Assembly Series unveils spring 2018 lineup

Programs for the spring 2018 Assembly Series at Washington University in St. Louis will run the gamut from national economic policy to the Book of Revelation.

Writers will have a strong presence this semester, and the Frankenstein Bicentennial celebration continues as well. This time around, the Frankenstein lecture will analyze the influence of a real-life climate disaster on the novel and the novelist.

Other highlights include a look back at a half-century of American culture through the lens of Rolling Stone magazine; understanding the effects of mental illness on a family; and a call to action by two passionate social activists.

Now in its 65th year of bringing to campus speakers who are among the most influential voices of their time, the Assembly Series — the university’s signature lecture series —remains free and open to the public.

Leading off: Fiscal policy expert and writer David Wessel, who will speak Wednesday, Jan. 31. The rest of the program lineup follows, with more information on speakers, including updates as well as visitor parking information, on the Assembly Series website. You also can follow us on Facebook and join in the conversation on social channels with the hashtag #AssemblySeries.

Wednesday, Jan. 31

David Wessel, “The View from Washington: Economic Policy One Year into the Trump Presidency”


4 p.m., Knight Hall, Emerson Auditorium

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump campaigned on an economic platform that included such sweeping measures as overhauling the tax code, dismantling trade agreements, tightening restrictions on immigration and repealing “Obamacare.”

A year into President Trump’s administration, Wessel will examine the economic landscape, help translate what economic changes may mean for individuals and the country, and guide us toward a better understanding of what may be in store.

Wessel’s presentation, “The View from Washington: Economic Policy One Year into the Trump Presidency,” is being co-sponsored by the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy in Arts & Sciences.

Prior to joining the Brookings Institution in 2013 as a senior fellow in economic studies and founding director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy, Wessel enjoyed an award-winning career in journalism that spanned four decades.

He joined The Boston Globe in 1981 and was part of an investigative team that won a Pulitzer Prize for a series examining Boston’s race relations. Two years later, Wessel joined The Wall Street Journal, where he received his second Pulitzer Prize for stories that “illuminated the roots, significance and impact of corporate scandals in America.” Wessel most recently was the journal’s economics editor and wrote the weekly “Capital” column. He continues at the newspaper as a contributing correspondent.

Wessel has authored or co-authored three books, including two New York Times best-sellers: “In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s War on the Great Panic” (2009) which chronicles the Federal Reserve’s response to the financial crisis of 2007–08; and his most recent publication, “Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget” (2012), a primer on the federal budget and the deficit.

In addition, Wessel teaches in the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business Global 2030 executive education program. He also is a member of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Data Users Advisory Committee.

Thursday, Feb. 8


Shon Hopwood, “A Time to Care: Why Everyone Should Support Criminal Justice Reform”

Noon, Anheuser-Busch Hall, Room 310 (Thomas Hennings Lecture)

Tuesday, Feb. 13

Stefan Merrill Block, “Tracing a Writer’s Journey from WashU Student to Award-winning Novelist”

4 p.m., Women’s Building Formal Lounge; book signing to follow (Arts & Sciences Connections Lecture)

Wednesday, Feb. 21

Joe Hagan, “Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine”

5 p.m., Knight Hall, Emerson Auditorium; book signing to follow (Elliot Stein Lecture in Ethics)

Thursday, March 1

James Esseks, LGBT Conference

3 p.m., Anheuser-Busch Hall, Room 310

Wednesday, March 7

Michael Wysession, “Frankenstein Meets Climate Change: Monsters of Our Own Making”

5 p.m., Anheuser-Busch Hall, Room 310

Tuesday, March 20


Elaine Pagels, “Art, Music, and Politics in the Book of Revelation”

5:30 p.m., Knight Hall, Emerson Auditorium (Weltin Lecture in Religious Studies)

Thursday, March 29

The Rev. Traci Blackmon and Rabbi Susan Talve, “Voices of the Unheard and a Call for Grace for Victims of Oppression, Racism and Sexism”

6 p.m., Graham Chapel (Rabbi Ferdinand Isserman Lecture)

Wednesday, April 11

Rachel Pruchno, “Surrounded by Madness: A Memoir of Mental Illness and Family Secrets”

5 p.m., location to be announced (Woman’s Club of WU Lecture)

Comments and respectful dialogue are encouraged, but content will be moderated. Please, no personal attacks, obscenity or profanity, selling of commercial products, or endorsements of political candidates or positions. We reserve the right to remove any inappropriate comments. We also cannot address individual medical concerns or provide medical advice in this forum.