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Language & Thinking Program


From 2010-2015 I was director of the Language & Thinking program at Bard College, and for two years prior to that I was the program’s associate director. Details about the program’s curriculum are available here.

Language & Thinking is attended by all incoming Bard students in the last three weeks of August and is taught by a corps of approximately 40 faculty drawn from all academic ranks and from a wide range disciplines. In the largest sense, the program is animated by a theoretical question: what are the necessary conditions for the possibility of productive conversation? The question pertains to the design of the curriculum, the selection and training of faculty, and the pedagogical approach. Each year there is a specific thematic question that unifies the curriculum , e.g., “What does it mean to be human in the year 2014?” or: “What needs to be the case for things to be otherwise?”. While my work in Language & Thinking had the immediate goal of preparing and mounting a program for Bard’s undergraduates, it was also an opportunity to research the theory and practice of interdisciplinary liberal education. I am now continuing this line of praxis-oriented research in a project convened by the Social Sciences Research Council.

Each year I curated for Language & Thinking the Rostrum series of  lectures, performances, and panel discussions.Over the years, the series featured many Bard faculty members and guests from outside the college, including primatologist Franz de Waal, poets Fred Moten and Dawn Lundy Martin, authors Lawrence Weschler and Lynne Tillman, visual artist Anthony McCall, dancer Jonah Bokaer (here and here), and journalist Mark Hertsgaard. Videos of many of the Rostrum series events are available via this Vimeo page. The inaugural lecture in the series is available here.