UW News

Social science


March 28, 2018

UW historian Michael Honey recalls Martin Luther King’s message of economic justice in new book, ‘To the Promised Land’

Michael Honey, author of "To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice."

As the 50th anniversary approaches of the murder of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, UW historian Michael Honey reminds us in a new book that economic justice and labor rights were always part of King’s progressive message.


March 21, 2018

Partnering with indigenous communities to anticipate and adapt to ocean change

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With a new $700,000 grant awarded from the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, scientists from the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory, Washington Sea Grant and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean have teamed with federal and tribal partners to study the social and ecological vulnerabilities of Olympic Coast ocean acidification.


March 15, 2018

New minor recognizes, celebrates Pacific Islander community

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The University of Washington’s new minor in Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies debuts spring quarter. The 25-credit, interdisciplinary program is the result of a longtime effort to elevate the history and culture of an underrepresented, and often misrepresented, community.


March 14, 2018

Could anti-Trump sentiment mobilize African-American voters in 2018?

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African-American voters who dislike and feel threatened by Donald Trump and his presidency are more likely to vote and to engage with politics, according to new research from the UW and California State University, Sacramento.


March 12, 2018

UW study offers help to soldiers with signs of PTSD

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The University of Washington is launching a study to identify soldiers experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms and to determine whether free, confidential, over-the-phone counseling can help them navigate resources and spur them to seek further support.


March 9, 2018

How social networks help perpetuate the ‘Cycle of Segregation’

Kyle Crowder is co-author of "Cycle of Segregation."

  Think about the last time you looked for a new apartment or house. Maybe you asked your friends or colleagues about where they lived. You thought about your route to work, or that neighborhood you always drive through on your way to your kid’s soccer practice. Many of these places were familiar to you,…


March 8, 2018

‘Trump in the World’: Jackson School faculty give public talks through spring quarter

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The UW Jackson School of International Studies presents “Trump in the World: International Implications of the Trump presidency,” a series of public lectures and discussions Tuesday afternoons through spring quarter.


UW political scientist Megan Ming Francis named fellow with NAACP’s Thurgood Marshall Institute

UW political science associate professor Megan Ming Francis. Story is that she has been named a fellow of the NAACP's Thurgood Marshall Institute.

Megan Ming Francis, UW associate professor of political science, has been named a fellow with the Thurgood Marshall Institute. The institute is a multidisciplinary research and advocacy policy center within the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund.


March 7, 2018

Is there a glass ceiling in academic publishing?

Student researchers at the Molecular and Cellular Biology Lab

A University of Washington study finds that women authors are significantly under-represented in high-profile academic journals.


March 5, 2018

Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies to hold ‘Re-imagining Solidarity’ conference March 10

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Immigrant rights, environmental concerns and racial, class, gender and sexual justice will be the focus of a daylong conference hosted by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies March 10 at the UW.


March 1, 2018

Tri-campus survey aims to identify student struggles with housing, food costs

The housing and food survey is open to any UW student age 18 or older.

    In a region as expensive as the Puget Sound, making ends meet affects college students, too. Rent, utilities and food can run into the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month – and for students without the means, it’s a daunting and sometimes compromising challenge. Urban@UW is trying to learn more about…


February 27, 2018

Mining memories for stories of ‘real black grandmothers’

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LaShawnDa Pittman, a UW assistant professor of American Ethnic Studies, is collecting stories of African-American grandmothers, past and present, on her Real Black Grandmothers website.


February 22, 2018

New curriculum prioritizes tribal sovereignty, cultural respect in scientific research of American Indian, Alaska Native communities

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    When scientists have conducted research in Native American communities, the process and the results have sometimes been controversial. There have been a few well-known cases, such as the 1979 Barrow Alcohol Study, in which researchers examined substance use in the tiny Arctic Circle town and issued findings to the press, before briefing the…


February 21, 2018

A talk with UW historian Quintard Taylor: Taking ‘the long view’ in troubled times

Quintard Taylor giving the 2016 Denny Lecture at the Museum of History and Industry, Seattle, Washington on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Quintard Taylor, UW professor emeritus of history and recipient of a lifetime achievement honor from Washington State Historical Society, discusses his work and this unusual moment in American history.


January 31, 2018

Reconstructing an ancient lethal weapon

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    Archaeologists are a little like forensic investigators: They scour the remains of past societies, looking for clues in pottery, tools and bones about how people lived, and how they died. And just as detectives might re-create the scene of a crime, University of Washington archaeologists have re-created the weapons used by hunter-gatherers in…


January 30, 2018

Depression, anxiety affect more than one-fourth of state’s college students

A study of college students from around the state shows the prevalence of depression and anxiety. Suicide prevention advocates say this illustrates the need for more mental health resources on campuses.

