Reed College Catalog

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) is an interdisciplinary graduate program in the liberal arts and sciences. An alternative to the highly specialized course of study characteristic of more traditional graduate programs, MALS is intended for those individuals who wish to pursue interdisciplinary graduate work in a flexible yet rigorous program. While the MALS degree does not focus on a specific vocational or professional direction, it can prepare students for a range of career options and further study. The program therefore attracts a diverse group of bright and intellectually curious students of varied interests, ages, and backgrounds who are motivated to learn and who wish to pursue learning with similarly motivated students and faculty members. In short, the program advocates a lifelong commitment to learning. Detailed information on the program may be found at


The MALS curriculum incorporates a broad spectrum of courses in liberal studies: humanities, history and the social sciences, the arts, and mathematics and science. Graduate courses are offered in the evenings and summers. These courses are frequently interdisciplinary in nature and are taught by Reed faculty members from various departments. Normally there are three half-unit evening courses each fall and spring semester, and one full-unit course, along with an additional half-unit evening course, in the summer term. With the exception of the accelerated summer term, graduate courses meet one and one-half hours once a week in the evening for the duration of the semester.

MALS students also may select from 300- and 400-level undergraduate courses, with consent of the instructor, for their degree program, or from 100- and 200-level courses for undergraduate background credit and prerequisites, and thus are eligible to take courses in any of the 26 academic departments at Reed. Students may petition the MALS office to create a 500-level course–based independent study from a 300- or 400-level undergraduate course. It is up to the individual instructor to determine any additional expectations or requirements for enrollment in the course at the graduate level. The Committee on Graduate Studies will take into consideration the individual student’s educational circumstances and the compelling nature of the proposal in evaluating the petition. If there is a MALS course offered on the same topic in the same semester as the desired undergraduate course, students must register in the MALS course (and may not petition to create an independent study course).

On an exceptional basis, a student may undertake a MALS independent study course where the student works one-on-one with a Reed faculty member. The course proposal must be approved in advance by the Committee on Graduate Studies, which will take into consideration the individual student’s personal and educational circumstances. A proposal for the course, signed by the instructor, must be submitted to the committee no later than the last day of classes of the preceding term. MALS courses are conducted as discussion groups and generally enroll between 6 and 10 students, with a maximum enrollment of 15 and a minimum of 5. At least one MALS course each term is designated as liberal studies core. These courses are explicitly interdisciplinary and writing intensive. Liberal studies core courses scheduled for the 2022–23 academic year are: “Postbellum, Pre-Harlem: Literature of Reconstruction” in fall, “Introduction to Literary Theory” in spring, and “The Home Front: British Culture of World War II” in summer 2023.

Course Load and Progression

The program does not specify a minimum number of courses required in a field of principal interest. The student’s total program, however, should lead to a clearly defined objective and provide the theoretical basis for the final thesis project. After completing two provisional Reed courses, one of which must be a liberal studies core course, all students must make application for formal candidacy to the program (see “Admission”). Upon candidacy approval, a faculty adviser and the director of the MALS program will assist students in designing a course of study that meets their particular intellectual interests while providing a broad academic base. Almost all MALS students attend part time; full-time status requires concurrent enrollment in both undergraduate courses and graduate courses, and is difficult to sustain for every semester of the program. Full-time enrollment in a regular semester is three units; half-time enrollment is one and one-half units. In the accelerated summer term, one unit is considered half-time enrollment; one and one-half units is full time. While most students take three to six years to graduate, it is possible to complete the program in two years. The yearly course load for graduate students generally ranges from one to five academic units. There is no specified minimum or maximum course load, however, and students are not required to enroll each consecutive term. Complementing this flexibility in progression, however, is the expectation that all MALS students meet the following completion time frames:

  • If a student does not complete a course within three consecutive semesters (not including summers), the student must submit a petition to continue in the program to the Committee on Graduate Studies by the last day of classes of the third term of nonenrollment. The petition for continuation must include enrollment in at least one of the next two semesters, a statement of continued interest, and a proposed time frame for completing the program. A student who does not meet these criteria and who wishes to continue study at a later date must reapply for admission to the program.
  • Students are expected to complete the MALS degree within six years of candidacy acceptance. Petitions to extend the time for degree completion must be approved in advance of the thesis semester by the Committee on Graduate Studies.


