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Faculty Publications

Dr. Puck Brecher
Honored Guests: Westerners in Wartime Japan

The brutality and racial hatred exhibited by Japan’s military during the Pacific War piqued outrage in the West and fanned resentments throughout Asia. Public understanding of Japan’s wartime atrocities, however, often fails to differentiate the racial agendas of its military and government elites from the racial values held by the Japanese people. While not denying brutalities committed by the Japanese military, Honored and Dishonored Guests overturns these standard narratives and demonstrates rather that Japan’s racial attitudes during wartime are more accurately discerned in the treatment of Western civilians living in Japan than the experiences of enemy POWs.

The book chronicles Western communities in wartime Japan, using this body of experiences to reconsider allegations of Japanese racism and racial hatred. Its bold thesis is borne out by a broad mosaic of stories from dozens of foreign families and individuals who variously endured police harassment, suspicion, relocation, starvation, denaturalization, internment, and torture, as well as extraordinary acts of charity. The book’s account of stranded Westerners―from Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kobe to the mountain resorts of Karuizawa and Hakone―yields a unique interpretation of race relations and wartime life in Japan.

Dr. Lawrence Hatter
Citizens of Convenience: The Imperial Origins of American Nationhood on the U.S.–Canadian Border

Like merchant ships flying flags of convenience to navigate foreign waters, traders in the northern borderlands of the early American republic exploited loopholes in the Jay Treaty that allowed them to avoid border regulations by constantly shifting between British and American nationality. In Citizens of Convenience, Lawrence Hatter shows how this practice undermined the United States’ claim to nationhood and threatened the transcontinental imperial aspirations of U.S. policymakers.

The U.S.-Canadian border was a critical site of United States nation- and empire-building during the first 40 years of the republic. Hatter explains how the difficulty of distinguishing U.S. citizens from British subjects on the border posed a significant challenge to the United States’ founding claim that it formed a separate and unique nation. To establish authority over both its own nationals and an array of non-nationals within its borders, U.S. customs and territorial officials had to tailor policies to local needs while delineating and validating membership in the national community. This type of diplomacy—balancing the local with the transnational—helped to define the American people as a distinct nation within the Revolutionary Atlantic world and stake out the United States’ imperial domain in North America.

Dr. Charles Weller (Editor)
Garifolla Yesim (Author), The Agony of Socialism: Kazakh Memoirs of the Soviet Past

Amid continuing debate in the early 21st century, in the former Soviet states, the West, China, and elsewhere, over the alleged merits and demerits of socialism as a political system, this work aims to expose its dark sides as experienced by the Kazakh (and other former Soviet) peoples during the Soviet era. The author, Garifolla Yesim, was born (1947) and raised in Soviet socialist Kazakhstan, emerging thereafter as a top national academic and Kazakhstani senate deputy in the post-Soviet period. Drawing on his many long years of personal life and political experience as well as academic training, he weaves together a compelling narrative interspersed with his own insightful commentary and the real-life stories of those who endured the tragedies he has preserved through oral transmission and now bequeaths as a memoir for this and all future generations to carefully ponder.

In Paperback

Dr. Matthew Sutton
American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism

The first comprehensive history of modern American evangelicalism to appear in a generation, American Apocalypse shows how a group of radical Protestants, anticipating the end of the world, paradoxically transformed it.

Matthew Avery Sutton draws on extensive archival research to document the ways an initially obscure network of charismatic preachers and their followers reshaped American religion, at home and abroad, for over a century. Perceiving the United States as besieged by Satanic forces—communism and secularism, family breakdown and government encroachment—Billy Sunday, Charles Fuller, Billy Graham, and others took to the pulpit and airwaves to explain how Biblical end-times prophecy made sense of a world ravaged by global wars, genocide, and the threat of nuclear extinction. Believing Armageddon was nigh, these preachers used what little time was left to warn of the coming Antichrist, save souls, and prepare the nation for God’s final judgment.

By the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan and conservative Republicans appropriated evangelical ideas to create a morally infused political agenda that challenged the pragmatic tradition of governance through compromise and consensus. Following 9/11, the politics of apocalypse continued to resonate with an anxious populace seeking a roadmap through a world spinning out of control. Premillennialist evangelicals have erected mega-churches, shaped the culture wars, made and destroyed presidential hopefuls, and brought meaning to millions of believers. Narrating the story of modern evangelicalism from the perspective of the faithful, Sutton demonstrates how apocalyptic thinking continues to exert enormous influence over the American mainstream today.

Drs. Rob McCoy (Pullman) and Steve Fountain (Vancouver)
History of American Indians – Exploring Diverse Roots

April 2017 saw publication of a book by Rob McCoy and Steve Fountain which takes a comprehensive look at the entirety of Native American history, focusing particularly on native peoples within the geographic boundaries of the United States.

Yellow Wolf, a Nez Perce warrior and cousin of Chief Joseph, asserted in his collaboration with L. V. McWhorter: “This is all for me to tell of the war, and of our after hardships. The story will be for people who come after us.  For them to see, to know what was done here. Reasons for the war, never told before. Nobody to help us tell our side—whites told only one side. Told it to please themselves. Told much that is not true. Only his own best deeds, only the worse deeds of the Indians, has the white man told.”  (McWhorter, 291).

An excerpt from the Acknowledgments reads: “We have both been fortunate to live and teach in places where indigenous people continue to live, work, and go to school. The main campus of Washington State University sits on the homeland of the Palouse and Nez Perce people, and WSU Vancouver is located at the overlapping conjunction of Chinookan, Taidnapam, and Cowlitz homelands. In addition, the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area is home to one of the largest urban populations of Native Americans in the United States. We have both learned a great deal from the native people and communities who make their homes in the Pacific Northwest.”

Find out more about this book.

Forthcoming Publications

Dr. Jesse Spohnholz, The Convent of Wesel: The Event That Never Was and the Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Dr. Susan Peabody, Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).