A conversation with historian Peter Boag about his book “Pioneering Death: The Violence of Boyhood in Turn-of-the-Century Oregon” on Writing Westward, a podcast hosted by Brenden Rensink, director of the Redd Center at Brigham Young University.
For most observers, the war in Gaza is a horrifying escalation of tensions in the Middle East, pitting a heavily armed Israeli state in a self-styled “existential” crusade against a stateless civilian population, bringing a brutal toll of casualties and the prospect of permanent displacement. Yet for many in the American evangelical world, the news out of Gaza is a crucial foretaste of redemption—the prelude to the final battle for earthly power, to be followed by Armageddon and the Rapture.
American evangelicals have long prided themselves on their undeviating support for Israel—but the basis of this alliance is not a standard convergence of diplomatic interests, and it’s certainly not a flourish of faith-based solidarity with the Jews. Instead, it’s a matter of the opportunistic choreographing of the foreordained final act of history.
Donald Trump’s 2016 election helped to move the evangelical right into the vanguard of Republican politics—while Trump brokered key points of contact between American evangelicals and Likud leaders, such as the embassy move and the failed diplomatic framework of the Abraham Accords.
“The reason for Netanyahu to realize how important evangelicals are is clear, since their political influence has done nothing but grow in the last 20 years, especially within Congress,” says Washington State University historian Matthew Avery Sutton, author of American Apocalypse, a study of modern prophecy faith. And as the pronouncements of Hagee and his son make clear, the evangelical right, unlike many other religious Americans, has zero interest in a negotiated settlement to the Israeli occupation. “In their ideal world, there would be no two-state solution, no Palestinian state,” Sutton notes. “The idea is that Jews should control the entire land that King David controlled.”
In 1943, thousands of workers began arriving at remote outposts in Washington, New Mexico and Tennessee where American ingenuity would be pressed to its limit in a secret and frantic push to build the first atomic bomb.
One particular group of eight women at Hanford in Eastern Washington and Los Alamos in New Mexico would have been among the forgotten, if not for the FBI’s feverish hunt for private details about their lives. The government that had recruited them to the elite Manhattan Project was now trying to strip them of vital security clearances by proving they were lesbians.
Declassified FBI records and Atomic Energy Commission memos reviewed by The Seattle Times chronicle the women’s experiences trying to live their authentic lives while staying ahead of the FBI in a chase that stretched from Los Alamos to Hanford and spanned a decade.
“The [Atomic Energy Commission], in saying these people are going to be security risks, they’re damning them. You’re also lumping them in with groups that might wish the U.S. and its allies harm,” Robert Franklin, assistant professor of history at Washington State University, Tri-Cities, and assistant director of the Hanford History Project, told the paper. “They’re not enemies, but the fact is they could be compromised just because of who they are.”
“It’s deeply unsettling and really should be a cautionary tale,” he added. “They wouldn’t have been a risk if we had been able to accept people for who they are.”
Washington State University faculty have been awarded six 2023 Transformation Change Initiative (TCI) grants for advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) to impact teaching and learning system-wide.
The grants range from $800 to $5,000 and represent the second round of TCI IDEA grants which are among several key WSU priorities and commitments in the provost’s office that promote IDEA. Three members of CAS faculty are project leaders.
“Infrastructural Racism: Latinx, African Americans, and East Pasco, Wash.”
Robert Franklin, co-lead
College of Arts and Sciences, WSU Tri‑Cities, and Department of History
This hands-on, design-oriented project will highlight the “racist legacy of infrastructure” in the Tri‑Cities region with a principal focus on the city of Pasco, Wash. Taught jointly between the School of Design and Construction and the Department of History, this community-engaged elective course involves faculty from WSU Tri‑Cities and WSU Pullman and will connect students with locals to learn about the historic spatial inequities and present-day opportunities in Pasco. By offering design ideas ranging from parks to museums to memorials, students may reimagine a marginalized physical landscape that has been manipulated and neglected for more than a century. Beyond reading and classroom discussion, the project is intended to apply student learning to a real-world setting through site visits, community meetings, and on-site public presentations. Planning for the course will take place in summer and fall 2023 and the class will be offered in spring 2024.
“Teaching Academy Faculty Book Club: Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education”
Kara Whitman, lead
WSU Teaching Academy, system-wide, and School of the Environment
Ashley Boyd, co-lead
WSU Teaching Academy, system-wide, and Department of English
The WSU Teaching Academy will offer a faculty-engaged, system-wide book club in fall 2023 utilizing the text “Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education: Strategies for Teaching,” with editors Rita Kumar and Brenda Refaei. The book club will raise teaching faculty’s awareness of the needs of each student at WSU, foster reflective oriented dialogue to help improve teaching at all levels and in all disciplines, inspire teaching faculty to take steps toward equitable and inclusive teaching, engage faculty and teaching assistants in learning about and practicing equity and inclusion broadly and in their discipline-specific areas, provide access to IDEA resources, and continue to establish the WSU Teaching Academy’s support for equity-oriented practices across campuses. There will be three facilitated book club discussion meetings plus two implementation workshops in fall 2023. Awards will be given to book club participants who demonstrate excellence in the implementation of equity and inclusion in their teaching. The academy plans to invite the editors of the book to be keynote speakers at its TEACHxWSU 2023 on Oct. 20.
I use a calendar to keep up with my work as a science cat. I also love calendar apps that count down to big events—like my birthday. People have always tracked time for work and holidays.
I talked about this with my friend Nikolaus Overtoom. He’s a professor of ancient history at Washington State University.
He told me we use the Gregorian calendar today. That’s a revised version of the Julian calendar. The Romans invented the Julian calendar.
But there were calendars before that. Ancient people all over the world had calendars—including a detailed calendar made by the ancient Maya.
“Early people looked to the heavens to understand the movement of planets and stars,” Overtoom said. “They used that information to help structure their societies. They needed to know when to plant crops or move their herds.”