microphone at a lecture series

MLA Lecture Series

This year's theme will examine the transitions between the world as it is and the one it is becoming.

We understand the world in terms of concrete things, places, and people. This February, we examine the transitions between the world as it is and the one it is becoming. Jonathan Losos reflects on the personal transition that led him back to St. Louis to lead the Living Earth Collaborative. Tim Portlock addresses both urban transition and transition in artistic media. Stephanie Kirk takes a broad look at the challenges confronting the humanities. Sophia Hayes discusses tackling the transition confronting us all, climate change. In each case, transition is a period to reflect, assess and take action.

Free and open to the public, the series is sponsored by University College, the professional and continuing education division of Washington University in St. Louis. 

Seating is limited and RSVPs are requested. Lectures may be attended individually or in the entire series. 

2020 Topics and Faculty Speakers:

February 1
McMillan Hall, room G052

The Living Earth Collaborative and the Science of Biodiversity: A Personal Journey 
Jonathan Losos, PhD, Professor of Biology and William H. Danforth Distinguished University Professor

February 8
McMillan Hall, room G052

The Post Digital Image
Timothy Portlock, MFA, Associate Professor of Art & Visual Arts

February 15
McMillan Hall, room G052

Humanities in Transition: Challenges and Opportunities
Stephanie Kirk, PhD, Professor of Spanish, Comparative Literature, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 

February 22
McMillan Hall, room G052

Hacking Climate Change with Science and Engineering
Sophia Hayes, PhD, Professor of Chemistry 


The 2020 MLA Lecture Series recordings can be found on our YouTube Channel.

Directions & Parking

Free parking is available in the Millbrook Garage in yellow spaces on the Danforth campus without a permit on the weekends. which is just north of McMillan Hall on Throop Drive. Accessible entrances are available on the north entrance from Throop Drive and the south entrance from inner campus.

View directions

Additional Resources

  • Master of Liberal Arts Degree

    The Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) program fosters intellectual breadth through courses that address a broad range of cultural issues from different academic perspectives. Students may explore questions of identity through art, literature, and religion.
  • 2019 MLA Lecture Series Recordings

    The 2019 Series, entitled “Memory,” addressed the nature, meaning and power of memory.
  • 2018 MLA Lecture Series Recordings

    The 2018 Series, entitled "Rhythm," explored the fundamental role of rhythm in the human body, the clinical applications of rhythm in song and dance, the power of rhythm in language, and rhythmic forms that drive French film.
  • 2017 MLA Lecture Series Recordings

    The creative spark may seem a mysterious gift bestowed on artists and inventors. Join us as WashU scientists, designers, and entrepreneurs unpack the enigma by exploring the role of rest, failure, process, and aging on creativity.
  • 2016 MLA Lecture Series Recordings

    The 2016 series, entitled “The Modern University,” addressed issues that tap into the past, present, and future of higher education and its impact on American society
  • 2015 MLA Lecture Series Recordings

    The 2015 Series, entitled “From Athens to Ferguson,” addressed broad questions about justice and community.