Africana Studies


Contact Us

For more information about Africana Studies at Bard College or questions about this site:

Drew Thompson
Director of Africana Studies
Tel: 845-758-6822 x4600
Office: Hopson 303
Bard College
PO Box 5000
New York 12504-5000

Upcoming Events

  • Oct
    Creative Process in Dialogue: Art and the Public Today
    Time: 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
    Location: BHSEC, 525 E. Houston St., NY, NY
    more >

Past Events



Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Creative Process in Dialogue: Art and the Public Today
BHSEC, 525 E. Houston St., NY, NY  6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
The poet and Mellon Foundation President Dr. Elizabeth Alexander and painter Amy Sherald will talk to each other about their creative processes and commitments to the humanities. This program diversifies perspectives on the arts disciplines, and offers models for collective and inclusive dialogues. 

Registration to open on September 4, 2018. Limited Spaces. 
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program
Contact: Drew Thompson  845-758-6822
Monday, April 23, 2018
Interracial Marriage and the Gendered Optics of African Nationalism in the Colonial Metropole
Carina Ray, Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University
Olin, Room 102  4:40 pm – 6:00 pm
How visible is the role African women played in decolonization? The roles that white women played in the push toward independence—as political comrades, friends, and sometimes as lovers and wives to many of the Black men who had come to the imperial center to agitate for independence—were often sustained and meaningful. They are far from being a salacious footnote in the history of anticolonial nationalist struggles. Yet, this talk explores that affective history and the ways in which it skews the gendered optics of African nationalism by further obscuring the role of African women in the decolonization process.

Carina Ray is associate professor of African and Afro-American studies at Brandeis University and a historian of Africa and the Black Atlantic world; she holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University. She is the author of Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana (Ohio University Press, 2015) and coeditor of Darfur and the Crisis of Governance in Sudan: A Critical Reader (Cornell, 2008). Her current research explores the development of indigenous ideas about blackness and the black body in precolonial and colonial Ghana within local, regional, and transnational networks of exchange and knowledge production.
Sponsored by: The Africana Studies and Historical Studies Programs
Contact: Tabetha Ewing  845-758-6822
Saturday, April 21, 2018
A Girl's Period... No Longer the End of Her Potential
Bard CEP Distinguished Alumni Lecture with Dr. Liita-Iyaloo Cairney, BA/MS '08
Blithewood, Levy Institute  6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Please join us for a lecture by Bard CEP alum Dr. Liita-Iyaloo Cairney, BA/MS '08, at Blithewood Manor. 

Lecture: "Koree: Enhancing Individual Capabilities through the Application of Disciplined Entrepreneurship"
The lecture examines the intellectual and entrepreneurial journey that led Liita to invent the Koree menstrual hygiene device and education framework. It also reflects on how Liita's approach to commercializing the Koree product is influenced and guided by the ideas of Amartya Sen and Bill Aulet.

Biography: Liita-Iyaloo Cairney was born in Namibia. She graduated with a BA in natural sciences (with a concentration in biology) and an MS in environmental policy from Bard College. Soon after graduating with her master’s degree from the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, Cairney was employed by the Population Council in New York City. She worked in the Poverty, Gender, and Youth Division on projects that sought to financially and socially empower adolescent girls worldwide. Cairney’s time at the Population Council convinced her to pursue a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. She founded Kalitasha Ltd. and invented the Koree product in 2013, while earning her PhD in international public health policy. Through the Koree menstrual hygiene device and associated education framework (, she seeks to empower young women by developing solutions to health problems that limit their individual, social, and political capabilities (Amartya Sen). Cairney lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband and son.
Sponsored by: Bard Center for Environmental Policy
Contact: Katie Boyle
Monday, March 26, 2018
“Black Feminist Interventions in Children's Fantasy: Recovered Histories, Literary Representation, and New Publishing Technologies,” with Zetta Elliot
RKC 103  5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
How do we move children’s fantasy beyond the racialized and imperialist norms of the genre? In this interactive presentation, author/educator Zetta Elliott will discuss “the trouble with magic.” After spending her childhood consuming British fantasy fiction, Elliott began to decolonize her imagination, and has dedicated her writing life to reconstituting “Black magic” as a powerful force to be celebrated rather than defeated. Elliott uses the historical fantasy genre to revise, review and reclaim the (often traumatic) histories of Atlantic enslavement and colonization. She is also an advocate for community-based publishing and will reveal how print-on-demand technology transfers power from the industry’s gatekeepers to those excluded from the publishing process.

Born in Canada, Zetta Elliott moved to the US in 1994 to pursue her Ph.D. in American studies at NYU. Her essays have appeared in the Huffington PostSchool Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. She is the author of over 25 books for young readers, including the award-winning picture books Bird and Melena's Jubilee. Her own imprint, Rosetta Press, generates culturally relevant stories that center children who have been marginalized, misrepresented, and/or rendered invisible in traditional children’s literature. Elliott is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing. She currently lives in Brooklyn.
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; American Studies Program; Experimental Humanities Program; Literature Program
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
In the Time of Color: David Goldblatt’s Intersections
Leslie Wilson
Olin, Room 102  4:45 pm
This talk explores David Goldblatt’s shift to color photography for his Intersections series, begun in 1999. I argue that Goldblatt’s use of color throws into sharp relief a wider set of transformations in what had become technologically, rhetorically, politically, and artistically possible in postapartheid South Africa. More than offering an easy metaphor about South Africa’s transition from a nation structured by the opposition of white and nonwhite peoples to the polychrome promise of the “Rainbow Nation,” I contend that the use of color photography is emblematic of a shift away from certain kinds of self-censorship and toward an expanded range of formal possibilities that could newly be understood to possess a critical edge and represent socially engaged subject matter. 
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Global and International Studies Program
Contact: Drew Thompson  845-758-6822
  Friday, March 2, 2018
Working Papers: On Historical Method and Innovation
Finberg Library  1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Ebony Coletu
Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies, Penn State
“Chief Sam and the Undocumented Origins of African American Migration to Ghana Carina Ray
Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies, Brandeis University
“Africa as a Refuge” Abosede George
Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies, Barnard College
“Death of a Building: Unearthing the Politics of Modernity and Migration Histories in Architectural Conservation Projects in Lagos”
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; American Studies Program; Division of Social Studies; Historical Studies Program; Human Rights Program
Contact: Tabetha Ewing  845-758-6822