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WSU Common Reading Archives: 2013-14

Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz


The Author

Kathryn Schulz is a journalist whose freelance writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Nation, Foreign Policy, and The Boston Globe, among other publications. She also wrote “The Wrong Stuff,” a blog on Slate (magazine), and contributes to the Freakonomics blog at The New York Times.

Schulz began her career in journalism writing for the now-defunct Feed Magazine, one of the earliest online magazines. From 2001 to 2006, she was the editor of the online environmental magazine Grist. Before that, she was a reporter and editor for The Santiago Times, of Santiago, Chile, where she covered environmental, labor, and human rights issues. She was a 2004 recipient of the Pew Fellowship in International Journalism (now the International Reporting Project), and has reported from throughout Central and South America, Japan and the Middle East. Schulz is a graduate of Brown University. Schulz was born and raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and currently resides in New York state.

Reviewing her book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, Dwight Garner wrote “Ms. Schulz’s book is a funny and philosophical meditation on why error is mostly a humane, courageous and extremely desirable human trait. She flies high in the intellectual skies, leaving beautiful sunlit contrails.” Daniel Gilbert described her as “a warm, witty and welcome presence who confides in her readers rather than lecturing them. It doesn’t hurt that she combines lucid prose with perfect comic timing….”

The Book

“Both wise and clever, full of fun and surprise about a topic so central to our lives that we almost never even think about it.”
—Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

In the tradition of The Wisdom of Crowds and Predictably Irrational comes Being Wrong, an illuminating exploration of what it means to be in error, and why homo sapiens tend to tacitly assume (or loudly insist) that they are right about most everything. Kathryn Schulz, editor of Grist magazine, argues that error is the fundamental human condition and should be celebrated as such. Guiding the reader through the history and psychology of error, from Socrates to Alan Greenspan, Being Wrong will change the way you perceive screw-ups, both of the mammoth and daily variety, forever.

Calendar for 2013-14 Being Wrong-related events

Fall 2013 Events

August 2013
Monday, August 12, 1:00-2:30 p.m., CUB Junior Ballroom

Week of Welcome discussion led by Common Reading Program Co-Director Susan Poch.

Whether or not you have yet picked up this year’s Common Reading book, Kathryn Schulz’s Being Wrong, this event is an opportunity to meet WSU faculty and staff for a lively discussion of some of the questions the book raises. This event will use clips from Schulz’s TED talks to spark small group discussions about topics for which we all bring ample experience and stories to share.

All month, and through February, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC), Terrell Library just off the atrium

“Outrageous Hypotheses: Selections from the MASC.” MASC is open Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Verification of attendance/visit will be available at the front desk.)

Before it gets it right, science often gets it wrong. Inspired by the WSU Common Reading program’s “Being Wrong” by Kathryn Schulz,Outrageous Hypotheses looks at human knowledge gone awry. From 500-year-old maps showing the Earth at the center of the solar system up through J. Harlan Bretz’s once-controversial theory of the Missoula floods, this exhibit looks at numerous examples of wild ideas and the struggle to evaluate these outrageous hypotheses. An opening reception for the exhibit is planned at 3 p.m., CUE 203.


Tuesday, August 27, WSU Spokane, 7 p.m., CUE 203

“Mistaken Adventures around the Globe,” by Bryan Vila, Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology

Professor Bryan Vila’s mistakes have often turned into adventures. Half a century of stumbles, screw ups and goofs have made him an expert on making the best of an ugly situation. After learning to learn from scores of missteps in hazardous places like the battlefields of Vietnam, the slums of Los Angeles, and the dubious island paradise of Micronesia, he’s made a career out of studying deadly errors in his lab at WSU. Based on experiences as a teenaged Marine, a young street cop, and a police chief, Dr. Vila will share his hard-won strategies for embracing error as inevitable, learning to recover with good humor, and wringing good lessons from bad times. Leaving lots of time for open discussion, he’ll also describe how his one-of-a-kind simulation lab uses Normal Accident Theory to study the impact of fatigue-related errors on deadly force judgment and decision making, police driving, and counterinsurgency operations.

