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Talks, Exhibits, Podcasts for Holiday Downtime COVID-19 may have forced events to go virtual this Fall Term, but that means some guest speaker talks and art exhibits can still be enjoyed online.

Because of the pandemic, Washington and Lee University hosted a number of virtual events this Fall Term, and several are still available to check out during the holiday break. So if you’re interested in seeing some art or engaging with interesting subject matter presented by leaders in their fields, follow the links below.

Global Ethics

The Mudd Center and Center for International Education have hosted several speakers so far in their 2020-21 speaker series, “Global Ethics in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities.” These lively and engaging lectures, all followed by Q&A sessions with the audience, are still available to watch on Livestream:

“Climate Change and Its Impact on the World Order” with Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer for The New Yorker and 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History”

“Cultural Norms and the Export of the W&L Honor System” with Thomas H. Speedy Rice, Professor of Practice at the Transnational Law Institute in the W&L School of Law

“Renewing the Promise of America: Looking Back to Move Forward” with Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America, professor emerita of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, former director of policy planning at the U.S. Dept of State, former director of Harvard University’s International Legal Studies Program, and prolific author

“Black Lives Matter: An International Moment” with the Honorable Reuben Brigety, vice chancellor of the University of the South: Sewanee, former dean of the Elliott School at George Washington University, as well as former ambassador to the African Union during the Obama administration

Constitution Day

This year’s Constitution Day address was given by Mary Anne Franks, professor of law and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar at the University of Miami School of Law. Franks, who teaches courses on criminal law, criminal procedure, First and Second Amendment law, family law, and law and technology, is an internationally known expert on the topic of civil rights and technology. The title of her talk, which can be viewed here, is “The Cult of the Constitution.”


The Alumni Engagement staff have teed up multiple virtual events recently, many of which are still available to be enjoyed online. That includes the office’s five-part series on prejudice, discrimination and anti-racism, which included talks by faculty and special guests on topics such as monuments and statues, the Black vote and representation in Congress, and implicit and explicit bias.

Alumni Engagement has also presented a number of episodes in its new Lifelong Learning podcast, W&L After Class. Season One includes conversations with faculty members Sybil Price Nelson (mathematics), Elliott King (Art History), Mark Rush (politics, international education), Mikki Brock (history), Howard Pickett (director of the Shepherd Program), Julie Woodzicka and Karla Murdock (cognitive and behavioral science), Janet Ikeda (Japanese), Bill Hamilton (biology), Johanna Bond (law school), and Marc Conner, former provost and professor of English.

Podcast topics run the gamut but include poetry, beer, tea, witches, poverty, politics and art. The entire series can be accessed at this link. Season Two of W&L’s After Class is coming soon!

Members of the W&L community are still invited to join the university’s new virtual book club, which has already been joined by 650 alumni. Previous books selected have included “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr and “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. The group is currently reading “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed” by Lori Gottlieb. Click here for more information about the book club.


Guerrilla Girls is an anonymous group of feminist, female artists devoted to fighting sexism and racism within the art world. Formed in New York City in 1985, the group strives to draw attention to gender and racial inequity in museums, galleries and other cultural institutions. Their work, including posters, stickers and street projects, use facts infused with humor to call attention to corruption and bias in arts. Members wear gorilla masks in public and take the names of deceased female artists to preserve anonymity and maintain focus on the issues. Their exhibit in Staniar Gallery at W&L, “Guerrilla Girls: The Art of Behaving Badly,” finished up in October, but their virtual artist talk was recorded and is still available for viewing.

Art exhibits still available for viewing online include:

Louise Herreshoff Eaton: To See Color First

Dance Photographs by Jack Mitchell

Modern Art Goes Pop: Selections from W&L’s Art Collection

Breaking the Chains: Ceramics and the Abolition Movement

Beneath the Surface of Two Iconic Portraits