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Social Sciences

Houses on the Arctic
Winter 2018

Days of future past

Rapid global cooling 13,000 years ago challenged early occupants of Alaska to adapt. People used to hunting mammoths and other megafauna with big stone tools suddenly found their weapons shattering in the cold. Access to the stone they used to make them got buried under snow.

As with any climactic change, the cold resulted in a shift in fauna, requiring new tools. Early Alaskans turned to microblade technology, a technique they’d kept alive for hundreds of years along with their dominant hunting tools. Microblades made efficient use of now-scarce toolstone and met the needs of a changing climate.

“Throughout the Holocene, the importance of microblade … » More …

Bags of donated food
Winter 2018

Hungry

At Rosario’s Place, food on the shelves comes and goes like a tide. When staff at the Women’s Center at Washington State University, which manages Rosario’s, puts out a call for donations, stock rises and then falls again as students take what they need to get by.

Rosario’s Place has a private entrance on the Pullman campus, and that simple fact, says Women’s Center director Amy Sharp, reduces stigma; no one asks who you are or what you are doing. You just come in, take what you need (or leave what you can). In addition to food, Rosario’s also stocks baby and toddler supplies … » More …

Scott Bender
Winter 2018

From the horse’s mouth

When an international archaeology team needed to understand how an ancient civilization cared for its horses, they turned to Scott Bender ’95, a veterinarian with the Navajo Nation in Arizona.

Bender will be the first to admit that his career didn’t turn out like he expected—in fact, unforeseen twists are among his favorite parts. This particular turn got him involved in a research project that has changed our understanding of a pivotal point in human history: the emergence of horse domestication for war and transportation.

It started with a surprise phone call. Archaeologist William Taylor was examining horses exhumed from ancient … » More …

Fall 2013

If You Don’t Snooze, You Lose

About an hour before sunrise on August 27, 2006, Comair Flight 5191 was approaching 120 miles per hour on its takeoff from the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, when co-pilot James Polehinke noticed something strange about the runway.

“That is weird,” he said in a conversation captured by the flight recorder. “No lights.”

“Yeah,” said Capt. Jeffrey Clay.

Sixteen seconds later, their 50-seat commuter jet ran out of runway. Polehinke just managed to get airborne but not enough. The plane hit an earthen berm, clipped a fence and a clump of trees, and went down in a ball of flames.

The pilots had gone … » More …

Caroline Heldman
Fall 2018

Ask Caroline Heldman ’93

 

A leading voice on sexual harassment, Caroline Heldman ’93 has had a busy year. She coauthored the 2018 book Sex and Gender in the 2016 Presidential Election, and the 2017 book Women, Power, and Politics: The Fight for Gender Equality in the United States. And the associate professor of politics—who specializes in the presidency, media, gender, and race at Occidental College in Los Angeles—frequently appears in documentaries and on news programs to speak about the #MeToo movement and harassment—partly because of her own experience.

Heldman, who had been a regular guest of host Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor, alleged in 2017 that … » More …

Fall 2018

Videos and more from Caroline Heldman

Caroline Heldman ’93 appears in several documentaries, writes, and presents on media and gender. She has emerged as a strong voice about the #MeToo movement and harassment, partly because of her own experience. Watch parts of documentaries and learn more about Heldman’s work below. You can also read about her in “Ask Caroline Heldman,” Fall 2018.

 

Miss Representation, a 2011 documentary

 

 

The Mask You Live In, 2015

 

Books

Sex and Gender in the 2016 Presidential Election, 2018

The New Campus Anti-Rape Movement: Internet Activism for Social Justice, 2018, … » More …

Marmes Rockshelter
Fall 2018

The curation crisis

More than 8,500 years ago, a group of people used a rock shelter at the confluence of the Palouse and Snake Rivers as a base camp. When rediscovered in the early 1950s, the shelter amazed scientists, including Washington State University archeologist Richard Daugherty, with its wealth of artifacts—and the age of its human remains. Named after the property owner at the time, the Marmes Rockshelter was soon inundated by waters from the recently closed Lower Monumental Dam on the Snake. Although a levee had been built by the Army Corps of Engineers to keep the shelter dry, the Corps neglected to take into account the … » More …

Sunday breakfast at Rico's Public House with James F. Short on May 6, 2018, one week before he passed. (J. Michael Short)
Fall 2018

James F. Short Jr. 1924-2018

I am privileged to have known Jim Short and to have worked with and learned from him. When we met in 2000, Jim (’51 PhD, University of Chicago) recently had become professor emeritus of sociology at Washington State University and was beginning to “unwind” after an illustrious career spanning half a century. I was a graduate student in my second year of the doctoral program and had just learned that my first mentor would be departing WSU for what were very understandable personal reasons. I am forever indebted to him for walking me three doors down the hall to introduce me to Jim.

» More …

Gay Pride flag in front of Mt. Rainier
Summer 2018

Out West

We make so many assumptions about gender expression and identity, and sexual orientation, that it’s sometimes a shock to realize that ideas about them have changed over time. Take pink and blue.

Pink is for girls, blue is for boys—except when it wasn’t. A Ladies’ Home Journal article from 1918 clearly states that “the generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

A decade later, Time magazine repeated the … » More …

Clock with microbes
Spring 2018

Do microbes dream of circadian sleep?

Anticipation is sweet. In anticipation of the blooming light, plants unfurl their leaves. For many marine creatures, rising to the sea surface as the moon rises is the anticipatory signal that food is available. In our gut, too, microbes anticipate dinnertime because microorganisms have internal clocks that sound the dinner bell.

“And here’s where it gets interesting,” says Hans Van Dongen, a professor of psychology at Washington State University Spokane and internationally known sleep expert.

“The biological clock those organisms have and the brain-based clock that humans have are not necessarily in sync. You notice this when you travel to another time zone. … » More …