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Defunding War & Cops

Laurie Mercier.

Laurie Mercier, professor of history at Washington State University, talks with Michael Brenes, lecturer in history at Yale University and author of the forthcoming For Might and Right: Cold War Defense Spending and the Remaking of American Democracy, on what we can learn from the long history of efforts to defund the post-World War II military state in order to support efforts to defund the domestic militarized police state, and how we might reimagine public spending.

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Introducing students to the Palouse

Every year students from across Washington and around the world come to study at Washington State University. But during their time here, how much do they really get to know the beauty, history, and unique landscapes of their Palouse home?

An interdisciplinary WSU team, including faculty from Earth sciences and history, has received a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to develop a series of courses for students to dig deeply into Palouse history and culture. They hope the program will give students a greater understanding of the unique region while also helping them to grow strong roots — building understanding of what it means to be an active citizen and to be part of a community wherever they end up. The project is one of 224 education grants for curriculum innovation in the humanities awarded by NEH.

The Palouse Matters program will consist of humanities-oriented, interdisciplinary classes that focus on the Palouse and its landscapes. The courses, which will include “Landscapes of the Palouse,” “Digital Palouse,” and “Reading the American Landscape,” will combine content and methods from environmental history, design, ecology, cultural landscape studies, and place-based education, enabling students to make connections among seemingly incongruous subjects and diverse populations.

With the one-year planning grant, the researchers hope to begin offering the courses as part of a new, general education humanities pathway in fall of 2021.

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WSU Insider

WSU Vancouver announces five top awards

Washington State University Vancouver has announced its 2020 awards for advancing equity, research, student achievement, teaching and service. Awardees typically receive their Chancellor’s Medallions at the spring commencement ceremony. This year’s May 9 ceremony has been postponed due to Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order. A new date has not been established.

Rocio Sotomayor.

Rocío Sotomayor teaches statistics and probability, but her efforts on behalf of students go beyond the classroom. She often acts as a mentor for equity-minded student organizations and initiatives that promote a more inclusive campus climate.

Andra Chastain.

Andra Chastain an assistant of History may ask a lot of her students, but she gives even more than she asks, inspiring students to dig deeper, think harder and aim higher than they thought they could.

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WSU Insider

WSU experts explain the origins of the Leap Year

While regarded as one of the world’s most powerful and influential historical figures, Julius Caesar wasn’t an expert on math or the stars above.

With 2020 being a Leap Year—a once-every-four-years manifestation created to deal with our imprecise notion of a year being 365 days—WSU experts looked back on the development of the modern calendar to demonstrate just how far humanity has come in its quest.

Michael Allen.

Ancient civilizations depended on the cosmos above to guide their decisions, said Michael Allen, a senior instructor in physics and astronomy at WSU.

The need to be prepared for changing seasons and related weather events led to the development of the first calendars, which typically were either solar or lunar-based. Ancient Greeks made a tremendous breakthrough some 2,500 years ago when they calculated the length of a year at 365.25 days.

Nikolaus Overtoom.

Meanwhile, during the Roman Republic, the development of the calendar was a process fraught with upheaval, said Nikolaus Overtoom, a clinical assistant professor in Ancient History at WSU.

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WSU Insider

Engaging our statewide community

Over the next four weeks, four WSU researchers in the College of Arts and Sciences will share their work and expertise with communities across the state of Washington.

The WSU faculty are members of the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau and the initial cohort of WSU Foley Fellows.

Clockwise from top left, Rebecca Craft, Travis Ridout, Matthew Sutton, & Stephen Stehr.
Clockwise from top left, Rebecca Craft, Travis Ridout, Matthew Sutton, & Stephen Stehr.

Speakers Bureau talks are free public presentations on history, politics, music, philosophy, and everything in between. Humanities Washington’s roster of presenters are professors, artists, activists, historians, performers, journalists, and others—all chosen not only for their expertise, but their ability to inspire discussion with people of all ages and backgrounds. All talks are free and open to the public, and each lasts about an hour.

The four WSU faculty presentations begin with:

  • Higher Power: The History of Evangelicals in American PoliticsTuesday, Feb. 18, at 6:30 p.m.
    Indian Trail Library, Spokane WA

    Matthew Sutton, an Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor of history, traces the history of the religious right in America, from its early roots to its rise to power under Ronald Reagan and into the current era.

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WSU Insider