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State History Museum exhibit spotlights portraits of a transgender West

On the eve of Pride Month, Saturday, May 29, the Washington State History Museum will open an original exhibition about transgender people in the West from the 1860s-1940s.

Peter Boag.

The exhibition was created in collaboration with historian, author and educator Peter Boag at Washington State University-Vancouver.

“It is an honor,” Peter Boag explained, “to be a part of the visionary inclusiveness of the Washington State Historical Society, bringing to attention varied peoples marginalized in and by our history.

“Our exhibit shares stories that are of central importance to our state and region, but stories largely ignored or purposely misconstrued. As such, what we share is not only affirming of the lives of the people we explore, but also of fundamental interest to everyone.”

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The Stranger
Washington History
South Sound Magazine

Smith Teaching and Learning grants benefit undergraduate education

Washington State University faculty members are engaged in six new projects to improve undergraduate education, thanks to funding from the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Endowment. They include three in the College of Arts and Sciences:

Ruth Gregory.

Ruth Gregory, scholarly assistant professor and director of undergraduate studies for the Digital Technology and Culture (DTC) Program, for the project “Digital Technology and Culture in the Community AmeriCorps Program: Closing the Equity Gap in Internship Experiences and Compensation.” The program will address internship inequity by creating an AmeriCorps unit at WSU focused on providing students from marginalized backgrounds paid internship opportunities.

Nikolaus Overtoom.

Nikolaus Overtoom, clinical assistant professor of history, for the project “Engaging an Equitable Antiquity.” The project will emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusiveness in the study of antiquity by redeveloping two courses—History 337 (Women in the Ancient World) for the Global Campus and History 395 (Topics in History: Ancient Warfare and Society).

Patty Wilde.

Patty Wilde, assistant professor and director of composition at WSU Tri-Cities, for the project “Culturally Responsive Approaches to Writing Instruction: Using a Multi-disciplinary Community of Practice to Improve Equity and Student Outcomes” with Tri-Cities co-applicants Lori Nelson, scholarly assistant professor of biology; Tracey Hanshew, scholarly assistant professor of history; Robert Franklin, clinical associate professor of history; and Vanessa Cozza, scholarly associate professor of English; with facilitation by Janet Peters, scholarly associate professor of psychology. The project will use culturally responsive teaching knowledge to re-envision approaches to writing instruction, assignment design, and assessment in the context of their courses.

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WSU Insider

Opinion: Breaking evangelical resistance to coronavirus vaccines will be hard

By Matthew Avery Sutton, WSU professor of history

Matthew Avery Sutton.

Evangelicals make up one quarter of the United States population and they are the Americans least likely to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Even as the Biden administration works fervently to overcome vaccine hesitancy and some in the evangelical community like Franklin Graham, son of legendary preacher Billy Graham, pledge to help them, they face a daunting task. The hurdle: For many evangelicals, the vaccine, and proof that you have had it, are tools of the Antichrist.

This may all sound absurd. But millions of Americans believe it, making evangelical fears over the vaccine a public health problem. The origins of these ideas, however, have little to do with science but are instead grounded at the intersection of history, theology and politics. Understanding, explaining and challenging these beliefs could be key to saving lives.

In the future, historians probably will write about how evangelicals worrying about the vaccine as the mark of the Antichrist will look as silly as those who once feared credit cards or bar codes do to us today. Indeed, during the past 50 years, evangelicals have always learned to integrate the supposed mark into their lives without diabolical consequences: They use Visa cards and scan bar codes at self-checkout lines.

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The Washington Post

Associate professor of History selected for Excellence in Online Teaching Award

Aaron Whelchel.

Associate Professor of History Aaron Whelchel is the winner of the 2020-21 Excellence in Online Teaching Award. The student-nominated annual award is sponsored by Academic Outreach and Innovation.

The award, now in its fifth year, seeks to acknowledge and reward Washington State University faculty members teaching Global Campus courses who employ best practices to engage, inspire, support, and show care for students in an online environment. He will receive $3,000 in faculty development funds and a trophy in recognition of his win.

“Dr. Whelchel has an obvious enthusiasm for the material he presents,” said Robert Fisher, one of the students who nominated Whelchel. “He gathered wonderfully thought-provoking content, often primary sources, that encouraged me to challenge what I thought I knew about the world.”

Whelchel earned his Ph.D. in world history from WSU in 2011 and taught his first Global Campus course the same year. He has been working at WSU’s Vancouver Campus since 2012.

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WSU Insider

Five faculty to join WSU in the fall through new cluster hire program

Five new faculty members will be joining Washington State University in the fall as the inaugural cohort of the “Racism and Social Inequality in the Americas,” cluster hire program. Four of the five are in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The program was initiated to address system-wide needs for scholarship, teaching, and outreach aimed at dismantling systemic racism and to recruit and retain a more diverse faculty and student body.

The faculty positions were created based on proposals submitted by departments and campuses across the WSU system last fall. The program will continue in 2022, and will focus on health inequities and health justice in marginalized communities.

Michelle Brown.
Michelle Brown

Digital Technology and Culture, WSU Tri‑Cities

Alan Malfavon.
Alan Malfavon

History, WSU Pullman

Arifa Raza.
Arifa Raza

Criminal Justice and Criminology, WSU Pullman

Darryl Singleton.
Darryl Singleton

Music, WSU Pullman

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WSU Insider
The Daily Evergreen