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Civility and Democracy in America
Spring 2014

Civility and Democracy in America: A Reasonable Understanding

Civility-and-Democracy-in-America-A-Reasonable-Understanding-Paperback-P9780874223125

Cornell W. Clayton and Richard Elgar
WSU Press, 2012

This collection of essays from WSU professors and other scholars takes a hard look at the historical and contemporary state of civility in the country, probing the complexities and the causes of the current “crisis.”

The articles cover not just history, but religion, architecture, ethics, philosophy, and media studies, as the writers discuss the context of incivility and heated rhetoric surrounding major issues of social movements, civil rights, immigration, and other matters long affecting American democracy.

The collection of essays emerged from a 2011 conference on civility … » More …

Dan and Val Ogden
Summer 2013

Dan ’44 and Val ’46 Ogden—Staying activist in older age

Last fall in Vancouver, with the voter registration deadline looming, Dan Ogden ’44 wasn’t about to be held up by Parkinson’s disease or two artificial hips.

He pushed his walker around his new apartment complex and through a recently completed cul-de-sac to make sure his neighbors could take part in the November general election. At his side was Val Ogden ’46, his partner in Democratic Party politics and wife of 66 years. She was spry enough to negotiate steps and stairways to ring doorbells beyond her husband’s reach.

The Ogdens are in their seventh decade of political and social activism—with roots going back to their … » More …

Summer 2013

Waiting for the Rain

In the impenetrable Dogon highlands of Mali, the storm of war is coming.

An excerpt from We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali

Washington State University English Professor Peter Chilson happened to be in Mali in March 2012 when a military coup ended the country’s two decades as a model democracy. Within days, the Malian army in the troublesome northern part of the country collapsed. As a result, Tuareg and Islamist fighters claimed 60 percent of the country, creating a safe haven for al Qaeda and other Islamist forces and threatening West African stability and European security.

» More …

Gun show
Summer 2013

Gun Show Nation—a conversation with Joan Burbick

While researching her book Gun Show Nation, WSU English Professor Joan Burbick joined the National Rifle Association, visited gun shows around the country, and steeped herself in the history of American gun culture. Looking beyond the romance of the West, of Buffalo Bill and the magazine American Rifleman, she found issues of race, gender relations, moral crusades, and political and financial concerns.

As someone who writes nonfiction exploring the character and culture of America, Burbick has studied rodeo queens, examined Henry David Thoreau’s efforts to integrate natural history with human history, and looked into the American national culture of the 1900s. Now a professor emeritus, … » More …

Illustration by David Wheeler
Spring 2013

Believe it or not

When a public policy issue, say climate change or health care reform, becomes politicized, people with strong partisan leanings sometimes have a hard time dealing with facts.

Douglas Blanks Hindman, an associate professor in the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, researches this effect, which he labels the “belief gap” between knowable and testable claims and partisan perception of those claims.

Communication researchers have long had a theory about a knowledge gap, which says the mass media does not distribute information about science and public affairs equally, and over time the difference between what highly educated and less educated people actually … » More …

No Room of Her Own
Winter 2012

No Room of Her Own: Women’s Stories of Homelessness, Life, Death, and Resistance

No Room of Her Own

Desiree Hellegers

Palgrave Macmillan

2011

“As a form of social punishment, homelessness is far sterner in many respects than sentences handed out in court for most criminal offenses,” writes Desiree Hellegers, an associate professor of English and founding co-director of the Center for Social and Environmental Justice at WSU Vancouver, in her introduction. In presenting the individual stories of 15 women in Seattle collected over two decades, Hellegers offers a view … » More …

Summer 2012

A Brush with Snorkel Bob

There is the world of science, of measured and verified observations, of slow-moving knowledge.

And there’s a world of advocacy, of convictions, values, passion, and a desire for fast-moving change.

Only a few slides into his PowerPoint on the West Hawaii aquarium fishery, WSU marine biologist Brian Tissot notes how the two views serve to complicate the conflicts around the aquarium trade.

Science, he says, looks at the interest-based aspects of … » More …

Dan Newhouse with dogs
Summer 2012

Dan Newhouse ’77—Farm to director’s office

In 2009, Dan Newhouse ’77 was walking through the wings of the state House of Representatives when the governor’s chief of staff approached him with a surprising offer.

Newhouse was a four-term Republican representative from Sunnyside and floor leader for his caucus, so he didn’t expect to be asked to be director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture by a Democratic governor. “At the time, everyone knew there was a vacancy, but being from a different political party I didn’t think I would be considered for that position,” he says.

Soon after, Newhouse visited with Gov. Chris Gregoire about agriculture once. Then he … » More …