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Common Reading Program Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

WSU Common Reading presents Roger Whitson lecture Sept. 18 on “the future has always been female”

Pullman, Wash. — The Washington State University Common Reading Program hosts “The Future has Always Been Female: Mary Shelley, Ada Lovelace, and the Origins of Science Fiction and Computing,” a lecture by Roger Whitson on Sept. 18 at 4:30 p.m. in CUE 203. The lecture is free and open to the public.

This year’s common reading book, Ready Player One, is set in a virtual world full of 80s references, geek culture, and science fiction metaphors.  Whitson, assistant professor of English, will discuss the origins of science fiction and computing that began in the nineteenth century.

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“Not All Video Games and the Brat Pack: AIDS Stigma from the 1980s to the Digital Age”

By Matt Jeffries (Director, Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center).  While Cline portrays a rosy image of the 1980s, for many communities, the 1980s were rife with strife. In this engaging lecture, the presenter discusses the 1980s and how the LGBT community handled the HIV/AIDS crisis. Additionally, he addresses how stigmas around HIV/AIDS prevail through present day, including in digital spaces. Verification of attendance will be provided.

WSU hosts Oscar and Emmy winning Pakistani activist and filmmaker to speak Nov. 15


Washington State University welcomes Oscar-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy For a public address Tues., Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. in Beasley Coliseum. This event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the WSU Student Entertainment Board in collaboration with the Common Reading Program and the Global Campus.

Through her Pakistani production house SOC Films, American-educated Obaid-Chinoy makes films that bring key social issues to light. Her two Academy Award winning films, Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015), focus on gender violence in Pakistan. 

Her work has also been recognized with six Emmy Awards, including an international Emmy Award for her 2009 film Pakistan’s Taliban Generation.


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War and terrorism in historical and political contexts topic of Nov. 7 Common Reading lecture

The Common Reading Program hosts a presentation by Clif Stratton titled “Parsing Violence: War and terrorism in historical and contemporary political discourse” on Mon., Nov. 7 at 4:30 p.m. in Todd 216. The public is welcome at this free event.

Stratton will explore the ways in which Western media and officials in government and academics discuss war and terror in cultural terms, and the historical decisions and political agendas that continue to produce political terror. The dichotomy often presented to us, Stratton said, assumes that war and terror are mutually exclusive, and that war is, if not desirable, at least justified, while terrorism is never justified. He will discuss how the historical relationship between war and terror complicates the black and white notions of legitimate versus illegitimate forms of violence.
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Volunteering in the Peace Corps topic of Nov. 1 Common Reading Lecture

The Common Reading Program hosts speaker Kyla Allen-Grant on her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer on Tues. Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. in Todd 130.  The public is welcome at this free event.

Allen-Grant, a WSU alumna and WSU’s Peace Corp representative, will speak on her personal experiences in the Peace Corps.  Through her volunteering experience in Togo, a country in West Africa, she has gained first-hand experience of the challenges girls face and the importance of educational access.  She will go into the specifics of her work in Togo.  In addition to talking about her projects in Togo, Allen-Grant will also share avenues for exploring Peace Corps service.

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Women’s engineering participation in other countries topic of Common Reading lecture Oct. 11

The Washington State University Common Reading Program hosts “Women’s Engineering Participation in Diverse Cultural Contexts,” a lecture by Julie Kmec and Nehal Abu-Lail on Tues. Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in CUE 203.  The presentation is free and open to the public.

Kmec, professor of sociology, and Abu-Lail, associate professor of chemical engineering and bioengineering, will present preliminary research on a collaborative project that seeks to identify the factors that shape women’s relatively high levels of engineering participation in some predominantly Muslim countries. 

The presenters were recently named as principal investigator and co-principal investigator, respectively, on a two-year, $589,200 grant funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to investigate the subject.

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“The Downward Spiral of Addiction and the Journey Out” hosted by the WSU Common Reading Program April 18

Pullman, Wash. The Washington State University Common Reading Program hosts Noel Vest to discuss “The Downward Spiral of Addiction and the Journey Out: Prison, Academia, and Recovery” at 5 p.m. in CUE 203.  This lecture is free and open to the public.

An experimental psychology Ph.D. student and WSU Tri-Cities alumnus, Vest will detail his life experiences and the perspective they lend to this year’s conversation surrounding the year’s Common Reading book, “Just Mercy.” » More …

Acclaimed social-justice activist, “Just Mercy” author Bryan Stevenson delivers WSU Common Reading Invited Lecture Dec. 1

PULLMAN, Wash. — Executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” Bryan Stevenson will deliver the ninth annual Common Reading Invited Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, at Beasley Coliseum on the Washington State University campus. The public is welcome at the free address, which will be followed by a book signing. » More …

Schools, Youth, and the Criminal (In)Justice System

Pullman, Wash.- The Washington State University Common Reading Program hosts a lecture by John Lupinacci at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 17 in Todd 116.  The event is free and open to the public.

The session will accompany this overview of youth in prisons by posing questions for audience participants to discuss.  Often such presentations can leave us feeling powerless; however, this session will culminate by providing audience participants with opportunities to connect with regional and national efforts to reform and/or abolish the systemic incarceration of youth through the school-to-prison pipeline. » More …

Issues of Food Waste Topic of April 14 WSU Common Reading Presentation by Local Restaurateur, Educator Jim Harbour

PULLMAN, Wash.—What happens to that meat gristle and vegetable clump left on your plate at the neighborhood eatery last evening? “Issues of Food Waste” will be addressed by Southfork Public House and Porch Light Pizza entrepreneur Jim Harbour at the final Common Reading Tuesdays lecture April 14 at Washington State University. » More …