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College of Arts and Sciences Published research/scholarship/creative work

How Chinese pioneers helped build the Pacific Northwest

Polly Bemis sitting outside a cabin in Warren, IdahoThough often surprising to people today, Chinese immigrants once had a thriving population in the Inland Pacific Northwest. From their earliest days searching for gold to their later work constructing the Northern Pacific Railway, the Chinese endured discrimination and, in many cases, extreme brutality.

How it began

When word came that gold had been discovered in central California in 1849, many Chinese headed to » More …

Students create virtual museum of digital literature

The NEXT.A virtual museum and library of more than 2,500 digital literary works from around the world is now accessible thanks to the collaborative work of more than three dozen recent graduates of WSU Vancouver’s Creative Media and Digital Culture program.

Called The NEXT, it was created for the Electronic Literature Organization, an international arts group currently housed » More …

Book review: Warrior Generation

Book cover: Warrior Generation, 1865-1885, by Richard Fulton.“For lower-class young men,” in Victorian Britain, Richard Fulton (’75 PhD English) writes, “life was pretty much black and white. There were survivors and there were losers.”

Life was a struggle with sickness, the weather, other boys, parents, teachers, policemen, bosses, and simply getting something to eat. Tough guys prevailed. And, Fulton notes, they were admired. “They grew up in a culture that accepted physical force as » More …

A safe keeping place

Painting by Hilda Deutsch, Palouse Landscape, 1939.The path to reconcile relationships with Indigenous communities needs a modern digital platform.

Free, open source, and available as a mobile app, Mukurtu, a content management system created and maintained by the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation (CDSC) at Washington State University, intends to be that platform. » More …

Data analysis correlates local politics and LGBTQ+ student stress

Rainbow pride flag.Students who identify as LGBTQ+ in Washington state school districts with conservative voting records reported experiencing more bullying than their peers in more politically liberal areas, according to a new study from the Department of Psychology.

“To my knowledge, nobody has really looked at this connection between a school district’s political attitudes and the experiences of » More …

Book review: The Whaler and the Girl in the Deadfall

Book cover: The Whaler and the Girl in the Deadfall, by Mahlon E. Kriebel.Influenced by real events of fall 1998 to spring 1999, when the Makah harvested their first whale in seven decades and made headlines worldwide, Mahlon Kriebel (’58 zoology) blends fact with fiction and explores the history of the whale hunt as well as complex cultural issues and tensions past and present. He provides historical context peppered with references to Native works of art, fiction, films, museum exhibits, and more. » More …

Sociologist’s new book examines changing rural economics

Jennifer Sherman holding her new book, Dividing Paradise: Rural Inequality and the Diminishing American Dream.Even before COVID-19 prompted thousands of city-dwellers to seek new lifestyles in the country, sociology professor Jennifer Sherman had been researching and writing about a remote place she calls “Paradise Valley,” where efforts to revitalize the local economy with an influx of restaurants, cafes, hotels, and souvenir shops dramatically changed the community.

Her new book, Dividing Paradise: Rural Inequality and the Diminishing American Dream tells the story of » More …

Wildfire changes songbird plumage

Red backed fairywren.Fire can put a tropical songbird’s sex life on ice.

Following habitat-destroying wildfires in Australia, a team of researchers led by WSU biology doctoral student Jordan Boersma found that many male red-backed fairywrens failed to molt into their red-and-black ornamental plumage, making them less attractive to potential mates. They also had lowered circulating testosterone, which has been associated with their showy feathers. » More …

Radio program connects NW past to present

Keren Phoenix and Brenna Miller.A Spokane resident whose invention transformed the shipping industry;  a woman who passed as a man and worked as a bartender, bronco buster, and longshoreman; plus preachers, prisoners, ranchers, immigrants, cowgirls, and soldiers are among the myriad people whose stories illuminate the history of the Northwest in Past as Prologue, a new radio program created by WSU historians Karen Phoenix and Brenna Miller. » More …

Toxin-adapted fish pass down epigenetic mutations

Two sliver fish on a white background, top fish is larger with orange highlights on its fins, bottom fish is smaller with some blue tones.You can take a fish out of toxic water, but its epigenetic mutations will remain for at least two generations.

A research team led by Washington State University scientists analyzed the epigenetics—molecular factors and processes that determine whether genes are turned on or off—of a group of Poecilia mexicana fish, or Atlantic molly, that live in springs naturally high in hydrogen sulfide, which is normally toxic to most organisms. » More …