The Difficult Dialogues Faculty Development Seminars have brought together faculty members from across the College to discuss specific issues from across disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. The contributions of the seminars were curricular, institutional and intellectual, as they supported the development of new curricular offerings at Barnard, made intellectual contributions to the College and to broader scholarly literatures, and helped to foster institutional changes that will allow for continued expansion of Barnard’s ability to foster engagement among faculty, students and broader communities.
While religious advocates and academic scholars are often taken to be on opposing sides in controversies over the teaching of science, religious history and ethics, this seminar explored the inter-relations between religious freedom and academic freedom. Major contributions:
Most contemporary conceptualizations of African diaspora have worked to develop more dynamic and nuanced understandings of diaspora and have noted the need for a consideration of gender, class, sexuality, and nation in the context of diaspora. This seminar addressed these questions by drawing together faculty who work on gender studies in the context of African, African American and Caribbean literatures and histories. Major contributions:
A group of energized students at Barnard had been advocating for the institution of Ethnic Studies to become part of the formal Barnard curriculum. They had produced reports on Ethnic Studies and developed a student-led reading group. In 2008-09 Difficult Dialogues faculty seminar addressed the intellectual questions raised by their efforts. Major Contributions:
Barnard’s location in New York City is a central part of life at the College offering Barnard students access to a diverse range of intellectual opportunities. Although New York is a global city, connected through migration, commerce and culture to every area of the world, the city is also the site of immense inequality between rich and poor. According to the New York Time, in 2008, even as New York City’s poverty rate declined slightly, the gap between rich and poor grew. This seminar explored the relationship between empirical reasoning as a means of understanding and assessing inequality. Major Contributions: