Summer in the City

1- Week: Sunday, July 7 - Friday, July 12, 2019 

4- Week: Sunday, July 7- Friday, August 2, 2019

Students in the Summer in the City Program get the full college experience. Whether you choose the one week or four week option, you will take college-level courses where you're challenged to think and perform like an undergraduate student. Classes are enhanced by the backdrop of New York City. Here at Barnard, the city serves as an extended classroom, where learning and fun abound. Outside of the classroom, students partake in various excursions and activities.

Program Features...

  • Morning and Afternoon courses
  • Seminar and Lecture Style Courses
  • Beyond the Gates Career and College Prep Series
  • Evening and Weekend Excursions
  • Residential or Commuter Options

Summer 2019 Course Offerings 

Summer in the City (1 Week) 

Morning Session Courses Only

9:30 A.M.- 12:00 P.M.

Feminist Art in New York

Erica Cardwell

In this course, we will examine New York as an epicenter for feminist art and history. We will visit feminist cultural institutions such as the Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum and the Lesbian Herstory Archive. Our goal is to sharpen our understanding of feminist art and space from an intersectional framework of race, class, sex, gender--essentially, our everyday lives. Students will write a short research paper examining three pieces of feminist art. As a class, we will collaborate on a zine (or make individual zines) focused on significant elements of intersectional feminism and visual art.


Psychology of Children's Media

Natascha Crandall

Everyone knows how much fun it is to watch television. This is true for people of all ages, including young children. What was your favorite show as a child? Did you know that most preschool television shows use psychologists to ensure that it is teaching and modeling age appropriate things? Now that there are apps, digital games, and podcasts for young children, psychologists are involved in the creation of these as well. Get an inside look at how psychologists influence today’s media. You will hear from speakers who work in television as well as in digital media and will get to visit a production company to learn the ins and outs of how to make educational television shows.



Rewriting Your Life with the Lyric Essay

Caroline Hagood

With its mixture of memoir, poetry, and essay forms, the lyric essay, or poetic essay, is a particularly exciting form of creative nonfiction. In this course we will consider what the lyric essay can do that a poem, memoir, or essay alone cannot. One of the works we will consider, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, is a stunningly personal piece that also poses larger political questions about love, sex, and gender. As a hybrid genre, the lyric essay forces us to make innovative connections, see things in a whole new light, rewrite our lives both personally and politically. The members of this workshop will study the ins and outs of this ingenious form while crafting their own lyric essays. By the end of this course, students will have a submission-ready piece that will be the first step to a personal statement for college, a first published piece, or even a meaningful career as a writer.



NYC Nature: From the River to the Rooftops

Terryanne Maenza-Gmelch

In NYC Nature: From the River to the Rooftops, students will explore NYC's Nature as found in the Hudson River to the wildflower meadows planted on top of Barnard College buildings. In addition to studying the water quality of the Hudson, students will measure carbon storage in campus trees, survey birds in relationship to tree canopy density in Riverside Park, simulate a paleoecological investigation of Manhattan using the Virtual Forest and quantify biodiversity on NYC rooftops. It is an investigation of the city's wildlife, from plankton to peregrines, and will be hands-on, inquiry-based, include field experiences and involve data collection, analysis and presentations. Each meeting will begin with a discussion of the day's topic and then we will head outside to collect data, for example, water samples, tree measurements, plant and bird surveys, etc. Back in the lab, the data will be visualized, analyzed and discussed in the form of team presentations.