  Nearly one-third of Washington college students have experienced depression in the last year, and more than 10 percent have had thoughts of suicide, according to a new survey of young adults attending schools around the state. The survey of more than 10,000 students at 13 of Washington’s two- and four-year institutions shows the need…


January 25, 2018

Dan Berger discusses excesses of incarceration in new book ‘Rethinking the American Prison Movement’

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Dan Berger, associate professor in the UW Bothell School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, discusses his new book, “Rethinking the American Prison Movement.”


January 18, 2018

Civil War-era U.S. Navy ships’ logs to be explored for climate data, maritime history

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A new grant will let a University of Washington-based project add a new fleet to its quest to learn more about past climate from the records of long-gone mariners. The UW is among the winners of the 2017 “Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives” awards, announced Jan. 4 by the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Library…


January 16, 2018

Task interrupted: A plan for returning helps you move on

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Get interrupted at work much? Making a quick plan for returning to and completing the task you’re leaving will help you focus better on the interrupting work, according to new research from the University of Washington.


A ‘touching sight’: How babies’ brains process touch builds foundations for learning

A 7-month-old baby sits in the Magnetoencephalography machine at the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. An I-LABS study shows how babies' brains register "felt touch" and "observed touch."

  Touch is the first of the five senses to develop, yet scientists know far less about the baby’s brain response to touch than to, say, the sight of mom’s face, or the sound of her voice. Now, through the use of safe, new brain imaging techniques, University of Washington researchers provide one of the…


January 11, 2018

Can the president really do that? Two UW law professors give answers in new book

University of Washington law professors Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts have published a new book as the anniversary of President Trump's inauguration approaches. "The Limits of Presidential Power: A Citizen's Guide to the Law" is available on Amazon.

Can the president single-handedly toss out environmental rules designed to combat global warming? Force states like Washington to help enforce federal immigration laws? Fire Robert Mueller? No, no, and not directly, say Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts, professors of law at the University of Washington, in a new book. The answers, of course, are more complicated…


January 5, 2018

UW ranks No. 5 nationally for social science research funding

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    The University of Washington is ranked fifth among more than 400 U.S. colleges and universities for social science research funding, according to a new report. The Consortium of Social Science Association’s 2018 College and University Rankings for Federal Social and Behavioral Science R&D was released this week. The UW, with $38.6 million in…


January 4, 2018

New book ‘City Unsilenced’ explores protest and public space

"City Unsilenced: Urban Resistance and Public Space in the Age of Shrinking Democracy," edited by the UW's Jeff Hou, with Sabine Knierbein, was published by Routledge

Jeff Hou, UW professor of landscape architecture, discusses the new book he co-edited with Sabine Knierbein, “City Unsilenced: Urban Resistance and Public Space in the Age of Shrinking Democracy.”


December 21, 2017

Promoting self-esteem among African-American girls through racial, cultural connections

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    For African-American students, data, alongside societal attitudes and stereotypes, often present a negative picture: a wide academic achievement gap separating them from their white peers. Higher rates of discipline and absenteeism. Discrimination by other students, teachers and the larger community. And just last summer, a study indicated that black girls, from an early…


December 6, 2017

Martin Luther, Steve Jobs and aspirational faith: Q & A with UW sociologist Steve Pfaff on ‘The Spiritual Virtuoso’

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Alongside the political polarization that has permeated seemingly every issue in American life, there is a similar dichotomy in religion.On one side are those who suggest religion is dying, that’s it’s irrelevant, a force for ill and oppression, explains University of Washington sociology professor Steve Pfaff. On the other are those who say religion is…


November 30, 2017

Explore India’s ‘informal economies’ at symposium Dec. 1-2

A symposium will examine the lives of workers in India's "informal economies." Here, a woman known as Aunty Mummy is considered a go-to person in her village.

The labor of India’s lower castes — in areas such as agriculture, transportation, construction and the sex trade — occupies about 90 percent of the country’s workforce. Many of these urban jobs draw workers from rural villages, people who struggle to make a living not only for themselves, but also for the relatives they’ve left…


November 28, 2017

UW students win Amazon’s inaugural Alexa Prize for most engaging socialbot

The UW Sounding Board team (left to right: Hao Fang, Hao Cheng, Ari Holtzman, Mari Ostendorf, Maarten Sap, Elizabeth Clark, Yejin Choi) wins Amazon's first Alexa Prize.

A team of University of Washington students and faculty has won Amazon’s inaugural Alexa Prize, a university competition designed to produce an artificial intelligence agent capable of coherent and sustained conversation with humans.


November 27, 2017

UW’s Doorway Project kicks off services for homeless youth

The University District includes a significant portion of King County's homeless youth population. A new effort by the University of Washington aims to help homeless young people become more self-sufficient.

