Lecture Series

The Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at Western Michigan University offers lectures each semester. See abstracts for the spring 2018 semester. Download poster.

Current Events

January 25 - “Where Do You Stand in Times of Trouble?” 7 p.m., 157 Bernhard. Panel moderator: Dale Brown, Philosophy graduate student. Part of 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Co-sponsor: Department of Philosophy. Download poster.

February 8 - David Denby, staff writer and former film critic for The New Yorker, “The Humanities in the Age of Demagoguery,” 7 p.m. Feb. 8, 3508 Knauss Hall. Part of the Center for the Humanities' “Promise of Education” speaker series.

February 28 - “Legal Ethics in the Media,” 4 p.m., Brown and Gold Room, Bernhard Center. Panelists: Norman Hawker, Professor, Department of Finance and Commercial Law, Haworth College of Business; Tonya Krause-Phelan, auxiliary dean, WMU Cooley Law School; and Victoria Vuletich, professor, WMU Cooley Law School. Co-Sponsors: Haworth College of Business ,WMU Cooley Law School and School of Communication. Light refreshments.

March 22 – Diane Ravitch, research professor of education, New York University, “Education Reform and the Promise of Public Education,” 7 p.m., Dalton Center Recital Hall. Part of the Center for the Humanities' “Promise of Education” speaker series.

March 29 - Christian Appy, professor of history, University of Massachusetts Amherst, "Why We Don't Have a Peace Memorial: The Vietnam War and the Distorted Memory of Dissent," 7 p.m., 1028 Brown Hall. Winnie Veenstra Peace Lecture. Co-sponsor: Department of History.

April 2 -"Educational Equity: From the 'Kalamazoo Case' to the 'Kalamazoo Promise' and Beyond," 6 p.m., 204 Bernhard Center. Co-moderators: Kathy Purnell, instructor, Department of Political Science, and Ashley Atkins, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy. Panelists: Jim Robb, general counsel and associate dean of alumni and public relations, WMU Cooley Law School; Cyekeia Lee, director of outreach and partnerships, Kalamazoo Promise; Michael Evans, executive director, Kalamazoo Literacy Council; and Sandra Standish, executive director, KC Ready 4s.

April 12- Danielle Allen, professor of government, Harvard University, “Inequality, Citizenship, and the Promise of Education,” 7 p.m., 2452 Knauss Hall. Part of the Center for the Humanities' “Promise of Education” speaker series.

Past Events


September 14 - Jay Baruch, M.D., Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, “Why Doctors Must be Creative,” 6 p.m., auditorium, WMU Homer Stryker MD Medical School downtown campus. Part of 2017 WMU Medical Humanities Conference. Co-sponsors: WMU Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine, Medical Humanities Workgroup, Department of Philosophy. This talk is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required: Email Jessica.Griffith@med.wmich.edu. Download poster. See abstract.

September 28 - Mark Edmundson, University Professor, University of Virginia, “In Defense of Ideals,” 7 p.m., 3502 Knauss Hall. Part of the Western Michigan Univesity Center for the Humanities’ Promise of Education series. Download poster. See abstract.

October 12 - “Immigrant to Neighbor: Journeying through Hope and Fear,” 7 p.m., Brown & Gold Room, Bernhard Center, panel featuring readings from recently published anthology "Immigration & Justice for Our Neighbors." Download poster. See abstract.

October 19 - Kentaro Toyama, W.K. Kellogg Associate Professor of Community Information, University of Michigan, “The Kindling of a Flame: Analogies to Light the Way for Technology in Education,” 7 p.m., 2452 Knauss Hall. Part of the Western Michigan University Center for the Humanities’ Promise of Education series. Download poster. See abstract.

November 9 - Ronald Kramer, Professor of Sociology, Western Michigan University, "Criminal Justice, Social Justice and Climate Justice,” 6 p.m., Brown & Gold Room, Bernhard Center. Reception to follow. Download poster. See abstract.

December 6 - Gayle Salamon, Associate Professor of English, Princeton University, “The Life and Death of Latisha King,” 12 p.m., Lee Honors College Lounge. Part of Lee Honors College’s Lyceum series. Co-sponsors: Lee Honors College, Department of Gender and Women's Studies, Department of Philosophy. Download poster. See abstract.

December 9 - Charles Mills, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, City University of New York, "Liberalism and Racial Justice,” 4:45 p.m., 157 Bernhard Center. Part of Western Michigan University Graduate Philosophy Conference. Co-sponsors: Department of Philosophy, Graduate Student Association, Visiting Scholars and Artists Program.Download poster. See abstract.

February 2 - Jonathan Milgrim, Philosophy, WMU, panel moderator; Keagan Potts, Jenji Learn and Andrew Marquis, Philosophy, WMU, panelists, “The Unifying Power of Education,” 6 p.m., 213 Bernhard Center. Part of 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

February 8 - Stacey Connaughton, Purdue Peace Project, “Organizing To Prevent Violence and Build Peace: The Transformative Potential of Everyday Citizens in West Africa and Central America,” 6:30 p.m. 2028 Brown Hall. Coffee and dessert after talk in 2026 Brown Hall. Co-Sponsor: School of Communication. Part of 2016-17 Visiting Scholars and Artists Program. Watch video.