Read the WSU News brief >>

September 2013
All month, and through February, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC), Terrell Library just off the atrium

“Outrageous Hypotheses: Selections from the MASC.” MASC is open Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Verification of attendance/visit will be available at the front desk.)

Before it gets it right, science often gets it wrong. Inspired by the WSU Common Reading program’s “Being Wrong” by Kathryn Schulz, Outrageous Hypotheseslooks at human knowledge gone awry. From 500-year-old maps showing the Earth at the center of the solar system up through J. Harlan Bretz’s once-controversial theory of the Missoula floods, this exhibit looks at numerous examples of wild ideas and the struggle to evaluate these outrageous hypotheses.

Tuesday, September 3, 7 p.m., CUE 203

“Science by Accident: How a Small Mistake Changed the Course of My Career,” by Patricia Hunt, Meyer Distinguished Professor, School of Molecular Biosciences.

Dr. Hunt fell in love with genetics when she took her first genetics class as an undergraduate at Michigan State University. She has been actively engaged in research to understand how age affects a woman’s ability to produce genetically normal eggs for over 25 years. Fifteen years ago she was conducting studies with mouse eggs when she saw a sudden and very dramatic change in the data for control animals. After a significant amount of sleuthing, she realized that a temporary worker in the animal facility used the wrong detergent in the cage washer, inadvertently exposing her animals to the endocrine disrupting chemical, bisphenol A (BPA). This was long before BPA became a household word, and this little mistake changed the course of her research, forcing her into new and uncomfortable arenas like talking to the media, legislators, and the general public.

Thursday, September 19, 7 p.m., CUB Auditorium

“Water is the New Oil,” the 2013 Lane Lecture in Environmental Studies (College of Arts and Sciences), by Sandra Postel, a National Geographic explorer and freshwater conservationist.

National Geographic explorer Sandra Postel will talk about what we have “wrong” in our current approach to using, managing, and valuing freshwater. What paradigm shift is needed to be able to feed, clothe, and provide sufficient energy for a growing population while also sustaining natural ecosystems and the vital web of life across the planet? Postel’s talk is the 2013 Lane Lecture in Environmental Studies sponsored by the School of the Environment, a cross-college unit affiliated with the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. http://www.environment.wsu.edu/LaneLecture. (Common Reading stamp will be available.)

Tuesday, September 24, 7 p.m., Todd 216

“Bretz’s Flood: Being Right (When Everyone is Sure You are Wrong),” by Lisa Carloye (Science) and Kirsten Peters (CAHNRS).

J. Harlen Bretz was sure the evidence he was seeing as he traversed the scablands region of central Washington indicated that the area had been carved by a cataclysmic flood of unimaginable proportions. The trouble was, better known and highly respected geologists from the East Coast were even more sure the landscape was carved by the massive glaciers covering Canada during the last ice age. Bretz’s story is a dramatic example of how hard it can be to stand up for your ideas when everyone else attacks them as wrong. Dr. Peters and Dr. Carloye will take you on a journey of ideas and show how tenacity, an open mind, and cold hard evidence ultimately won the battle of ideas about how the Channeled Scablands of Washington State were formed.

October 2013
All month, and through February, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC), Terrell Library just off the atrium

“Outrageous Hypotheses: Selections from the MASC.” MASC is open Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Verification of attendance/visit will be available at the front desk.)

Before it gets it right, science often gets it wrong. Inspired by the WSU Common Reading program’s “Being Wrong” by Kathryn Schulz, Outrageous Hypotheseslooks at human knowledge gone awry. From 500-year-old maps showing the Earth at the center of the solar system up through J. Harlan Bretz’s once-controversial theory of the Missoula floods, this exhibit looks at numerous examples of wild ideas and the struggle to evaluate these outrageous hypotheses.

