Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

News, Events, and Conferences

Featured News

Conlfuence's Spring 2022 issue features MALS students Susie Callahan, David Isaak, Emma Holland, Josh Grgas, Emi Karydes, and Thor Madsen. Read their work following the links below.

Blue Notes in Bronzeville
Susan Callahan, Reed College
[text] [pdf]

Let’s Be Disinterested Together: Social Media, Personhood, and Control
Ben Read, David Isaak, Emma Holland, Josh Grgas, Emi Karydes, Soroa Lear, and Thor Madsen, Reed College
[text] [pdf]


Podcast Features MALS Alum

Burn Your Draft podcast's episode 16 features Libby O'Neil (MALS '19) discussing her Master of Arts in Liberal Studies thesis "A Voice and Nothing More": Technological Embodiment and the Artificial Female Voice.

Libby O'Neil Portrait


Burn Your Draft · #16: "Alexa, Who Are You?" with Libby O'Neil '19, MALS

More Student News



MALS Presents: Johannes Lichtman Reading and Conversation with Peter C. Baker

Friday March 26, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public.

Portland-based author Johannes Lichtman read from his critically-acclaimed novel Such Good Work. He was joined in conversation by author Peter C. Baker.

Watch a recording of this event

Lichtman Headshot and Novel Cover

Johannes Lichtman was named a 5 Under 35 honoree by the National Book Foundation for his debut novel, Such Good Work (Simon & Schuster). His writing has appeared in Tin House, The Sun, Los Angeles Review of Books, Oxford American, and elsewhere, and he is a regular contributor to Travel + Leisure. He holds an MFA in creative writing from University of North Carolina Wilmington and an MA in literature, culture, and media from Lund University. He was born in Stockholm and currently lives in Portland.

About the novel:



Jonas Anderson wants a fresh start. He’s made plenty of bad decisions in his life, and at age twenty-eight he’s been fired from yet another teaching position after assigning homework like, Attend a stranger’s funeral. But, he’s sure a move to Sweden, the country of his mother’s birth, will be just the thing to kick-start a new and improved—and newly sober—Jonas.

When he arrives in Malmö in 2015, the city is struggling with the influx of tens of thousands of Middle Eastern refugees. Driven by an existential need to “do good,” Jonas begins volunteering with an organization that teaches Swedish to young migrants. The connections he makes there, and one student in particular, might send him down the right path toward fulfillment—if he could just get out of his own way.

Such Good Work is, indeed, a bit Jonas-like: it’s wary of affectation or grandstanding; it works small, as if from a sense of modesty, a reluctance to presume; it cuts sincerity with the driest of humor” (The New Yorker). In his debut, Lichtman, “a remarkable thinker” (The New York Times), spins a darkly comic story, brought to life with wry observations and searing questions about our modern world, and told with equal measures of grace and wit.

What the critics are saying:

“Lichtman [is] a remarkable thinker and social satirist…Such Good Work introduces a writer who is willing to openly contradict himself, to stand corrected, to honor both men and women, to ask sincere questions and let them ring unanswered.” —THE NEW YORK TIMES

“A funny and thoughtful book…Such Good Work gets to the heart of what it means to have a conscience.”—THE ECONOMIST

“Such Good Work is one of the best — one of the most beautifully written, one of the most thoughtful — novels I’ve read in the past several years.” —GARTH GREENWELL, NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION 5 UNDER 35 CITATION

Johannes was joined in conversation by author Peter C. Baker

Baker Headshot
Peter C. Baker’s essays, criticism, and reporting have been published by The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The Guardian “Long Read,” and elsewhere. He is currently a finalist for the international True Story Award, in recognition of his writing on Chicago high school students’ attempts to grapple with their city’s history of police torture. His first novel, Planes, to be published by Knopf next year, tells the story of lives in North Carolina and Rome linked by the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation practices.