Reed welcomes applications from individuals who wish to pursue interdisciplinary graduate work in a program that is both flexible and rigorous. Those applicants are accepted who, in the view of the Committee on Graduate Studies, are most likely to become successful members of and contribute positively to the MALS community. Admission decisions are based on many integrated factors. We recognize that qualities of character—in particular, motivation, intellectual curiosity, and openness to constructive criticism—are important considerations in the selection process, beyond a demonstrated commitment to academic excellence.

Students may apply to enter in the fall, spring, or summer term. Online application forms are available at Initial, provisional admission to the MALS program requires submission of the following items:

  • Completed application form with personal statements that include a critical response to an essay or book of choice.
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and postbaccalaureate work from each originating school, with evidence of completion of a bachelor’s degree.
  • Two letters of recommendation: either a faculty member who recently taught the applicant in an academic subject, or an individual who is familiar with the applicant’s intellectual and personal abilities, motivation, and accomplishments.
  • $75 nonrefundable application fee.
  • Interview with the MALS director and a faculty member of the Committee on Graduate Studies upon completion of the above materials.

In addition, students are invited to submit a writing sample from a recent academic, personal, or business-related endeavor. Please note that GRE scores are welcome but not required.

Applicants must submit all required materials by the following deadlines:

  • No later than July 1 for fall entrance.
  • No later than December 1 for spring entrance.
  • No later than April 1 for summer entrance.

Because of space limitations, we encourage applicants to begin the process earlier by requesting transcripts and recommendations several months in advance. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year, and applicants are notified of the admission decision accordingly.

Students accepted for admission may request a deferral of entrance for up to two terms, and should attach a letter of intention to the enrollment form, explaining their reasons for the deferral. If students wish to enroll in courses elsewhere during the deferral term, they must notify the MALS office of their intention and submit an official transcript of the completed work to the MALS office for additional review.

All students are admitted to the program on a provisional basis. In order to be admitted formally as a candidate to the MALS program, the applicant must successfully complete two successive or concurrent Reed courses, at least one of which must be a liberal studies core course. Exceptions to this requirement must be approved in advance by the Committee on Graduate Studies. If an exception is approved, one of the student’s two preliminary courses must still be at the graduate level, and the student must take at least one liberal studies core course within two semesters of acceptance as a formal candidate. Within one term of completing the second preliminary course, the student must submit to the Committee on Graduate Studies a candidacy application that includes a self-evaluation, an outline of course progression and completion, and a class paper. The program director will solicit evaluations from the student’s instructors, including an assessment of the student’s potential to write a final thesis. Upon candidacy approval, credit for the completed courses will be applied to the MALS degree. Once accepted as a candidate, the student should consult with the faculty adviser and program director to plan a program of study consistent with the goals of the program, leading to the completion of all requirements for the MALS degree.


Readmission is required for students who do not complete a course within three consecutive semesters (not including summers) and do not submit a petition to continue in the program by the deadline (see Course Load and Progression), and for students who have completely withdrawn from the program and the college who wish to return to the MALS program. The student must submit a readmission application and a petition statement to the Committee on Graduate Studies. If applicable, the student must provide a separate statement that describes any graduate coursework that was completed elsewhere in the time away and state if they are seeking to transfer credit to Reed (see Transfer Credit). Official transcript will be required. MALS students who are readmitted are held to the policies in the current catalog of their reentry. Students hoping to apply for readmission should inquire with the MALS program director.

Special Students

Those individuals with an undergraduate degree who wish to sample a graduate course one time only may initiate a special student application to take one MALS course. Credit for the course may be applied to the MALS degree requirements if the student enters the degree-seeking program within five years of taking the course.

Reed undergraduate juniors and seniors may apply to take a fall or spring MALS course that does not have a comparable undergraduate offering within the same academic year. Enrollment priority is given to MALS students; undergraduate enrollment in any MALS class is limited to no more than two students. Interested students may contact the MALS office for an application and should apply at least 30 days in advance of the desired semester. Approval of enrollment is based on the application, an interview with the program director, and instructor permission.


