On a Saturday afternoon last March, Matt Carroll got a curious Facebook message from the stepdaughter of his best friend, Tom Durnell. There had been a landslide near Tom’s home. His wife, Debbie, was at work. They couldn’t get in touch with Tom.
“At first it didn’t sound that ominous,” says Carroll, a professor in Washington State University’s School of the Environment, “like maybe the cell tower went out or something.”
Still, Carroll raised his wife from an afternoon nap and told her something was going on at Tom and Debbie’s.
As we started assembling this issue, we sought to provide a sweeping view of campus and its environs from architecture to the archives. And then, as it usually happens, a few themes surfaced: anniversaries, hearts and health, and, well, garbage. We discovered subtle ties between the stories, ties that may not be so obvious to the reader, but as we have written, edited, and designed this issue, have lingered in our minds.
First, along with campus maps and Cougar cards, Washington State’s freshmen this month are sharing a book, Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash—a selection from the now eight-year-old and widely successful … » More …
When you fill out a career pushing the limits of knowledge, rising to “pioneer in your field” status, things are bound to get pretty technical.
Gene Rosa, environmental sociologist, lived that reality, penning papers with terms like “biosociology,” “post-normal risk,” and acronym-rich analytical tools like STIRPAT. In spite of the technical thickets of his work, say friends and colleagues, Rosa kept his eye on the increasingly threatened natural environment and the people in it.
“Gene was not just interested in the environment for its own sake, but rather he had a deep desire to see a better world, one with greater quality of life and … » More …
“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 …
In 2012 the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, in conjunction with the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, began a new public symposia series that focuses on the ethical and public policy ramifications of new scientific innovations and knowledge. Each semester the symposia, which are open to the public, bring together WSU faculty with other internationally prominent scholars. The first in the series, “Ethics and Global Climate Change,” was held in April 2012, and brought to WSU’s campus Andrew Light, director of the Center for Global Ethics at George Mason University and a fellow at the Center for American … » More …
In the middle of the last century, a Tennessee preacher-turned-sociologist, Tolbert H. Kennedy, found a relatively untapped pool of doctoral students among the nation’s black college graduates. Between 1944 and 1965, when Washington State University barely had a few dozen black students, he and fellow ex-preacher Wallis Beasley helped produce more black doctors of sociology than all but two schools, the University of Chicago and Ohio State.
Among them was a young man who went from the hardscrabble coal country of western Pennsylvania to graduate first in his class at Wilberforce, the oldest black college in the country, and get a master’s degree at Bowling … » More …
David Simon, creator of gritty urban HBO drama The Wire, received the William Julius Wilson Award for the Advancement of Social Justice in September 2011. The award is named after eminent Harvard sociologist and Washington State University alumnus William Julius Wilson ’66 PhD.
When accepting the award at WSU, Simon spoke about building a just and equitable society, and the difficulties in achieving that goal.
It’s not exactly a typical day in class, even an upper-level sociology class geared towards the grittiest of urban realities.
The room is filled with the sound of gunfire. A projection screen shows a quartet of inner-city drug thieves pinned down behind a parked car. Each reloads his and her weapon. Their leader, the scarred and unflappable Omar Little, gives them a look and says, “Y’all ready? Let’s bang out.”
The four stand up, fire back in unison, and execute a retreat, with one killed by friendly fire.
Professor Gregory Hooks stops the tape. The room goes quiet.
Truth, writes Timothy McGettigan, is a challenging subject.
It’s hard to get at, consuming the bulk of scientific endeavor for starters. It’s also hard to nail down, with paradigm shifts both altering our sense of reality while rattling our faith that something like the truth can be attained.
McGettigan, a professor of sociology at Colorado State University-Pueblo, makes an enjoyable and wideranging case for forging ahead. Drawing on … » More …