Tuesday, October 1, 7 p.m., Smith CUE 203

“Civility and Indivility in American Public Discourse,” by Cornell Clayton (Political Science and The Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service.”

Congressman Joe Wilson hollers “You Lie” at the President of the United States during his address to Congress; Rush Limbaugh calls a young woman a “slut” on the radio because she advocates insurance coverage for contraceptive care; and Occupy Wall Street protestors portray bankers as Nazis and murderers. It has become “common wisdom” that American democracy is in the midst of an “incivility crisis.” Politicians and pundits routinely bemoan the declining level of political debate and blame it for policy gridlock and the inability to forge consensual solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute and professor of Political Science, is all in favor of a more civil and productive political discourse. However his own research on the topic and his work with the Foley Institute on a series of civility and democracy projects supported by NEH have convinced him that today’s political acrimony is not only not that exceptional historically, but that the relationship between civility and democracy is more nuanced and complicated than most realize. Focusing attention on the causes of social division rather than the style of political debate is critical, but so too is realizing that pluralist democracy requires citizens to entertain the possibility that they may well be wrong about things they hold dear and care deeply about.  Ultimately democracy is a commitment to a process of open and inclusive decision-making, one that might get it “wrong,” and not to a set of “right” policy outcomes.

Thursday, October 3, 10:30-11:45 a.m., Foley Speaker’s Room, 308 Bryan Hall

“Are Partisan Media Dividing Us?,” by Matthew Levendusky, guest speaker at The Foley Institute’s Coffee & Politics Series.

American politics seems deeply divided. While elected elites are more polarized than at any time since the turn of the twentieth century, there is a growing debate about how polarized the general public is about political matters. Matt Levendusky will explore the evidence of a fractured public and the role that partisan media is playing in that process.

Matthew Levendusky is associate professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and he is the author of The Partisan Sort (2009) and How Partisan Media Polarize America (2013). His research focuses on mass level political behavior and the effect that institutions, elites, and media have on political polarization. Join The foley Institute faculty and staff for coffee, donuts, and stimulating discussion. RSVP to Richard Elgar at relgar@wsu.edu

Common Reading stamp available in 316 Bryan Hall following the lecture.

Wednesday, October 9, 6 p.m.

WSU Global Campus and WSU Libraries’ MASC program present a virtual tour of MASC’s “Outrageous Hypothesis” exhibit.

Led by curator Steve Bingo, WSU Global Campus students can attend live by using their link at http://connections.wsu.edu/watchlive.aspx. They can find details about event at https://orgsync.com/59084/events/607724. Topics of the presentation will goecentrism, flat earthers, nonexistent animals, the Northwest Passage, the Gravity Plan for Northwest irrigation, J. Harlen Bretz’s Missoula Flood theories, and the origins of “Couging.” Displayed items include books, maps, photographs, and articles from 1500 to 1985. A recording of the virtual tour will likely be posted at a later date for general audience viewing.

Tuesday, October 22, 7 p.m., WSU Museum of Art

WSU English Department’s Visiting Writers Series welcomes Washington State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken.

Kathryn Schulz writes, “Poetry, like error, startles, unsettles, and defies; it urges us toward new theories of old things” (330). The Common Reading Program is pleased to collaborate with the English Department in highlighting a reading by Kathleen Flenniken, the 2012-2014 Washington State Poet Laureate. Flenniken began her career in a very different direction, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Civil Engineering from WSU and UW and working for eight years as an engineer and hydrologist, including work on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. She became interested in writing poetry when her children were small, and it has been her passion ever since. Her latest collection, Plume, a meditation on Hanford and her home town of Richland, was just announced as the winner of the 2013 Washington State Book Award. About this collection Flenniken writes, it is “part memoir, part history lesson, part cautionary tale, part quest. It is at its heart a search for identity, as I have tried to synthesize the truths of my childhood with environmental facts.” In her role as Poet Laureate, Flenniken has a goal of reaching all 39 counties in Washington, and she is especially interested in working with elementary students. This event will be an opportunity to experience how poetry and art urge us to see the world around us in new ways.

