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



Monday, December 16, 2019
1619: A Commemoration in Sound
Fisher Center, Sosnoff Theater  7:30 pm EDT/GMT-4

Dr. Whitney Slaten
T.K. Blue Quintet
Souleymane Badolo / Kongo Ba Téria
and the art of James Ransome

1619: A Commemoration in Sound is a remembrance event to mark the 400th anniversary of the first arrival of enslaved people from Africa in the North American British Colonies—the beginning of slavery in what would become the United States of America. 

African descendants’ virtuosic negotiations with Western tonality and forms, as well as cosmopolitan explorations of different sounds, aesthetics, and cultures, have shaped vital contributions to the art, music, and dance of America. Dr. Whitney Slaten, Assistant Professor of Music, brings together virtuosic jazz artist T.K. Blue, choreographer and Visiting Artist in Dance Souleymane Badolo, and lauded illustrator and Dutchess County resident James Ransome for an exploration of history, memory, legacy, and gestures between the U.S. and Africa. 

Presented in partnership with the Difference and Media Project, the Office of Inclusive Excellence, and the Ethnomusicology Area, with support from The Music Program, Historical Studies, Art History, Africana Studies, American Studies, The Arts Division, the Center for Civic Engagement, and the Center for Experimental Humanities.
Sponsored by: Fisher Center
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
A Special Screening of Tootie’s Last Suit and Conversation with the Director Lisa Katzman
Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm – 7:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Tootie’s Last Suit is an awarding-winning documentary about the famed Mardi Gras Indian Chief of New Orleans, Allison Montana, a.k.a. Tootie, who died in 2005. The historical and biographical film explores the history and performative culture of Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the segregation that ensued around carnival. The film has received recognition from the Society for Visual Anthropology and a special honor from the Margaret Mead Film Foundation at the Tribeca Film Festival. 
Lisa Katzman is highly-accomplished film director, whose films include Flamencos: Here at There (Aquí y Allí), 9/11’s Unsettled Dust and its sequel Hiding BP’s Oil (currently in post-production). She is currently working on a screenplay titled “Rachel and Gerard” with the director Charles Burnett, and an adaptation of Dorien Ross’ novel Returning to A. 
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; American Studies Program; Film and Electronic Arts Program; Historical Studies Program
Contact: Drew Thompson  845-758-4600
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Teaching and Learning Through Photography, Dr. Frowin Paul Nyoni, Richard Katuma and Wendy Ewald.
Olin, Room 102  4:00 pm – 5:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
TLTP has developed a methodology using affordable and effective visual tools that are linked to the national educationa curriculum in Tanzania. TLTP is an integral part of the humanities curriculum at the University of Dodoma, and works in partnership with the Center for Civic Engagement here at Bard.

Please come and learn more about this important work, and to learn about opportunities for student invovlement both with the TLTP and with the University of Dodoma. 
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Center for Civic Engagement; Human Rights Project
Contact: Danielle Riou  845-758-7127
Monday, October 28, 2019
Learning Politics with Art: Lessons from Curation under Occupation
Kirsten Scheid, American University of Beirut / Clark Art Institute
Olin, Room 202  6:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Studying imagination shifts attention to the emergent and yet-possible. In 2018, I cocurated an exhibition that invited Jerusalem audiences to reimagine the city’s “possible” existence by building on ludic spatial-temporal moves that have distilled in contemporary Palestinian art. This paper explores the lessons artistic imaginings of a possible Jerusalem, one not confined to space-time coordinates we use to understand realpolitik, offer the exhibition’s participants and audiences.  

Associate professor of anthropology at the American University of Beirut, Kirsten Scheid studies imagination technologies, artistic materialities, and social change specifically through cases of modern and contemporary Arab art. Her essays appear in Anthropology Now, ARTMargins, the International Journal of Middle East Studies, and Museum Anthropology and can be accessed at She has cocurated The Jerusalem Show (Jerusalem, 2018) and The Arab Nude (Beirut, 2016), exhibited at the New Museum (2011), and consulted for the Tate Modern (2014) and MoMA (2016–18). The 2019–20 Clark/Oakley Fellow at the Clark Art Institute, Scheid is currently completing an historically informed ethnography of aesthetic encounters that comprise contemporary Palestine and point to new political imaginings. 

This event is cosponsored by the Africana Studies Program, the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, the Art History and Visual Culture Program, and the Human Rights Project. 
Sponsored by: Middle Eastern Studies Program
Contact: Dina Ramadan  845-758-7506
Thursday, October 10, 2019
In Small Places Close to Home
3rd floor of the Watts dePeyster Hall, Village of Tivoli  5:30 pm – 7:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
In honor of the legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt, the Human Rights Project at Bard College and the Village of Tivoli invite you to join us for a roundtable discussion about the current state of human rights.

