The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Non-GC Events

May 9 Bard Round-Table Discussion: What Is Agency?

What Is Agency?

Doctoral Student Round-Table Discussion

May 9th, 6-8pm

Bard Graduate Center

38 West 86th Street,

New York, NY 10024


The term agency extends itself beyond the scope of one academic discipline. It is part of major discourses in philosophy, psychology, social sciences, anthropology, history, and art history, to name a few. Over the past few years, agency has been the focus of many object-related works of scholarship, yet efforts to arrive at a clear definition of agency have often been unsatisfying. Agency is also loosely or problematically applied to the field of material culture. The use of the term ranges widely from intention-bearing entities to independently action-producing ones. What agency is, and to what extent can we can apply it to objects and environments, will be the questions at the center of the discussion.


The purpose of this informal graduate round-table discussion is twofold. Firstly, it will provide New York-based doctoral students an opportunity to meet and discuss a debated subject. The ultimate goal is to create a regularly convening think-group intent on working out problems and issues in current academic study and research. Secondly, and no less important, it will be an event exposing students to points of views outside their own fields of study. This will allow us to create a scholarly network of peers that transcends disciplinary and institutional boundaries.


Please RSVP at by May 1st, so we can make preparations. (Yes, there will food and drinks!)

Do no hesitate to contact in case of any questions, comments or concerns.

*no preparation is required, but for those who are interested we’ve assembled a working bibliography in this Google Doc. Please feel free to add to it.