Thursday, Oct 24, 5 p.m., Todd 276

Mark Anthony Neal on “Looking for Leroy: (Il)legible Black Masculinity”

Mark Anthony Neal is one of the nation’s preeminent scholars on race, popular culture, and masculinity. A professor in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke University, Dr. Neal is also the host of the Weekly Webcast Left of Black, founder and editor of the blog New Black Man, and the author of five books. Professor Neal’s work connects to this year’s Common Reading book through his critical reading of the distortions and stereotypes of black masculinity that are conveyed through popular culture, our political sphere, and other institutions.

Sponsored by the WSU Department of Critical Cultures, Gender, and Race Studies with assistance from the Sociology Department, Common Reading, African American Student Center, Asian American and Pacific Islander Student Center, the Provost’s Office, Center for the Humanities, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Tuesday, Oct 29, 7 p.m., Stephenson Down Under (located in the Stephenson Residence Hall Complex)

Melynda Huskey (Dean of Students) on “All the Ways I Was Wrong in College, and How Glad I Am I Was”

In the interests of student development, Melynda Huskey (Dean of Students) reveals many embarrassing stories of stuff she did wrong in college, and invites you to reflect with her and your peers on how useful, painful (and humorous) certain kinds of mistakes can be. You will have opportunities to share how much smarter you are than she was, and get tips on how to turn an apparently catastrophic college experience into a career.

November 2013
All month, and through February, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC), Terrell Library just off the atrium

“Outrageous Hypotheses: Selections from the MASC.” MASC is open Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Verification of attendance/visit will be available at the front desk.)

Before it gets it right, science often gets it wrong. Inspired by the WSU Common Reading program’s “Being Wrong” by Kathryn Schulz, Outrageous Hypotheses looks at human knowledge gone awry. From 500-year-old maps showing the Earth at the center of the solar system up through J. Harlan Bretz’s once-controversial theory of the Missoula floods, this exhibit looks at numerous examples of wild ideas and the struggle to evaluate these outrageous hypotheses.

Tuesday, November 5, 7 p.m., Todd 130

Ben Smith and Jadrian Wooten (Economics) on “What Drives Demand for Pundits?”

We are inundated by pundits: those who claim expertise in nearly any area. Political pundits make wild predictions about enormous electoral wins. Financial pundits use an orchestra of sound effects to establish the confidence in their pick. But it is well established that pundits aren’t that accurate. So, if they are so often wrong, why are they so confident? Is this just an artifact of who is picked to be on TV? Ben Smith and Jadrian Wooten set out to answer just that question. Using language analysis and data from Twitter, they found that pundits are confident because *the audience demands confidence* — even when the prediction is dramatically inaccurate.

Tuesday, Nov 12, 7 p.m., Todd 130

Jaak Panksepp (Baily Endowed Professor of Animal Well-Being Science, Dept of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience) on “The Historic Denial of Consciousness in Other Animals vs the Modern Scientific Case for Their Emotional Feelings”

Because of the basic scientific value of skepticism, there has been a sustained denial of consciousness in other animals ever since science matured, from Rene Descartes to the present day. This is because there has never been any agreed upon way to fathom the subjective experiences of animals, the way human language allows us to communicate about our inner states. Finally, the “weight of evidence” is on the side of common sense on this issue, but the weight-of-history still prevents most scientists, especially animal behaviorists and neuroscientists, from accepting animal sentience as a scientifically workable topic. This talk will summarize how long-standing biases in the field could be overcome, which may greatly benefit our understanding of the emotional foundations of human nature. The neural understanding of core affective processes, homologous in all mammals, is of critical importance for appreciating how our higher mental processes, and social lives, are constructed through life experiences. Enormous advances have been made in the last half century in understanding how primal emotions are organized in the brain, and how primary-process emotions control secondary-process learning and memory. These provide the essential ingredients for higher-order mental activities, which, unlike emotional states, are almost impossible to study neuroscientifically in animals.  This talk will focus on the battles that are still being engaged on whether other animals do have emotional feelings or not, and how these battles are delaying our scientific understanding of the nature of human consciousness, which may also have great benefits for future understanding of human psychiatric disorders and their treatment.