Graduate courses are open only to students who have been admitted to the MALS program, and to undergraduate students with special permission (above). Students currently enrolled in the MALS program are eligible to audit undergraduate courses and should follow the guidelines outlined in the “Auditors” section of the undergraduate admission section of this catalog (under “Special Admission Groups”).

Only Reed MALS graduates are eligible to audit MALS courses. Graduates may apply to audit one MALS course per academic year. Graduates should submit an audit application to the MALS director no later than 30 days before the start of the desired semester. The director will consider the auditor’s statement of interest, instructor approval, and space availability in granting admission to the course. Auditors are expected to complete all readings and attend class regularly, but written assignments will not be evaluated. Audit applications are available as a pdf download or from the MALS office. There is a modest fee to audit a MALS course; check with the MALS program director for more information.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of two of the nine units required for the degree may be satisfied by transfer credit. Transfer credit may not be used to meet the minimum requirement of four units of Reed coursework at the graduate level. The registrar and the Committee on Graduate Studies must approve all work submitted for transfer, preferably before enrollment in the transfer course. The decision for granting credit will be based on a careful evaluation of the following materials: an official transcript recording the course(s), a petition from the student that includes such course details as professor name and title, and a course description and syllabus. (If available, the student also should submit a course paper with instructor comments.) The coursework must be from a regionally accredited college or university, may not be applied to another degree, and should represent B or better work. Courses completed as a postbaccalaureate student should be comparable to upper-level undergraduate or graduate coursework offered at Reed. Transfer credit is allowed only for courses that are consistent with the Reed curriculum. Normally, all courses approved for transfer must have been completed within the past five years.

Costs and Financial Assistance

Tuition is calculated on a per-unit basis at a rate reduced from that of the undergraduate program. For the 2022–23 academic year, the semester MALS tuition rates are as follows:

MALS Semester Tuition Rates

1/2 unit


  2 units


1 unit


  2 1/2 units


1 1/2 units


  3 or more units


Students enrolled at least half time (1.5 units in the fall or spring terms; 1 unit in the summer term) who meet federal aid eligibility requirements may be eligible to participate in the federal Direct Loan program. Only courses at the 500 or 600 level that apply toward requirements for the degree may be used in determining financial aid eligibility.

Students wishing to borrow under the federal Direct Loan program must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition, for each semester that a graduate student is interested in borrowing a federal loan, the student will submit a letter to the financial aid office stating the semester of attendance (summer, fall, or spring), the course numbers and titles, and the number of units per course.

The FAFSA is available online at The Reed College code for the FAFSA is 003217. The maximum unsubsidized federal Direct Loan available to a graduate student is $20,500 per academic year. The exact amount of unsubsidized loan eligibility is based upon the number of units enrolled in at Reed each semester. Graduate students may, in some circumstances, borrow under the federal Graduate PLUS loan program to cover educational expenses. Eligibility for the federal Graduate PLUS program is credit based and students wishing to borrow under this federal program must file a FAFSA. Generally, a student may borrow sufficient amounts to cover educational expenses under the federal Direct Loan program; therefore, it is unlikely that a MALS student will qualify for additional funding through the federal Graduate PLUS loan. Loan terms for the federal Direct Loan are more favorable than terms for the federal Graduate PLUS loan, and students should always borrow under the federal Direct Loan before considering the federal Graduate PLUS loan. New federal loan borrowers at Reed must also complete loan entrance counseling and a Master Promissory Note.

For financial aid purposes, the academic year at Reed College begins in summer, continuing through fall and spring.

A monthly payment option, administered by Flywire, offers a flexible alternative to semester payments to the college. Participants may enroll in a semester plan and make four, five, or six equal monthly payments, beginning May 15, July 15, or August 15. Please visit for information about this program. Families can also use Flywire to make payments using a credit card or with a direct deduction from a checking or savings account. A convenience fee is charged for using a credit card and there is no fee for a direct deduction.

The MALS program also sponsors a scholarship each year to help defray tuition costs for two or three students. Recipients are chosen by the Committee on Graduate Studies based on an application process that takes into account primarily financial need (as calculated from the FAFSA form), but also academic and personal merit. Generally, the committee will call for scholarship applications in the spring and make a final decision on awards no later than fall of the new academic year.

