PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s Asia Program will present a Feb. 25 public lecture by Chris Friday entitled “Augustine (Gus) Kawaling Lavinia, the Murderer of Bixby Creek: Race and Its Social Construction Across Time and Space.”

The event will be at 7 p.m. in the Compton Union Building, Room 203, and is free and open to the public.

In 1948, Augustine Lavinia murdered four fellow Filipino workers in their shared living quarters below a Carmel, Calif., restaurant. After committing the murders, Lavinia fled the scene, evading police for nearly six months. The representation of the murder case and subsequent trial in local papers, Filipino and non-Filipino, offers perspectives for the reading of events from particular social vantage points. 

Just as telling is the perspective offered by the psychological assessment of Lavinia by psychologist Eric Berne. He characterized Lavinia’s psychological state in ways that illuminate the relationship between earlier biological renditions of race with emergent notions of race as a cultural phenomena.  Berne’s assessment also reveals how ideas of transnationalism can be double-edged swords.

Friday, faculty member and chair of the history department at Western Washington University, is director of the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies.

The lecture is sponsored by the WSU Asia Program, in cooperation with the Department of History, the Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies and the Office of General Education.