Division of Social Sciences
Social Sciences & History Faculty
Joanne P. Baron
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Global Social Sciences
BA, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Assistant Professor of History
BA, Macalester College; MA, Stanford University; PhD, Columbia University
Assistant Professor of African History and Global Social Sciences
BA, The College of New Jersey; PhD, Michigan State University
Assistant Professor of History
BA, Union College; MA, New York University; Ph.D., Rutgers University
Carla R. Stephens
Principal; Dean of the Early College, and Assistant Professor of History
BA, Temple University; MA, Montclair State University; PhD, Temple University
Jehan Senai Worthy
Assistant Professor of American Social Sciences
BA, Bard College at Simon’s Rock; M.A.T., Bard College
Social Sciences Courses
High School Courses
BARD043 History 9: History of the Americas I
BARD044 History 9: History of the Americas II
This two-semester sequence examines the history, politics, people, and cultures of the American continents. The primary focus of the class will be on the United States, but we will also look at the Caribbean region and Latin America, as well as connections between the Americas and the rest of the globe. Students can expect informal lectures and discussions, in-class activities and student presentations, debates, and instruction illustrated with visual and audio materials. Writing and close reading of texts will play a major part in the class. This course aims to give students a thorough grounding in the history of the Americas, to prompt students to consider their own stake in American history and society, as well as to teach students how to research, analyze, and synthesize historical artifacts and texts.
BARD043 History 10: Area Studies I
BARD044 History 10: Area Studies II
This two-semester sequence examines the history, politics, people, and cultures of selected regions through an area studies approach. The primary areas of study will be Europe, East Asia with a focus on China, and regions of the African continent. Global connections and interactions between all regions will also be studied. Students can expect informal lectures and discussions, in-class activities and student presentations, debates, and instruction illustrated with visual and audio materials. Writing and close reading of texts will play a major part in the class. This course aims to give students a thorough grounding in the history of world regions, to prompt students to consider their own relationship with different parts of the world, as well as to teach students how to research, analyze, and synthesize historical artifacts and texts from a variety of cultural contexts.
BARD058 College Philosophy: Individualism and its Discontents
This class will ask: What is Individuality? What role does Individualism play in the history of ideas and in philosophy? How might we understand the formation of the self? Where do moral and ethical views on authenticity, failure, experimentation, originality, integrity, happiness, ‘self-help”, regret, disgust, and personal growth fail us and guide us in answering these questions? In what ways do social institutions, norms, and communities form and shape our understandings of ourselves and others? How do ideologies of domination; (Racism, Sexism, and Capitalism) frame and shape our views of what it means to be human? To ground our inquiry, this class will center on Friedrich Nietzsche and John Stuart Mill and their respective positions on individuality. Other theorists include James Baldwin, Iris Murdoch, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Christopher Lebron, Emerson, Montaigne, Gertrude Stein, Angela Davis, William James, as well as work by poets, musicians, painters, and filmmakers.
BARD015 Urban History through Oral History
Urban historians rely heavily on oral histories as primary sources in understanding the cities they study – and the people who inhabit them. Typically narratives by and about communities whose voices have been stifled throughout history, oral histories help construct knowledge of cities as they were, while allowing us to consider why they might be as they are now. This one-semester elective class will include the research of and listening to a number of oral history collections, as well as a review of the scholarship on basic methods and practices in creating an oral history collection. You can expect brief presentations by the professor – but no traditional lectures; we will have discussions, in-class activities, student presentations, and workshops. Also known as peer review, all of you can expect to have some of your writing looked at and listened to by other students in class. Learning to critique (not criticize) others’ work helps immensely when revising our own work. We will spend some time on written texts but much of our time will be spent on archival research, both virtual and physical. Writing and close reading of texts will be a requirement of this class. Continuing to hone your research skills, the assignments will be of an even more sophisticated nature than your high school courses.
BARD047 U.S. History — History of the Americas and Africa
How did nigras, coloreds, and negroes become African Americans? This course examines the experiences and political thought of African Americans, beginning with their forced migration from Africa to the Americas. Because black nationalism has historically climaxed at moments of African American disillusionment, the socio-political inclusiveness of American society can be gauged by the extent of African Americans’ real and imagined connection with Africa. Students will also be introduced to the experience of people of African descent in other parts of the Americas (i.e., Caribbean, Brazil, and Latin America). In their final paper/presentations, students will discuss the political philosophies of such black thinkers as Frederick Douglass, Edward Blyden, W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, and Malcolm X Shabazz.
