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Roots of Contemporary Issues RCI

The Roots of Contemporary Issues Event Series

Confronting today’s most pressing issues with clarity and purpose requires historical understanding. We invite students, faculty and staff across our campuses—as well as our communities—to engage in thoughtful conversation about how the past informs our present as local, national, and global citizens.


In 2023-2024 the event series will address questions about selective history and its impacts: What is remembered and how? What do we lose in the silencing and erasing of key historical evidence and understanding?


This talk will examine the creation of a “dividing line” in early Seattle, between north and south, white and non-white. It will look at the efforts of local authorities to contain Seattle’s multiracial population, shaping a geography of inequality that persists into the present.




Opening at the Tribeca film festival in 2023, Richland explores the environmental and human cost of the eastern Washington company town’s involvement with the Manhattan Project at Hanford during World War II. Filmmaker Irene Lusztig is intrigued by Richland’s present and past as “a community staking its identity and future on its nuclear origin story” and the “habits of thought that normalize the extraordinary violence of the past.” Read more about the film and watch a trailer here.

Film viewing, followed by discussion with the filmmaker, begins at 4:30 pm on February 8 in the CUB Auditorium. Free and open to the public.




Map courtesy of Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (WSU)











Livestream for “History in the Future”















Schedule of Events