NOTE: THE WSU GLOBAL CAMPUS TAPED THIS PRESENTATION AND HAS MADE IT AVAILABLE AT https://orgsync.com/59888/videos/26641 . Please view it online!

Wednesday, Nov 20, 8 p.m., Todd 116 (Auditorium)

Joyce Ehrlinger (Psychology) on “The Bias Blind Spot”

Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” With this simple question, comedian George Carlin aptly summarizes people’s naturally tendencies to view their own beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors as correct and as the “right” way to think or act. These naïve realist perceptions, then, often lead us to view behavior or beliefs that differ from our own as biased, uninformed, and/or wrong — to see people driving a different speed than us as either slow driving idiots or speeding maniacs. In Being Wrong, Schulz draws upon research by WSU’s own Dr. Joyce Ehrlinger to describe people’s tendencies to have a “blind spot” when it comes to their own biases. Dr. Ehrlinger will use Schulz’s discussion as a launch pad to talk with students about the tendency for people to be blind to their own biases but keenly observant of bias of others. She will also talk about the social consequences of the bias blind spot as well as strategies that we can use to avoid the natural tendency to think ourselves always “right” but view others as often “wrong.”

December 2013
All month, and through February, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC), Terrell Library just off the atrium

“Outrageous Hypotheses: Selections from the MASC.” MASC is open Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Verification of attendance/visit will be available at the front desk.)

Before it gets it right, science often gets it wrong. Inspired by the WSU Common Reading program’s “Being Wrong” by Kathryn Schulz, Outrageous Hypotheseslooks at human knowledge gone awry. From 500-year-old maps showing the Earth at the center of the solar system up through J. Harlan Bretz’s once-controversial theory of the Missoula floods, this exhibit looks at numerous examples of wild ideas and the struggle to evaluate these outrageous hypotheses.

Spring 2014 Events

January 2014
All month, and through February, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC) in Terrell Library just off the atrium.

Outrageous Hypotheses: Selections from the MASC. MASC is open Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Verification of attendance/visit will be available at the front desk.)

Before it gets it right, science often gets it wrong. Inspired by the WSU Common Reading program’s “Being Wrong” by Kathryn Schulz, Outrageous Hypotheseslooks at human knowledge gone awry. From 500-year-old maps showing the Earth at the center of the solar system up through J. Harlan Bretz’s once-controversial theory of the Missoula floods, this exhibit looks at numerous examples of wild ideas and the struggle to evaluate these outrageous hypotheses.

Outrageous Hypotheses runs through the end of February in the MASC (Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections) exhibit area, located just off the atrium floor under the cone skylight in the Terrell Library. MASC is open Monday-Friday, 8:30-4:30. (Verification of attendance is available with a special Common Reading bookmark available at the MASC front desk.)

Wednesday, January 22, 7-8:30 p.m., CUB Sr Ballroom

Diane Nash on “From Jail to Jackson to the Distinguished American Award: My Life as an Activist”

Diane Nash, 19609s Civil Rights leader, will give the keynote address for the 2014 MLK Community Celebration, describing her personal involvement with the Movement and her work with Dr. King. This event also includes presentation of the MLK Distinguished Service Awards. A book signing and reception will follow. The 2014 MLK events tie into our Common Reading events around Being Wrong by highlighting the ways in American society continues to evolve in its understanding of the causes and effects of discrimination.  These events are organized by the Culture and Heritage Houses, Equity and Diversity, along with sponsorship from several other campus units, as part of the 2014 MLK celebration.

