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A Q&A with the Editor of Environmental Epigenetics

Michael Skinner portrait
Michael Skinner

From the Oxford University Press Blog:

Environmental Epigenetics is a new, international, peer-reviewed, fully open access journal, which publishes research in any area of science and medicine related to the field of epigenetics, with particular interest on environmental relevance. With the first issue scheduled to launch this summer, we found this to be the perfect time to speak with WSU biologist Dr. Michael K. Skinner, Editor-in-Chief, to discuss the launch of the journal into an exciting and rapidly developing field. » More …

Mapp’s passing reminds us police (mis)treatment of suspects not new

Carolyn Long
Carolyn Long

On Oct. 31, the day after her 91st birthday, Ms. Dollree Mapp, of the 1961 landmark Supreme Court decision, Mapp v. Ohio, died. Carolyn N. Long, associate professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs at WSU Vancouver and author of Mapp v. Ohio: Guarding Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures, asserts: “There has been insufficient progress in police professionalism since 1957 when Ms. Mapp … stood up to the aggressive police tactics” of the Bureau of Special Investigation of Cleveland, Ohio.

In her guest column published by Cleveland.com, Long says, “Mapp’s passing, which was not widely reported when it happened, bears mention in light of the Justice Department’s damning report on police practices in Cleveland and the recent death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, an African-American child shot and killed by a Cleveland officer for carrying a toy gun the officer thought was a weapon.”

Read more of Professor Long’s review of the case and its aftermath

It’s The Apocalypse, Stupid: Understanding Christian Opposition to Obamacare, Civil Rights, New Deal and More

Matthew Sutton
Matthew Sutton

American evangelicals have been waiting for the world to end for a long time. But that’s not to say they’ve just been sitting around. Apocalypticism has inspired evangelistic crusades, moral reform movements, and generations of political activism.

In his latest book, Matthew Avery Sutton, WSU professor of history, traces this history of American evangelical apocalypticism from the end of the 19th century to the present day. In the process, he proposes a revised understanding of American evangelicalism, focused on the urgent expectations of the end of human history. If you want to understand modern evangelicalism, Sutton says, you have to understand their End Times theology.

Daniel Silliman spoke with Sutton at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies, in Heidelberg, Germany.

Read their Q&A online

5 Percent of White People Don’t Have Any Nonwhite Friends

David Leonard
David Leonard

A collective gasp of surprise went up this week after the Public Religion Research Institute released new survey data that found that 75 percent of white Americans have “entirely white social networks.” Yet our popular culture, the 800-percent rise in hate groups, the woefully homogenous workplaces at companies such as Google, an ever-widening wealth gap, and neighborhoods still segregated along racial lines should make it obvious that the postracial promised land heralded when President Obama was first elected does not exist.

“The data does not surprise me at all,” says David J. Leonard, an associate professor of critical culture, gender, and race at WSU. “Implicit biases and stereotypes shape friendships, and if we look at media, if we look at popular culture, if we look at education, we see a persistence in the circulation of stereotypes that recycle prejudices. Those assumptions about difference shape friendships and invariably impact how white people interact with African Americans,” he says.

Socializing in homogenous networks and communities affects white people’s ability to be empathetic to the struggles their contemporaries of another color face. It also increases the likelihood that white Americans will view their minority counterparts through a stereotypical lens.

To begin bridging the gap that may lead to more cross-cultural friendships down the line, Leonard argues the route is simple: People have to talk to each other, and white folks have to own their privilege.

“Whites rarely have the opportunity to talk about race, to be held accountable for privilege, and to have important conversations,” he says. “Lacking the language to talk about race and to engage cross-racially will impact white people’s ability and willingness to develop these friendships.”

Read more about the research in TakePart