  Seattle’s homeless crisis isn’t confined to one part of town – nor does it hinge on one solution. The University District community includes as much as one-third of King County’s homeless youth over any given year. It’s a neighborhood where a food bank and youth shelter are available, and where young people on the…


November 22, 2017

Two UW professors named to the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare

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Edwina Uehara, dean of the University of Washington School of Social Work, and social work professor Karen Fredriksen Goldsen have been named fellows of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. The two are among 14 new fellows to be inducted by the organization, which honors scholarship, leadership and high-impact work in the…


November 21, 2017

Pitch imperfect? How the brain decodes pitch may improve cochlear implants

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    Picture yourself with a friend in a crowded restaurant. The din of other diners, the clattering of dishes, the muffled notes of background music, the voice of your friend, not to mention your own – all compete for your brain’s attention. For many people, the brain can automatically distinguish the noises, identifying the…


November 15, 2017

What counts as nature? It all depends

The environment we grow up with informs how we define "nature," UW psychology professor Peter Kahn says. Encounters with truly wild places inspire people to preserve them.

    Think, for a moment, about the last time you were out in nature. Were you in a city park? At a campground? On the beach? In the mountains? Now consider: What was this place like in your parents’ time? Your grandparents’? In many cases, the parks, beaches and campgrounds of today are surrounded…


November 13, 2017

New tool quantifies power imbalance between female and male characters in Hollywood movie scripts

graphic showing power comparisons between Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen with Cinderella

UW researchers who used machine learning tools to analyze language in 800 Hollywood movie scripts found subtle but widespread gender bias in the way male and female characters are portrayed.


November 2, 2017

How air pollution clouds mental health

A University of Washington study finds that people who live in areas with high levels of air pollution also report higher levels of psychological distress.

  There is little debate over the link between air pollution and the human respiratory system: Research shows that dirty air can impair breathing and aggravate various lung diseases. Other potential effects are being investigated, too, as scientists examine connections between toxic air and obesity, diabetes and dementia. Now add to that list psychological distress,…


October 26, 2017

Serious study of comic art: International conference comes to UW Nov. 2-4

"My Favorite Thing is Monsters," by conference participant Emil Ferris, published by Seattle's Fantagraphics Books.

Comics and graphic can be serious business. Scholars, critics, historians, teachers, curators of comic art and graphic publications will gather at the UW and locations in Seattle Nov. 2-4 for the 2017 International Comic Arts Forum.


October 25, 2017

UW among top 10 in US News Best Global Universities ranking; No. 2 among US public institutions

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The University of Washington climbed to the No. 10 spot on the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities rankings, tied with Johns Hopkins University and Yale University. The UW is now second among American public institutions — an improvement from last year’s No. 3 slot. “I am proud to see the University of…


October 16, 2017

Tweeting rage: How immigration policies can polarize public discourse

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  Before a border wall became a budget bargaining chip, before the presidential pardon of a controversial sheriff and before federal policies were announced on social media, there was Arizona Senate Bill 1070, the “show me your papers” law. And of course, there was Twitter. To René D. Flores, an assistant professor of sociology at…


October 12, 2017

Using Facebook data as a real-time census

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    Determining how many people live in Seattle, perhaps of a certain age, perhaps from a specific country, is the sort of question that finds its answer in the census, a massive data dump for places across the country. But just how fresh is that data? After all, the census is updated once a…


October 11, 2017

In Seattle, cost of meeting basic needs up $30,000 in a decade

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A Seattle family of four must bring in $75,000 annually to pay for basic housing, food, transportation and health and child care – an increase of 62 percent since 2006, based on a new report from the University of Washington. The city’s escalating cost of living may not be a surprise. But across the state,…


October 4, 2017

Asking kids about drugs doesn’t prompt drug use, study finds

A University of Washington study has found that asking preteens about substance use doesn't prompt them to try alcohol, tobacco or drugs.

    It is an oft-repeated fear, particularly among parents: that discussing an undesirable behavior, or even an illegal or dangerous one, may encourage kids to try it. But when it comes to asking pre-teens about alcohol, drug and tobacco use, a University of Washington-led study finds no evidence that children will, as a consequence…


September 26, 2017

Scientists come to the aid of Puerto Rican community, research station

The Cayo Santiago Research Station in Puerto Rico was heavily damaged by Hurricane Maria, which destroyed the buildings, feeding corrals, and all but one of the water cisterns necessary to support a free-ranging population of monkeys. A University of Washington faculty member is among the researchers who study there and are mobilizing a relief effort for the community.

    Researchers from the University of Washington and seven other institutions are working together to restore a Puerto Rican research station and its nearby community following the damage wrought last week by Hurricane Maria. The research station known as Monkey Island is located on Cayo Santiago, off the southeast coast of mainland Puerto Rico,…



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