Faculty Colloquium: Rebecca Dobkins

Please join us Friday, March 16th, at 3 p.m. in the Hatfield Room for our seventh Faculty Colloquium of this semester.

Presenter: Rebecca Dobkins, Professor of Anthropology

Title: Using Digication for Student Research Projects

Abstract:
Rebecca Dobkins Photo
For many years, I have structured one of the upper division anthropology courses I teach, Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights and the Environment, around student research projects. Students engage in an individual research project on a topic of their choosing, but do so within a learning community of fellow students with intersecting interests. In the final few class sessions, students present their work and I found that Powerpoint did not allow the flexibility the students needed to convey what they had learned, either individually or as a group. With the help of Cheryl Cramer at WITS, I began using Digication as a learning platform for students to build and present their group project. Digication is an e-portfolio tool that Willamette, along with many other universities, has as part of the Google Education suite of tools. In this presentation, I will discuss how my students have used Digication to facilitate both individual and group learning, to teach fellow students (and me) about their research, and to conduct classroom sessions. We’ll take a look at several of the Digication e-portfolios that students have produced and discuss the challenges as well as the successes we have all had in using this tool.

Students are welcome and coffee and treats will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there.

Ellen Eisenberg and Bill Kelm
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Faculty Colloquium: Susan Kephart

Please join us Friday, March 9th, at 3 p.m. in the Hatfield Room for our sixth Faculty Colloquium of this semester.

Presenter: Susan Kephart, Professor of Biology

Title: Stalking the Wild Camas “Lily” Susan Kepart Photo

Abstract: Camassia, “qém’es” or camas lily, includes spectacular, spring-flowering bulbs that still enrich diverse indigenous cultures, and provided a staple food for Willamette Valley Kalapuyans. Camas plants also sustain ecological complexes of pollinators, gophers, and unusual “parasitic” flies. First described in 1813 from specimens collected by Lewis & Clark, they remain challenging scientifically due to extensive variation in form and genetic makeup.

How do we decipher the puzzling variability of this culturally and ecologically significant genus? I will share recent discoveries based on diverse data sets gathered with students, colleagues, and local volunteers. These include new findings with deep historical roots in environments ranging from the Columbia River drainage to the base of Mt. Adams. I will also highlight the field and lab experiments.

Students are welcome and coffee and treats will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there.

Ellen Eisenberg and Bill Kelm
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Dr. Helen Pearce Papers

Helen Pearce attended Willamette University as part of the class of 1915. Pearce went on to earn a master’s degree in 1926 from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a doctorate in English literature in 1930 at the University of California, Berkeley. Pearce taught English at Willamette from 1920 to 1955 while also earning her advanced degrees. She became the first woman graduate of Willamette to earn a doctorate. She served as the head of the Willamette English Department for fifteen years before her retirement in 1955 when she received Professor Emeritus status.

The Helen Pearce papers consist primarily of photographs of Willamette University’s campus dating from approximately the 1950s; photographs of herself from around the same time; and photographs of May Weekend from the early 20th century, possibly from her time as a student. Other material includes her diplomas and certificates granted by Willamette University; her transcripts; a letter from her father, George J. Pearce, to Willamette President John Coleman in 1906 regarding a spade contributed by his company to break ground on the Kimball School of Theology; an unbound copy of Helen Pearce’s dissertation; and various Willamette programs.

 

Dr. Helen Pearce         Eaton Hall 

Baxter Hall and Willamette University sign


Faculty Colloquium: Stephen Patterson

Please join us Friday, March 2nd, at 3 p.m. in the Hatfield Room for our fifth Faculty Colloquium of this semester.

Presenter: Stephen Patterson, George H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies

Title: “Here Come the Androgynes! A Forgotten Episode In Ancient Christianity.”

Abstract: Before early Christians said anything new about God, Jesus, death, resurrection, eternal life or sin, they said something new about gender: There is no male and female. Yes, the followers of Jesus dabbled in strategic androgyny. And I’ve got pictures!

Students are welcome and coffee and treats will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there.

Ellen Eisenberg and Bill Kelm
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Faculty Colloquium: DeLessio-Parson

Please join us Friday, February 23rd, at 3 p.m. in the Hatfield Room for our fourth Faculty Colloquium of this semester.

Presenter: Anne DeLessio-Parson, Visiting Instructor Sociology Anne DeLessio-Parson Photo

Title: “Conceptualizing Eating for Liberation: A Participatory Action Project”

Abstract: Structures of power and oppression impede collective responses to the unfolding climate crisis. When we want to take action as individuals, it can be challenging to determine where to focus our efforts. Food as a medium for motivating action holds enormous potential to drive social change: food is a universal human need, and the act of eating invites us into a conversation when we sit down to share the table. In this talk, I will present the framework for Eating for Liberation 2018, a food-focused participatory action project. This project invites participants to develop their food philosophies and consider how individual choices relate to collective patterns of consumption, thought, and movement. By bringing together readings from across disciplines, it also provides a space for synthesis and the cultivation of critical consciousness. I will also reflect on the ways that social network theory informs project concept and study design. We are also still seeking participants, you may go to http://www.eatingforliberation.com/ to learn more.

