The Literature Program


Course Offerings

The Literature Program at Bard offers courses in the following categories:
  • Sequence Courses
  • Introduction Courses
  • 100/200-Level Courses
  • 300- and 400-Level Courses
  • World Literature
  • Junior Seminar

Current Course List

Current Course List
Historical studies in the Comparative, English and American literature traditions are organized into sequences. Click the course titles below to see their descriptions.

Sequence Courses

  • LIT 204 Comparative Literature: Ancient Literature
  • LIT 204B Comparative Literature II: 1600-1800
  • LIT 251 English Literature II
  • LIT 252 English Literature III
  • LIT 258 American Literature II
  • LIT 259 American Literature III

Introduction Course Samples

  • LIT 103 Introduction to Literary Studies

100/200-Level Course Samples

  • LIT 224 American Existentialism
  • LIT 229 Primo Levi: Scientific Imagination & the Holocaust
  • LIT 232 Middle Eastern Cinemas
  • LIT 243 Literature in the Digital Age
  • LIT 255 Chaucer
  • LIT 263 What is a Character?
  • LIT 266 Disability & Queer Aesthetics
  • LIT 2026 Introduction to Children's and Young Adult Literature
  • LIT 2050 Blues, Spirituals & The 20th Century African American Literature

300- and 400-Level Course Samples

  • LIT 320 (Un)Making the Canon: Texts and Contexts in English Literature
  • LIT 331 Translation Workshop
  • LIT 333 Innovative Contemporary Fiction
  • LIT 3244 Major Currents in American Thought
  • LIT 405 Senior Colloquium: Literature

World Literature Courses

World Literature courses explore the interrelations among literary cultures throughout the world. They pay special attention to such topics as translation, cultural difference, the emergence of diverse literary systems, and the relations between global sociopolitical issues and literary form.

Current World Literature Courses

  • LIT 228 The Arab Renaissance, or Nahdah as Empire
  • LIT 2159 Into the Whirlwind: Literary Greatness and Gambles
  • LIT 2203 Balkan Voices: Writing from Southeastern Europe
  • LIT 393 Ten Plays that Shook the World

Junior Seminar in Literature

A junior seminar is specifically designed for moderated juniors preparing for senior project work in literature. Maximum enrollment is l5. Common expectations for all junior seminars are the following:

1) A 20-25 pp. paper will be written in the course of the semester, representing the student’s independent work.

2) The seminar will entail the students’ substantial exposure to a methodology other than close reading, that is, historical research, theory, or criticism and scholarship specific to the topic. By this means students grounded in close reading during their first two years will come to discover how to contextualize their ideas in significant ways. 

They will fine-tune their understanding of poetic techniques, or the forms of narrative of drama.   They will ask themselves how texts are vehicles for aesthetic and cultural values, as well as produce them. This is to study, in short, how literature participates in culture rather than simply serving as its reflection. They will also discover what literary analysis can tell us about the strengths and limitations of emerging textual practices (web-based research, distinguishing between primary sources and Wikipedia).

Students are expected to acquire competence in the methodology and to write the long paper within its framework.

3) The seminar will include short assignments and other work (such as discussion and writing practices that encourage exploratory and experimental ventures in the new area) that will help the students make progress toward the long paper, and secondarily encourage habits of collaborative work that may serve also as a support for the chapters of senior project.

Current Junior Seminar Courses

  • LIT 312 A Fly in Buttermilk: Home & Abroad with James Baldwin
  • LIT 322 Representing the Unspeakable