Sustainable Cities

Alison Miller

According to the United Nations, currently 55% of the global population is urbanized and by 2050 that number is expected to grow to 68% of total population. Put another way, 4.2 billion people lived in urban areas in 2018, and another 2.5 billion people are expected to by 2050, with 90% of that increase taking place in Asia and Africa. This represents a massive change – and a huge opportunity for sustainable development. Cities currently produce over 80% of global GDP, consume two-thirds of all energy, generate 70% of greenhouse gas emissions, and are disproportionately impacted by climate change and coastal risks (World Bank). Moreover, in the U.S., as the Trump administration pulls out of the Paris climate agreement and attacks federal environmental regulations, it is cities (and states) that are pushing back and moving forward with sustainability initiatives, policies, and programs to continue to strive towards progress. The future is urban and it is critically important that cities be designed, built, and maintained in sustainable, resilient ways. The course will serve as an introduction to urban sustainability and survey the elements of urban life that make a city sustainable. Topics will include: 1) what is sustainability management? 2) what is a sustainable city? 3) the role of government in sustainability 3) measuring sustainable cities, 4) urban energy, water, transportation, waste, and food systems, 5) climate change & urban resiliency, 6) environmental justice, and 7) sustainability as a driver of innovation.


Donald Trump, Populism and the Return of Right Wing Nationalism

Oliver Murphey

The election of Donald Trump was a shock to many observers in the United States and around the world. Yet this event was by no means unforeseeable: it represented the culmination of decades of conservative populist mobilization in the United States on economic policy, globalization and its accompanying economic changes, immigration, the role of mass media in the politics of information and expertise, as well as longstanding issues of race, class, and gender, and the role of the United States in the wider world. An examination of the history that has contributed to the success and failure of these developments will be crucial for those seeking to understand, shape, engage with and contest these powerful political currents.

This course will examine the evolution of conservative politics and right-wing nationalism in the United States in an effort to understand how Trump was able to mobilize a winning political coalition and what his presidency signifies. The course will examine how Trump and his supporters view the world, the role of government in society, and their hopes to reshape both. To what extent does Trump represent a challenge to the established order? Is Trump a fascist, and what is revealed or obscured by this comparison? Is he a champion of the working class? Does Trump’s victory mark the end of the idea of American exceptionalism? Is support for him and his brand of politics reshaping the U.S. political landscape, and what does this mean for the United States and the wider world? What can be done to contest Trump’s vision of politics?


The Art of the OpEd

Diana Newby

The op-ed is and always has been a democratic genre: a platform for the people, by the people who want to make their voices heard. First featured by The New York Times in 1970, the modern op-ed has been made more prevalent, malleable and accessible in the age of new media. Yet the op-ed's core value remains; as the leaders of the Op-Ed Project put it, "Whoever tells the story writes history."

This intensive writing workshop is for students who want to craft a publishable op-ed, as an exercise in honing the writing styles and skills suited to this pithy, catchy form. We will familiarize ourselves with the op-ed structure and with standards of publication. We will consider a variety of publication platforms and discuss issues of topic, audience and exigence. We will read notable and controversial recent examples of the genre, and we will gather advice from established editors and expert op-ed writers. By the end of the week, each student will have a piece ready for submission to the forum of her choice.


Urban Studies

Elizabeth Pillsbury

In this course we will explore New York City neighborhoods to gain a better understanding of how cities operate. We will use the urban landscape as our classroom, discussing the works of urban planners and theorists and alongside contemporary journalism, historical newspaper articles and maps to examine how New York functions today and in the past. We will think about past developments and inequality and current issues of gentrification. In explorations ranging from Barnard’s Campus to Brooklyn, we will ask what factors contribute to a neighborhood’s vitality and how we might build a more sustainable and equitable city. We will soak in the city: We will visit the Highline, eat food in Chinatown, explore Harlem, and the financial district. Your homework will include readings as well as urban explorations. By the end of the course, you should come away with new understanding of New York City and of cities in general.


Feminist Theatre

Alice Reagan

What does it mean to advance a feminist agenda on stage? Through careful readings of challenging plays from the past and more recent present we will examine the different ways playwrights present the world through a feminist lens, intersecting—or ignoring—issues of race, class, sexuality, and ability. Focusing on primary texts will allow us to encounter the plays on their own terms. We will also spend time deconstructing and defining what the term “feminist” means for ourselves, and for these playwrights. Seminar-style discussion will form the basis of the class, supplemented by short writing assignments and small group work. Possible playwrights include: Caryl Churchill, María Irene Fornés, Adrienne Kennedy, Kristine Haruna Lee, Julia Jarcho, and Young Jean Lee. Our time together will include an evening outing to see a play in New York City.