Wednesday, January 29, 7-8:30 p.m., CUB Sr Ballroom

Michael Dyson on “Dr. King in the 21st Century”

Michael E. Dyson, distinguished professor of Sociology at Georgetown University an award-winning author, will speak on connections between civil rights history and contemporary social issues. Dyson is the recipient of an American Book Award, has been a two-time NAACP Image Award winner, and is an analyst on MSNBC. His published works include topics such as Hurricane Katrina, Tupac Shakur and rap music, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bill Cosby, and the black poor. His 1994 Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X was named one of the most important African American books of the 20th century, while his 2008 second volume on King, April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Death and How It Changed America, was hailed by The Washington Post as “an excellent sociological primer on institutionalized racism in America.” A book signing will follow. This event is organized by the Culture and Heritage Houses, Equity and Diversity, along with sponsorship from several other campus units as part of the 2014 MLK celebration.

Thursday, January 30, 4:30 p.m., Fine Arts Museum

Srinivas Arvamudan on “Cosmopolitan Humanities”

Srinivas Aravamudan, dean of Humanities at Duke University, will argue for the relevance and rejuvenated importance of the humanities, including in his presentation some of the fundamental misunderstandings people often have regarding these disciplines. This event is sponsored by the WSU Humanities Planning Group as part of Humanities Week.

February 2014
All month: Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC), Terrell Library just off the atrium

“Outrageous Hypotheses: Selections from the MASC.”

MASC is open Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Verification of attendance/visit will be available at the front desk.)

Monday, February 3, 4:00 p.m., Terrell Library Atrium

David Clay Large (Montana State University) speaking at the opening of the White Rose Exhibit.

Feb. 3 – March 7, Terrell Library Atrium

Touring exhibit created by the Munich-based White Rose Foundation.

The White Rose Exhibit chronicles the efforts of a student-led non-violent resistance movement during the Nazi period. Under the name of “The White Rose,” University of Munich students led an anonymous nine-month flyer and graffiti campaign in 1942 and 1943 calling the German people to actively resist the policies imposed by Nazism. Seven core members of the group were ultimately executed for the resistance activities and many others were imprisoned. Today, the members of the White Rose are honored in Germany for their resistance in the face of grave personal danger. David Clay Large, the author of several books about the Third Reich as well as Munich 1972: Tragedy, Terror, and Triumph at the Olympic Games, will discuss the White Rose Movement in the context of resistance. A touring exhibit, created by the Munich-based White Rose Foundation, will be on display in the Terrell Atrium until March 7. Large’s visit is sponsored by the departments of History and Foreign Languages and Cultures in conjunction with the WSU Libraries.

Tuesday-Thursday, February 4-6, 4-9 pm daily, Gannon Goldsworthy Hall

“2014 Tunnel of Oppression,” sponsored by Department of Residence Life

The Tunnel of Oppression is an interactive learning experience for all members of the WSU and Pullman community. Put on annually by students and staff from Residence Life, the event’s purpose is to give people firsthand knowledge of the discrimination that occurs today; it is intended to stimulate thoughts, feelings, and emotions around the issues and images presented. The event takes groups on a tour through a series of rooms where different kinds of injustice and forms of oppression are acted out, presented, and/or depicted; this year’s event will touch upon issues such as transgender identity, human trafficking, modern racism, hidden disabilities, violence against women, and economic access to education. After going through the Tunnel, participants are brought into a room for discussion and small group de-brief. Attendees should anticipate spending about an hour experiencing the Tunnel. For more information, see http://reslife.wsu.ed/tunnel. Common Reading stamps will be available for students.

Wednesday, February 5, 7:30 p.m., Jones Theatre, Daggy Hall

“Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” by Harriet Jacobs, part of the Spring 2014 WSU Performing Arts Series

Cherita Armstrong will portray Harriet Jacobs in this one-woman dramatic presentation by New York’s Literature to Life theatre. This piece illuminates in shocking fashion the traumas of slavery for women and children. The stage adaptation culminates in Jacobs’s powerful and moving experiences during the seven years she spend hiding in “the loophole,” a crawlspace in her grandmother’s attic. Illuminated by pre- and post-show discussions, the audience will explore themes including resilience and survival. Admission for this event is free for WSU students thanks to sponsorship from the CougParents Program.

Tuesday, February 11, 7 p.m., place TBD

Jeff Guillory (WSU Culture and Heritage Houses, Equity and Diversity) on “Recognizing Stereotypes as a Way of Being Wrong”

Monday, February 24

Common Reading Invited Lecture, and Campus Visit by Being Wrong Author Kathryn Schulz

  • 2:00 pm: Invited Small Group Q&A with Students and Faculty, CUB Jr Ballroom
  • 7:30 pm: Author Lecture, Beasley Coliseum, with book signing to follow. Free and open to the public.

The Schulz lecture is available online, courtesy of the WSU Global Campus Watch it now!

March 2014
Feb. 3 – March 7, Terrell Library Atrium

Touring exhibit created by the Munich-based White Rose Foundation.

Tuesday, March 4, 7 p.m., CUE 203

Faith Lutze (Criminal Justice) on “Perceptions of Justice: The Power of Prisons to Right a Wrong”

This presentation will explore how prisons in the United States are used to punish those deemed to have intentionally “wronged” another through the commission of a crime. Acts are considered to be so wrong that the person should be forcibly removed from society. Throughout the presentation we will explore how prisons are used to “right a wrong” and whether our perceptions of justice are accurate. Do prisons truly accomplish our goal to achieve justice?

Thursday, March 6, 5:30-7:00 p.m., CUE 203

Tanya Golash-Boza (University of California-Merced) on “Mass Deportation and Global Capitalism in the 21st Century”

In this presentation, guest speaker Tanya Golash-Boza will encourage ways of looking beyond the conventional narratives of immigration. Sponsored by CCGRS.

Friday, March 7, noon-1 p.m., Honors College Lounge

“Resisting Hate: The Legacy of the White Rose” panel presentation with WSU’s own Richard King (CCGRS), Rachel Halverson (Foreign Languages and Cultures), Ray Sun (History), and Ted Nitz (International Studies, Gonzaga)

This brown-bag lunch presentation will explore the legacy of the White Rose Society in historic and contemporary issues. This is the concluding event associated with the White Rose Exhibit in Terrell Library. Sponsors are the departments of History and Foreign Languages and Cultures, as well as WSU Libraries and the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center.

See also the notes above about the touring exhibit created by the Munich-based White Rose Foundation.

Tuesday, March 11, 7 p.m., Todd 130

Lorena O’English (Libraries) on “Making Sense of Those Crazy Pictures in Your Facebook Feed”

The perfect storm of the digital camera, photo-sharing sites like Instagram, and the rise of web-based social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have made photographs and infographics hugely popular. But should those pictures and charts always be taken at face value? Can we rely on them or are they sometimes…wrong? Lorena O’English, a WSU librarian, will show some examples and discuss strategies for critically evaluating that wild picture of ominous clouds over Manhattan that your cousin posted last month.

Tuesday, March 25, 7 p.m., Todd 130

John Gay (Veterinary Medicine) on “Coniderations on Medical Error from an Epidemiologist’s Perspective”

This presentation will explore issues of medical error, specifically what is behind the numbers and their interpretation. Dr. John Gay, an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine, will draw on his experience in both private veterinary practice and epidemiologic research of infectious disease to talk about what the numbers mean in the context of evidence-based medicine. As Gay notes, “Counting well is hard. Comparing well is harder. Predicting well is the hardest.”

Friday, March 28, 12:15-5:30 p.m., CUB Ballrooms, second floor

The third annual Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA).

Research—the process of exploring something we don’t know or understand—can be exciting and challenging. Often, through research, we discover errors in our beliefs. Undergraduates in all fields at WSU have the opportunity to participate in conducting research guided by a faculty mentor. Come see undergraduates present their results at SURCA. Oral presentations will occur 12:15 -2:00 and 2:15-4:00 in the CUB Junior Ballroom; poster presentations will be open to the public from 3:45-5:00 in the CUB Senior Ballroom. The awards ceremony will follow at 5 pm in the Jr Ballroom. The Common Reading stamp will be available at the check-in table in both ballrooms.

April 2014
Tuesday, April 1, 7 p.m., CUE 203

Chuck Munson (Management Operations) on “Being Wrong in Business: Implications, Lessons, and Prevention”

Mistakes in business range from the mundane to the massive. Marketing flops such as New Coke and operational disasters such as oil spills make big headlines and may cost companies millions. Some mistakes even endanger the public and the environment. But it’s how companies react to mistakes that may provide a longer-term impact than the mistakes themselves. In March 2014, Toyota agreed to pay a $1.2 billion federal fine for misleading regulators. Assistant FBI Director George Venizelos suggested, “Toyota put sales over safety and profit over principle.” This presentation will focus on the value of appropriate service recovery efforts, the potential advantage of applying a “second-mover” strategy, and the value of prevention, i.e. making it “right the first time.”

Monday, April 7, 6-8:30 p.m., CUB Auditorium (Room 177)

Screening of the documentary Ghosts of Rwanda

April 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, a state-sponsored massacre in which some 800,000 Rwandans were methodically hunted down and murdered by Hutu extremists while the international community refused to intervene. This two-hour documentary examines the social, political and diplomatic failures that converged to enable this genocide to occur and includes first-hand accounts of those who lived this experience: government officials, diplomats, U.N. peacekeeping forces, Hutu soldiers, journalists, and Tutsi survivors of the slaughter. This event is sponsored by the History Department; the Common Reading stamp will be available.

Tuesday, April 8, 7 p.m., Webster 16

Kim Houser (Business Law) on “Social Media and the Law: Do Judges Ever Get It Wrong?”

If you didn’t know you could be found liable for posting links on your or your company’s website, making negative comments on Facebook about someone, or blogging about a new product before it’s released, please attend Kimberly Houser’s Common Reading presentation from her new book “The Legal Guide to Social Media.”  “Many users of social media are not aware of the enormous legal risks involved in their online activities,” says Houser, attorney and clinical associate professor of business law at Washington State University. “The idea for this book began a number of years ago when I was searching for a legal guide I could recommend to my law clients who were beginning to set up websites and discovered that there weren’t any such books out there,” Houser says. “I felt that people needed to understand the risks involved in online posting and knew that I could provide that information.”

Tuesday, April 15, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Todd 116 (Auditorium)

Francois Naiuigiziki, Rwandan Genocide Survivor

Rwandan genocide survivor Francois Naiyigiziki will speak about his experience before, during and after the genocide, and the ways that Rwandans have come together in the aftermath. He will discuss the educational limitations as week the effects of discrimination upon his family. For Mr. Naiyigiziki, the genocide lasted from April 7 to April 21, during which the members of his family were killed and he had to hide. After this he traveled with the liberating army. He will also discuss the period of rebuilding following the genocide that led to the creation of a unified Rwanda. (Those unfamiliar with the Rwandan genocide are encouraged to attend the screening of Ghosts of Rwanda in the CUB Auditorium on April 7 at 6:00 pm.) This event is sponsored by the History Department; Common Reading stamp will be available.

Tuesday, April 22, 7 p.m., Todd 130

Michael Delahoyde (English) on “Being Wrong about Shakespeare and the Humanities”

Traditionally, we may have been wrong all along about “Shake-speare.” Coming to an understanding as to what are the implications of our having been mistaken about the Bard is crucial for our understanding of the humanities, and of humanity. What is creativity? Where does it come from? Beyond the Shakespeare authorship controversy, how we approach the enigma and answer the question concerning who wrote the works, right or wrong, determines how we construct our paradigms of creativity, not just in the arts but throughout our own lives and in our endeavors as human beings.