BARD049 College Africa in World History: The Atlantic Slave Trade and the African Diaspora
This course traces the disturbing history of the enslavement and murder of tens of millions of Africans by European and American interests beginning in the fifteenth century and continuing for over 400 years up to the dawn of the twentieth century. Through a close analysis of primary and secondary texts, both nonfiction and fictional, the course begins with the processes of enslavement on the African continent, the impact of the slave trade on African societies, and the human toll of the slave trade. From there, we will examine the conditions of the “Middle Passage” as well as the varying conditions of enslavement in the Americas. Finally, the course will examine the African diaspora in the Americas and the legacies left behind by the cruelties of slavery and the resilience of African descended peoples.
BARD051 Ancient Mesoamerica: From Olmecs to Aztecs
Across the landscape that is now Mexico and Central America, ancient civilizations such as the Olmecs, Maya, and Aztecs built towering pyramids and cities and founded dynasties thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. In this class, you will learn about the advancements of these diverse civilizations in art, literature, astronomy, and politics. You will also learn about the legacy left by these cultures on today’s modern peoples of Latin America.
BARD051 History of Technology in America
This course focuses on the nature and consequences of technological change and innovation in American history. Technologies are more than an object with an electrical plug. From the creative destruction of the introduction of the automobile and the suburb, to the ephemeral snapchat, the discourses of technology run in tandem with a narrative of progress: The newer model is just around the corner and it will solve our problems. What are the social and cultural sources of this narrative, how are its environmental and social costs assessed, and does this narrative of progress hold up under historical scrutiny? This faith in and fear of technology pervades historical and contemporary America. Technologies alter the cultural and physical landscape and our understandings of labour, leisure, ownership, invention, and learning. This course is an inquiry into how and why. From the factory model of production, to toilets, to the amusement park, to the toaster, to the camera, to the world wide web and a networked world, to video games and beyond, this course will study effects and causes internal to this complex narrative. This is a reading and writing intensive course and will result in the production of an original historical research project.
BARD051 College Topics in History: Cold War Civil Rights
When most people think of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, they think of Rosa Parks’ famous act of resistance that sparked the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. making his iconic 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. Few know that one of the first modern civil rights organizations, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), was founded in 1942. Or that Dr. King attended, and was inspired by, the celebration of Ghana’s independence from Great Britain in 1957. Or that the first African American scholar and civil rights activist to receive a doctoral degree from Harvard, Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, died as a citizen of Ghana in 1963, because of persecution he endured from the U.S. government that accused him of being a communist. In this course, we will expand our knowledge of the black freedom struggle chronologically, beginning with its origins in the 1940s. We will explore the strategies and heroes of the movement beyond Dr. King’s marches and speeches while also discovering that King’s human rights advocacy went beyond the struggle for racial equality in the southern United States. And, importantly, we will learn about the Cold War context, the ideological battle between the United States and the Soviet Union, that shaped and was influenced by this global black freedom struggle.
BARD015 Black Aesthetics in Mass Media
This course will focus on Black culture, identity, and social mobilization throughout the 20thand 21stcentury. Students will gain knowledge of black cultural movements, explore current trends, and juxtapose our collective histories. As a collective we will discuss cultural appropriation, black feminism and masculinity, body image, and black characterization in the media. We will also examine the over sexualization of the black body in the 21stcentury, and the physical and psychological ramifications of these radical standards.
Introduction to Archaeology
In this class, students will learn how archaeologists study artifacts to reconstruct ancient cultures (and some modern cultures too). Students will have a chance to dig a simulated excavation, conduct real urban archaeology, learn to distinguish fact from fantasy on the History Channel, and consider the big questions that archaeologists argue about.
Introduction to Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of what makes us human. Walking on two legs? (Nope, so can kangaroos.) Using tools? (Nope, so can crows.) Living in groups? (Nope, so do buffalo.) And unlike these creatures, we can’t even observe humans “in the wild,” free from the influence of culture, to see their natural state. But wait, what if culture isour natural state? What if everything we think we know about the world and how we behave in it is shaped by our extraordinarily diverse cultures? In this class, we will learn how anthropologists understand culture, and how culture shapes every aspect of human lives, including language, sexuality, religion, and more. In the process, our own familiar culture may seem suddenly strange, while strange cultures will grow more familiar.