The Literature Program


The Literature Program

Upcoming Events

Past Events



Monday, November 11, 2019
A Reading by Sigrid Nunez
The National Book Award winner reads from her work
Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium  6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
On Monday, November 11, at 6:30 p.m., in the László Z. Bitó ’60 Auditorium, Reem-Kayden Center (RKC), Sigrid Nunez reads from her work. Presented by the Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series and the Written Arts Program, and introduced by MacArthur Fellow Dinaw Mengestu, the reading is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. Books by Sigrid Nunez will be available for sale, courtesy of Oblong Books & Music.

Sigrid Nunez was born and raised in New York City, the daughter of a German mother and a Panamanian-Chinese father. In 1972, after graduating from Barnard College, Nunez worked as an editorial assistant for Robert B. Silvers at the New York Review of Books. She then received her MFA from Columbia University and returned to NYRB, where she met the late Susan Sontag, who became the subject of her 2011 memoir, Sempre Susan. Nunez chronicled her childhood and adolescence in her first book, a hybrid novel, A Feather on the Breath of God (1995), both a critical and commercial success. Her novel For Rouenna (2001), which tells the story of a woman’s experiences in the Vietnam War, was seen by many as her “breakthrough work.” In her fiction, Nunez has experimented with a vast range of genres and themes, marked by a spare, intimate, confessional tone. While beloved by fellow novelists, Nunez kept a deliberate distance from the literary scene, but with the 2018 publication of “The Friend,” Nunez became an “overnight literary sensation,” winning the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction and drawing euphoric reviews that hailed the novel as “a subtle, unassuming masterpiece” (New York Times).

Sigrid Nunez is the author of eight books. Her work has appeared in anthologies including four Pushcart Prize volumes, four anthologies of Asian-American literature, and The Best American Short Stories 2019. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, and two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters: the Rosenthal Foundation Award and the Rome Prize in Literature. Her work has been translated into ten languages and is in the process of being translated into thirteen more. She lives in New York City.
“Nunez’s prose itself comforts us. Her confident and direct style uplifts—the music in her sentences, her deep and varied intelligence. She addresses important ideas unpretentiously and offers wisdom for any aspiring writer.” —New York Times Book Review

“Nunez has proved herself a master of psychological acuity.” —New Yorker
“A major talent . . . [Nunez’s] gift is wild and large.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Nunez’s piercing intelligence and post-feminist consciousness may well feel that writing the Great American novel is no longer a feasible or worthwhile goal—but damned if she hasn’t gone and done it anyway.” —Salon

“Nunez’s keen powers of observation make her a natural chronicler.” —New York Review of Books

“When the apocalypse comes, I want Nunez in my lifeboat.” —Vanity Fair

“One of the most dizzyingly accomplished of our writers.” —Gary Shteyngart
Sponsored by: Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series and the Written Arts Program
Contact: Nicole Nyhan  845-758-7054
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Celebrated French writer Maylis de Kerangal in conversation with Dinaw Mengestu (followed by a reading in French and English)
RKC 103  5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Maylis de Kerangal is the author of several novels and novellas in French, including La vie voyageuse (2003), Corniche Kennedy (2008), Naissance d’un pont (winner of the Prix Médicis 2010, and published in English as Birth of a Bridge), and, most recently, Un monde à portée de main (2018). In 2014, her fifth novel, Réparer les vivants, was published to wide acclaim, topped bestseller lists for months, and  went on to win several prestigious prizes. Its American translation (The Heart, FSG 2016) was one of the Wall Street Journal’s Ten Best Fiction Works of 2016 ; its UK translation (Mend the Living) was the winner of the Wellcome Book Prize. Un chemin de table (2016) is de Kerangal’s most recent book made available in English, under the title The Cook (2019).

Praise for Mend the Living
“I’ve seldom read a more moving book” —Lydia Kiesling, Guardian
“[an] extraordinary novel that etches itself in the mind” —Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

Praise for The Cook
“de Kerangal’s food writing is incantatory […] I was left hungry for more” —Moira Hodgson, Wall Street Journal

Cosponsored by Bard’s Division of Languages and Literature, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
Sponsored by: Division of Languages and Literature; French Studies Program; Written Arts Program
Contact: √Čric Trudel  845-758-7121
Friday, November 1, 2019
IWT Writer as Reader Workshops
Olin Humanities Building  9:00 am – 4:30 pm
IWT’s Writer as Reader workshops model writing practices that support close reading and Common Core standards in all subjects, and invite secondary and college teachers to consider “writing to read” as a central classroom practice, one that shows rather than tells students how writing clarifies meaning in literary, historical, and nonfiction texts. 

Workshops include:

1. Epistolary Meditations on Race in America: Between the World and Me and “My Dungeon Shook”
2. “Suit the Action to the Word, the Word to the Action”: Macbeth on Stage and Page
3. Writing Ourselves into the Journey: Homer’s Odyssey and Daniel Mendelsohn’s An Odyssey
4. Call and Response: Heart of Darkness and Season of Migration to the North
5. Lord of the Flies: Rethinking Survival
6. Hearing God’s Trombones
7. The Flint Water Crisis and Restorative Justice in the Classroom: The Poisoned City and Justice on Both Sides
8. A Street in Bronzeville: Gwendolyn Brooks and the Chicago Black Renaissance
9. Remembering Differently: Reading, Writing, and Rewriting History in Multimodal Literatures
10. Reading/Writing Metamorphosis: Ovid and Kafka in the Anthropocene
Sponsored by: Institute for Writing and Thinking
Contact: Molly Livingston  845-752-4516
Monday, October 28, 2019
A Reading by Peter Orner
The Bard Fiction Prize and Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner reads from Maggie Brown & Others
Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium  6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
On Monday, October 28, at 6:30 p.m., in the László Z. Bitó ’60 Auditorium, Reem-Kayden Center (RKC), Peter Orner reads from his new collection, Maggie Brown & Others. Presented by the Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series and the Written Arts Program, and introduced by MacArthur Fellow Dinaw Mengestu, the reading is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. Books by Peter Orner will be available for sale, courtesy of Oblong Books & Music.

An essential voice in American fiction, Peter Orner is the author of acclaimed books such as The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo (2006), winner of the Bard Fiction Prize; Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge (2013); and the National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Am I Alone Here? (2016), a memoir. Best known for his short fiction, Orner has been hailed as “a master of his form,” a writer who “doesn’t simply bring his characters to life, he gives them souls” (New York Times). Now, in his sixth book, Maggie Brown & Others (2019), Orner gathers a novella and forty-four stories—many as short as a few paragraphs, none longer than twenty pages—into an orchestral, polyphonic collection, his most sustained achievement yet.

Peter Orner is the author of two novels, three story collections, and a memoir. His stories have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories and twice received a Pushcart Prize. Orner has been awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy in Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a two-year Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship, as well as a Fulbright to Namibia. Currently, he is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College and lives with his family in Norwich, Vermont.
“It’s been apparent since his first book, Esther Stories (2001), that Peter Orner was a major talent . . . You know from the second you pick him up that he’s the real deal. His sentences are lit from below, like a swimming pool, with a kind of resonant yearning that’s impossible to fake . . . Orner can do anything.” —New York Times

“Mr. Orner packs remarkable pathos into his condensed dramas.” ―Wall Street Journal

“Orner writes with a combination of sincerity and self-awareness. . . . Most vividly reminiscent of Raymond Carver.” ―San Francisco Chronicle

“Orner is incapable of dishonoring his characters. He treats all of them—even the minor figures—with a fierce humanity.” —Boston Globe
“Peter Orner is that rare find: a young writer who can inhabit any character, traverse any landscape, and yet never stray from the sound of the human heart.” —Washington Post

“[Orner] is one of our most empathetic writers today. . . His fiction has an intimate feel: we are in conversation with otherwise unknown and forgotten lives. This is what makes Orner’s characters live and breathe beyond the page . . . This is how his clean, simple sentences succeed far beyond the limited space he gives them . . . Let us be thankful for Peter Orner.” ―Los Angeles Review of Books

“Orner is secretly one of the best contemporary writers working today: his characters are indelible, his focus small and piercing, his insights moving . . . all with his special sense for truth, character, and wistful realism.” ―Literary Hub
Sponsored by: Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series and the Written Arts Program
Contact: Nicole Nyhan  845-758-7054
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Sodomite, Gay, Queer, Trans:
A 14th-Century Document and Its Afterlives
Carolyn Dinshaw, Dean for the Humanities, Silver Professor; Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and English,
New York University

Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
In 1394 in London a person named John Rykener but calling themself Eleanor was arrested in the act of having paid sex with a man from out of town. In a deposition Rykener gave a detailed account of their life as sex worker. Scholars as well as artists (and some scholar-artists) have taken up, researched, imagined, written, danced, and performed with puppets the life of Rykener based on this document. In this talk Dinshaw goes back to the original record and forward to modern and contemporary interpretations of it in order to discern who Rykener was then, and how they are understood -- and indeed animated -- now.

Carolyn Dinshaw, Dean for the Humanities, is also Julius Silver, Roslyn S. Silver, and Enid Silver Winslow Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and English. She is a medievalist whose research not only focuses on the late Middle Ages in England and beyond, but also explores the relationship of past to present. Her award-winning book, Chaucer's Sexual Poetics (U of Wisconsin P, 1989), was the first full-length feminist study of Chaucer. She followed this with two books that develop analyses of our desires for past times: Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern (Duke UP, 1999) and How Soon is Now? Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time (Duke UP, 2012). With David Wallace, she edited The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Women’s Writing (Cambridge UP, 2003). And with David M. Halperin she founded and edited (1993-2005) the flagship journal of LGBT Studies, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (Duke UP). Before moving to NYU, Dean Dinshaw taught for many years at the University of California at Berkeley, where she was instrumental in the early development of LGBT Studies. At NYU, she founded and directed the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality (1999-2005) and chaired the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis (2012-15). In the classroom, she regularly teaches materials past and present, in courses ranging from Medieval Misogyny to Queer New York City.

Co-sponsored by Literature Program, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Human Rights
Sponsored by: Medieval Studies Program
Contact: Marisa Libbon  845-758-7211
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
The New Greek Renaissance
Mary Norris, American author, writer, and copy editor for the New Yorker
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
More than a dozen works about Greece and Greek, modern and ancient, by translators, memoirists, novelists, scholars, essayists, lecturers, dramatists, and actors from England, America, Australia, Greece, and Italy have been published in just the past two years, and there are more in the works. The author of Greek to Me will celebrate recent work inspired by the language, literature, and landscape of Greece and inquire into whatever it is in our current situation that sends us back to the Greeks.
Sponsored by: Classical Studies Program; Written Arts Program
Contact: Jame Romm  845-758-7283
Monday, September 30, 2019
In Japan but Not of Japan: Zainichi Korean Communities and Literatures
Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
A talk with Dr. Christina Yi, Univ. British Columbia

With the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1894, Japan officially embarked on an enterprise of territorial expansion. Acquisition of Taiwan occurred in 1895, soon followed by the annexation of Korea in 1910.The unconditional surrender of Japan to the Allied Powers in 1945 signaled not only the end of the Asia-Pacific War but also the end of the Japanese empire, as one of the conditions of surrender was the redrawing of national borders. In the years following Japan's war defeat, critics and scholars came to retrospectively schematize the literary texts produced during the colonial period within new paradigms of national literature. Meanwhile, the term zainichi(lit: “residing in Japan”) came to be applied to the Korean diasporic community in Japan, and zainichiliterature roughly defined as texts written in Japanese by ethnically Korean writers living in Japan. This talk will illuminate the effect of these postwar changes – as well as some prewar continuities – by looking at the Japanese-language writings of zainichiKorean writers, focusing in particular on Yi Yangji (1955–1992) and Kim Sŏkpŏm (b. 1925). It will also consider the interactions that took place between those writers and their Japanese peers in order to provide a more complex picture of the politics and literatures of postwar Japan. 

Christina Yi is Assistant Professor of Modern Japanese Literature at the University of British Columbia. Her first monograph, Colonizing Language: Cultural Production and Language Politics in Modern Japan and Korea, was published by Columbia University Press in 2018. 

Sponsored by: Asian Studies Program; Division of Languages and Literature; Historical Studies Program; Japanese; Translation and Translatability Initiative
Contact: Wakako Suzuki
Friday, September 27, 2019
Writer as Reader Workshops
Olin Humanities Building  9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Bard IWT’s Writer as Reader workshops model writing practices that support core learning objectives in all subjects. Register here.

Workshops include:
1. Albert Camus’ The Plague and the Rhetoric of Contagion
2. At the Border of Migration: Graphic Journalism and What It Means to “Do Good”
3. A Dream or a Nightmare? The Great Gatsby and “Get Out”
4. Rage/Power/Truth: Bringing 21st Century Feminism to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own
5. Writing Sin: The Scarlet Letter and “Jane the Virgin”
6. Science in the Public Square: Merchants of Doubt and the Challenge of Politicized Science
7. Songs of the Middle: W. E. B. Du Bois' “Georgia” Photos and Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself"
Sponsored by: Institute for Writing and Thinking
Contact: Molly Livingston  845-752-4516
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
A Reading and Conversation With Maxim Osipov
Author of Rock, Paper, Scissors and Other Stories (NYRB)


RKC 103  6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
A reading and conversation, with book signing after the talk.
"In a single decade Russia changes a lot, but in two centuries — not at all." Maxim Osipov" accurate, unforgiving diagnosis of Russian life.” Svetlana Alexievich"...extraordinary short stories of provincial life shine with a dark Chekhovian comedy." The Guardian
Sponsored by: Russian/Eurasian Studies Program
Contact: Olga Voronina  845-758-7391
Monday, September 23, 2019
A Reading by Dinaw Mengestu
Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium  6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
On Monday, September 23, at 6:00 p.m. in the Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito ’60 Auditorium, Dinaw Mengestu reads from his work. Presented by the Written Arts Program and introduced by Richard B. Fisher Family Professor in Literature and Writing Mary Caponegro, the reading is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. Books will be available for sale, courtesy of Oblong Books & Music.

Dinaw Mengestu came to the United States with his family from Ethiopia at the age of two. Since earning his MFA at Columbia University in 2005, he has published three novels, all of them New York Times Notable Books, including How to Read the Air (Riverhead, 2010), The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Riverhead, 2007), and his most recent, All Our Names (Knopf, 2014). A 2012 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Mengestu also earned a 2007 National Book Foundation Under 35 Award and was included on the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” list in 2010. He is the recipient of a Lannan Fiction Fellowship, Guardian First Book Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among numerous other awards. His work has been translated into more than 15 languages. Mengestu is also a freelance journalist who has reported from sub-Saharan Africa about life in Darfur, northern Uganda, and eastern Congo, and has had his work published in Harper’sGranta, Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. He has taught writing at Brooklyn College and Georgetown University and is currently the director of Bard’s Written Arts Program.
 “You can’t turn the pages fast enough, and when you’re done, your first impulse is to go back to the beginning and start over. . . . While questions of race, ethnicity, and point of origin do crop up repeatedly in Mengestu’s fiction, they are merely his raw materials, the fuel with which he so artfully—but never didactically—kindles disruptive, disturbing stories exploring the puzzles of identity, place, and human connection.” —Malcolm Jones, The New York Times 

