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History | History Events

Assn of Washington Historians to meet in Richland April 22

On Saturday, April 22, the Association of Washington Historians (AWH) is holding their annual meeting at Columbia Basin College in Richland, Washington. Dr. Clif Stratton of the WSU’s Department of History  and Assistant Director of the RCI Program, has been asked to deliver the keynote address, entitled “From Stories to Skills: Teaching History in the Age of Automation and Austerity.”  The lecture will address how college historians can better equip their students for a wider variety of information-centered professions by offering sustained and intentional emphasis on building skills through the practice of historical inquiry and research.  It will take as its example and centerpiece the Roots of Contemporary Issues Program, now in its fifth year at Washington State University.

Those attending from Pullman are:  Steven Kale (Department Chair), Jesse Spohnholz (former AWH keynote speaker and Director of the RCI Program at WSU), Sean A. Wempe (RCI faculty member and this year’s AWH president), Theresa Jordan (Clinical Associate Professor), Ken Faunce (Clinical Assistant Professor in the RCI Program), and David Bolingbroke (a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of History).


Hanford History Lecture Series Mar. 27 at Tri-Cities Campus

“Evolution from Weapons Production to Environmental Cleanup, Current Challenges, and Successes Realized to Date” is the subject the Department of Energy’s Director of Public Affairs, Carrie Meyer, will speak about at 3:00 p.m. March 27 at the Tri-Cities Campus.  Dr. Meyer is a WSU Alumna, with 23 years’ experience in communications, marketing, information management and public affairs in government, engineering, and nuclear power industries.

See the full article with more information here. 


“Ambitions and Intellect: Pioneering Women at Washington State University

Lipi Turner-RahmanA new exhibit in WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC), “Ambitions and Intellect: Pioneering Women at WSU,” explores the stories of early women contributors at the fledgling college. It is part of this year’s events around Women’s History Month and the Common Reading book “I Am Malala.” An opening reception is planned from 3-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, in the MASC lobby. Please join us.

Before 1900, women were denied entrance to many Eastern colleges, which were strictly for men only. But in the western states, where there were fewer people, many colleges were coeducational, including Washington Agricultural College and School of Science. The small land-grant college in farm country did something the larger Eastern universities would not do: give women the chance to use their intellect and demonstrate the benefits of higher education for all.

 The exhibit also highlights women’s determination to get an education and how they made their mark in society afterward.

“Countless contributions and achievements of women are absent from our historical memory,” said Lipi Turner-Rahman, exhibit curator and WSU Libraries’ Kimble database coordinator. “The 1862 Morrill Act helped remove educational barriers for women in Washington State at a time when most women were not encouraged to go to college.”

For more information about the exhibit, contact Turner-Rahman at

March 15-18 “Legacies of the Manhattan Project Conference” Coming Soon

The Legacies of the Manhattan Project: Reflections on 75 years of a Nuclear World Conference will be held in Richland, Washington from March 15-18.

The conference will focus on the history of the Hanford nuclear production facilities and the site’s impact on the Tri Cities area.  We expect papers on such topics as: the environmental legacies of nuclear materials production; the politics of science, national security, and the state; atomic diplomacy and the Cold War, among others.  See the website for registration, as well as the schedule.

Jillian Gardner-Andrews (, the Project Coordinator, provided an update on the event:

“We are getting closer and closer to the start of the Legacies of the Manhattan Project Conference, and we hope that all of you are as excited as we are. I wanted to take a moment to let all of you know about different events that we have recently added to the conference program.

“The first event is a historic walk on Richland’s Urban Greenbelt Trail (UGT), a 3.2 mile stroll through the city’s center.  Along the way, we’ll stop and look at photos of what the city looked like before the Manhattan Project as well as during its government-owned days. This tour is graciously being led by Richland Parks and Recreation Commission volunteer Nancy Doran. The tour is free and open to the public, will begin at 3:00 on Wednesday March 15th in the lobby of the Richland Red Lion Hotel, and is approximately two hours long. The forecast for Wednesday afternoon is 65 degrees and partly cloudy which will be a nice change from the winter we had. If you are interested in participating in this historic walk before the kick off of our Legacies Conference, please contact me via email or at (509) 372-7447.