Students are welcome and coffee and treats will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there.

Ellen Eisenberg and Bill Kelm
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Faculty Colloquium: David Altman

Please join us on Friday, February 9th, at 3:30 p.m. in Collins 318 for our third Faculty Colloquium of this semester.

Presenter: David Altman, Associate Professor of Physics
David Altman Photo
Title: Regulation of the Motor Protein Myosin in a Cell

The inside of a cell is both incredibly crowded and extremely organized. It is the organization within a cell that allows it to be an exciting environment capable of the functions associated with life. Important players in a cell’s ability to stay ordered are motor proteins. These microscopic engines allow a cell to transport, compartmentalize, and arrange its components by generating force and creating motion. In this talk, I will discuss work both conducted in my lab and with collaborating labs to understand how the motor protein myosin is regulated in a cell. I will highlight studies that span many scales of size and complexity, from single motor studies of purified proteins to investigations of the mechanical properties of muscle fibers.

To account for other science lectures on campus please note the special start time and location. Students are welcome and coffee and treats will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there.

Ellen Eisenberg and Bill Kelm
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Archives and Social Justice

Please join us Tuesday, February 6, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Room to hear Natalia Fernández present on the topic of “Archives and Social Justice: The Archivist as Activist.” Drawing from her professional experiences curating the Oregon State University Oregon Multicultural Archives, as well as co-founding the OSU Queer Archives, Fernández’s lecture is an exploration and reflection of what it means to be an “activist archivist” both in theory and in practice.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.
Please encourage your students to attend!

Sponsored by the History Department and Willamette University’s Archives and Special Collections with funding provided by Willamette’s Mellon-funded Learning By Creating initiative. Natalia Fernández Photo

In addition to the public lecture, Fernández will meet with students enrolled in HIST 221 (American History Workshop) to conduct an interactive workshop designed to introduce students to the methodologies of building an archive. She will speak about collaborating with local and regional communities to build partnerships utilizing non-traditional methods to ensure that historical records are preserved and remain accessible over the long term.

About the Speaker: Natalia Fernández is an associate professor and the Curator and Archivist of the Oregon Multicultural Archives (OMA) and the OSU Queer Archives (OSQA) at the Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center. Fernández’s mission for directing the OMA and the OSQA is to work in collaboration with Oregon’s African American, Asian American, Latino/a, Native American, and OSU’s LGBTQ+ communities to support them in preserving their histories and sharing their stories. Her scholarship relates to her work as an archivist, specifically best practices for working with communities of color. Fernández has published in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, Journal of Western Archives, The American Archivist, Multicultural Perspectives, and Archival Practice. Fernández holds an M.A. in Information Resources and Library Science from the University of Arizona (U of A). She graduated from the U of A Knowledge River Program, a program that focuses on community-based librarianship and partnerships with traditionally underserved communities.


The Moral Re-Armament Movement: Religion or Cult?

By Clara Sims, Archives and History Department Intern, Fall 2017

What distinguishes a religion from a cult? The line between the two is both contested and blurry, and to answer this question more often than not is to identify who is doing the labeling and what interests of political legitimacy does such labeling serve.

Moral Re-Armament pamphlet page 1

Moral Re-Armament pamphlet page 2A little known religious movement of the World War II era, Moral Re-Armament, is one such movement that walked the line between being perceived as religiously legitimate or controversial and cult-like. It was an international and non-denominational spiritual movement that gained considerable popularity in the United States, as people hoped to prevent horrors of international conflict like those experienced in the first half of the century. Moral Re-Armament strove to inspire a civilization-wide moral revolution with the belief that the seeds of war lie first and foremost in the hearts of men. For over a decade MRA embarked on an energetic journey, made up primarily of young volunteers, to spread its message of absolute morality through original musical plays that travelled across the United States and Western Europe. These plays highlighted how to build relationships of understanding and unity between historically conflicting groups, ranging from the infighting of the family unit to bridging divides between labor and management.

After the unprecedented atrocities of World War II, it is not hard to imagine why the participants of MRA would come to the conclusion that society was in desperate need of a moral re-awakening. Its plays were filled with urgent calls to patriotism and for Americans everywhere to “Wake up!” and come together “or hate and greed will pull the country apart!” Yet the controversial practices of MRA often highlighted in its coverage, such as public confessions, meant that MRA was often cast in a light of religious extremism. But is it fair or useful to remember MRA or its followers in this way?

You Can Defend America cast

You Can Defend America cast photo

In the firsthand accounts of Stella Douglas, a young woman who spent eleven years as a full-time volunteer with MRA, it becomes clear that generalizations about MRA – what it was and its effectiveness – are inadequate in the face of her lived experience. Stella proves in her reflections about MRA to be far from an adherent of “blind faith” or religious extremism.

Rather, in various moments throughout her reflections on MRA, she was not afraid to critique and renounce aspects of MRA even as she defended the movement as a whole. The complexity of engagement in Stella’s reflections on MRA suggest the nature of religious identity is full of conflicts, contradictions, and convictions that go far beyond the reductionist label of  “extremist” or “cult”.

In her writings Stella never abandoned the conviction that a moral revolution was necessary. It is clear that she, along with many of her generation, felt deep unease about the declining morality of western civilization – which she described as selfishness and “dangerous disengagement from the pain of other men.” However, Stella questioned the usefulness of a religious-based morality to accomplish the task of inspiring the empathy and selflessness among men that would lead society towards unity, peace, and tolerance. The daily practice of listening to the voice of God was one of the central practices of MRA, but Stella believed that God was not necessary to alert men to the moral truths of human dignity and respect. Though Stella certainly never went so far as to associate MRA with a cult, she feared that such religious emphasis had the potential to slip too easily toward dogma and away from the diversity and tolerance championed at the heart of MRA’s original vision.

Stella Douglas

Stella Douglas and a friend

Her questions about religion and God ultimately led Stella away from MRA and toward civil rights activism later in life. Nevertheless, she found immense value in the fact that MRA was grappling with solutions to these timeless questions of nature and morality, even as she herself outgrew its tenets and practices. For Stella, MRA had the potential to be a powerful and positive force for change if it had only been able to hold fast to its principles and not succumb to the safeness of conformity. Instead of naming names and “rocking the ship of the state,” MRA soon became focused on its own prestige and popularity, only providing people easy, inoffensive but false answers to the moral crisis of civilization. In this way MRA became exclusive and ineffective to Stella but never crossed the line into religious extremism or cult-like behavior.

MRA, which disbanded in the mid 1960s, may not have ultimately succeeded in changing the world, but its impact remained in the beliefs that informed the lives of its followers.  Stella carried forward into the rest of her life, as she became an artist, activist, and caretaker, the questions that MRA inspired. Stella continued to defend the MRA community, advocating that no one should be pigeon holed as “typecast models of unquestioning faith.” Rather she believed MRA’s community, as in all religious movements, were full of highly diverse and complex individuals whose commitment to a moral ideology “did not preserve them from inner conflict.” Stella’s open-minded and constant search to understand and give credit to the complexity of MRA, and the positive goals it maintained, provides an example of how our identities, whether they be religious or political, cannot and should not be simplified. In our own time of extreme divisiveness, we would do well to look behind labels used to stereotype groups such as “cult” and “extremist,” as they are all too often misapplied.

Citation: Sack, Daniel. Moral re-armament: the reinventions of an American religious movement. Springer, 2009, 123.


Stella Douglas Papers on Moral Re-Armament

Moral Re-Armament was an international and non-denominational spiritual movement founded by American minister Frank Buchman in 1938. Moral Re-Armament called for a moral reawakening of nations based on the conviction by Buchman and his followers that the root cause of international conflict was essentially a moral problem.

The Stella Douglas papers on Moral Re-Armament consist of correspondence, personal writings, photographs, scrapbooks, Moral Re-Armament publications, address books, and newspaper clippings, covering the years 1944-1978. Items of note include letters and writings that specifically address Douglas’ participation in and ideas about the Moral Re-Armament program. These letters and writings include reflections on MRA leaders Frank Buchman and Peter Howard, but the majority include Douglas’ ideas about MRA’s ideology and practices.

For more information about Moral Re-Armament and this collection, please see the finding aid.

Additional insight into Stella Douglas’ views on the Moral Re-Armament movement can be found in this blog post by Clara Sims, WU Archives and History Department Intern for Fall 2017.

Moral Re-Armament pamphlet page 1

Moral Re-Armament pamphlet

Moral Re-Armament pamphlet page 2

Moral Re-Armament pamphlet

You Can Defend America cast

You Can Defend America cast photo

Stella Douglas and a friend


Faculty Colloquium: Patricia Varas

Please join us next Friday, February 2nd, at 3 p.m. in the Hatfield Room for our second Faculty Colloquium of this semester.

Presenter: Patricia Varas, Professor of Spanish Patricia Varas Picture

Title: “Ramón Díaz Eterovic: Dealing with the Trauma of the Pinochet Years through Detective Fiction”

The new detective novel in Latin America or neopoliciaco has become the new social novel for many critics. In Chile, it has developed into one of the preferred genres to rescue the past and recollect the years of the dictatorship and its consequences. I will briefly discuss three novels by Ramón Díaz Eterovic in his Heredia series and analyze how they explain “the relationship between the configuration of the historical memory and the description of society during the dictatorship and its following years” (Díaz Eterovic 664).

Students are welcome and coffee and treats will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there.

Ellen Eisenberg and Bill Kelm
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators