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

  • Sep
    Bard Globalization and International Affairs Professional Development Info Session 
    Resume writing
    Time: 10:00 am – 11:00 am EDT/GMT-4
    Location: Online Event
    more >

  • Oct
    Bard Globalization and International Affairs Professional Development Info Session
    Cutting-edge cover letters
    Time: 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
    Location: Online Event
    more >

  • Oct
    Bard Globalization and International Affairs Professional Development Info Session
    Mastering the Interview
    Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
    Location: Online Event
    more >

  • Oct
    Performing Realization: The Sufi Music Videos and Hip-Hop of Senegal
    Dr. Oludamini Ogunnaike
    Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
    Location: Online Event
    more >

Past Events



Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Africana Studies Information Session
Kline, Faculty Dining Room  6:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
Come learn about the courses offered for Spring 2016 in Africana Studies.Pizza and drinks will be served.
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program
Contact: Susan Aberth  845-758-7126
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Sound Cluster meeting
Arendt Center  4:30 pm – 6:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Monthly meeting of faculty interested in the practice or critical analysis of sound, sound technologies, soundscapes, listening.
Sponsored by: Experimental Humanities Program
Contact: Laura Kunreuther  845-758-7215
Monday, November 16, 2015
Photographing Nigeria from North to South and Back Again
Glenna Gordon
Olin, Room 102  4:45 pm EDT/GMT-4
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; American Studies Program; Art History Program; Historical Studies Program; Human Rights Program
Contact: Drew thompson  845-758-4600
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Desert Borderland: Local Identity, Territoriality
and the Making of Modern Egypt and Libya
Matthew Ellis
Assistant Professor of History, Sarah Lawrence College

Olin, Room 204  5:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
co-sponsored by
Historical Studies and Africana Studies
Sponsored by: Middle Eastern Studies Program
Contact: Omar Cheta  845-758-6265
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Dr. Margo Machida
Professor of Art History & Asian American Studies
University of Connecticut
Trans-Pacific Visions in Asian American Art
Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium  6:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
This talk focuses on the Asia Pacific region and selected works by contemporary U.S.-based Asian American artists that engage themes of trans-Pacific circulation and global systems of cross-cultural exchange. Based on Dr. Machida’s current research in Hawai’i, this talk draws attention to islands as a generative framework to analyze and to compare art in the Asia Pacific region and the Americas. The Pacific, with more islands than the world’s other oceans combined, is above all an island realm. Accordingly Islands and associated oceanic imaginaries exert a powerful hold on works by artists who trace their ancestral origins to coastal East and Southeast Asia and Oceania.  All are invited to this talk about these exciting contemporary artists.

Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; American Studies Program; Art History Program; Asian Studies; Religion Program
Contact: Tom Wolf  845-758-7158
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Continents in Motion: How today's China - Africa encounter came about and what it means for the world
Howard French
Associate Professor
Graduate School of Journalism
Columbia University

Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
I will speak about the processes that first began drawing large numbers of new Chinese migrants to Africa in the early to mid 1990's, and then speak to the question of the global geopolitical and economic setting that pushed events in this direction, albeit with some surprising outcomes. These include the end of Maoism, the launching of China's reform and opening period, the end of the Cold War, and what has come to be known by some as the War on Terror.
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Asian Studies Program; Chinese Studies Program; Global and International Studies Program; Human Rights Program; LIASE
Contact: Drew Thompson  845-758-4600
Monday, October 19, 2015
To celebrate the recent work by
Associate Professor Wendy Urban-Mead

The Gender of Piety: Family, Faith, and Colonial Rule in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe
Finberg House  Light refreshments will be served
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Bard Prison Initiative; Historical Studies Program; Master of Arts in Teaching Program
Contact: BardMAT  845-758-7145
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Ivan Vladislavić, author of The Folly
2015 Windham Campbell Prize Winner
Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium  7:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
With Nuruddin Farah and Robert Kelly

One of South Africa’s most finely tuned observers. -Ted Hodkingson, The Times Literary Supplement

A tantalizingly unnameable region between fable, allegory and parable, Ivan Vladislavić’s first novel announces a powerfully original imagination, expressed in unparalleled stylistic precision and brilliance. -Neel Mukherjee

Ivan Vladislavić lives in Johannesburg, where he works as a writer, editor, and teacher. His books include The Restless Supermarket, The Exploded View, Portrait with Keys, and Double Negative. He has won the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the Alan Paton Award, the University of Johannesburg Prize, and a 2015 Windham Campbell Prize for fiction.

Followed by Q&A, which will be led by Nuruddin Farah.

Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Division of Languages and Literature; Human Rights Project; Written Arts Program
Contact: Emely Paulino
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
The Best of Corto Circuito: A Mini Festival of Short Films
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  5:30 pm – 8:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Corto Circuito was formed eleven years ago in to showcase short films made by filmmakers from Latin America, Spain and the United States in Spanish and Portuguese. Since then, it has grown exponentially, becoming a reference in the film festival scene of New York City and the country at large. Each year, their selections have included animated and fictional short films, as well as documentaries and experimental works, many of which were United States and New York premieres.The Best of Corto Circuito: A Mini Festival of Short Films will consist of a screening of selected short films from the festival, with an emphasis on human rights and immigration. To complement the film program of The Best of Corto Circuito, there will be a Q&A with a surprise filmmaker guest, and a panel discussion with Diana Vargas and Laura Turégano, Co-founders of Cortocircuito.

