Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

College of Liberal Arts News

Joan Roughgarden, courtesy of the speaker 

Lecture marks 20 years of women’s and gender studies at Willamette

To commemorate 20 years of women’s and gender studies at Willamette, the department presented “Sexual Selection’s Changing Definitions and the Social Selection Challenge” recently in Willamette University College of Law’s Paulus Lecture Hall. 

In this free lecture, Stanford emeritus professor of biology Joan Roughgarden challenged neo-Darwinian sexual selection, instead offering social-selection theory. According to Roughgarden, social selection’s perspective on reproduction considers “social bonds that enable successful offspring rearing.”

Coming out as a transsexual woman in 1998, Roughgarden also wrote “Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist,” in which she offers “an elegant, deeply satisfying reconciliation of the theory of evolution and the wisdom of the Bible.”

In 2006, Roughgarden discussed these issues at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies with Richard Dawkins, Carolyn Porco and Francisco Ayala on The Science Network’s “Beyond Belief.”

Quest for meaning portrayed in "Adding Machine: A Musical" at Willamette

Joellen Sweeney '14, a theater major, rehearses for the production of Joellen Sweeney '14, a theater major, rehearses for the production of "Adding Machine: A Musical."

For 25 years, Mr. Zero chugged along unthinkingly at his job adding figures. But instead of being rewarded for his slavish devotion, he is fired just prior to retirement and replaced by a machine.

Playing at Willamette from April 12–28, “Adding Machine: A Musical” is based on the 1923 play by Elmer Rice. Times may have changed since the play’s debut, but to director Jessica Wallenfels, the plot is far from outdated.

“This is a very old story and yet it breathes like new,” she says. “It’s still applicable to today’s technology, as well as to outsourcing and the way we treat labor in a global sense.”

“Adding Machine: A Musical” is a simultaneously compelling, engaging and dramatic telling of the story of a man’s quest for meaning, Wallenfels says, adding that the production's innovative, contemporary score and stunning design complement the story's imperative to examine one's own life.

“It makes people question their own conformity, whether they have given up on forgotten dreams as they pursued their day-to-day lives,” Wallenfels says. “I think this piece veers from a very dark, black comedy to an existential questioning about what freedom means.”

Ticket sales

A preview performance of “Adding Machine: A Musical” is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. April 12; tickets are $8. The remaining performances are set for 2 p.m. April 15, 22 and 28 and 7:30 p.m. April 13–14, 19–21 and 26–28. Tickets for these showings cost $12 for general admission, $8 for students and seniors 65 and older, and $10 per person for groups of 10 or more.

All performances will be staged in the Pelton Theatre at Willamette University, 900 State St. in Salem.

Tickets may be purchased at the door and by calling the WU Theatre Box Office at 503-370-6221. They are also available at Travel Salem, 181 High St., 503-581-4325, and online at willamette.edu/arts/theatre.