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New WSU book explores Hanford legacies, Manhattan Project

A new book published by WSU Press includes essays about the complex legacies of the Manhattan Project, including work at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

The new book, “Legacies of the Manhattan Project: Reflections on 75 Years of a Nuclear World” covers topics such as newspaper censorship, activism, nuclear testing, environmental cleanup and atomic kitsch.

Michael Mays

It was edited by Michael Mays, director of the Hanford History Project at WSU Tri-Cities and CAS faculty member.

“The compositions delve deep into familiar matters, but also illuminate historical crevices left unexplored by earlier generations of scholars,” according to WSU Press.

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Opinion: The Truth About Trump’s Evangelical Support

By Matthew Avery Sutton, professor of history at Washington State University

Matthew Avery Sutton.

Donald Trump has never pretended to practice traditional Christian virtues. Yet in 2016 he earned 81 percent of the white evangelical vote—a higher percentage than George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, or John McCain. Trump’s success surprised a lot of us: How could a group of staunchly moral religious voters give their support to a man with a long track record of lying, cheating, using profanity, and grabbing women “by the pussy”?

If this seemed jarring, it may be because evangelical leaders have projected a whitewashed vision of their movement to the rest of the country so successfully for so long. To be an evangelical, leaders of the movement and the scholars who follow them insisted for several decades, is to commit to the authority of the Bible, the centrality of Jesus, the necessity of individual conversion, and evangelism. With this move, they separated evangelicalism from its existence in the world. Evangelicals might try to influence politics and culture, but politics and culture, they implied, had no impact on the untainted core of evangelicalism. Billy Graham might be sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom, and Jerry Falwell might be advising GOP platform committees, but the evangelical gospel was timeless, unaffected by the forces of history and the world around it. The sexists, racists, and xenophobes who regularly appeared in their ranks, they argued, did not reflect the true movement, only its distortions.

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The New Republic


The Hidden World of Holy Spies: A Q&A with NEH Public Scholar Matthew Avery Sutton

Matthew Avery Sutton.

In civics classes across the country, students are taught that a metaphoric wall separates church and state. However, the church-state connection is far more complicated, according to NEH Public Scholar Matthew Avery Sutton professor of history at Washington State University. “During the 1940s,” he writes, “American leaders came to understand in deeper and more explicit ways how central religion was to crafting successful foreign policy.” They hatched numerous plans to use spirituality as a political tool, but one in particular stuck: hiring missionaries to “serve God and country” as spies.

Sutton’s book, Double Crossed: the Missionaries who Spied for the United States during the Second World War, examines this “holy” espionage throughout WWII, presenting a fledgling U.S. intelligence agency, its religious assets, and their unusually close alliance.

Sutton is currently writing a book on the history of American Christianity, from colonial times to the present. In it, he hopes to explain how Christianity has developed in and shaped the United States.

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National Endowment for the Humanities

Opinion: Toppling statues is an American tradition, not historical erasure

Lawrence Hatter

By Lawrence Hatter associate professor of early American history at Washington State University

In the searing July heat in New York City, radical militants gathered in a Manhattan park, determined to tear down a statue. Over the past few years, this public monument had become the focus of protests against unpopular government measures, including a shocking act of police brutality in Boston that cost the lives of five civilians. The statue was a frequent target of graffiti. This time, however, it was coming down. With ropes tied around the statue, protesters heaved together, pulling it down. In the frenzy that followed, the crowd decapitated the statue and cut up what remained.

This event in New York almost 250 years ago could almost be snatched from today’s headlines. Over the past few weeks, a popular wave of Black Lives Matter protests against systemic racism has targeted statues around the globe in response to the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department. From the felling of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Virginia, to a crowd throwing the slave trader Edward Colston into the sea in the English port city of Bristol, protesters have attacked symbols of white supremacy in our commemorative landscape.

Monuments are not history. They may depict historical figures or events, but statues and other monuments use the past to articulate the civic values of the present. Statues demonstrate what it is that we want to celebrate about the past. Statues are about our collective memory; they are not history itself. We can remove statues without erasing the past.

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Enhancing research, creative activity in the arts and humanities

Eleven of Washington State University’s most innovative scholars and artists have been selected for faculty fellowships and mini-grants from the Center for Arts and Humanities (CAH) and the Office of Research.

Todd Butler.

“We are excited to support faculty as they advance not only their academic fields but also the communities we serve,” said Todd Butler, director of the center, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, and professor of English.

Funded by a five-year commitment from the Office of Research and its strategic research investment program, the center’s grant programs strengthen and enhance research and creative endeavors across WSU. Any faculty member pursuing arts and humanities-related work, regardless of rank or home department, is eligible to apply.

“This year, almost all of the arts and humanities departments—as well as associated faculty working in the social sciences—were represented in the proposals submitted, testifying to the ongoing vitality and reach of these disciplines at Washington State University,” said Butler.

Reflecting upon her CAH experience, School of Music instructor and 2019 faculty fellow Melissa Parkhurst said, “The CAH Faculty Fellowship put me in regular communication with a group of dedicated interdisciplinary scholars. I gained a vital support network, valuable feedback, and ideas for future projects.”

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WSU Insider