The MALS program accepts applications for a student work position when funding is available.

Degree Requirements

The MALS degree requires the completion of nine units of coursework. Each student designs an individual program, incorporating the following degree requirements:

  1. Eight units of courses.
    1. A minimum of four of the eight units must be in Reed MALS courses (numbered 500 or higher).
    2. No more than four 300- and 400-level undergraduate courses at any unit value (including undergraduate course–based independent study 500-level classes) may be applied to the eight required units.
  2. A one-unit thesis.
  3. No more than five units (including thesis) in any one department or division, or in liberal studies core courses, may be applied to the total nine units required for graduation.

Exceptions to the above requirements must be approved in advance by the Committee on Graduate Studies. Petitions should be addressed to the committee no later than the first day of classes of the term before the thesis.

Gateway Course

One or two terms prior to the thesis semester, students must designate one of their courses as a gateway course that serves as preparation for writing the thesis. The designated course can be either a MALS or an upper-level undergraduate course that provides the student with an opportunity to write a substantial research paper. The topic of the paper is not restricted to the field of the thesis. The student and the instructor should agree on a process and topic that takes the place of any regular course papers and that includes a proposal, annotated bibliography, draft, and rewrite in the same format as required for the thesis. The student must submit to the MALS office a description of the research project, including the instructor’s note of approval, by the second week of classes of the gateway semester.


A required final project, the thesis is a one-unit, one-semester study of a specific topic that should emerge out of the student’s courses and critical studies. The experience of writing the thesis allows the student to investigate a particular topic in depth and to present a conclusion in the scholarly manner appropriate to the field(s) of inquiry. A description of the thesis topic and methodology, along with an outline, a bibliography, and due dates for chapter drafts, must be approved in advance by the Committee on Graduate Studies. The committee also encourages students to work with a thesis adviser from whom the student has taken a prior course. Candidates should submit the thesis proposal to the MALS office according to the following schedule:

  • Proposals for fall theses are due the last day of classes of the preceding spring term.
  • Proposals for spring theses are due the last day of classes of the preceding fall term.
  • Proposals for summer theses are due the first Monday in April of the preceding spring term.

The committee is cautious about approving creative thesis proposals and considers carefully the nature of the project, the educational benefit of the project for the student, and the availability of an appropriate adviser. It is imperative that the project arise out of prior coursework at Reed. Since creative projects also include a critical component, they generally require substantial work on the part of the student. Students may contact the MALS office for additional information on the creative thesis requirements and guidelines.

On an exceptional basis, students may petition to write a two-unit, two-term thesis, leading to a 10-unit degree program. This opportunity is for the student who wishes to research and write a longer, more ambitious paper. The student must explain in the thesis proposal the reasons for extending the project to two terms, and obtain explicit permission from the thesis adviser.

The thesis is due on the date specified in the academic calendar for undergraduate thesis submission. The college registrar and the MALS program director determine the schedule and deadlines for summer projects. The thesis requirement is completed with a one and one-half-hour oral defense of the project. The committee of examiners typically includes the student’s thesis adviser, one member of the Committee on Graduate Studies, at least one but occasionally two additional faculty members, and the program director. The committee should represent at least two different academic divisions of the college. The Reed library houses copies of all theses, easily accessible for both reference and borrowing.

When necessary, MALS students may take a three-day extension for submitting the thesis, provided a $50 late fee is paid and the bound copies are submitted to the library by the regular deadline. A thesis not submitted by the end of the three-day extension period will be given a grade of unfinished (U), incomplete (IN), or F.

If a student does not earn a passing grade in the thesis, the student must submit a new proposal on a different topic to the committee, following the normal deadlines, and register again for thesis. A student who fails thesis a second time is ineligible for graduation.