In connection with the commemoration of her childhood home in Tivoli, this public event revisits Eleanor Roosevelt's famous answer to the question “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?” For Eleanor Roosevelt, it was clear that “Without concerted citizen action to uphold” human rights “close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” In that spirit, the event connects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the increasingly dire challenges to human rights faced in the United States. How has the political discourse around human rights changed in the United States, and what are its implications? What does the term human rights mean in public culture today and how does it strengthen or limit the struggles around climate change, criminal justice, immigration, and racial, social and economic inequality? This event will take the form of a public conversation involving global and local activists, introduced by Peter Rosenblum, Professor of International Law and Human Rights, and moderated by Larry Cox, former Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, in which we all grapple together with these questions (and others) "in small places, close to home."
Sponsored by: Center for Civic Engagement
Monday, September 16, 2019
An Evening with Three South African Jazz Greats 
Bard Hall  6:00 pm – 7:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
Join Africana Studies for its new year kick off. The evening festivities will feature a performance by three South African Jazz greats, vocalists Nonhlanhla Kheswa and Melanie Scholtz and pianist Hilton Schilder. Their visit to Bard College is made possible through a longstanding partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, which is hosting "The South African Songbook" in celebration of 25 years of democracy in South Africa.

No tickets are required. Refreshments will be served. 
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Global and International Studies Program; Historical Studies Program
Contact: Drew Thompson  845-758-6822
Thursday, April 25, 2019
The Eccentric Augustine
Catherine Conybeare, Professor of Greek, Latin and Classical Studies, Bryn Mawr College
Olin, Room 102  4:45 pm – 6:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
The writings of Augustine of Hippo (354–430 CE) are fundamental to the Western European intellectual tradition. It is rarely taken into account, however, that he spent almost his entire life in North Africa. This talk will consider what the late Roman Empire looked like from the “eccentric” vantage points of Numidia and Africa Proconsularis—Algeria and Tunisia, in contemporary terms—and what effect that eccentricity may have had on Augustine’s thought.
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Classical Studies Program; Medieval Studies Program; Religion Program
Contact: David Ungvary  845-758-7600
Monday, April 22, 2019
Jessie Morgan-Owens, author of Girl in Black and White, in Conversation with Christian Crouch
Olin, Room 204  5:00 pm – 7:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Jessie Morgan-Owens is a photographer, dean of studies at Bard Early College–New Orleans, and author of a very well-received new book called Girl in Black and White: The Story of Mary Mildred Williams and the Abolition Movement. On Monday, April 22, she will be on campus to read from the book and to join Christian Crouch in conversation about the issues it raises. Please join us for what should be a terrific and far-ranging discussion of racial politics, the abolitionist movement, U.S. history, the history of photography, the power of images, and more.

To borrow from the publisher’s blurb: “When a decades-long court battle resulted in her family’s freedom in 1855, seven-year-old Mary Mildred Williams unexpectedly became the face of American slavery. Famous abolitionists Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry David Thoreau, and John Albion Andrew would help Mary and her family in freedom, but Senator Charles Sumner saw a monumental political opportunity. Due to generations of sexual violence, Mary’s skin was so light that she ‘passed’ as white, and this fact would make her the key to his white audience’s sympathy. During his sold-out abolitionist lecture series, Sumner paraded Mary in front of rapt audiences as evidence that slavery was not bounded by race. Weaving together long-overlooked primary sources and arresting images, including the daguerreotype that turned Mary into the poster child of a movement, Jessie Morgan-Owens investigates tangled generations of sexual enslavement and the fraught politics that led Mary to Sumner. She follows Mary’s story through the lives of her determined mother and grandmother to her own adulthood, parallel to the story of the antislavery movement and the eventual signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Girl in Black and White restores Mary to her rightful place in history and uncovers a dramatic narrative of travels along the Underground Railroad, relationships tested by oppression, and the struggles of life after emancipation. The result is an exposé of the thorny racial politics of the abolitionist movement and the pervasive colorism that dictated where white sympathy lay―one that sheds light on a shameful legacy that still affects us profoundly today.”
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; American Studies Program; The Bard Early College Network
Contact: Christian Crouch  845-758-6874
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
A Celebration of Africana Studies: Linda Sikhakhane and Aaron Rimbui in Concert
Bard Hall  5:00 pm – 7:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Please join us for an evening concert with two legendary South African jazz musicians, saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane and pianist Aaron Rimbui. After the performance, Sikhakhane and Rimbui will host a discussion about South African jazz. This event marks the end-of-the year celebration for Africana Studies, and is made possible through a long-standing partnership between Africana Studies and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Refreshments will be served.
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program
Contact: Drew Thompson  845-758-4600
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
The Words We Live By: Poetry and Philosophy in Conversation
The Sanctuary at Murray's, Tivoli  6:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
The Words We Live By: Poetry and Philosophy in Conversation

Sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, Literature Program, Written Arts Program, Africana Studies Program, and the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College

The Hannah Arendt Poetry and Philosophy Address invites a poet and a philosopher to engage in conversation about the place of poetry in a world increasingly defined by political and social strife, disorientation, and loneliness. Hannah Arendt has written that “the storehouse of memory is kept and watched over by the poets, whose business it is to find and make the words we live by.” For Arendt, poetry was what remained after the war, as a record of experience that could provide a sense of durability in the world, and as a form of thinking that could orient us away from the tyranny of ideology. Throughout her career the language of poetry remained at the heart of her political writing, and it is in this spirit that we invite a poet and a philosopher to talk together about the enduring and urgent significance of poetry in the world today. 

