The Center for Ethics and Writing, an initiative of Bard College’s Written Arts Program, reimagines the study of literature and writing as both an academic and social practice, one that asks students to translate the skills they develop in the classroom as critical readers and writers to some of the most pressing and divisive social issues of the moment. Through a growing consortium of Center-supported courses, the Center provides a critical framework for students to understand the role language plays in shaping our public discourse and what roles they, as students, citizens, scholars and writers, can play in creating narratives that offer a more complex and dynamic representation of their environment.

Faculty and students in Center-supported courses address a broad range of social and political concerns through a creative and critical practice that prioritizes complexity and an interrogation of competing, even opposing perspectives. They are asked to consider the relationship between moral ambiguity and ethical representation, and at the end of each semester have the opportunity to publish the work produced in their courses in the Center’s online journal. In addition, the Center is working with Pen America’s Artist at Risk Connection to develop a non-residency international fellow’s program for writers and artists whose work has come under direct threat. Faculty and students in Center-supported courses are invited to read, work, translate, and when possible work directly with the Center’s fellows.

The Center for Ethics and Writing is made possible through the Booth Ferris Foundation. 

Critical Framework

Center supported courses interrogate the relationship between a rigorous aesthetic practice and ethical representation through:

  • A multidisciplinary approach that considers the relationship between different artist practices
  • An awareness of a diverse range of social and cultural contexts that inform both our creative practice and interpretation.
  • A careful consideration of language and its current and historical resonances.
  • A critical awareness of the role perspective plays in how we imagine ourselves and others

Creative Practice

Center-supported courses support a creative practice that engages with a broad range of social and political concerns through.

  • Creating stories, essays, poems and multimedia texts
  • An online journal comprised of work created in Center-supported courses
  • Micro-workshops held with visiting artists, scholars, and activists
  • An international fellows program for artists and writers at risk
  • Translation as both a creative and critical practice