“The second event is a tour of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) facilities in North Richland. LIGO is a large-scale physics experiment and observatory to detect cosmic gravitational waves and to develop gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool. Two large observatories were built in the United States with the aim of detecting gravitational waves by laser interferometry. The LIGO search conducted from September, 2015 to January, 2016 resulted in the first observation of gravitational waves. This tour which will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday March 16 is being sponsored by the Columbia Chapter of the Health Physics Society. Cost for this tour is $7 (cash or check only). If you are interested in attending this tour please RSVP to Brett Rosenberg at by close of business on Tuesday, March 14. The LIGO observatory has a limit to the number of people they can host so registration will fill up quickly. Tour attendees will need to leave the Richland Red Lion between 5:15-5:30 on Thursday as it is a bit of a drive out to the LIGO Hanford Observatory. Please let Brett know if you are able to shuttle other conference participants or if you are in need of a ride out to the observatory. The link below provides navigational tips for getting to the LIGO facilities.

“Please let me know if you have any questions about either of these events or the conference itself. Also, feel free to share this information with other individuals who may be interested.”


Dr. Noriko Kawamura to give talk on her 2000 book in Chicago, Mar 7

“Turbulence in the Pacific: Japanese-U.S. Relations during World War I,” is Noriko Kawamura’s book that was published in 2000.  She will give a talk on March 7, 2017 at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Chicago, IL. Colonel Jennifer N. Pritzker and the United States World War One Centennial Commission sponsor the event, and Chicago Public Television will broadcast it later. It will become available through via streaming video and as an audio podcast through iTunes and Stitcher. See the announcement below.


Whitman College Professor Emeritus, Patrick Henry, to give talk Feb. 21

Dr. Henry will present a talk on February 21 at 4:30 p.m. in the Honors Hall Lounge on the WSU Pullman Campus.  The talk is entitled: “Jewish Resistance Against the Nazis.”

Professor Henry, an expert on issues of rescue and Jewish resistance in the Holocaust, is a College of Arts and Sciences External Mentor to Associate Professor Raymond Sun in the Department of History.  He is assisting Professor Sun in developing a research project centered on a female, Jewish rescuer in the Netherlands.

Dr. Henry is the author and editor of the following: “We Know Only Men: The Rescue of Jews in France During the Holocaust” and “Jewish Resistance Against the Nazis.”     See more here.

Roots of Contemporary Issues Free Lecture Feb 7, 7 pm, CUB 220

“Coke Isn’t Dope! The Ecological Limits of Coca-Cola Capitalism” is the subject Dr. Bart Elmore of The Ohio State University will speak on at this lecture sponsored by the George and Bernadine Converse Historical Endowment.  The Coca-Cola Company sells billions of servings daily in over 190 countries worldwide.  The flyer can be seen here.

Additional sponsors for this lecture are the Roots of Contemporary Issues Program, Department of History; the WSU College of Arts and Sciences, and the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service.


Dr. Noriko Kawamura at the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ)

Noriko KawamuraDr. Kawamura, of the Department of History, WSU, will give an invited talk at the last session of the DIJ History and Humanities Study Group in 2016: Thursday, December 8 in Tokyo, Japan.

Emperor Hirohito from the Pacific War to the Cold War.

Emperor Showa, better known in the English-speaking world as Emperor Hirohito, has been one of the most controversial figures in the history of the Pacific War. He was both sovereign of the state and commander in chief of the Japanese imperial forces; but above all, he was the manifestation of divinity and a symbol of the national and cultural identity of Japan. Yet under the Allied occupation the emperor was spared from the Tokyo war crimes trial and continued to reign in postwar Japan until his death in 1989 as “the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people” under the new democratic constitution written by the U.S. occupiers.

This talk will examine the extraordinary transformation of Emperor Hirohito from a divine monarch during the Pacific War to a humanized symbolic monarch supposedly with no political power during the occupation years (1945-1952). The talk will focus on the paradoxical role Emperor Hirohito played at home and abroad as tension between the United States and the Soviet Union escalated into the Cold War in East Asia.

Kawamura suggests that underneath the stereotypical portrayal of Emperor Hirohito as a passive but shrewd survivor/collaborator of the U.S. occupiers, he acted as a major player in U.S.-Japanese diplomatic negotiations behind closed doors and participated in the shaping of Japan’s domestic and national security policies. The talk will explore possible reasons behind the emperor’s actions.

Washington State University