Society, Culture & Thought

What it is to be human

Anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, politics, psychology—to study these fields at Bennington means diving deep into the range of human experience in order to investigate history, explore the human psyche, and analyze the workings of states, societies, institutions, and cultures.

Classes are small, discussion‐based seminars, with faculty who are practicing historians, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, policymakers, and diplomats. Extensive reading and writing and lively conversation are complemented by the yearly Field Work Term, with internships in the field, and, if desired, study abroad.

The list of faculty who have taught at Bennington since its founding include some of the most consequential thinkers of their eras, and people who were shaping the world that they were expert at observing: Theodore Newcomb, a pioneer in social psychology, Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, Erich Fromm, the psychoanalyst and social theorist, and Mansour Farhang, Revolutionary Iran’s first ambassador to the United Nations, to name a few.

Our faculty continue this tradition while breaking new intellectual ground, their feet firmly planted in theory and in practice. They model new ways to be engaged in the world as they guide students in their quest to formulate rigorous questions, gather evidence and analyze data, and think through and across boundaries of thought.

At Bennington, students work closely with faculty to design the content, structure, and sequence of their study and practice—their Plan—taking advantage of resources inside and outside the classroom to pursue their work. 

Courses

In your courses, faculty guide you in your quest to formulate rigorous questions, gather evidence and analyze data, and think through and across boundaries of thought.

Alumni

On the national stage or at a local level, Bennington alumni have transformed the institutions and the communities in which they live and work.

Judith Butler '78
Judith Butler '78
Ousseynou Diome '14
Ousseynou Diome '14
Andrea Dworkin '68
Andrea Dworkin '68
Gail Hirschorn Evans '63
Gail Hirschorn Evans '63
Arlene Heyman '63
Arlene Heyman '63
Brad Jacobs '77
Brad Jacobs '77
Gay Johnson McDougall '69
Gay Johnson McDougall '69
Ellen McCulloch-Lovell '69
Ellen McCulloch-Lovell '69
Kay Crawford Murray '56
Kay Crawford Murray '56
Victoria Sammartino '99
Victoria Sammartino '99
John Sheldon '77
John Sheldon '77
Sally Liberman Smith '50
Sally Liberman Smith '50
Ellen Taussig '66
Ellen Taussig '66
Ujwal Thapa '00
Ujwal Thapa '00
Christopher Bishop '72
Christopher Bishop '72
Judith Butler '78

Author of Gender Trouble, one of the most important works of philosophy and gender theory of the postmodern era

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Ousseynou Diome '14

Called a “creative disruptor” in the field of agricultural finance by Forbes and currently pursuing an MBA at Stanford University

Andrea Dworkin '68

Feminist writer whose work was a lightning rod for the debate on pornography and censorship in the United States

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Gail Hirschorn Evans '63

Bestselling author of Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman, former executive vice president of CNN, and before that a key player in the  creation of the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and the 1966 Civil Rights Act during the Johnson Administration

Arlene Heyman '63

Practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and author of the critically acclaimed Scary Old Sex

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Brad Jacobs '77

Listed among the Best CEOs of the 2016 All-America Executive Team

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Gay Johnson McDougall '69

First United Nations Independent Expert on Minority Issues and former executive director of Global Rights

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Ellen McCulloch-Lovell '69

President of Marlboro College and a central figure in the Clinton White House in the 1990s

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Kay Crawford Murray '56

Trailblazing attorney who has spent a career working to highlight issues of gender bias in the legal profession

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Victoria Sammartino '99

Founder of Voices UnBroken, a nonprofit dedicated to giving vulnerable young people opportunity for creative self-expression

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John Sheldon '77

President of First Beverage Financial and leading investment banker who has honed his expertise in mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, restructurings, and strategic partnerships in top positions at Peter J. Solomon & Company, Lazard, and Goldman Sachs

Sally Liberman Smith '50

Founder of the Lab School, a groundbreaking program for children with learning disabilities, and a leading expert in special education

Ellen Taussig '66

Founder and former head of school of the Northwest School who has been recognized as a Changemaker by Global Washington for her current work as executive director of the International Leadership Academy of Ethiopia

Ujwal Thapa '00

Founder of Bibeksheel Nepali, a populist political party​ founded in the wake of Nepal’s 2015 earthquake

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Christopher Bishop '72

TECxTimesSquare board member and expert on “improvised careers”—nonlinear, multi-modal paths that help people succeed in the global borderless workplace—whose own résumé ranges from session musician to IBM executive

Happenings

EVENT

Duff ’12 in Uncommon Sense

Off campus (see description)