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Devin Naar: ‘From the Ottoman Empire to Auschwitz,’ May 11

Posted on: May 2, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Events

WWU’s Ray Wolpow Institute to Host Devin Naar May 11

Photo of Devin NaarWestern Washington University’s Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity will host the University of Washington’s Devin Naar for “From the Ottoman Empire to Auschwitz: The Mediterranean Jewish Experience of the Holocaust,” at 7:30 on May 11 at Congregation Beth Israel, 751 San Juan Blvd. This event is free and open to the public.

Although usually understood as a “European” event, the Holocaust also resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Sephardic Jews born in the predominantly Muslim world of the Ottoman Empire (Greece). Grappling with the particularities of their experiences compels us to expand the scope of the Holocaust into the eastern Mediterranean and to recognize the interconnections between the rise of Hitler’s empire and the making of the modern Middle East.

Devin Naar is the Isaac Alhadeff Professor of Sephardic Studies at the University of Washington. He is the founder of the Sephardic Studies Program at the UW and currently its acting chair. He is an associate professor of History and faculty at the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the UW. Naar’s first book, “Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece,” was published by Stanford University Press in 2016 and won a National Jewish Book Award the same year.

This event is part of the inaugural regional institute for higher education faculty that the Wolpow Institute is organizing in partnership with the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University that weekend, and is made possible through the generous support of Bernhard Kohlmeier & Lisa Ann Mikulencak, David Goldman & Linda Blackwell, Western Libraries, Congregation Beth Israel, The President's Office, Office of the Provost, University Residences, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Modern & Classical Languages, Department of Global Humanities & Religions.

A shuttle to and from campus is available to students for this event on a space-available basis. To request transportation, disability accommodation, or if you need additional information, contact Sheila Pennell of Western Washington University’s Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity at by May 1.

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What is our role in creating a just and equitable workforce?

Posted on: April 22, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Events

TLA Hosts Off-Campus Dialogue Session May 2

Text-based image with the words: "Spring 2019 Off-Campus Dialogue: What is our role in creating a just and equitable workforce? Join us at the Ragfinery 1421 N. Forest May 2 at 4pm.

What is our role in creating a just and equitable workforce?

Participants from the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) at Western Libraries invite you to explore this question during the next off-campus dialogue group to be held at the Ragfinery building (1421 N. Forest St.), on Thursday, May 2, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

This quarter the TLA is partnering with the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County, Western’s Center for Community Learning, and the ReUse-Works Ragfinery, to host the spring quarter off-campus dialogue.  

The beginning of the session will feature ReUse-Works Ragfinery and other local non-profits, and will be followed by small breakout groups facilitated by TLA students. 

The goal of the off-campus dialogues is to connect with people on topics that affect the Western community, as well as the local Bellingham community.

“Over the years, many people have requested that the TLA host off-campus sessions to better engage students, faculty, staff, and community members,” explained Shevell Thibou, Head of the TLA. “Taking the dialogues off-campus also demonstrates that Western and the local community are not two separate circles, but rather one collective dedicated to creating an inclusive and equitable community.”

This off-campus event is open to everyone and all are welcome to attend. No advanced registration is required, but faculty and staff wishing to participate in this dialogue as part of the “Wise & Well U” program,  can sign up via the online training portal here:

For more information about the TLA, please contact (360) 650-7368.

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Questionnaire for Community Policing Pilot

Posted on: April 19, 2019

Topic(s): Updates

Community Policing Pilot Project - Questionnaire Opens April 22

Between April 22 and May 5, 2019, Western Libraries is asking, “Are we on the right track?” with regards to the community policing pilot project that has been underway since fall quarter 2018.  The pilot project is an initiative between the Libraries and University Police intended to address concerns around personal safety raised by late-night library staff and others.

Through its implementation the pilot project has increased visibility of University Police officers in the main library buildings by approximately three hours per day, depending on the work schedules of the two volunteer officers.  Officers Bianca Smith and Todd Osborne have reported a very positive reception on the part of building users, however assessment and continuation of this initiative will rely in large part on input from students and others.

As noted above beginning April 22, 2019, an online questionnaire is available to those wishing to provide input and comments regarding the program.  The information gathered is part of a larger assessment strategy being to determine the success and continuation of community policing in the Libraries.

In addition to the data gathered by the questionnaire the Libraries will be conducting a focus group later in spring quarter.  Those interested in participating in that discussion should send their name and WWU email address to  A limited number of participants will be invited to participate.  The date of the focus group discussion has yet to be determined, and more updates will be shared as the assessment work of this program progresses. 

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Democracy in 20th-century Colombia - May 9

Posted on: April 16, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Western Libraries Reading Series: Ricardo López to Speak about Democracy in 20th-century Colombia 

Image of the cover for the book, Makers of Democracy: A Transnational History of the Middle Classes in Colombia, by A. Ricardo López-Pedreros.

Professor A. Ricardo López-Pedreros of WWU’s History Department will provide an overview of his new book on the changing nature of democracy in 20th-century Colombia on Thursday, May 9 at 4:00 p.m. in Western Libraries Special Collections (Wilson 6th Floor). This event is free and open to the public.

During his talk, López-Pedreros will trace the ways in which a thriving middle class was understood to be a foundational marker of democracy in Colombia during the second half of the twentieth century.

He will show how the Colombian middle class created a model of democracy based on free-market ideologies, private property rights, material inequality, and an emphasis on a masculine work culture.

This model, which naturalized class and gender hierarchies, provided the groundwork for Colombia's later adoption of neoliberalism and inspired the emergence of alternate models of democracy and social hierarchies in the 1960s and 1970s that helped foment political radicalization.

By highlighting the contested relationships between class, gender, economics, and politics, López-Pedreros theorizes democracy as a historically unstable practice that exacerbated multiple forms of domination, thereby prompting a rethinking of the formation of democracies throughout the Americas.    

López-Pedreros is Associate Professor of History at WWU. He is author of Makers of Democracy: A Transnational History of the Middle Classes in Colombia (Duke University Press) and coeditor of The Making of the Middle Class: Toward a Transnational History, also published by Duke. He is currently Vice President for the United Faculty of Western Washington (UFWW).

This special talk is offered as part of the Western Libraries Reading Series, which is dedicated to showcasing the scholarly and creative work of faculty and staff who are engaged in research, writing, and teaching at Western. For more information about this event, please contact Michael Taylor,,  360-650-3097.

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Used Book Sale: Judaica & More, April 28

Posted on: April 15, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Used Book Sale on April 28 at Congregation Beth Israel: Judaica & More

Several rows of books on a table, spine side up, titles are illegible (blurred focal range)

Western Libraries Heritage Resources is partnering with Congregation Beth Israel for a Used Book Sale! The sale will be at the Congregation Beth Israel (751 San Juan Boulevard, Bellingham) on Sunday, April 28, 2019 (“Mitzvah Day”), from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

A large selection of Judaic books and media will be available, including fiction and non-fiction, children’s titles, Jewish life and religion, Torah commentary, reference and art books, Jewish history and the Holocaust, records and CDs, and more. The sale is to be held in the downstairs nursery school. Arrive early for the best selection!

Most books will be priced at $1.00 and cash or check only will be accepted as payment. Proceeds will benefit the Beth Israel Library and the Western Libraries Heritage Resources Judaica Collection.

If you have any questions, or if you would like to volunteer, please contact Joan Wayne  at, or David Schlitt at