February 22 - Asha Noor, National Network for Arab American Communities, and Alisa Perkins, Comparative Religion, WMU, "How to Take on Hate: A Dialogue on Islamophobia and Race," 12 p.m., Lee Honors College Lounge. Part of Lee Honors College Lyceum lecture series and Department of Comparative Religion’s Islam in Global Perspectives lecture series.  Watch video.

March 1 - Tonya Krause-Phelan, WMU Cooley Law School, panel moderator, “Integrity in the Criminal Justice System,” 7 p.m., 211 Bernhard Center. Co-Sponsor: WMU Cooley Law School.

March 16 - Kristopher Phillips, Philosophy, Southern Utah University, “Do We Have a Moral Obligation to Study the Liberal Arts?” 6 p.m., 213 Bernhard Center. Co-sponsors: Department of Philosophy and Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies, WMU.

March 22 - Rebecca Dresser, Daniel Noyes Kirby Professor of Law and Professor of Ethics in Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, "Does Everyone Have a Duty to Volunteer for Research?" 6 p.m. W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Auditorium, WMU Stryker School of Medicine, 300 Portage Street, Kalamazoo. 5:30 p.m. reception. Co-sponsors: WMed Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities & Law, WMU Cooley Law School and West Michigan Cancer Center. Watch video.

April 6 - Alexander Guerrero, Philosophy, Rutgers University, “Again Toward Perpetual Peace: Elections, World Government, and Lottocracy,” 6 p.m., 213 Bernhard Center, Winnie Veenstra Peace Lecture. Co-Sponsors: Department of Philosophy, Haenicke Institute for Global Education, Department of Political Science, Kalamazoo Peace Center, Pax Christi Kalamazoo, St. Thomas More Social Justice, St. Joseph Social Justice, and Kalamazoo Non-Violent Opponents of War (KNOW).


January 27 - Michael Wilder and Yafinceio Harris,  Peace During War Project, Jennifer Machiorlatti, Professor of Communication, WMU, "Peace During War: The Ethics of Forgiveness"

February 8 - Dr. Samer Ali, University of Michigan, Before the Naked Ape, Before the Naked Ape: al-Tawhidi (c. 900 CE) Performs the Animal Self in a Sphere of Political Participation,”

March 3 - "Divorce (Professional)," written by Kathy Purnell, Research Contracts Administrator, Office of the Vice President for Research, WMU Directed by Laura Henderson, Founder and Executive Producer, Queer Theater Kalamazoo

March 22 - Ceceilia Parnther, doctoral candidate, Department of Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology, WMU   "Student Leadership in Academic Integrity"

March 24 - Dr. Farina, Mir, Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan, "Producing Modern Muslims: Everyday Ethics in Colonial India" 

April 12 - Tyler Gibb, Assistant Professor, Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities & Law, WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine "The Biopolitical Fragmentation of Life: Lessons Still to Learn a Decade after Schiavo"

September 16 - Craig Klugman, Bioethics and Medical Humanities, DePaul University, "The Complete Works of Bioethics (Abridged).” 6th annual WMU Medical Humanities Conference,

September 22 - Jason Brennan, Philosophy, Georgetown University, "Most People Shouldn't Vote"

October 13 - Two-part program on ethics and drones. Panel discussion on "Drones and the Ethics of a Camera in the Sky," with moderator Chad Edwards, Communication, WMU, and panelists: Jeremy Davidson, Image Stream-Creative Communications; Anna Popkova, Communication, WMU; Russ Kavalhuna, College of Aviation, WMU; and Leonard Horton, Broadcast Journalism, Missouri State University. Lecture by Richard Wilson, Computer Science and Philosophy, Towson University, on "Drones, UAVs and the Reconfiguration of Space: A Domestic and Military Anticipatory Ethical Analysis"

October 19 - Jeffrey Swanson, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, “Thinking Differently About Gun Violence, Mental Illness, and the Law: Balancing Risk and Rights for Effective Policy,” 7:30 p.m., Putney Lecture Hall, Fetzer Center.

November 4 - Hallie Liberto, Philosophy, University of Connecticut, "Coercion and Moral Power," 5 p.m., 157 Bernhard Center.10th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference.


September 22 - Martin Hille Associate Professor, History, University of Passau, Germany The Germans and their Nazi Past: To What Extent Have They Accepted Responsibility?" 

September 24 - Stacy Nigliazzo, RN, Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston “The Necessary Tablet: The Healing Power of Creative Expression”, 5th annual WMU Medical Humanities Conference. 

November 3 - Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent, The Atlantic “Between the World and Me" University Center for the Humanities’ Reimagining Community Speaker Series Complete list of co-sponsors at: Medical Humanities Workgroup  

November 19 - Nelson Miller, Associate Dean (Grand Rapids) and Professor, WMU Cooley Law School “Sources of Ethical Commitment: Finding Your Ground for Finding Your Way”  co-sponsor: WMU Cooley Law School  

December 4 - Helen Frowe Director, Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace"Flip the Flipping Switch! On Lesser Evil Justifications for Harming" 9th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference, co-sponsor: Department of Philosophy