Welcome to First-Year Seminar


What is Freedom?

Dialogues Ancient and Modern

First-Year Seminar has been the cornerstone of education at Bard since the 1950s. This year-long course is taken by all first-year students and provides the intellectual underpinning for their entire education at the college.
The theme this year is “What is Freedom: Dialogues Ancient and Modern.” In the fall semester, we ask“What is political freedom?” We read thinkers from Socrates to Gandhi and Hannah Arendt. In the spring semester, we consider “What is personal freedom?” in the company of authors from Aristotle to James Joyce and Malcolm X.
By studying these texts, discussing their ideas in small seminars, and writing critical papers on them, students establish a foundation for their learning experience at Bard and acquire a shared basis for conversation with fellow students, faculty members, and the world beyond.
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Contact Us:

Program Directors:
Richard Aldous, Eugene Meyer Professor of British History and Literature
Karen Sullivan, Irma Brandeis Professor of Romance Culture and Literature

For further information, please contact:  
Julie Cerulli, Program Assistant
Tel: 845-758-7514
Email: fysem@bard.edu