CAS Connection: Nov-Dec 2023

November/December 2023

In Focus  |  Around CAS  |  Liberal Arts at Large  |  Q&A  |  In the News  |               
Student Spotlight  |  Faculty Spotlight  |  Page Turners  |  Past Issues

In Focus

Student Unearths Explosive Evidence

While cruising the Pacific Ocean looking for deep-sea creatures to study, a UO undergraduate researcher got more than he bargained for—rare ash samples from an underwater volcanic eruption 62 miles away.

Read about the Research

Student and professor analyze ash particles

REEES speaker

Around CAS

Rethinking Russian Studies

As Russia continues to wage war on Ukraine, UO faculty are joining a global effort to decolonize Russian and Slavic studies. By shining a spotlight on Ukraine and other former colonies, they're celebrating the resilience of the human spirit.

Read about the Program

Charlie Ila Photo

Liberal Arts at Large

Giving Peace a Chance

The UO is one of the top 25 higher ed institutions in the US for producing Peace Corps volunteers. For these two CAS students, the Peace Corps is about joining a global community and using their liberal arts degree in a meaningful, life-changing way.

Read about Their Adventure

Ernesto Javier Martínez


Turning Pain into Power: Meet Ernesto Javier Martínez

Growing up in a violent neighborhood, Ernesto Javier Martínez experienced the bullying that often robs queer Latinx youth of the ability to make sense of their lives. The award-winning author and filmmaker now uses storytelling to transform his own pain into healing for the students and communities he serves.

"Queer adults have not often had pleasant childhoods in homophobic societies," he says. "Writing stories that center queer youth presents an opportunity to look back on our own lives and heal."

Read about Martínez

Mindfulness Yoga

Around CAS

Free Your Mind—and Peace Will Follow

Mindfulness is a theme of one of the most popular elective courses at the UO, taught by David McCormick, director of the Institute of Neuroscience. Discover how a mindfulness routine can help you—and how you can get started.

Read about Mindfulness

Eliza Aronson Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Liberal Arts Without Borders

These College of Arts and Sciences students took their education to new frontiers, from podcasting about marine plankton, to sipping iced espresso in a small Italian town, to discussing literature with authors in Berlin.

Read about Our Students

UOO Duck

Quack Quiz

What does the fruit fly have in common with humans?




Page Turners

'Red Leviathan' Explores the History of Soviet Whaling

While conducting research on the Russian fur trade, Department of History Professor Ryan Tucker Jones kept encountering whales, both in literature and in real life. Upon learning that the Soviet Union had conducted a massive illegal whaling campaign in the 20th century, he knew he had something important to write about.   

Book cover: Red Leviathan

His resulting book, Red Leviathan: The Secret History of Soviet Whaling, was shortlisted in June for the prestigious Pushkin House Book Prize and won the John Lyman Book Award from the North American Society for Oceanic History in 2022. 

“Because Soviet whale scientists had access to so many dead whales—more, really, than scientists anywhere else in the world—they were able to study the animals in exceptional detail,” Jones says. "Their observations led them to claim, very early on, that whales were actually exceptionally intelligent."

Read about Red Leviathan


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