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Deborah Lipstadt to Speak at WWU Nov. 15

Posted on: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 10:33am

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Deborah Lipstadt to Speak at WWU Nov. 15 for 'History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving'

Western Washington University’s Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity and the Western Foundation will host Deborah Lipstadt, the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, from 7:30-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15 on the main stage of  the WWU Performing Arts Center.

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for entrance; they will be available from the Western Box Office in the Performing Arts Center, or they can be reserved online at

Lipstadt will present “History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving,” in which she will recount the story of her libel trial in London against right-wing extremist David Irving. In her 1993 book “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory,” Lipstadt had called Irving a Holocaust denier, and by the end of the trial, which lasted over five years, the judge found on Lipstadt’s behalf and labelled him not only a denier but a racist, a falsifier of history, and an antisemite. His later appeal of the verdict was rejected. The trial was described by the Daily Telegraph (London) as “having done for the new century what the Nuremberg tribunals or the Eichmann trial did for earlier generations.”

Lipstadt’s 2005 book on the trial, “History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving,” was made into a movie, “Denial,” in 2016 starring Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt. Lipstadt is  also the author of “Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1933-1945” (1986) and “The Eichmann Trial” (2011).

For more information on Lipstadt’s lecture, contact Western Washington University’s Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity at (360) 650-7427 or

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Defining Antisemitism and Why it Matters

Posted on: Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 2:48pm

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Mark Weitzman to Discuss ‘Defining Antisemitism and Why it Matters’ 

Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, will give a talk entitled “Defining antisemitism and why it matters,” at Western Washington University on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 in Academic West Room 204 at 4:00 p.m. as part of continued efforts to implement recommendations from the University’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Antisemitism. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Weitzman is a member of the official US delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Authority (IHRA) where he chairs the Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial. He spearheaded IHRA’s recent adoption of the Working Definition of Antisemitism, which is the first definition of antisemitism with any formal status, and was the lead author of IHRA’s Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion, which was also adopted by the 31 member countries of IHRA.

During his talk, Weitzman will introduce the working definition of antisemitism that the Task Force is moving forward with in implementing recommendations. Dr. Sue Guenter-Schlesinger (Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity & Employment Diversity at Western), will introduce Weitzman and provide an update on the work of the Task Force. Weitzman’s presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.

Currently, Weitzman is a participant in the program on Religion and Foreign Policy of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a board member and former Vice-President of the Association of Holocaust Organizations and was member of the advisory board of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy at Yale University, as well as a longtime member of the official Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Group of New York.

The author of numerous publications, Weitzman co-edited Antisemitism, The Generic Hatred: Essays in Memory of Simon Wiesenthal, which won the 2007 National Jewish Book Award in the category of anthologies. He is also the co-author of Dismantling the Big Lie: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The talk is sponsored by: the Provost’s Office, the Equal Opportunity Office, Western Libraries, and The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity. 

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Unfreedom: Slavery & Dependence in 18th-Century Boston

Posted on: Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 11:01am

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Jared Hardesty to Discuss ‘Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston’ 

Western Washington University Associate Professor of History Jared Ross Hardesty will discuss his recent book, Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston, (New York: NYU Press, 2016) on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Western Libraries Reading Room (Wilson Library 4th Floor Central).

The presentation is free and open to the public.

Hardesty’s talk will explore the lives and worlds of enslaved Bostonians in the eighteenth century, reconstructing a world of "unfreedom" that stretched from Europe to Africa to America. Boston’s slaves lived in this place that was characterized by many different forms of dependence and oppression, including Indian slavery, indentured servitude, and apprenticeship.

By reassessing the lives of Boston’s slave population as part of a social order structured by ties of dependence, Hardesty not only demonstrates how African slaves were able to decode their new homeland and shape the terms of their enslavement, but also tells the story of how marginalized peoples ingrained themselves in the very fabric of colonial American society.

