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Crime Against Nature

Western Libraries Reading Series: Rob Lopresti


What do New Jersey mobsters have to do with climate change?


Environmental Science librarian at Western Washington University, Rob Lopresti will explore this question when he presents “Crime Against Nature: Writing an Environmental Crime Novel,” on November 19 at 4 p.m. at Western Libraries in Special Collections. 


In addition to being a librarian, Lopresti is also an award-winning author of more than fifty mystery short stories.  In his latest comic crime novel, Greenfellas, he combines his interest in environmental science with his mystery-writing skills to create a story about a mobster who decides to save the environment for his granddaughter. Lopresti  will read from Greenfellas and explain how he picked the brains of three Huxley College professors in writing the book, which one reader described as "about ethics as a last resort."


This event is being offered as part of the Western Libraries Reading Series, dedicated to showcasing the scholarly and creative work of Western faculty by featuring diverse speakers from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines who are engaged in research, writing, and teaching at  Western. These quarterly talks are free and open to the public, and take place in Western Libraries Special Collections. 

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Geology Underfoot

Speaking of Maps: Dave Tucker


Dave Tucker, Research Associate in geology at Western Washington University, will discuss how he wrote a geology guide designed for people who are interested in geology but who may have little experience or training in the topic. His talk “Writing a Peoples' Natural History Guidebook: Geology Underfoot in Western Washington,” will be held from  4-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 in the Map Collection (Wilson Library 170).  The presentation is free and open to the public.


Geology Underfoot in Western Washington, published by Mountain Press Publishing, is described by Tucker as a “get-out-of-the-car-and-put-your-hands-on-the-rock sort of guide book,” packed with introductory geologic descriptions, color photographs and diagrams. Included are field trips to places of local renown and interest, such as Artists Point, Larrabee State Park, and a tour of Western's Geology Museum in the hallways of the Environmental Studies Building.


A resident of Bellingham, Tucker has a Masters degree in geology from Western and is a research associate in the Geology Department. He is a director of the Mount Baker Volcano Research Center, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that raises funds to support research at the active volcano and educate the public about volcanic hazards of Mount Baker.


Tucker mapped the distribution of volcanic ash deposits from past eruptions at Mount Baker, and studied other volcanic rocks in the North Cascades. He leads public field trips and gives presentations about the geology of northwest Washington, and is author of a popular blog, Northwest Geology Field Trips:


This special talk is being offered as a “Speaking of Maps” program, which are quarterly talks designed to highlight the use and value of maps in research, in teaching and learning, and in daily life. These talks are held in Western Libraries Map Collection, which is open Mon. - Fri. from 11am to 3pm. 

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One Arctic or Many?

Questioning Boundaries in the Arctic

Join us in Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th floor) on October 22, 2015 from 12pm to 2pm for a special panel discussion about Canada's Arctic. 

 The panel is held in conjunction with a Government of Canada traveling photographic exhibition titled "Canada's Arctic: Vibrant and Thriving," which offers a brief glimpse into the lives of Northerners while showing a perspective of the environment that helps shape and influence this vibrant region.


Featured Panelists: Nadine Fabbi (Managing Director, Canadian Studies Center, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington); Joël Plouffe (École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP) in Montréal); Heather Nicol (Canada Fulbright Chair in Arctic Studies, University of Washington, Trent University Professor for The School of the Environment and The School for the Study of Canada); David Rossiter (Center for Canadian-American Studies, Western Washington University). 

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Grand Opening: Research-Writing Studio

Celebration of New Research-Writing Studio

Research-Writing Studio

The new Research-Writing Studio in Western Libraries will hold a grand opening celebration at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2nd.


The Studio, located on the second floor of the Haggard side of Western Libraries and the Learning Commons, is the new home to Research Consultation and the Writing Center.


Attendees can enjoy refreshments, a ribbon-cutting and a brief program showcasing the vision behind this innovative initiative. The party will also include a celebration of the generous gifts that have made this space a reality.


Those planning to attend the celebration are asked to register online by Sept. 30.

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2016 James W. Scott Research Fellowships

2016 James W. Scott Research Fellowships

Western Washington University’s Center for Pacific Northwest Studies welcomes applications for the James W. Scott Regional Research Fellowships, established to promote awareness and use of archival collections at Western and to forward scholarly understandings of the Pacific Northwest. The fellowships are awarded in honor of the late Dr. James W. (Jim) Scott, a founder and first Director of the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, and a noted scholar of the Pacific Northwest region. The Center for Pacific Northwest Studies is a program of Western Libraries Heritage Resources, located in the Goltz-Murray Archives Building.

About the Fellowships

Up to $1000 funding is available in 2016 to scholars who propose to undertake significant research using archival holdings at CPNWS. The number and size of awards granted annually will be determined by the application review committee. Applications are accepted from individuals in graduate programs (and/or who are new to the field of historical research and writing) as well as those individuals who have finished the Ph.D (and/or are published authors). 

Fellowship Requirements

  • Fellows will be expected to spend at least one week examining CPNWS holdings in support of their research, and to be in residence prior to October 31, 2016. Additional information about CPNWS collections is available at
  • Fellows will be asked to give a presentation about some aspect of their research during the course of their scheduled visit. The audience will vary depending on the time of the year, but may include Western students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the general public.
  • After completing their residency, Fellows will be asked to provide a brief (300-500 word) written statement describing their research and use of CPNWS holdings to support scholarly understandings of the Pacific Northwest. This statement may be quoted from and/or otherwise published by Western Washington University.