The Art of the Essay

Wendy Schor-Haim

“Learned we may be with another man's learning: we can only be wise with wisdom of our own.”― Michel de Montaigne

“There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain. It is hard to explain because you have never read it on any page; there you begin. You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.” Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

What makes the essay of personal experience an essay rather than a diary entry? Another way of asking that question is to ask how your personal experience -- yes, you! -- can be deeply meaningful to someone who doesn't know you. How can a writer transmit the wisdom gained from her personal experience without lecturing or boring her reader? How can she use writing to figure out what wisdom she's gained in the first place? In The Art of the Essay, a workshop-based writing class, we explore the answers to these questions through reading and writing, writing, writing. You will read essays based on personal experience and use them as models to draft and revise your own essay, in which you will dive deep into an experience of your own to create a world of meaning around it -- one that invites readers into a conversation with you that is at once deeply personal and universal in its consequences and implications. This course is for writers of any level, from those who break pencils in frustration when facing a blank page to those who wake up in the middle of the night to write poetry! Each one of you has a story to tell.



Hip Hop, Art and NYC Today

Jon Souza

This course will examine Hip Hop as an art form, culture, social movement, and lifestyle. Hip Hop started in New York and is now celebrated and practiced around the world. This course will focus on Hip Hop’s origins and the key moments that helped it to progress and grow into what it is today. Students will explore the different elements of Hip Hop and how it has influenced and changed our world from music, film, dance, fashion, language, politics and even education. The course will analyze how Hip Hop has developed, responded, and contributed to society.



Summer in the City (4 weeks) 

MORNING COURSES (9:30 A.M.-12:00 P.M.)

New York in Art and Film

Ted Barrow

From its early days as a pre-Hollywood hub of film studios, New York City has played a central role in film in the 20th century, one which corresponds directly to the production of modern art. In this course, comparisons between art-making and film-making will be made, while students will also be introduced to the core literature of modernist writing. Breaking up into four different periods: 1890-The Great Depression, WWII-the early 60's, the 60's and 70's, and finally the post-modern era of art and film, each week will focus on a group of artists or directors (including D.H. Griffith, The Ashcan School, Diego Rivera, Sergei Eisenstein, Joseph Cornell, Andy Warhol, Martin Scorsese, and Julian Schnabel) who explore the intersection of art and film, particularly in New York City.



Architecture of the Everyday

Adrienne Brown

New York City, one of the greatest metropolises of the world, is best understood as a tapestry of streets and blocks. Looking at the city through this part to whole didactic, we can draw parallels to the relationship between a building’s components and its overall form. Drawing inspiration from Marcel Duchamp’s use of readymade objects, we will create a series of pavilions sited in New York City. This architecture studio course will introduce students to the techniques, concepts, and issues central to architectural discourse and practice by using ordinary objects found in everyday life to create architectural spaces. 


Gender, Race, and Women’s Writing in the Age of Austen

Candace Cunard

It might not always be obvious from her novels, but during her lifetime, Jane Austen (1775-1819) witnessed major developments in the push for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery. These movements were often spearheaded by brave women writers and thinkers who challenged patriarchal and white supremacist norms to make their voices heard. Less frequently read than Austen herself, these women nonetheless shaped the early days of what we now see as full-fledged activist movements. In this class, we’ll read short selections from these lesser-known writers: foundational feminist texts, abolitionist poetry, autobiographies of formerly enslaved Africans, and short works of fiction written by women and people of color. We will also read Austen’s Mansfield Park, a novel about an impoverished heroine who is taken in by a wealthy uncle whose financial privilege depends on colonial slave plantations in the Caribbean, and watch Amma Asante’s 2013 film Belle, based on a true story of a mixed-race woman of African descent living as part of her wealthy uncle’s household. Throughout all of our reading, we’ll consider how these different writers critique patriarchal and white supremacist cultural narratives that would limit their freedom, and they techniques and arguments they use in order to invite their readers to do the same. Ultimately, we’ll work together to develop an intersectional approach to issues of gender, race, and class—beginning in the age of Austen, but considering how these writers of the past have impacted or influenced our present.


Screenwriting: The Short Form

Helen Kaplan

From film festivals to cell phones, short films are everywhere. This workshop will demystify the art of screenwriting and give you the tools you need to write a great short script. You will learn how to grab viewers by their collective shirt collar and more importantly, hold their attention until the final credits roll. Emphasis will be placed on visual storytelling, the classic three-act structure, plot, character development, conflict, and dialogue. Through writing exercises, script analyses, and film screenings, students will learn the craft of screenwriting. By the end of the course, each student will have written two short screenplays as well as revised one of these scripts.


Psychology 101

Jamie Krenn

Psychology can be defined as the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. While psychology is most often associated with clinical issues (i.e. abnormal, personality), this makes up only a small portion of the field. This is a broad survey course covering topics such as physiological, social, organizational, and developmental psychology. The course will develop one’s understanding of seeing psychology as a science of human thought and behavior. Topics covered will be a helpful tool for most university introductory psychology courses. *Not suitable for those currently enrolled in AP Psychology.


Latinx NYC: A critical view of Hispanics in the city

Maria Eugenia Lozano 

New York is the city with the largest concentration of Hispanics in the United States with a population of 2.3 million Latinxs representing 29% of its population.  During this four-week course students will read and critically analyze texts about some of the challenges Latinxs experience while living in this city: food deserts (neighborhoods with supermarkets with small or non-existing fresh produce sections), housing inequality, school segregation and health problems affecting their communities disproportionately. Students will also have the opportunity to visit and familiarize themselves with everyday life in different Hispanics neighborhoods: The south Bronx, Queens, Lower East side Manhattan, Washington Heights and El Barrio, where they could connect the class discussions with real life experiences. Additionally, they will participate and attend some of NYC’s immense Latinx cultural offering from museums, plays, restaurants, concerts and performances.

What is Great Art

Kent Minturn

This course will introduce students to some of the major works of Western Art currently located in New York. We will begin with the Greek period and conclude with the contemporary art scene in Chelsea. Slide lectures, class discussions, and readings will be supplemented with visits to New York City's world-renowned museums.


Writing Place: Composing Profiles of New Yorkers

Mary Roma

Broadway show superfans, buskers, comedy improvisers, Greenwich Village chess aficionados, NBC pages, sneakerheads, handball players—these are just a few of the unique subcultures and micro communities that bring vibrancy and culture to New York City. Why and in what way is New York able to breed and feed them? What is complex, intriguing and surprising about these New Yorkers, especially in their connections to each other and this city? By borrowing techniques of characterization and storytelling from fiction and learning some interviewing and research skills from journalism, students in this creative non-fiction writing class will craft portraits of these subjects without exploiting or romanticizing them. Students will write one profile, and build on that into a longer draft of a paper, which will be expanded on in revisions and workshopped in the class with feedback from the instructor and other students. We will read examples of literary journalism from Susan Orlean, Jeff Chang and others, and view some classic New York documentaries. There will be field trips, including excursions to Chelsea, home of Upright Citizen’s Brigade Improv Theater, and to Greenwich Village, the East Village, and Brooklyn.

No Name Mind: Stories of Mental Health from the Margins

Nina Sharma

As psychic lives of women and marginalized individuals are yet to be rendered in their full complexities, "No Name Mind" offers a space to name our experiences with mental health and and map the vast contours of our minds. In this four-week creative writing workshop focused on mental health, we will explore what it means to convert private despair and silence into language and action. Lead by writer and performer Nina Sharma, the workshop’s interdisciplinary approach combines literary, socio-historical and psychological material that encourages participants to interpret and critique representation in media, art and culture and craft counter-narratives of their own. Open to all female-identifying and non-binary individuals, those who are, like Maxine Hong Kingston writes in “No Name Woman,” “…always trying to get things straight, always trying to name the unspeakable.”

Politics in New York City

Ali Syed

New York City, or the idea of it, has long captured the world’s imagination in a vivid tale of possibility, which this course seeks to explore through the complex social, cultural, and political history, issues, and structures that have come to define it. To do so we will consider how the city emerges in the context of great extremes as a contest for its future by those who disrupt it from within and who imagine it as something new again. Thus, the course will examine how and why activists, major political players, and everyday New Yorkers (like those of you in this course!) left indelible impacts on the development of the city’s culture and policy by shaping its social and political institutions.

Through a survey of texts and media in the social sciences, urban studies, and popular culture we will think about what a city is; how scholars have been thinking about them for centuries; and the opportunities they providing for exploring two great social forces: stratification and resistance. By exploring some of the greatest highs and lows we will raise our consciousness regarding the lived experience and the very disparate circumstances of its inhabitants that have characterized life in the city for centuries. We will also develop a greater understanding of the forms of collective action, protest, and resistance seeking redress to social, cultural, and political inequality that New York, with its rich, captivating, and iconic social, cultural, and political experience, has in many ways come to define. And through our own exploration of the city as site of learning (and our lives) we will come to define it by articulating our lived experience of it and, in doing so, will make it our own.


AFTERNOON COURSES (2:00 P.M.- 4:30 P.M.)

The United Nations and Global Impact

Lisa Bacon

This course will focus on the work of the United Nations (UN) and is intended for students interested in deepening their understanding of international affairs. Over the four weeks, students will learn the basics of the various important UN bodies and functions and subsequently explore global human rights, the sustainable development goals and the UN’s impact on current events. Guest speakers, who are current professionals in the UN system, will be invited to engage students in discussion. A field trip with a private tour of the UN Headquarters will also be conducted.



Writing the Self

Erica Cardwell

Imagine: “The Essay” is a body of water--far-flung and teeming into the distance. And you, the writer, is alone on shore. Will you enter the water? And if so, how will you swim? Or will you stand on shore as the water splashes against your ankles? This writing workshop will introduce students to the differing forms and narrative complexity of The Essay. The goal of this class is to expand a traditional understanding of The Essay, as a unique opportunity to engage with style and form our individual voice. Writers include: Jamaica Kincaid, Adrian Piper, Zora Neale Hurston, Virginia Woolf, Zadie Smith, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Gloria Anzaldua, Claudia Rankine, Maggie Nelson, Aisha Sabatini Sloane, Durga Chew Bose, Lucy Lippard, Tisa Bryant, Rebecca Solnit, and many others. Some of our writing sessions will be conducted in parks and galleries throughout the city. Throughout the four weeks, students will keep a daily journal and generate material for two final essays.


The Short Film: From Script to Screen

Helen Kaplan

In this immersive filmmaking course, you will develop your visual storytelling skills by using only imagery and sound (and no dialogue) to create a short film. You will dream up screen stories and get your ideas down on the page during pre-production. You will shoot and direct your cast, bringing your words and images to life during production. And finally, you will edit your footage into an original short film during post-production. Since film is a collaborative medium, students will crew, act, produce, and shoot each other’s projects in order to experience all aspects of filmmaking. Using New York as both a set and a source of inspiration, students will also attend film screenings and visit organizations that promote and produce cinema.


Psychology of Media

Jamie Krenn

Explore the psychology behind media and how it affects you, your peers and the public at large. If this sounds right up your blog — our course will examine the internet, mobile media, video games and how learning and media go hand in hand to facilitate understanding and decision-making. You will be introduced to psychological theories and research, and the cognitive processes of media development. Guest speakers will include researchers from Nick, Jr., Sesame Street and others.