MALS students are expected to perform at the graduate level and to earn grades of B− or better in all their courses. The grade of C is allowed for students who complete a course with credit, but whose work was unsatisfactory. The grade of F designates failure. Students are eligible for a grade of IN or U for thesis with the same constraints applicable to undergraduate students. For thesis, B− is the lowest passing grade. The Committee on Graduate Studies conducts a grade review at the end of each semester.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory academic progress refers to a minimum grade point average (GPA) expectation, the number of units completed during the academic year, and the time it normally would take to complete the MALS degree. For federal financial aid purposes, a student is expected to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. Full-time status at Reed is 3 units in a regular semester (fall or spring) and 1.5 units in summer. Based on the degree requirement of 9 units, a student attending full time would typically take two years to complete the program. Students are eligible for federal financial aid for up to 150 percent of the regular time frame to complete a degree; therefore, MALS students may be eligible for federal aid for up to two years of full-time study. A student who enrolls part time during any semester may be eligible for additional semesters of federal aid.

Reed’s institutional definition of satisfactory academic progress for the number of completed units is the same as noted above in the federal definition. It differs, however, from the federal definition in minimum GPA and time frame. MALS students generally are expected to maintain a GPA of at least 3.0. They must apply for formal candidacy in the program after completing their first two courses, take at least one course every three semesters, and complete the degree within six years of acceptance as a degree candidate.

Dropping Courses, Refunds, and Withdrawal from the Program

MALS students who drop courses during a semester must complete an add/drop form, available from the registrar’s office. The signatures of the instructor, adviser, and student are required for acceptance of the form. Deadlines for registration changes are published in the academic calendar. The date that the completed form is submitted to the registrar’s office is the effective date for determining any refund. Please refer to the Costs section of this catalog, which addresses withdrawals, leaves, and refunds, for additional information regarding the refund schedule.

No deviations from the refund schedule will be made except in cases of extreme hardship, of which the college shall be the sole judge. The Administration Committee may, with the recommendation of the MALS program director, approve petitions for such exceptions. Reed College’s refund policy is based in part on the fact that it is an institution with a semester-based program and instructors are not required to take attendance. The refund policy applies to all graduate students who drop or withdraw from courses during a semester, whether or not they have federal Title IV financial aid, except as noted in the section below.

Any student who wishes to withdraw formally from the MALS program must provide written notification to the MALS office and complete the program withdrawal form. If the student is enrolled at the time of withdrawal, the student must also complete the add/drop form.

Credit balances under $10 will not be refunded.

Tuition Refunds

Please refer to the Withdrawals, Leaves, and Refunds information in the Costs section of this catalog for tuition refunds.

Health Insurance

All degree-seeking MALS students taking a half unit or more of Reed classes continuously each term are eligible to enroll in the Reed College health plan. Students are allowed one term of nonenrollment in their progression to the MALS degree; a second term of nonenrollment would result in termination of coverage. A student who is unable to return to classes because of extenuating circumstances may qualify to purchase coverage for an additional period of time. The plan offers access to Pacific Source Health Plan’s network of preferred providers. Detailed information on the plan benefits and costs is available at or by calling USI Insurance Services at 800-251-4246.

MALS students may choose their own primary care providers off campus. In addition, currently enrolled MALS students who are on the Reed health plan, or who can show proof of major medical insurance with benefits and coverage comparable to the benefits provided through the Reed plan, may utilize the services of Reed’s health and counseling center. The health center requires students seeking their services to complete a confidential health history form and to provide proof of insurance at the time of scheduling the first appointment.

Course Offerings - The following courses are scheduled for the 2022–23 academic year:

Ancient Mediterranean Studies 502 - Rome, City of Complaints

One-half unit semester course. In this course we will look beyond la dolce vita to scour the dark underbelly of the eternal city. Each week we will read selections of ancient literary sources that complain about the city and its inhabitants, covering issues such as poverty, housing, social climbing, urban blight, disease, noise, violence, litigation, moral decline, privilege, and responsibility. From this unusual angle, we will study the literature, social history, art, architecture, and topography of the ancient city. We will also consider the rhetorical, political, and social aspects of complaint across time, looking at the multilayered history of Rome and comparisons from other cultures. Primary readings will include inscriptions and graffiti, Plautus, Catullus, Cicero, Livy, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Petronius, Juvenal, and Martial. Conference. Offered spring 2023.