Application Information

To apply for Fellowship funds, please submit the following information by November 13, 2015:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Research plan outlining on-site use of CPNWS holdings and proposed presentation topic
  • Two letters of recommendation

To apply via email, please send application materials to and enter “Scott Research Fellowship Application” in the subject line of the message. To apply by postal mail, please send materials to Ruth Steele, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Western Libraries Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, 516 High St. MS 9123, Bellingham, WA 98225-9123.

Applications will be reviewed after November 15, 2015, with announcements of awards expected by December 2015. Funds will be awarded after a Fellow(s) has conducted their research at CPNWS, and delivered their presentation and written statement. Fellowship awards may be subject to taxation in accordance with the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, and applicants are advised that they may need a U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (i.e. SSN or ITIN) to receive funds.


Event Featuring Jessica Arnett (8/14)

Scholar and Fellowship Recipient Jessica Arnett to Speak at WWU about Alaska

Jessica Leslie Arnett, recipient of the 2015 James W. Scott Research Fellowship, will speak about Alaska during an upcoming talk entitled “Between Empires and Frontiers: Sovereignty, Land, Labor, and Belonging in Territorial Alaska” at Western Washington University. This event is free and open to the public, and will take place on Friday, August 14 at 3:00pm in Western Libraries Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th Floor).


Arnett’s research interests were shaped by her own experience of having been raised in south central Alaska from a young age. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Minnesota, a 2015-2016 Andrew Mellon Dissertation Fellow, and a short-term Newberry Library Consortium for American Indian Studies Fellow.


Arnett’s dissertation, “Between Empires and Frontiers: Alaska Native Sovereignty and U.S. Settler Imperialism,” examines territorial Alaska as a geopolitical space in which the legal and political frameworks of settler colonialism and imperialism converged, and also explores how Alaska Natives leveraged the tensions produced by this entanglement in their claims on sovereignty, land, and belonging.


Prior to her talk, Arnett will spend a week at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS) conducting extensive research as part of the opportunity afforded her by the James W. Scott Research Fellowship. This fellowship was established to promote awareness and use of archival collections at Western, and to forward scholarly understandings of the Pacific Northwest. Funds are awarded in honor of the late Dr. James W. (Jim) Scott, noted scholar of the Pacific Northwest region and a founder and first Director of the CPNWS.


For more information about this event or the CPNWS, contact: Ruth Steele, Archivist at the CPNWS, (360) 650-7747,



Kuroneko: a ghost story...Masters of Japanese Cinema

Masters of Japanese Cinema

Masters of Japanese Cinema shines a light on the rich history of Japanese cinema, from old masters such as Ozu, Akira Kurosawa and Naruse, to modern masters such as Miyazaki, Kore-eda, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Curated by Jeff Purdue, a librarian and professor at Western Washington University. In addition to his library duties, he occasionally teaches classes on popular music at Fairhaven College. He is an avid fan and student of Japanese film and popular music.



Showing at Pickford Pickford
  • Tue. 3/12 6 pm

99 minutes • 1968 • Japan • In Japanese w/ English subtitles • Unrated

Film Trailer

PFC's Masters of Japanese Cinema

"A ghost story that's more eerie than unnerving, and often hauntingly lovely." Manohla Dargis, New York Times

In this poetic and atmospheric horror fable, set in a village in war-torn medieval Japan, a malevolent spirit has been ripping out the throats of itinerant samurai. When a military hero is sent to dispatch the unseen force, he finds that he must struggle with his own personal demons as well. From Kaneto Shindo, director of the terror classic Onibaba, Kuroneko (Black Cat) is a spectacularly eerie twilight tale with a shocking feminist angle, evoked through ghostly special effects and exquisite cinematography.

Shindo Kaneto had a long career in the Japanese film industry, starting from humble origins to become one of the premier writers and later directors of the 40s through the 90s.  Shindo died last May at the age of 100!  Of the many films of note that Shindo scripted, perhaps the most memorable is Yoshimura Kozaburo’s A Ball at the Anjo House from 1947, a melodramatic and baroque look at a fading aristocratic family.  As a director, he is probably most famous for Onibaba, an earlier exercise in horror, but he also directed wonderful films like the hard-to-categorize Naked Island and Children of Hiroshima.  Most of these films, Kuroneko included, starred Otowa Nobuko, who was Shindo’s partner and later wife – a wonderful actress, Otowa is an indication of the sheer number of excellent actresses in Japanese film during these years.  Kuroneko is part of the tradition of vengeful spirits horror films in Japan, a tradition that persists to this day (Ringu and Ju-on are famous examples).  This is a gorgeously photographed and haunting film.  Hope to see you all there.

Jeff Purdue


I also want to mention again that in April, we will show Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s remarkable 1986 film, Dust in the Wind.  This film comes with my highest recommendation.  More details to come.

 Finally, I wanted to direct you to a video essay about the Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu.  We featured the Kore-eda film Still Walking three years ago in the first year of the MoJC series; some of you may have been lucky enough to see his most recent film I Wish when that was screened at the Pickford last fall.  Kore-eda is my favorite currently-active Japanese director.  The essay is called “The World according to Kore-eda: How Japan’s modern master revives our taste for everyday life.”  That subtitle exactly expresses my conception of why we value art, and gets to why I personally watch movies, read books, and listen to (and play) music.  I was so moved by this essay when I saw it that I shared it with several friends and thought I would share it with all of you as well.  It takes 10 minutes to watch: I hope you enjoy:

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