Forty years ago, Elvis Presley died in his Memphis, Tenn., home. The man dubbed “the King of Rock ’n’ Roll” continues to sell records to collectors and lifelong fans, but the question of exactly how strongly he is influencing today’s artists generates mixed responses from musicians and others in the region.
“I really think that Elvis Presley is a name only — I don’t really think he influences anyone anymore,” said Dave Snider, a music instructor at Washington State University, where he teaches a rock ’n’ roll history course.
Snider said Presley’s name elicits a reaction from students whose grandparents might have seen him, but some of those students don’t know what he looked like or really even know who he was.
Students know enough to associate the name with someone who was very cool at one time, but many of them can’t name any specific songs, Snider said.
It’s not an ideology but a style of political discourse, characterized by oversimplification.
By Cornell W. Clayton, WSU political science professor and director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service
A specter haunts our politics—the specter of populism.
Movements like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street thrive, Sarah Palin and Elizabeth Warren are political stars, and Donald Trump is president. In Europe, Britain votes to leave the EU, Hungary and Poland elect populist governments, and politicians like Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands grow in popularity.
What explains populism’s appeal? And when should we be concerned?
First, populism is not an ideology but a style of political discourse; one which equates “the people” (the silent majority, the forgotten man, “real” Americans) with virtue, and elites (political, economic, or cultural) with evil.
What worked for him—social media and free media coverage of his rallies—won’t work for most candidates, especially in next year’s midterms.
The failure of campaign ads in the last U.S. presidential race became the conventional wisdom, with the general election seen as the ultimate judge. At the presidential level, the importance of ads remains an open question thanks to the sitting president.
But Travis Ridout, a government professor at Washington State University, thinks ads still matter—that they’re worth spending millions on. “There is a different dynamic at play,” said Ridout, who co-directs the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political ads. “When you’re dealing with, say, a House race, oftentimes the challenger isn’t someone people have heard of before. Advertising can be very effective at introducing a candidate.”
Five College of Arts & Sciences faculty, from four departments and two campuses, are among 12 faculty University-wide whose projects aimed at enhancing undergraduate learning will be funded by the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Endowment.
The winning project proposals address teaching and learning issues and improvements, support WSU learning goals, such as critical thinking and communication, and reflect a commitment to resolve factors raised by recent degree assessments.
“Many of the projects detail teaching innovations designed to better support deep, life-long learning,” said Mary F. Wack, vice provost for undergraduate education. “Some tap into emerging or discipline-specific pedagogies. Others support further growth of unique projects already under way.”
The first impact of the grants will be felt by thousands of undergraduates as early as fall classes.
“As methods and results are shared with other WSU faculty and through academic publications, the ultimate impact of these WSU grants will be very far reaching,” Wack said.
The Society of American Archivists has presented its Council Exemplary Service Award to the Sustainable Heritage Network, a project led by Washington State University for digital preservation of cultural heritage.
The SHN is managed by the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation (CDSC) at WSU and works in partnership with the Association for Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums to complement the work of indigenous peoples globally to preserve, share and manage cultural heritage and knowledge. Kim Christen, associate professor of English and director of the Sustainable Heritage Network (SHN) and the CDSC, accepted the award at the archivist society’s annual meeting, July 26, in Portland, Oregon.