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College of Arts and Sciences Archives

NEH essay sheds light on 1921 Tulsa Massacre

The heart of the prosperous African-American district of Greenwood after the massacre. National Archives.Shock, horror, shame, disgust, sadness, inspiration, appreciation…

Thabiti Lewis’ essay on the 1921 Tulsa Massacre elicits a gamut of emotions throughout its 3,500 gripping words. The WSU Vancouver professor of English and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs co-authored the piece on an overlooked series of historic tragedies that he hopes can help spur change 100 years later. » More …

Rapid evolution may help adaptation to climate change, competition

Fruit flies on a leaf.Loss of biodiversity is a growing worldwide concern. A new study shows that species can adapt rapidly to an invader and that this evolutionary change can affect how they deal with a stressful climate.

“Our results demonstrate that interactions with competitors, including invasive species, can shape a species’ evolution in response to climatic change,” said co-author Seth Rudman, a WSU Vancouver » More …

New research in these interesting times

In March 2020, when the University moved to distance learning to comply with stay-at-home orders, some WSU Vancouver researchers who were unable to pursue their existing projects turned instead to look at how COVID-19 was affecting various communities.

The new projects are “a lot broader than what people might expect. We are not looking for better testing or a vaccine or methods of contact tracing, but rather the impacts of the pandemic on various communities,” said Christine Portfors,  vice chancellor for research and » More …

Radio Re-Imagined: storytelling with sound

On air. “A Radio Christmas Carol,” a WSU Vancouver community holiday tradition, returns this Christmas Eve via radio rather than an in-person public performance.

“We want to spark listeners’ imaginations with this sound-based performance, not to mention bring a program of joy and hope,” said John Barber, faculty member in the Creative Media and Digital Culture program and creator of Radio Re-Imagined. This marks the eighth year » More …

Beavers may help amphibians threatened by climate change

The recovery of beavers may have beneficial consequences for amphibians because beaver dams can create the unique habitats that amphibians need.

“Beaver-dammed wetlands support more of the amphibian species that need a long time to develop in water as larvae before they are able to live on land as adults,” said Jonah Piovia-Scott, assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences and one of » More …

The power of symbiosis

Stephanie Porter.“Understanding the complex and often positive role the microbiome plays in the health of plants and animals has precipitated a real renaissance in biology,” says microbiologist Stephanie Porter, who studies the evolution of cooperation and plant–microbe symbiosis. “There’s been a blossoming of ideas due to new genomic tools for understanding this microbiome—the set of all microbes that live in and on plants and animals.”

“But there’s also been a shift in our thinking about microbes. We’ve moved from microbes being viewed strictly as the cause of diseases or that they are at best harmless, to thinking they have » More …

More economic worries mean less caution about COVID‑19

Hands and hand sanitizer.Workers experiencing job and financial insecurity are less likely to follow the CDC’s guidelines for COVID-19, such as physical distancing, limiting trips from home and washing hands, according to a study led by WSU Vancouver psychology professor Tahira Probst.

“We all have a finite set of resources at our disposal, whether it’s money, time or social support, and individuals who have fewer of those resources appear » More …

War songs and lullabies behind origins of music

Horns in a marching band.Love is not the reason why we sing and create symphonies—at least not the primary reason, according to a new evolutionary theory of the origins of music.

“Sex and mating are a part of the story, but music seems to expand far beyond that particular domain,” said Ed Hagen, WSU evolutionary anthropologist and a co-author of a study recently published in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

“The sexual selection hypothesis doesn’t really explain » More …