The Literature and Society Program at Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences is designed to provide students with rigorous training in the scholarly analysis of literary texts with an attention to social relevance and historical context. What, exactly, is "literature"? How do literary texts differ from other types of cultural production? How do literature and criticism relate to other aspects of culture, such as gender, race, class, and nation? Aiming to answer these critical questions, the program offers an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to literature that can provide new insights into the relationship between literature and society. The program aims to provide students with a strong sense of literary history, an understanding of the historical and social development of literary forms, as well as an awareness of the social activities and values that attend to the production, distribution and consumption of literature. Students are exposed to major literary periods and movements, and to corollary innovations in form and genre. 

They can expect to acquire the methodological tools necessary for the graduate study of literature, as well as a rigorous training in expository writing and critical analysis, skills that will make them uniquely suited to pursue careers across a range of professions in the Middle East and abroad. By furnishing students with a solid foundation in critical thinking, research writing and seminar work, and in the analysis of complex texts and theories, the major prepares them for careers in government and UN agencies, NGOs, international relations, public policy, social work, education, advertising and publishing.



The mission of the program is the same as the mission of AQB: to provide a liberal arts education that promotes critical thinking, effective writing, and a spirit of independent inquiry, through a process of active student-centered learning. The program also has the mission of teaching the history and theory of literature at the undergraduate level, in English, in a way that produces graduates who are good writers, researchers, and thinkers.