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Melissa Rice to Speak May 28 about Mapping Mars

Posted on: May 13, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Melissa Rice to Speak May 28 about Mapping Mars

Melissa Rice

Melissa Rice, Assistant Professor of Planetary Science at Western Washington University,  will give a talk called “Mapping Mars: Our Evolving Vision of the Red Planet - Part II” on Tuesday, May 28 at 4 p.m. at Western Washington University in the Map Collection, located in Wilson Library Room 290. This event is free and open to the public.

In recent decades, mapping efforts by sophisticated spacecraft at Mars have revolutionized our vision of the Red Planet.  Rice will discuss the mapping, science, and exploration of Mars. Once thought by scientists to be a living world covered with vegetation that changed with the seasons, the Space Age brought a new view of Mars as a dry, cratered and barren planet.

This talk picks up where Rice left off in 2015 when she was the inaugural speaker for the “Speaking of Maps” lecture series. Rice will explore new maps by NASA's Curiosity Rover, and talk about plans for the next big mission launching to Mars in July 2020.

Rice is an Assistant Professor of Planetary Science at WWU, where she teaches in the Geology Department and the Physics & Astronomy Department. Her research focuses on the geology and habitability of ancient environments on Mars. She is a team member on the NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity mission and is part of the team building the Mastcam-Z cameras for the NASA Mars-2020 rover. Dr. Rice received her Ph.D. in the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University in 2012 and was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology until starting at WWU in 2014.

This event is sponsored by Western Libraries, The Planetary Society, WWU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, and WWU’s Geology Department. It is offered as part of the Western Libraries “Speaking of Maps” lectures, designed to highlight the use and value of maps in research, in teaching and learning, and in daily life.

For more information about this event, please contact Dennis Matthews,, 360-650-3272.

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Spring 2019 Heritage Highlights

Posted on: May 6, 2019

Topic(s): Updates

Heritage Resources is pleased to share our Spring 2019 edition of Heritage Highlights. This newsletter, distributed to over 600 recipients locally and around the world, is our way of thanking the many individuals who have visited our repositories and used Students examining copies of the local alternative newsletter Northwest Passage at the Archives Building.our collections or services. These community relationships are central to the mission of Western Libraries and Heritage Resources, and fundamental to the growth and development of our collections, our financial sustainability, and the success of our programming efforts. 

As you will learn in this edition of Heritage Highlights, we are continuing to grow and change in ways that enhance our mission to bring quality research and teaching opportunities to our staff, faculty, students, and the broader community.

Western Libraries Heritage Resources consists of the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and University Archives & Records Management. Contact for more information.

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'Ash is Purest White,' May 14 at Pickford Film Center

Posted on: May 6, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Ash is Purest White at Pickford Film Center, May 14

Green-tinted photo of a woman from the film 'Ash is Purest White,' which is showing at Pickford Film Center as part of Masters of Asian Cinema on May 14. The next Masters of Asian Cinema film is Jia Zhangke’s 2018 feature Ash is Purest White, which screens on Tuesday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay Street in Bellingham.  

According to series curator and WWU librarian Jeff Purdue, while the advance publicity for Ash is Purest White makes it appear to be solely a gangster movie, it is far more than a film about the underworld. Jia's latest film is part of his ongoing investigation of characters coming to terms with a rapidly changing China across different social strata.  The result is both something of a departure for Jia and also a kind of career summary, with particularly strong links to Unknown Pleasures, Still Life, and Mountains May Depart.  

Before this film, Jia’s earlier work garnered him international attention on the festival circuit. His 2000 feature Platform  was the first to star Zhao Tao, who has appeared in every film since,  and who also played the lead in The World, shown earlier this season.  An exciting and meditative film on many levels, not least in the ravishing visuals that have become a centerpiece in Jia's work, Ash is Purest White stars Zhao in perhaps her greatest performance to date.  

Co-sponsored by Western Libraries and Pickford Film Center, the Masters of Asian Cinema series features some of the best films in World Cinema.  Each film in the series begins with an introduction from select speakers including local professors, artists, and educators.  Ash is Purest White will be introduced by series curator Jeff Purdue.

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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.