Study migration at Bard

The Migration Track in the Human Rights Program

What is a modern political border, and what are the legal, material, and human infrastructures that shape it? How do discourses of migration and national bordering practices change over time, and what animates them? These questions, among others, inform Bard’s migration initiative. The courses  within it are designed to provide a conceptual framework for thinking about migration not as an isolated (nor recent) phenomenon, but one that is deeply connected to historical, political, economic, legal, and environmental contexts and conditions that are best approached through interdisciplinary study. Equally important is the exploration of tensions and possibilities in scholarly, literary, artistic, and documentary representations of experiences of migration. Our goal is to offer students a path to understanding migration so that it can be grasped and grappled with not as a “problem” to be solved but as a set of questions that can inform our understanding of human rights, political subjectivity, and personal agency.

Since the migration track’s creation in the Fall of 2019, innovative curricular projects to date include the founding of the Border Pedagogy Working Group, which oversees collaborative faculty and student research projects; a collaboration with Human Rights Radio enabling students to create audio essays for their final class projects (some of which become publicly- available episodes).

Bard students are welcome to take any of the courses offered in the track. Students who would like to formally pursue the migration track should successfully complete the following:

1 – Lexicon of Migration ‘core’ course
2 – Three (3) courses relating to migration (fall 2021 course offerings for the migration track are under Course Initiatives)
3 – A senior project that addresses migration, either as a primary focus or as a substantive secondary analysis within the project.
4- Completion of a migration-related internship or intensive study program (winter or summer term) either here in the US or at one of the Consortium’s study abroad sites. Funding is available for students to fulfill this requirement. Please email [email protected] for more information.

If you’re interested in pursuing the migration track, please let your academic advisor know. If you’d like further academic advising for the migration track, please contact [email protected]

Students studying in the migration track also have opportunities to deepen their engagement with rights organizations both locally and internationally. If you are interested in pursuing an internship or summer research opportunity, please contact [email protected] to find out more.

Affiliated faculty at Bard Annandale campus

Sanjib Baruah, Professor of Political Studies

Jeffrey Jurgens Associate Professor of Anthropology

Thomas Keenan Director, Human Rights Program, Professor of Comparative Literature

Dina Ramadan Assistant Professor of Literature and Middle Eastern Studies

Miles Rodriguez Assistant Professor of History and Latin American and Iberian Studies

Peter Rosenblum Professor of International Law and Human Rights, Bard Faculty Director of the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement and Education

Migration Perspectives semester-long study abroad program at Bard College Berlin

As an arrival city, post-migrant metropolis, and home to prominent research and activist institutions, Berlin is the perfect place to study the complexities of migration. Faculty with expertise in both European and Middle Eastern studies offer experimental and civically engaged courses that encourage work directly in the city and move beyond traditional knowledge formats to include creative and collaborative products by students. The Migration Perspectives program is committed to practice-based learning and offers students the opportunity to pursue internships in the field of migration, refugee support, and human rights. Students will also benefit from Bard College’s Berlin strong civic engagement projects, including a public program of events and workshops, and from learning jointly with its diverse student body, 10 percent of whom are displaced students. Learn more here. 

Affiliated Faculty at Bard College Berlin 

Kerry Bystrom Professor of Literature and Human Rights, Associate Dean of the College

Agata Lisiak  Professor of Migration Studies (on sabbatical AY 2021-22)

Marion Detjen Professor of History

Hanan Toukan Professor of Politics and International Studies (on leave Fall 2021)


About the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education

In response to the unprecedented acceleration of forced migration throughout the world due to war, persecution, poverty, and climate change, Bard (Annandale and Berlin), Bennington, Sarah Lawrence, and Vassar colleges joined forces in early 2016 to found the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement and Education (CFMDE). While governments, NGOs, religious relief agencies, and tech innovators across the globe have devised an array of specific—and sometimes conflicting—responses to forced migration, we came together because we believe that institutions of higher learning can and must have a different, but equally vital, focus. Given the unresolved (and interrelated) challenges of climate change, global inequality, technological innovation, and war, forced migration will continue to increase and its implications, we believe, will dominate global politics as well as domestic debates for decades to come. As institutions of higher learning we are uniquely positioned to drawn on our robust local, national, and international educational and cultural networks to prepare our students for a deeper, more nuanced understanding of forced migration and displacement. Indeed, the coming era of human movement will, without doubt, challenge our existing national and global institutions, and our students must be able to respond to these challenges with intelligence, compassion, and ingenuity.

read full press release here 

Read the special issue of the journal EuropeNow on the Consortium’s work here

Our consortium uses the terms “forced migration” and “displacement” in the broadly inclusive sense to capture the range of people compelled to leave their homes. It is not limited to legal categories that privilege a particular “objective” determination of legitimate reasons to flee. Rather, it is deliberately intended to enable challenges to the legal or objective definitions and to rethink established categories. This intellectual work will go hand‐in‐hand with our efforts, as a consortium, to forge new relationships and asymmetrical co‐operations both within our own communities and around the world, and to develop our consortium’s public identity in order to attract new connections and share the ideas and practices we will develop as our initiative matures.

Bard’s Faculty Director of the CFMDE is Peter Rosenblum ([email protected])