement in food as a platform to further our understanding of the world.
This cluster brings together scholars and practitioners to consider the potential of thinking about and through sound. Recent years have witnessed a sonic turn in the humanities and beyond. Many working in the fields of anthropology, literature, urban studies, history, media studies, and the arts have increasingly shifted their attention to sound as both an expressive medium, a material, and a critical object of inquiry.
Medicine and Health is a new cluster that aims to bring together students, staff and faculty on campus working in global and public health, psychology, the biomedical sciences, wellness, and diverse humanistic and social-scientific fields. Medicine is traditionally present in the collegiate setting only as a preprofessional track; the M&H Cluster aims to situate medicine and health squarely within the liberal arts, as objects of critical study in their own right. It encourages participation from those working at the crossroads of health studies and other fields, such as ecology and environmental science, human rights, difference and justice, architecture and design, or media and the arts. The M&H Cluster will encourage experiential learning about medicine and health through the hosting of events bringing together academics with medical researchers and healthcare workers; the facilitation of interdisciplinary engagements between those studying medicine and those studying health; and the encouragement of engaged learning in healthcare settings locally (on campus and around Annandale) and globally (though the College’s global partners). Along with providing a hub for community members to share their work, the M&H Cluster also aims to provide resources for those pursuing research on health-related topics, broadly conceived. Such resources may include connecting researchers with experts who can provide feedback and guidance; matching students with externship opportunities in medicine and public health settings; and providing a warm and receptive environment for those seeking to brainstorm and develop new efforts on these themes.
Below are a sample of senior projects created by EH students.
by Lin Barnett (2019)
Visit Cedar Hill (now Annandale-on-Hudson) as it stood over a century ago, reconstructed in virtual reality. This interactive project retells an important aspect of Hudson Valley History, its mill communities, which do not get preserved in the archeological record and are not as closely maintained as its neighboring communities of Bard College and Montgomery Place. The project analyzes the structures’ changing purposes, as well as their changing architectural qualities, to trace the story of the hamlet’s decline.
Learn more here: https://digitalcommons.bard.edu/senproj_s2019/209/
by Anne Comer (2019)
The Bard College campus dormitory known as Ward Manor has a rich and fascinating history. Using ethnographic research and multimodal methodology, this study has revealed a heretofore unknown story of the residents who lived out their lives in a collective residential community and are buried in the Ward Manor Cemetery. The story of this facility is explored as part of a more significant social and philanthropic endeavor within the United States in the early twentieth century. No longer forgotten, this critical aspect of Bard College is brought to life through this research.
Learn more here: https://digitalcommons.bard.edu/senproj_s2019/76/
This study aims to explore the potential of the social networking platform Twitter in redefining literature. Focusing on the brief, fragmented, interactive and democratizing nature of text that takes the form of tweets, it analyzes the platform’s functions in negotiating the aesthetics of language, mediating human creativity with computation, and shifting the power relations in the production and consumption of literary products. While the question underpinning the study is “What constitute literariness today?”, This project looks at poetry, fiction and essays produced on Twitter with the ambition of offering insights into the field of cultural production at large in the age of Web 2.0.
Learn more here: https://digitalcommons.bard.edu/senproj_s2015/68/