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Center for Arts and Humanities celebrates launch, hosts NEH chairman

Washington State University will celebrate the public launch of the Center for Arts and Humanities (CAH) with two workshops and a reception on Oct. 24. Joining the festivities will be Jon Parrish Peede, chairman for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“The center will serve as a ‘front door’ to the arts and humanities at WSU. Our goal is to nurture curiosity and encourage innovation that crosses traditional scholarly boundaries and supports the public good,” said Todd Butler, associate professor of English and CAH director.

The center will award its first two undergraduate scholarships at the reception and celebrate the work of the current cohort of eight CAH Faculty Fellows, who are pursuing projects ranging from an examination of the links between Ralph Waldo Emerson and Frank Lloyd Wright to collaborations with Native American singers to preserve recordings of traditional Nez Perce songs.

Formally approved by the Board of Regents in May 2019, the center is supported by a University-wide consortium that includes the Office of Research, College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School, WSU Libraries, and the Office of the President.

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WSU Insider

Facebook’s Updated Advertising Policy Could Enable Politicians to Spread Misinformation

Facebook’s updated advertising rules could allow politicians to post ads that contain falsehoods without violating any of the company’s terms.

Last week the social networking site altered and thinned out its rules on misinformation so that politicians and political parties are exempt from fact-checking requirements.

This change comes at the same time that President Donald Trump dramatically increased his spending on Facebook ads. Between September 25 and October 1 Trump spent $1,664,958 on political ads—far outspending any of his competitors, according to Facebook’s Ad Library.

Travis Ridout.

Travis Ridout, professor of government and public policy at Washington State University, said that Facebook’s decision to limit the restrictions on political advertising is a way of staying out of the political cross hairs. “As soon as they start becoming the arbiters of what is true and what is not true,” he told Newsweek, “first of all they create a huge job for themselves, second of all they get attacked from politicians from both sides.”

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The Mercury News
Daily Democrat

WSU takes the LEAD in fostering student democratic engagement

In recognition of WSU’s high level of student engagement across the system, the university has been selected as a NASPA LEAD Initiative Institution for this academic year. NASPA, a national organization for student affairs professionals, recognizes colleges and universities that are committed to making civic learning and democratic engagement a part of every student’s college education. WSU is among 47 colleges and universities selected nationally and is the only Pac-12 school to be included.

Katherine Banks.

Katie Banks, an instructor in the Department of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, said student interest in civic and democratic engagement is growing on the WSU Tri-Cities campus. Much of the culture around engagement there emanates from several key courses that integrate community engagement into the curriculum. In her political science 101 course, Banks asks students to apply core course concepts outside the classroom by attending relevant campus and community events. She also asks students to research a topic important to them and write a letter to a politician explaining why it deserves their attention.

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WSU Insider

Still down the rabbit hole for ‘The Matrix’ 20 years later

In the time since its home release, and with the proliferation of YouTube and video essays, the film The Matrix has only risen in popularity among movie buffs. Along with 2010’s Inception, it’s one of the only mainstream movies to push certain types of philosophical themes so successfully on the masses.

Michael Goldsby.

And if you’re Michael Goldsby, who’s earned his doctoral degree in philosophy and teaches the subject at Washington State University, it’s a movie that best showcases those ideas.

Chief among them are thought experiments posed by 17th century French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes. His idea: What if sensory experiences don’t match reality. He considered cases where our senses typically deceive us, such as mirages or when we are dreaming.

He even considers the possibility that we are being systematically deceived by an all-powerful demon. How could one prove that we’re not? If we can’t prove that we’re not, then how could we trust our senses? What would it be like when we discover the truth? Similar to when Neo awakes in the vat of pink goo.

And not unlike Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, wherein a group of prisoners are chained to the wall of a cave. Their whole life is shadows on the wall from objects passing in front of a flame behind them. They’re content, don’t want to escape, until they do, which is when they discover life isn’t what they thought.

“The whole point of the project was to see what one can actually determine,” said Goldsby. “What one could say that they know. Even in the face of that sort of radical, global doubt.”

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Spokesman Review

Foley Institute series returns for fall semester with discussion about Turkey

The Foley Institute’s Pizza and Politics series will return to Washington State University for the fall semester. Chris Kilfor will discuss “Turkey Today: Conflict and Crisis” at noon Thursday in the Foley Speaker’s Room, Room 308, in Bryan Hall on campus in Pullman.

The discussion will focus on the country of Turkey, which has been experiencing an influx of Syrian refugees, a war of words with the European Union, the rise of an Islamist party and an attempted military coup in 2016.

The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service administered through the College of Arts and Sciences organizes public lectures, symposia, and conferences on the WSU campus and other locations around the state to educate students and the public about government, politics, and public affairs.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News