History 511 - Freedom, Movement, Borders: Slavery and American Political Space

One-half unit semester course. This course will study the politics of freedom and slavery in the nineteenth-century United States by focusing on a key legal and ideological problem: the right of human beings to travel freely through space, often understood in the nineteenth century as “the right of locomotion.” American slavery was defined by the antithesis of free movement, insofar as it required the perpetual coercive control of enslaved people. Countermovements against such control invoked the free movement of persons, which became a fundamental principle and practice of the diverse antislavery movement. This course will address these interconnected problems in the history of slavery through reading works in legal and political history, literary studies, and a number of primary sources, including the narratives of Frederick Douglass, Solomon Northup, and Harriet Jacobs. Conference. Offered fall 2022.

Liberal Studies 503 - Introduction to Literary Theory

One-half unit semester course. This course is a historical and analytical introduction to the major theoretical movements of the last 75 years in Russia, Eastern and Western Europe, and the United States. These include structuralism and semiotics; poststructuralism and deconstruction; psychoanalysis; Marxism; postcolonialism; critical race theory; feminist, gender, and transgender theory; and cultural studies theory. On occasion, we will trace the philosophical origins and conceptual affiliations of these movements. More consistently, we will unpack their master tropes to reflect on their function in literary criticism while also experimenting with their use in our own reading practices. Conference. Offered spring 2023.

Liberal Studies 508 - Postbellum, Pre-Harlem: Literature of Reconstruction

One-half unit semester course. Born too late for the slave narrative and too early for the Harlem Renaissance—“Post-Bellum-Pre-Harlem,” as he puts it—Charles W. Chesnutt fell between two major African American literary movements: the nineteenth-century slave narrative and twentieth-century modernism. However, Chesnutt’s life (1858–1932) spanned crucial moments in American history—the Civil War, Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, the Great Migration, and the beginnings of the civil rights movement. This course examines Chesnutt’s fiction as the core of the literature of Reconstruction and its aftermath. Methodologically, we will draw on recent work in African American archival recovery, examining the cultural politics of publication and canonization and the history of the regions that Chesnutt used as settings of his fiction: North Carolina and Ohio. Genres will include sentimentalism, realism, regionalism, and naturalism; the slave narrative and the social problem novel; journalism, legal writing, and essays. In addition to selections from Chesnutt’s Complete Short Stories, and numerous archival materials such as trial transcripts, newspaper articles, periodical illustrations, and advertisements, readings may include Charles Chesnutt, Journals; Albion Tourgee, A Fool’s Errand: A Novel of the South During Reconstruction; Pauline Hopkins, Peculiar Sam; Or, the Underground Railroad; Thomas Nelson Page, “Marse Chan”; Ida B. Wells, Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases; W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk. Conference. Offered fall 2022.

Literature 501 - Shakespeare’s Comedies

One-half unit semester course. We will read four or five of Shakespeare’s comedies, from the following groups: “romantic comedies”: As You Like It and Twelfth Night; “problem comedies”: The Merchant of Venice and Measure for Measure; and “mixed-genre plays”: Henry IV, Part I (history/comedy) and The Winter’s Tale (tragi-comedy). Shakespearean comedy works to release constraints on festivity and freely chosen love, as its characters question and undermine authoritarian-imposed limits, solemn conventions, rigid logic, and officially countenanced violence. But Shakespearean comedy also tests the limits of self-indulgence, often coming close to tragedy and even death before pulling back to a rebirth into social harmony, however questionable such resolutions may seem. We will analyze gender relations in the comedies with respect to power (especially the function and significance of heroines’ cross-dressing); erotic desire and the role imagination plays in its fulfillment; the nature of identity, especially when characters are immersed in unfamiliar worlds; and the difficulty of establishing definitive moral norms. We will examine Elizabethan attitudes towards women and gender relations as they are expressed in both society and in theatrical practice, given boy heroines on the Elizabethan stage; and we will see how the politics of a female monarchy influenced depictions of women in Shakespeare’s comedies. We will also examine attitudes towards Jews and historic anti-Semitism in England in the sixteenth century. Finally, we will explore various theories of comedy and test their relevance to the plays; such readings may include essays by Bakhtin, Terry Eagleton, Harold Bloom, Northrop Frye, and Stephen Greenblatt. Conference. Offered fall 2022.