This event is a collaboration between Bard College and the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at New York University. Organized by Prof. López-Gay, Spanish Studies. All films are in Spanish with English subtitles. Free and open to the public.
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Center for Foreign Languages and Cultures; Center for Moving Image Arts; Division of Languages and Literature; Historical Studies Program; Human Rights Program; LAIS Program; Spanish Studies
Contact: Patricia Lopez-Gay  845-758-6050
Friday, September 4, 2015
Post-Graduate Scholarships and Fellowships Information Session
Olin 102  Interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholarship, a Watson fellowship, or another postgraduate scholarship or fellowship? This information session will cover application procedures, deadlines, and suggestions for crafting a successful application. Applications will be due later this month, so be sure to attend one of the  two information sessions!
Contact: Carol Werner  845-758-7454
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Post-Graduate Scholarships and Fellowships Information Session
RKC 103  Interested in applying for a Fulbright Grant, a Watson Fellowship, or another postgraduate scholarship or fellowship? This information session will cover application procedures, deadlines, and suggestions for crafting a successful application. Applications will be due later this month, so be sure to attend one of these two sessions!
Contact: David Shein  845-758-7454
Monday, April 27, 2015
Leprosy, Sex, and Sensibility in the 18th century French Antilles
Kristen Block
Associate Professor of History, University of Tennessee

Olin, Room 201  In the early decades of the eighteenth century, a supposed outbreak of leprosy in Guadeloupe spurred a flurry of activity and many pages of manuscript reports.  Leprosy itself had become a very rare condition in 18th century Europe, and so medical professionals resident in Guadeloupe and Martinique debated the patterns of its transmission (cohabitation, heredity, wet-nursing, or even prolonged contact through daily interaction [conversation]), its cure, and even its very definition. But all were certain that the disease had spread from Africa via the Atlantic slave trade, which led to fears of its communicability across racial lines.  Colonists’ libertine attitude towards interracial social and sexual contact were already seen as leading to dangerous contagions (like syphilis, which was seen by many to be more prevalent in Africa, where yaws, another leprosy-like disease, was endemic).  This paper discusses how the uncertainty surrounding this disease, as well as the fact that leprosy caused so little pain, brought up fears of the “sensibility” involved in the colonial project.  

Kristen Block is a scholar of the early modern Atlantic world whose first book, Ordinary Lives in the Early Caribbean (Georgia 2012), examines the entangled histories of Spain and England in the Caribbean during the long seventeenth century as both colonial powers searched for profit and attempted to assert their own version of religious dominance.  Her second book project is exploring how Caribbean residents defined disease, contagion, and how conflict and hybridity affected their attempts at healing. 

Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; American Studies Program
Contact: Christian Crouch  845-758-6874
Monday, April 20, 2015
Zanele Muholi: An Artist Dialogue
Olin, Room 102  Zanele Muholi is shortlisted for the 2015 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, for her publication Faces and Phases (Steidl/The Walther Collection). Muholi's work is currently featured in the Wellcome Collection's exhibition, The Institute of Sexology, in London (until September 2015), and in Paris the Pompidou Centre's recent acquisition of her work is on display within their permanent collection exhibition (until September 2015). She participated in Irreverent: A Celebration of Censorship, a group show at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in February 2015, and between 21 February to 29 March 2015 her solo exhibition The Art of Activism, shows at Akershus Kunstsenter, Norway.

At New Art Exchange, UK, Muholi will participate in Residual: traces of the black body, running from 13 March to 7 April 2015. On 24 March Muholi launched her publication Faces and Phases 2006-14, at the Centre for African Studies Gallery, University of Cape Town, and she will participate in The Lesbian Spring festival, Toulouse, France and her exhbition Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence opens at Brooklyn Museum on 1 May and runs until November 2015.

(Provided by Stevenson
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Environmental and Urban Studies Program; Human Rights Project; Photography Program
Contact: Drew Thompson  845-758-4600
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Yurumein Homeland: The Caribs of St. Vincent
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  CSA presents Yurumein Homeland: The Caribs of St. Vincent, a documentary about the Carib/Garifuna resistence against slavery in St. Vincent.

Contact: Nyesha Maughn  917-605-7196
Monday, March 23, 2015
Remediation in La Vie Sur Terre and Moolaade
Marissa Moorman, Associate Professor
Indiana University-Bloomington

Olin, Room 102  Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Environmental and Urban Studies Program; Experimental Humanities Program; Human Rights Project
Contact: Drew Thompson  845-758-4600
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
The Rickshaw and the Policeman: Zulu Men, Work and Clothing in Colonial Natal
Hlonipha Mokoena
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
Columbia University

RKC 115  This paper will explore the two careers of rickshaw puller and policeman through the lens of clothing since the rickshaw pullers were often spectacularly dressed in “costumes” that echoed “Zulu” aesthetics while the policeman was stripped of such excess and given a suit and various other articles of clothing made of worsted wool. As photographic subjects, the rickshaw and the policeman seem to be polar opposites and yet many men seem to have cycled through both careers. The paper will also explore how the very notion of a “career” was established specifically for Zulu men and how forms of work as diverse as child caring and laundering were all tied together by assumptions that were made about the expendability of Zulu bodies. Needless to say, even the term “Zulu” is used advisedly since there was as much wishful thinking and fantasy on the part of photographers as there was a tangible reality that can be termed “Zuluness”.
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Environmental and Urban Studies Program
Contact: Drew Thompson  845-758-4600
Thursday, February 26, 2015
McKay After Morocco: Lost & Found in the Archives
Jean-Christophe Cloutier
RKC 101A  This talk will address the discovery of Jamaican writer Claude McKay’s last novel, Amiable with Big Teeth, and show how its subsequent authentication—via extensive archival research—enabled the historical reconstruction necessary to properly contextualize and appreciate anew the final phases of McKay’s incredible intellectual and literary journey.

Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Historical Studies Program; Literature Program
Contact: Tabetha Ewing  845-758-7548
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Make a Joyful Noise!
A Service of Celebration and Remembrance
Chapel of the Holy Innocents  The Community Church at Bard will host a worship service in honor of Black History Month - "Make a Joyful Noise!: A Service of Celebration and Remembrance” - on Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 4pm in the Bard Chapel of the Holy Innocents. This program will feature readings and music drawn from a range of Africa-American church and social justice traditions. Following the service there will be a community pot-luck supper. All are welcome!

Guest speaker for this event will be Jason Craige Harris.

An educator, speaker, writer, and minister, Jason Craige Harris specializes in matters related to spirituality, ethics, justice, and knowledge activism. He is an instructor at Friends Seminary in NYC where he teaches the craft of written expression and how to observe religious and ethical systems critically. Mr. Harris also serves on the board of Postcolonial Networks, where he facilitates conversations on religion, violence, decolonization, and democracy.
Sponsored by: Chaplaincy
Contact: Nicholas Lewis  845-752-4775
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Fantasy and the Archive in the “Afric-American Picture Gallery”

Britt Rusert, University of Massachusetts

Olin, Room 102  In 1859, a series of fictional sketches, unprecedented in the history of African American literature, appeared in the pages of the Anglo-African Magazine. Written under the pen name “Ethiop,” William J. Wilson’s “Afric-American Picture Gallery” offered readers a textual tour of a fictional gallery of art on various subjects related to black life in America. Drawn from real-life paintings, works imagined by the author, and portraits that appeared in the antebellum print sphere, Wilson’s Picture Gallery effectively imagines the first gallery of black art in the United States. In addition to offering an introduction to this fascinating, yet virtually unknown text, this talk will explore the relationship between fantasy and the archive in the Picture Gallery, and how, more specifically, fantasy allows Wilson to critically reflect on the problem of the archive in the contexts of slavery and nominal freedom. I will also discuss a collaborative project, currently underway, to create a digital edition and virtual installation of the Picture Gallery.
Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Dean of the College; Literature Program
Contact: Christian Ayne Crouch
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
"Anthropology, Photography and the Field of Memory: Images from South Sudan"
Patti Langton
Olin, Room 102  Patti Langton, a British anthropologist and documentary film-maker, lived in Sudan 1979-1980 with the Larim (or Boya) people, cattle pastoralists whose homeland lies near South Sudan’s borders with Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Her remarkable photographic and sound archive has recently been acquired by the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford, where she is a Research Associate. The photographs document the lives of a remote people on the eve of war, the prolonged period of national conflict that has since engulfed the Larim and other communities in South Sudan.

Patti Langton will discuss the fate of these images form creation to curation, from the moment of taking the photograph to its afterlife in a museum.

Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Anthropology Program; Dean of the College; Human Rights Program; Rift Valley Institute
Contact: Armaan Alkazi  845-758-7677
Monday, January 26, 2015
CANCELED: A Reading by Norman Rush
The Norman Rush reading originally scheduled for January 26 has been canceled. This event will be rescheduled soon.
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  The National Book Award winner and author of Whites, Mating, Mortals, and Subtle Bodies reads from his work Monday, January 26, at 6:00 p.m. in Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center.

Introduced by Mona Simpson, the reading is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations required.

“Subtle Bodies seems like one of the few novels written for grown-up people. Rush’s characters want to fall in love, to laugh and enjoy themselves. Their quirks, opinions, compulsions, and the cruel or considerate ways in which they treat their rivals and allies are all aspects of the personalities that keep us engrossed—along with the clarity and precision of Rush’s sentences, the freshness of his observations, and our awareness that we are reading something quite rare: a remarkably nonjudgmental novel about people who are perpetually and often harshly judging themselves and one another.”—Francine Prose, The New York Review of Books
Sponsored by: Written Arts Program
Contact: Micaela Morrissette  845-758-7054