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 their aesthetic qualities, formal distinctions, social relevance, and historical context.Through an interdisciplinary, globally-focused study of literature, we explore how literary texts differ from other types of cultural production and relate to other aspects of culture, such as gender, race, class, and nation.

In order to provide students a foundational knowledge of the composition and analysis of literature, the program emphasizes the historical development of literary forms, movements, and genres, as well as the social values attached to the production, distribution, and consumption of literature.As they learn to compose well-contextualized, close readings of literature from around the world, students can expect to learn methodological tools that will make them uniquely suited to pursue graduate work in literature or a range of professions in the Middle East and abroad. By furnishing students with a solid foundation in rhetorical thinking, interpretive analysis, and complex theory, the major prepares them for careers in law, government, international relations, public relations, public policy, social work, education, advertising, publishing, and the entertainment industry.


The mission of the program is the same as the mission of AQB: to provide a liberal arts education that promotes complex analysis, rhetorically-effective writing, and a spirit of independent inquirythrough a process of active student-centered learning. The program aims to teach the the history and theory of global literatureat the undergraduate level in a way that produces graduates who are good writers, researchers, and thinkers.

More specifically, theLiterature and Society Program aims to give students the chance to

  • study an array of literary and cultural traditions,
  • perform literary and cultural interpretation through the lenses of genre, theory, and region,
  • explore the significance of the production and reception of material culture, and
  • develop both critical-thinking and professional skills that exceed the parameters of literary interpretation.


Through the Literature and Society Program, students willgain a foundational understanding of the relationship between creative writing and its cultural context. More specifically, students will develop

  • Discursive and critical thinking skills, especially in an English academic context,
  • Complex close-reading skills and an understanding of the rhetorical function of literary and non-literary texts,
  • Knowledge of literature in general, including but not limited to the genres of drama, poetry, and fictional narrative prose,
  • Methods for engaging in contemporary scholarship within a variety of academic and professional discourse communities, and
  • An understanding of the relationship between discourse, narrative, representation, fictionality, and aesthetics and their impact on a range of social and political contexts.