“Mengestu portrays the intersection of cultures experienced by the immigrant with unsettling perception. . . . [He] evokes contrasting landscapes but focuses on his characters . . . who are all caught in a cycle of connection and disruption, engagement and abandonment, hope and disillusion.” —Publishers Weekly

“Subtly powerful . . . Sharp . . . We need globe-straddlers like Mengestu to show us that love, like hate, respects no borders.” —Boris Kachka
Sponsored by: Written Arts Program
Contact: 845-752-4454
Monday, May 13, 2019
Experimental Humanities Share Event
Reem-Kayden Center  5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

With EH Senior Project presentations by:

Lin Barnett
Anne Comer
Janine Rogers
Emma Washburn
Sponsored by: Experimental Humanities Program
Contact: 845-752-4454
Monday, May 13, 2019
Literature Program Senior Readings
Please join the graduating seniors of the Literature Program for a celebratory night of short readings from Senior Projects and Midway.
Kline, Faculty Dining Room  4:45 pm – 6:00 pm
Sponsored by: Literature Program
Contact: Cole Heinowitz  845-758-7203
Monday, April 29, 2019
"Modernism in Translation: Poetry and Politics in Beirut's Belle Époque"
Robyn Creswell (Yale University)
Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
What was the fate of literary modernism beyond Europe? Robyn Creswell's talk will explore the work of the modernist poetry movement in Beirut during the decades following WWII. By translating the techniques and ideology of modernism into Arabic, the intellectuals of Shi'r magazine radically altered the very idea of poetry in that literary tradition. This lecture will focus on the Arab modernists' exchanges with French poets, American spies, and the classical past.
Sponsored by: Arabic Studies Program; Middle Eastern Studies Program; Translation and Translatability Initiative
Contact: Elizabeth Holt
Friday, April 26, 2019
Translation and Human Rights Symposium
RKC 103  3:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Laura Kunreuther (Bard College), “Interpreting Human Rights, Interpreting in ‘the Field’”

Ziad Dallal (Bard College), “Translating Right Into Arabic: A Lexical History”

Jesse Browner (United Nations), “The Role of Translation in the Establishment and Preservation of International Law”

Leigh Swigart (Brandeis University), “The International Criminal Court in Translation: From Local Languages to Global Justice”

Moderator: Tom Keenan (Bard College)
Sponsored by: Translation and Translatability Initiative
Contact: Olga Voronina
Friday, April 26, 2019
IWT Conference Plenary: “Why Write? Reimagining High School and College Essays”
Olin Humanities Building  11:15 am – 12:45 pm
The Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking extends an open invitation to all faculty to join us on Friday, April 26, at 11:15 a.m. in Olin Auditorium for the plenary session of our annual conference. The conference theme is “Why Write? Reimagining High School and College Essays,” and the plenary will be a panel discussion featuring Stephanie Dunson, director of writing programs at Williams College; Curt Nehring Bliss, professor of English at Finger Lakes Community College; and Gian Starr, assistant principal at Stissing Mountain Jr./Sr. High School in Pine Plains, N.Y. The panel will be moderated by our own Maria Sachiko Cecire, assistant professor of literature and founding director of the Bard College Center for Experimental Humanities.
Sponsored by: Institute for Writing and Thinking
Contact: Molly Livingston  845-752-4516
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
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
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
A Reading by Valeria Luiselli
2018 American Book Award–winning author Valeria Luiselli reads from her work
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
On Tuesday, April 23, at 6:00 p.m. in Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center, Valeria Luiselli reads from her work. Presented by the Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series and the Written Arts Program, and introduced by MacArthur Fellow Dinaw Mengestu, the reading is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. Books by Valeria Luiselli will be available for sale, courtesy of Oblong Books & Music.

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City in 1983 and has lived in Costa Rica, South Korea, South Africa, India, Spain, France, and New York City. She is the author of a book of essays, Papeles falsos/Sidewalks (2012, 2014), and the internationally acclaimed novel Los ingravidos Faces in the Crowd (2013, 2014), which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. In 2014, she won the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 prize, an annual award honoring young and promising fiction writers. Her novel La historia de mis dientes The Story of My Teeth (2013, 2015) won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and the Azul Prize in Canada; was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Best Translated Book Award, and the Impac Prize 2017; and was named one of the New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of the Year. Her recent book Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions won the 2018 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism.

Luiselli received her PhD in comparative literature from Columbia University. Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages, and her writing has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Granta, McSweeney’s, Harper’s, and the New Yorker. Her latest novel, Lost Children Archive (2019), which was written in English, was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Luiselli was recently appointed as writer in residence in the Division of Languages and Literature at Bard College.
“The novel truly becomes novel again in Luiselli’s hands—electric, elastic, alluring, new. . . . She is a superb chronicler.” —New York Times

“Riveting, lyrical, virtuosic. . . . Luiselli’s metaphors are wrought with devastating precision. . . . The brilliance of the writing stirs rage and pity. It humanizes us.” —New York Times Book Review

“Daring, wholly original, brilliant . . . fascinating. . . . Luiselli is an extraordinary writer [with] a freewheeling novelist’s imagination.” —NPR

“A comprehensive literary intelligence.” —James Wood, New Yorker

“A master. . . . Luiselli confronts big picture questions: What does it mean to be American? To what lengths should we go to bear witness? Will history ever stop repeating itself? All the while, her language is so transporting, it stops you time and again.” —Carmen Maria Machado, O Magazine

“One of the most fascinating and impassioned authors at work today.” —Literary Hub
Sponsored by: Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series and the Written Arts Program
Contact: Nicole Nyhan  845-758-7054
Monday, April 22, 2019
From 1924 to Trump: The Roots of America’s Immigration Debate
Jia Lynn Yang, Deputy National Editor, The New York Times
Olin, Room 102  4:45 pm – 6:30 pm
This talk will trace the current immigration debate back to the Supreme Court fight in 1922 over whether a Japanese-born man could naturalize, and the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924, which established ethnic quotas favoring “Anglo-Saxons.” Because immigration debates have long been predicated on who counts as sufficiently “white,” the current system—in which there are far more Asian and Hispanic immigrants than European—challenges traditional notions of who counts as American. Yang will discuss how the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act set us on this current course, but left much unfinished work around race and national identity that we confront today during the Trump administration. The talk will also address media coverage of Trump’s immigration policies as well as how to infuse journalistic work with a sense of history.

Jia Lynn Yang is a deputy national editor at the New York Times, where she helps oversee coverage of the country. Previously, she was deputy national security editor at the Washington Post, where she was an editor on the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2018 for its coverage of Trump and Russia. She is writing a book on the history of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, Un-American Elements, forthcoming from W. W. Norton in 2020.
Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Asian Studies Program; Global and International Studies Program; Historical Studies Program; Human Rights Project; Japanese Studies Program; Political Studies Program
Contact: Nathan Shockey
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Poet & Translator:
A Bilingual Reading from Midnight in Spoleto 
by Paolo Valesio, with Translator Todd Portnowitz
Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Italian poet and scholar Paolo Valesio and his translator Todd Portnowitz read from their recent publication, Midnight in Spoleto (Fomite, 2018), and discuss the intricacies of the translation process.

PAOLO VALESIO is the author, among several other works, of twenty books of poetry and is the Giuseppe Ungaretti Professor Emeritus in Italian Literature at Columbia University. He was the founder, and coordinator for ten years, of the “Yale Poetry Group” at Yale University, and the founder and director of the journal Yale Italian Poetry (YIP), whose successor is the Italian Poetry Review (IPR) a “plurilingual journal of creativity and criticism” based in New York and in Florence, Italy—of which Valesio is the editor in chief; he is also the President of the “Centro Studi Sara Valesio” in Bologna.

TODD PORTNOWITZ is the translator of Midnight in Spoleto by Paolo Valesio (Fomite, 2018) and of Long Live Latin by Nicola Gardini, forthcoming in October from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and is a recipient of the Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets. An assistant editor with Alfred A. Knopf, he is a co-founder of the Italian poetry journal Formavera and of the Brooklyn-based reading series for writer-translators, Us&Them.    
Sponsored by: Italian Studies Program; Literature Program; Translation and Translatability Initiative
Contact: Joseph Luzzi  845-758-7150
Monday, April 1, 2019
A Reading by Joanna Scott
The Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award finalist Joanna Scott reads from her work, followed by a conversation with Dinaw Mengestu
Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium  7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
On Monday, April 1, at 7:00 p.m. in the László Z. Bitó ’60 Auditorium, Reem-Kayden Center (RKC), novelist Joanna Scott reads from her work. Presented by the Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series, introduced by novelist and Bard literature and writing professor Mary Caponegro, and followed by a conversation with Dinaw Mengestu, the reading is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. Books by Joanna Scott will be available for sale, courtesy of Oblong Books & Music.

Exploring subjects ranging from beauty and temptation to the motion of thought and the elusive potential of the imagination, Joanna Scott’s publications include Various Antidotes: Stories and the novel Arrogance, both PEN/Faulkner finalists; The Manikin, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; and Follow Me, a New York Times Notable Book. Her most recent novels are Careers for Women (2017) and De Potter's Grand Tour (2014). Scott has written about modern and contemporary authors including Samuel Beckett, Virginia Woolf, W. G. Sebald, Maureen Howard, William Gass, and J.M. Coetzee. Her play, Speakeasy, was produced by the Todd Theater Troupe at La MaMa and toured fringe festivals around the world.

Scott founded and directs The Inspiration Project, a volunteer literacy program for adults with developmental disabilities. She is a founding board member of the literary press Open Letter, and she is a contributing editor of Bard’s literary journal, Conjunctions, which published her story “Infidels” in the Fall 2018 issue, Conjunctions:71, A Cabinet of Curiosity.

Scott received her master’s degree from Brown University and has taught creative writing at Brown, the University of Maryland, and Princeton University; she is currently the Roswell Smith Burrows Professor of English at the University of Rochester. Scott is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Ambassador Book Award from the English-Speaking Union, and the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
 “The wit, the magical prose and the daring devices of Scott’s writing create an enchantment . . . her soundings of the depth of our natures are as accurate and revealing as Thoreau’s measurements of Walden Pond.” ―Nation

“A greatly gifted and highly original artist.” —New York Times Book Review

“Scott writes with the crispest and most telling of sentences. Her grasp of the mysteries within us is profound.” —Newsday

“Scott’s prose is sensitive and beautifully crafted . . . Her characters are both eminently human and touched with magic and mystery.” —Washington Post Book World

“One of the finest writers of her generation: elegant, sublime, of the earthy earth.” —Paul West

“What most amazes me about Joanna Scott’s extraordinary narratives is the vastness of the world her imagination ranges through and the rich, Dickensian variety of voices and characters one encounters.” —Robert Coover
Sponsored by: Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series and the Program in Written Arts
Contact: Nicole Nyhan  845-758-7054
Friday, March 29, 2019
Snobbery, Class, and Exclusion in French Literature
Olin, Room 102  2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
2:00 p.m. 
Welcome. Éric Trudel (Associate Professor of French, Bard College), Moderator

2:15 p.m. 
Morgane Cadieu (Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, French Department, Yale University), “The Return of Rastignac-Télémaque in Contemporary French Prose and Politics.”

3:00 p.m.   
Caroline Weber (Professor of French, Barnard College), “The Three Faces of Proust’s Duchess.”

Coffee Break: 3:30–4:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m. 
Maurice Samuels (Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French, Yale University), “Dress Rehearsal for Dreyfus: Simon Deutz, the Duchesse de Berry, and Modern France’s First Antisemitic Affair.” 

4:30 p.m.
Concluding Remarks.  Marina van Zuylen (Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Bard College), “I Am a Snob, You Are a Snob: On the Inevitability of Social Shame.”

5:00 p.m.
Discussion with Students and Faculty
Sponsored by: French Studies Program; Literature Program
Contact: Marina van Zuylen
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
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 
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
“Cinemizing” Fiction: Nabokov’s Lolita, Kubrick’s Lolita
Julia Trubikhina (Hunter College)
RKC 103  5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
In her usual provocative manner, Julia Trubikhina (Hunter College)  discusses Nabokov’s involvement in 1959–60 in the “cinemizing” of his famous novel Lolita. The result of Nabokov's collaboration with the director Stanley Kubrick was Kubrick’s acclaimed motion picture Lolita (1962) based on Nabokov’s original screenplay, of which very little remained in the film. Using Nabokov’s “tug of war” for “authorship” of the future movie (the correspondence between Nabokov and Kubrick, before and while Nabokov was working on the screenplay) as a springboard, Dr. Trubikhina explores film adaptation as a process of translation between media. The familiar questions that lie at the heart of any discussion of translation apply here in equal measure: Is the translation (the film adaptation) faithful? If it is, then to what? What of the original is translatable /adaptable? What is not and why? The speaker also compares Kubrick’s Lolita to Adrian Lyne’s film adaptation of 1997 and talks of what has changed today, in the #METOO era, as we are looking at texts to which sexual abuse of a child is so central.
Sponsored by: Russian/Eurasian Studies Program
Contact: Olga Voronina
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
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
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Jewish Humor from
Tevye the Dairyman to Lenny Bruce
Ken Frieden, B. G. Rudolph Professor of Judaic Studies, Syracuse University
Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
This talk follows Jewish humor from Sholem Aleichem’s monologues to American Jewish fiction and standup comedy. At the core of this story is an oral-style voice that began in Yiddish and moved to American writing in works by authors like Yezierska, Rosten, Paley, and Roth. Echoes of Yiddish continue as a prominent part of Jewish humor in performances by Lenny Bruce and in current television series. The evening will feature film clips and live performance.

Ken Frieden, the B. G. Rudolph Professor of Judaic Studies at Syracuse University, published Travels in Translation: Sea Tales at the Source of Jewish Fiction in 2016. Prior books include Classic Yiddish Fiction (1995) and anthologies of Yiddish literature in translation, such as Tales of Mendele the Book Peddler (1996) and Classic Yiddish Stories (2004). At Syracuse University Press, Frieden edits the series Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music, and Art.
Sponsored by: Jewish Studies Program; Literature Program
Contact: Cecile Kuznitz  845-758-7543
Monday, March 11, 2019
War of Words: Diplomatic Exchange and Court Literature in Early Medieval China
Lu Kou 寇陸, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese, Department of Asian Studies, Williams College

Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
In early medieval China, also known as the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420–589 CE), the territories once unified under the Han Empire (206 BCE–220 CE) were fragmented and in turmoil. Several dynastic states coexisted uneasily, competing not only militarily but also for cultural prestige and legitimacy. In diplomatic exchanges between rival courts, envoys and courtiers waged a kind of “cultural warfare,” employing a range of rhetorical strategies to assert the political authority and cultural superiority of their respective states.

