Departments and Programs
Africana Studies at Barnard is a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the history, politics, cultures, and literatures of Africa and of the African Diaspora in the Americas, Caribbean and Europe.
The Department of Africana Studies at Barnard was founded in 1992 as the site for the multidisciplinary study of Africa and the Black Diaspora. Through our course offerings and extra-curricular programming, Africana Studies offers the Barnard community exposure to the experiences of black peoples across the globe and the analytical tools necessary for rigorous and culturally sensitive analyses of these experiences. Faculty who teach in Africana Studies have research and teaching interests in the history of Africa and African descended peoples as well as on the impact of slavery, colonialism, and race and ethnicity in the modern world.
Our curriculum focuses on major sites of the African Diaspora: Africa, the US, the Caribbean, Europe as well as Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Mediterranean crossings.
The Department of American Studies is designed to teach students how to engage in the critical and interdisciplinary study of race, gender, class, sexuality, Indigeneity, political economy, imperialism and social movements in contemporary, historical, hemispheric and transnational contexts. After an introductory course entitled “What Is American Studies?,” students take an intensive junior colloquium focusing on theories and methods of American Studies. Their individually-chosen five-course concentration covers two historical periods and culminates in a two-course senior capstone project. The American Studies major aims to teach students to recognize, question and analyze, within an international context, the formation, implementation and contestation of power in both the nation-state and in other institutions of collective life.
Anthropology examines how cultures provide frames for the ways people think, act and make sense of their society. Now, with the quickening movement of culture, ideas and people we seek to examine the forms of life that emerge from this movement and the interactions and conflicts that result. Barnard Anthropology provides students new ways to perceive and analyze the world, to understand difference and to think on a global scale while still focused on the lived experiences of everyday life. Faculty interests include: religion, the role of media in social life, globalization, conservation and the environment, science and medicine, technology, tourism and development, visual and material cultures and the linguistic shaping persons and everyday life.
The Architecture Department establishes an intellectual context for students to interpret the relation of form, space, program, materials and media to human life and thought. Through the Architecture curriculum, students participate in the ongoing shaping of knowledge about the built environment and learn to see architecture as one among many forms of cultural production. At the same time, the major stresses the necessity of learning disciplinary-specific tools, methods, terms and critiques. Thus, work in the studio, lecture or seminar asks that students treat architecture as a form of research and speculation which complement the liberal arts mission of expansive thinking.
The Art History Department teaches the history and practice of visual creativity. All people, at all times, around the world, have expressed their identities and their beliefs through visual art. From temple complexes to tea-cups, from quilts sewn with scraps to sculptures welded with tons of steel, art objects bring to us a knowledge of who we have been and how we shape our environments.
Both our history and studio courses train students to observe the world more closely and interpret what they see. In our history courses, students study how art has occurred at the intersection of personal, technical, and social forces. In our studio courses, students learn to engage those forces using media ranging from traditional drawing to digital design.
Welcome to the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures. Our courses and affiliated faculty cover world areas, histories, and cultures that extend from East Asia (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, and Tibet), through South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan), Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, and Turkey, to the Middle East (Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria), the Gulf States (Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen), and North Africa (Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco).
The primary aim of the Department is to introduce major Asian and Middle Eastern Civilizations and their works and values as a means of expanding knowledge of the varieties and unities of the human experience. The general courses are designed for all students, whatever their major interests, who wish to include knowledge of Asian and Middle Eastern life in their education.