Fred Moten lives in New York and teaches in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University. His latest book is consent not to be a single being (Duke University Press, 2017, 2018).

Robert Gooding-Williams is the M. Moran Weston / Black Alumni Council Professor of African-American Studies and Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. He is the author of Zarathustra's Dionysian Modernism (Stanford, 2001), Look, a Negro! Philosophical Essays on Race, Culture, and Politics (Routledge, 2005), and In the Shadow of Du Bois: Afro-Modern Political Thought in America (Harvard, 2009).

This event will be moderated by Ann Lauterbach
Poet Ann Lauterbach's work has been compared to the poetry of John Ashbery and Barbara Guest. She has published several volumes of poetry, including Many Times, but Then (1979), Before Recollection (1987), Clamor (1991), And for Example (1994), On a Stair (1997), If in Time (2001), Hum (2005) and Or to Begin Again (2009), which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Free & Open to the Public
Location: Murray’s Tivoli, The Sanctuary (2nd floor)
Date: March 26, 2019
Start Time: 6:00 pm

Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Hannah Arendt Center; Literature Program; Written Arts Program
Contact: 845-758-7878 
Monday, March 25, 2019
If Only I Were That Warrior 
Film screening and roundtable discussion
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  6:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
If Only I Were That Warrior (2015) is a feature documentary film focusing on the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1935. Following the recent construction of a monument dedicated to Fascist general Rodolfo Graziani, the film addresses the unpunished war crimes he and others committed in the name of Mussolini's imperial ambitions. The stories of three characters, filmed in present-day Ethiopia, Italy, and the United States, take the audience on a journey through the living memories and the tangible remains of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia—a journey that crosses generations and continents to today, where this often overlooked legacy still ties the fates of two nations and their people. 

The film screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers, Valerio Ciriaci and Isaak Liptzin, and Bard faculty member Dinaw Mengestu.
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; American Studies Program; Italian Studies Program; Literature Program
Contact: Karen Raizen  845-758-6822
Monday, March 11, 2019
CCS Bard Speaker Series: Paul Mpagi Sepuya
CCS Bard, Classroom 102  2:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Through the Speaker Series, CCS Bard brings distinguished artists, scholars, and curators to campus to present on their work. Speaker Series talks are held in Classroom 102 at CCS Bard unless otherwise noted. All talks are free and open to the public.

This lecture is cohosted by the Africana Studies Program at Bard College.
Sponsored by: Africana Studies Program; Center for Curatorial Studies
Contact: CCS Bard  845-758-7598
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
“Women and the Dreamwork” 
The Brant Foundation Lecture in Contemporary Art: Dr. Kellie Jones
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  5:00 pm – 7:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Open to the public, free admission
The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard) is proud to present a lecture by Dr. Kellie Jones, one of America’s leading art historians and author of such books as EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (2011), and South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s (2017), which was named a Best Art Book of 2017 in The New York Times, a Best Book of 2017 in Artforum and received the Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award at the American Book Awards in 2018.
This lecture will be the third in The Brant Foundation Lecture in Contemporary Art series, and will be given on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 5pm at Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center, Bard College. The talk “Women and the Dreamwork” will consider work by three women artists: Candida Alvarez, Elizabeth Catlett, and Elizabeth Murray, and is made by possible by the major grant given from The Brant Foundation to Bard College to support The Brant Foundation Fellowship in Contemporary Arts.
Dr. Kellie Jones is a Professor in Art History and Archaeology and a Faculty Fellow with the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University. Her research interests include African American and African Diaspora artists, Latinx and Latin American Artists, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory. 
Dr. Jones has received numerous awards for her work from the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University; Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and a term as Scholar-in-Residence at the Terra Foundation for American Art in Europe in Giverny, France. In 2016 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
Dr. Jones’s writings have appeared in a multitude of exhibition catalogues and journals.  She is the author of two books published by Duke University Press, EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (2011), and South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s (2017).
Dr. Jones has also worked as a curator for over three decades and has numerous major national and international exhibitions to her credit.  Her exhibition “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980,” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, was named one of the best exhibitions of 2011 and 2012 by Artforum, and best thematic show nationally by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). She was co-curator of “Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the 1960s” (Brooklyn Museum), named one the best exhibitions of 2014 by Artforum.

About The Brant Foundation
The Brant Foundation, Inc.’s mission is to promote education and appreciation of contemporary art and design by making works available to institutions and individuals for scholarly study, examination, and loan. Currently, The Brant Foundation, established in 1996, lends works to more than a dozen exhibitions per year. The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, designed by Richard Gluckman and located in Greenwich, CT, opened its doors in 2009 and presents long-term exhibitions curated primarily from the collection. The collection is remarkable in that scores of artists are represented in depth, including works from the earliest period of their practice through their most recent works. Additional information may be found on the Foundation’s website,
Sponsored by: Center for Curatorial Studies
Contact: Alex Kitnick  845-752-4658