Previous scholars have framed the Northern and Southern Dynasties as cultural dichotomous, with crude and simple non-Chinese in the North and culturally sophisticated “Han” Chinese in the South. This dichotomy is also couched in gendered terms, with northern culture presented as virile and masculine and its southern counterpart as sensual and feminine. My research finds this framework reductive and misleading and reveals a much more complicated dynamic between the northern and southern cultures. By examining diplomatic writings, letters, anecdotes, and other literary sources from both the North and the South, I show how court centers manipulated a shared cultural legacy to engage in diplomatic negotiation and how, based on this shared cultural repertoire, they also fashioned identities and strove to claim a mantle of political and cultural legitimacy through various forms of discursive practices.  
Sponsored by: Chinese Studies Program; Dean of the College; Division of Languages and Literature
Contact: Li-hua Ying  845-758-7545
Monday, March 4, 2019
Technics of Space: Caricature and Empire on Hogan’s Alley
Joshua Kopin '12
PhD Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin

Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Part of a larger dissertation project, this talk makes a connection between the subjects of early comics, which often included immigrants and their children, like the Irish-American Yellow Kid; and political cartoons about immigration and American imperialism from the periods of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Spanish-American War. Drawing on his long-established connection to yellow journalism and noting that, while explicitly Irish, the Yellow Kid is drawn in the visual idiom of anti-Chinese caricature, this talk posits that caricature is a technology of empire and inclusion that, through ideas about immigrants and expansionism that were often clothed in metaphors of childhood, served to differentiate acceptable, if unruly, white citizen subjects from imperial others. 
Sponsored by: American Studies Program; Asian Studies Program; Historical Studies Program; Human Rights Program; Irish and Celtic Studies (ICS) Program; Literature Program; the Social Studies Division
Contact: Tabetha Ewing  845-758-7548
Thursday, February 28, 2019
The Novel Before the Nation-State: Robinson Crusoe and Early Global Fiction
Stephanie DeGooyer, Assistant Professor of English, Williamette University
Olin, Room 102  5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Between 1685 and 1710, over 60,000 migrants from France and Germany fled to England in search of settlement. This wave of migration produced some of the first legislation to grant national rights to foreigners in England. I argue that this migration was also crucial to the development of the novel. Early novelists were attentive to the rights of foreigners and developed new narrative techniques and generic conventions to offer more expansive—what I call “paranational”—conceptions of national community.

In this talk I tell a new and more transnational story about the novel as a genre, a story that makes the 18th century pivotal for debates about global fiction. Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) is an important example because it has long been thought to be quintessentially English; to exemplify both the English novel and the English subject. Yet this reading contains crucial oversights. Defoe uses Crusoe’s uncertain status as the son of a foreigner to explore intercolonial migration among the English, Spanish, and Portuguese empires, thereby rendering England peripheral to larger and more global investments. Defoe, I argue, developed the novel as a way to explore structures of mobility and capitalism in an emergent global age.
Sponsored by: Dean of the College; Literature Program
Contact: Cole Heinowitz  845-758-7203
Monday, February 25, 2019
A Home at the End of Empire: Tropes of Lateness in James Joyce and V. S. Naipaul
Philip Tai-Hang Tsang, Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Cincinnati
RKC 103  5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
The narrative of the “end of empire” has conditioned the ways we think about British imperialism and its legacy. But how did colonial subjects comprehend the demise of an empire that did not belong to them? In this talk, I contend that the British Empire has left behind not only an abundance of material relics but also an inventory of feelings and attachments that could not be easily relinquished. For many peripheral writers whose subjectivities were shaped by imperial cultures and institutions, empire deferred its proper ending even after British rule had officially ended. Their works exhibit what I call “lateness,” a nonchronological, retrogressive experience of time specific to the imperial periphery. Lateness arrests the linear progression from colonial to postcolonial, from empire to nation, and from subject to citizen. To illustrate lateness as a historical experience and an aesthetic form, I carry out a comparative reading of the “Ithaca” episode in James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) and V. S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr. Biswas (1961). Published on the eve of decolonization, both novels look back to the imperial past as the site of a tense interplay of attachment and exclusion. By approaching the British Empire as a structure of desire that outlived its political lifespan, this talk gives greater precision to the temporal dimension of imperialism, and offers a new framework for the periodization of 20th-century anglophone literature.
Sponsored by: Dean of the College; Literature Program
Contact: Cole Heinowitz  845-758-7203
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Paraguay through the Lens of the Peace Corps
With Eric Benjamin Gordon
Olin, Room 203  6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Bard alumnus (Class of 2014) and current U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Eric Benjamin Gordon will speak about his current work and experiences in Paraguay. One of the lesser-known and poorer countries of South America, Paraguay also boasts the unique cultural and lingual distinction of having over 90 percent of its population speak an indigenous language. This talk will cover some important factors in the history, language, and culture of Paraguay, all of which contribute to its ranking as the “happiest country” in the world by the Gallup Poll and Peace Corps Worldwide. There will also be a Peace Corps recruiter present to provide materials and answer questions about the organization. 
Sponsored by: Division of Languages and Literature; LAIS Program; Spanish Studies
Contact: Melanie Nicholson  845-758-7382
  Thursday, February 7, 2019
Experimental Thinking: Data, Reading, and Literature
A Talk by Andrew Piper
RKC 103  6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
As computational methods become more widespread in the arts and humanities today, thinking experimentally has an increasingly important role to play. In the social and natural sciences, to experiment means to control, isolate, and distance oneself from an observation. To experiment in this sense means putting our believes to the test. But there is an equally vibrant tradition in the arts where experimentation is seen as a form of play, creativity, and transformation. To experiment in this sense means distancing ourselves from the norms and status quo of the present, to break open the possible.

In my talk, I will explore these two traditions of experimental thinking and how they might be more productively brought together. How can computational methods allow us to think more experimentally about the literature of the past and present in the broadest possible sense? How can the testing, challenging, and rethinking of experimentation give us new views of literature’s future?

Andrew Piper is Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University. His work explores computational approaches to the study of literature and culture. He is the director of .txtLAB, a laboratory for cultural analytics at McGill, as well as author of Enumerations: Data and Literature Study (University of Chicago Press, 2018).
Sponsored by: Bard Reading Initiative; Dean of the College; Experimental Humanities Program
Contact: Corinna Cape
Download: piper.pdf
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Babel of the Atlantic: Language and Translatability in the Politics of Migration, Settler Colonialism, and Political Resistance
Dr. Bethany Wiggin, University of Pennsylvania
Olin, Room 102  4:45 pm – 6:00 pm
In dialogue with oceanic history and the “blue humanities,” this talk considers the role of language (languages) and translatability in the politics of migration, settler colonialism, and political resistance, drawing on archives and case studies from the colonial American mid-Atlantic region. The area was known as the “Babel of the Atlantic” in a variety of European languages, and the textual archives of the mid-Atlantic’s manuscript and print cultures continue to offer rich sites to explore the role of language and colonial as well as anti-colonial politics. Individual cultural brokers, including translators, have been the subject of rich recent historical scholarship while often subject to their contemporaries’ curiosity and sometimes their suspicion. How might we build on these accounts of individual translators to explore the multilingualism of the archives more broadly? What research methods and collaborations might we need to make their polyglot and heterodox voices audible today? And, how might a historically rich account of Atlantic multilingualism resound today under widespread pressure on humanistic ways of knowing? 
Sponsored by: Translation and Translatability Initiative
Contact: Olga Voronina  845-758-7600
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
The Literature of World Hunger:
Dambudzo Marechera’s Anti-Colonial Starving Artist
Dr. Alys Moody, Senior Lecturer in English, Macquarie University
RKC 103  5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
In the 1960s and 1970s, “world hunger” emerged as one of the concepts governing the relationship between rich and poor countries. In the same years, the contemporary system of world literature began to take shape. This lecture suggests that it is profitable to read these two formations together, and that doing so can yield new understandings about how the “world” emerges as a contested category in the latter half of the 20th century. Taking as its primary example the prize-winning 1978 novella House of Hunger, by Zimbabwean enfant terrible Dambudzo Marechera, it argues that the insistence of Third World writers on their and their nation’s hunger shapes and disrupts circuits of world literary exchange.
Sponsored by: Dean of the College; Literature Program
Contact: Cole Heinowitz  845-758-7203
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Poetry and Classical Myth: A Reading and Discussion
by Poet/Translator A. E. Stallings
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
A. E. Stallings is an American poet who studied classics at the University of Georgia and Oxford. She has published three collections of poetry—Archaic Smile, Hapax, and Olives—and a verse translation (in rhyming fourteeners!) of Lucretius, The Nature of Things. She has received a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and fellowships from United States Artists, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Stallings speaks and lectures widely on a variety of topics, and has been a regular faculty member at the West Chester Poetry Conference and the Sewanee Summer Writers’ Conference. Having studied in Athens, Georgia, she now lives in Athens, Greece, with her husband, the journalist John Psaropoulos, and their two argonauts, Jason and Atalanta.
Sponsored by: Classical Studies Program; Written Arts Program
Contact: James Romm  845-758-7283
Monday, February 4, 2019
The Plague of Nations
Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb, Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Williams College

*Please Note: Lecture moved to Weis Cinema

Campus Center, Weis Cinema  4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Drawn from Kolb’s first book,Terror Epidemics: Islam, Insurgency, Colonialism, Disease, “The Plague of Nations” considers political consequences of naturalizing and organicizing discourses, particularly the figure of epidemic, through the “failed state” paradigm of a putatively postcolonial era. The author will discuss the case of Kashmir in Salman Rushdie’s post-9/11 terrorism novel, Shalimar the Clown, as well as the legacies of the postwar international order in both Rushdie’s novel and in the incomplete decolonization of the Indian subcontinent. 
Sponsored by: Dean of the College; Literature Program
Contact: Cole Heinowitz  845-758-7203