Hardesty is Associate Professor of History at Western Washington University, where he is a scholar of colonial America, the Atlantic world, and the histories of labor and slavery. His articles and book reviews have appeared in Early American StudiesSlavery & Abolition, The Journal of Early American History, The William and Mary Quarterly, The New England Quarterly, Itinerario, and Common-place. Beyond his publications, Hardesty’s work has been recognized with grants and fellowships, and he is currently working on a monograph exploring the intersection of labor and empire in the early modern Atlantic world.

This special talk is offered as part of the Western Libraries Reading Series, which began in 1997 and is now celebrating its 20th anniversary! The Western Libraries Reading Series is dedicated to showcasing the scholarly and creative work of Western faculty and staff by featuring diverse speakers from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines who are engaged in research, writing, and teaching at Western.

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Hop-Picking Cultures & the Perils of Diversity in the PNW

Posted on: Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 10:44am

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Ryan Dearinger to Speak About the Shifting Cultural Bridges in the Pacific Northwest through an Examination of the Regional Hop Industry

Eastern Oregon University Professor of History Ryan Dearinger will give a talk entitled “Dirty Work: Hop-Picking Cultures and the Perils of Diversity in the Pacific Northwest” at Western Washington University from 4:00-5:00pm on Wednesday, Oct. 25 in Western Libraries Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th floor). The event is free and open to the public.

Dearinger’s research incorporates a regional lens to examine conflicts over race, class, labor, immigration, and national belonging. In his talk, he will explore the shifting cultural bridges and walls of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century U.S. West through a close examination of the hop industry in the Pacific Northwest.

The early Pacific Northwest hop industry featured a seasonal, low-wage labor force that was notable for its diversity. Americans, American Indians, European and Asian immigrants, children, entire families, tourists, convicts, and even prisoners of war toiled as hop-pickers throughout the region. In turn, settled and itinerant populations from the Puget Sound to the Willamette Valley (and beyond) carved out spaces, constructed cultural traditions and identities, and created sites of inclusion despite the persistent segregation of fields, tasks, and opportunities. Over time, the cyclical boom-and-bust nature of the hop industry, shifting ideas about the value of hop-picking, and popular narratives of white American labor, citizenship, and progress merged with ongoing anti-immigrant campaigns to physically and metaphorically transform the Northwest’s hop fields.

Through his analysis of labor protests, riots, and violence, along with community reactions to each, Dearinger’s research unpacks the ways in which diversity morphed from an opportunity into a threat in Northwest, underscoring the challenges faced by native and immigrant laborers in the changing Pacific Northwest.  Dearinger explores the painstaking labor required to destroy some cultural bridges, and build, justify, and reinforce new cultural walls.

Dearinger’s book, The Filth of Progress: Immigrants, Americans, and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the West, was published in 2016 by the University of California Press and received the 2017 Best First Book Award from Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society. Dearinger joined Eastern Oregon University’s history department in 2009. His research and teaching interests include the American West and the Pacific Northwest; immigration; race and ethnicity; labor and working-class history; environmental history; and violence in American history. 

This talk is offered as part of the Heritage Resources Distinguished Speakers program. 

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Library Closed to the Public September 11th

Posted on: Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 9:44am


Library Closed to the Public September 11th for Staff Development Day

Western Libraries will hold its annual Staff Development Day on Monday, September 11, 2017. In order to provide an opportunity for as many of our staff members as possible to participate, (including the Libraries’ student employees), Western Libraries will close to patrons on this day.

During the past several years, employees within the Libraries have actively engaged in conversations and planning in order to create a more inclusive environment, to give student employees a stronger voice in the library, and to serve patrons better.

Last year’s Development Day theme was entitled “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” This year’s Development Day is  a continuation of this work and the professional development activities planned for the day are intended to continue important conversations, build a better understanding about diversity and inclusion, and improve Libraries staff members’ daily interactions with their colleagues and the community they serve.

Western Libraries is committed to creating and supporting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for its employees and patrons. Recognizing that effective implementation of organizational and professional development must also be inclusive, the Libraries one-day closure will enable all of its students, staff, and faculty to participate in the professional development opportunities planned for this day.

For more information about the Libraries commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion or if you have any questions, please contact