Queer Studies

Thomas March

Without understanding the obstacles and discrimination that a group has faced, on cannot fully appreciate that their demand for equal treatment is in fact a struggle for civil rights. Covering queer U.S. History and Culture from the early 20th Century through the present, this course introduces students to how enforcement of and reaction against institutionalized discrimination have shaped the LGBTQ experience in this country. Students will learn not just about events but often-overlooked people who shaped the course of this history - often heroically. Our study of historical sources will be supplemented by visits from influential and dynamic guest speakers in the arts and humanities. Students will have an opportunity to study our guests' work in advance and discuss it with them when they visit. This course is not restricted to students who identify as LGBTQ - this history is important for everyone, so allies are welcome and encouraged!


Activist New York: The Politics and History of Crime and Policing

Oliver Murphey

Issues surrounding crime and policing are at the forefront of contemporary politics. From gun violence and mass incarceration to the policing of America’s borders, partisan voices are mobilizing the political energies and passions of Americans and New Yorkers to address how local, state and federal institutions should police society and individuals. This class will offer the opportunity to explore the history and politics of the theory and practice of policing citizens’ behavior, and how political movements on the left and the right have sought to change policy and practice to pursue and define justice and order. The class will involve a detailed examination of key debates surrounding prison reform, gun control, immigration, the use of deadly force by police officers, and the definition of crime and deviance. By exploring the deep histories of these debates students will better understand and advocate for change in the present. Students will compile a final project that presents a detailed plan to for a change they wish to see in the justice system, articulating why they feel the change is important and what practical steps will be necessary to achieve that change.


Contemporary Art Studio

Lara Saget

New York City has one of the largest and most influential art communities in the world. As a center for artistic creation and thought, it can be an inspiring and productive place for a young artist. Through trips to contemporary art galleries and museums, visits with practicing artists, workshops, readings and in-depth discussions, students will gain an understanding of the art world and what it is like to make artwork within this diverse and creative community. Students will execute imaginative assignments based on ideas that we have discussed and experienced during the course. An emphasis will be placed on experimental art projects (including collage, mixed-media and installation art). Our focus will be contemporary art in the City today and how it relates to historic art movements of the 20th century, among them Surrealism, Appropriation Art, and Pop Art. The course will culminate in an exhibition of student artwork at the McCagg Gallery on Barnard's campus.



Sex, Power, God: The Most Famous Woman in the World

Ali Syed

Gayle Rubin’s seminal essay “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the ‘Political Economy’ of Sex” explores the “sex/gender system” by analyzing the history of women as objects of exchange between groups in society to facilitate alliances (and kinship) through their reproductive labor. For centuries this exchange has also thrived in the market of eligible royal young women, which we will consider through their representations in media throughout history. One such depiction is James Bolton’s vivid podcast on the history and historiography of the "Queens of England," which identifies the following criteria shaping a queen’s success in life and in legacy: sex – her ability to produce an heir (to secure the dynasty and a peaceful transition of power); power – her ability to shape alliances and affect the flow of capital; and god – her ability to uphold the divine myths that justify her reign.

We will consider the increasingly complex relationship between identity, knowledge, and media in the modern era as we explore the concurrent changes in the social, political, and economic systems that made it possible for millions to worship the massive media culture icons of the 20th century: the Disney princess, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, and Princess Diana. In exploring these changes we will consider the role of “The Most Famous Woman in the World” and determine what criteria is necessary for evaluating the success of the modern celebrity and how the celebrity reality [tv] industrial-complex shifts notions of sex, power, and god and impacts the experience of women in everyday life. This will include exploring the emergence of icons “famous for being famous” in the 21st century whose command of social influence in the digital age represents great power, capital, and divine myth befitting a queen: Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian West.


Forensic Psych

Joshua Feinberg

This course is an examination of the interaction between the discipline of psychology and the criminal justice system. It examines the aspects of human behavior directly related to the legal process such as eyewitness memory, testimony, jury decision making, and criminal behavior in addition, the course focuses on the ethical and moral tensions that inform the law.