Literature 549 - Memory & Modernity in the Indian Ocean

One-half unit semester course. The Indian Ocean has been a site of cultural exchange across continents for several millennia, but it has often been marginalized from discussions of modernity based on Euro-American and trans-Atlantic models. What does it mean to be modern in the context of the Indian Ocean, a region crisscrossed by multiple empires, competing religions, and movements of migrants, merchants, slaves, pilgrims, and soldiers? How have individuals and communities in the Indian Ocean been framed by larger transnational processes like colonization, decolonization, slavery, trade, migration, and displacement? How do the non-Western sources of globalization and transnationalism in the Indian Ocean provide modes for thinking about alternative experiences of modernity? Using literature as the primary mode of thinking, this course will consider the ways in which the unique history of circulation of people, objects, and ideas in the Indian Ocean shapes ideas of modernity distinct from those developed in the West. This course will draw on readings from literary studies, history, anthropology, philosophy, and critical race studies to form a contextually informed approach to the study of the literature from the region. The course aims to rethink major concepts associated with modernity such as nation, diaspora, cosmopolitanism, and globalization in relation to the categories of race, gender, ethnicity, caste, and religion in the Indian Ocean context. Conference. Offered spring 2023.

Theatre 590 - Performance Studies: Performativity and Performance in Everyday Life

One-half unit semester course. Performance studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines “performance” in all of its multiple incarnations—including theatre, dance, visual art, everyday life, folklore, rituals and celebrations, and protests. This course serves as an investigation of the major themes and issues within the discourse of performance studies. We will look at both the roots of this interdisciplinary field and the directions it might be heading. Readings will include some of the seminal texts in the field, including the work of J.L. Austin, Judith Butler, E. Patrick Johnson, Petra Kuppers, Richard Schechner, Diana Taylor, and others. We will examine how performance studies contributes to the study of theatre, as well as to an understanding of our increasingly mediated and globalized world. Conference. Offered summer 2022.

MALS 670 - Thesis

One unit semester course.

Recent Courses - The following graduate courses have been offered in the past five years:

Anthropology 520 -  Race, Labor, and the Immigrant Experience
Anthropology 541 - Global Health: Critical Perspectives
Art 522 - Early Modern Things
Art 525 - Approaches to Media Studies
Art 530 - Art and Life in Renaissance Florence
Biology 530 - Science and Society: Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
Biology 550 - Fire Ecology in the Pacific Northwest
Biology 560 - Genetics and Evolution
Dance 551 - Dance and Identity on the Global Stage
English 540 - August Wilson’s Twentieth-Century Cycle
English 553 - British Romanticism and Its Contexts
History 510 - Family History in the Twentieth Century U.S.
History 516 - The Power of American Things: United States and Its Stuff in the Twentieth-Century World
Liberal Studies 502 - Environmental Humanities and the World of Ancient Rome
Liberal Studies 509 - Religious Reformations and Social Transformations in Early Modern Europe
Liberal Studies 525 - Hindu Religious Traditions
Liberal Studies 538 - The Immigrant as Protagonist
Liberal Studies 539 - Russian Culture under Putin: Submission and Resistance
Liberal Studies 542 - Revolution and Reform in Chinese Agriculture
Liberal Studies 544 - Law and Justice in Europe and its Empires, 1200–1800
Liberal Studies 546 - Politics and Policy in America
Liberal Studies 551 - Chicago and the Urban Modern
Liberal Studies 554 - Media, Persons, and Publics in a Globalized World
Liberal Studies 572 - The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde
Liberal Studies 575 - The Art of Speech
Literature 500 - Introduction to Literary Theory
Literature 524 - Red Sci-Fi: Science Fiction in Soviet Literature and Film
Literature 527 - Drugs, Gangs, and Aliens
Mathematics 547 - The Geometry of Light
Political Science 553 - American Climate Change Politics
Russian 533 - Russian Auteur Cinema
Spanish 583 - From Los olvidados to Roma: Contemporary Mexican Cinema
Theatre 540 - Race in American Theatre