Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

The Committee on Graduate Studies

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Faculty members of the Committee on Graduate Studies serve as advisers to MALS students, attend thesis orals boards, assist with the evaluation of initial and candidacy applications, and set policies and curriculum for the program. Membership in the committee varies from year to year. Members for the 2016–17 academic year include:

Walter Englert, chair

Omar and Althea Hoskins Professor of Classical Studies and Humanities
BA 1974 St. Mary's College. MA 1976 University of California, Santa Barbara. PhD 1981 Stanford University. Reed College 1981-.
Academic interests: Greek and Latin literature, ancient philosophy.

Samiya Bashir

Assistant Professor of Creative Writing
BA 1994 University of California, Berkeley. MFA 2011 University of Michigan. Reed College 2012-.
Academic interests: Poetry and nonfiction

Evgenii Bershtein

Professor of Russian
MA 1990 Tartu University, Estonia. PhD 1998 University of California, Berkeley. Reed College 1999–.
Academic interests: Russian symbolism, the semiotics of Soviet culture, gender and sexuality in Russian culture, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century poetry.

Michael Breen

Professor of History and Humanities
BA 1989 University of Chicago. AM 1990, PhD 2000 Brown University. Reed College 2000-.
Academic interests: Old Regime France; medieval and early modern European legal, social, and cultural history; Renaissance Italy.

Jay Dickson

Professor of English and Humanities
AB 1988 Harvard College. PhD 1996 Princeton University. Reed College 1996-1999, 2001–.
Academic interests: The novel, British modernism, Victorian literature, queer studies, postcolonial studies.


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Teaching a MALS course was a rare pleasure for me. The MALS students amaze me with their ability to bring so much energy to the classroom. They truly understand the value of learning for learning’s sake and they want to get the most of each minute of class discussion. Students like this energize a teacher. The classroom becomes a place where one has the ultimate luxury of bouncing ideas off of one another, trying out different interpretations of the text, and maybe even getting new perspectives on some of the really big questions. MALS students don’t ever take the classroom for granted – they know that, if everyone puts work into the conversation, it can be the locus of transformative discussions and collective refinement of great ideas.

The MALS students clearly have developed a culture of respect and generosity towards one another. I have the impression that over the course of several classes together, they know each other very well and enjoy the fact that they are in a small program. Everyone is comfortable with one another and this greatly increases the quality of discussion in the classroom.

Professor of French & Humanities