Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

MALS story

MALS Book Club

The MALS alumni Book Club meets once a semester in the fall and spring terms to discuss a selected reading under the skillful guidance of a Reed faculty member. Along with an engaging 2-hour conference, the Book Club is an opportunity to meet MALS alumni and students, and enjoy libations and light refreshments.

The Book
Bastards of Utopia is an experimental, multimedia ethnography which explores the experiences and political imagination of young radical activists in the former Yugoslavia, participants in what they call alterglobalization or "globalization from below." Anthropologist Maple Razsa follows individual activists from the transnational protests against globalization of the early 2000s through the Occupy encampments. His portrayal of activism is both empathetic and unflinching―an engaged, elegant meditation on the struggle to re-imagine leftist politics and the power of a country's youth. The book is supplemented by online clips from a documentary film of the same name Dr. Razsa directed, so what the ethnographer describes in the text is brought to life in publicly available sound and image. Dr. Razsa calls for an "affirmative anthropology" which would give scholarship an engaged political role in activist projects.

You can buy a copy of the book through Amazon or other sites. An electronic copy will allow you to click on the internal links in the book to view associated scene clips. If you have a hard copy, the URL with the scene clips referenced in the text is:

The full film can be found at Professor Silverstein strongly recommends that people read the book and watch the clips, and that the film be watched only later.

The Professor
Paul Silverstein has been teaching in the Reed Anthropology department since 2000, and regularly in the MALS program since 2003. He is an ethnographer of immigration and ethnic activism in Europe and North Africa, about which he has written extensively. His new book, Postcolonial France: Race, Islam, and the Future of the Republic, is forthcoming with Pluto Press, a radical Marxist publishing house based in London.

When and Where
Our spring 2018 gathering will be on Thursday, March 22nd from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Performing Arts Building (PAB) 131. 

There is no cost to attend for prospective MALS students, but registration and is required. Participation is limited to 15 students. Please contact the MALS director, Barbara Amen, if you wish to attend.