Lecture series abstracts

The Pains of Being (Im)pure at Heart: Moral Enhancement and the Public Good

A panel of experts will discuss Parker Crutchfield’s book, Moral Enhancement and the Public Good. Crutchfield argues that we should all be administered a substance that makes us better people without our knowledge or consent to prevent future collective suffering. Panelists will make individual presentations, followed by a Q&A session and light refreshments for those attending in person.

Parker Crutchfield isassociate professor in the Department of Medical Ethics, Humanities, and Law at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed). Crutchfield received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. in philosophy at Arizona State University, working in applied ethics, epistemology and the philosophy of science. Following graduate school, he was assistant professor of ethics and the inaugural director of research at the Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health at A.T. Still University, a school he helped found. At WMed, Crutchfield conducts clinical ethics consultations, teaches medical students and residents, and conducts research in medical ethics.





Jonathan Anomaly has taught in several philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) programs, including Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Arizona and San Diego. Anomaly mostly writes about collective action problems, including the over-consumption of antibiotics, and about the moral implications of technologies that enable parents to shape the genetic profile of their children. He is co-author of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (Oxford, 2015) and author of Creating Future People: The Ethics of Genetic Enhancement (Routledge, 2020). This year Anomaly is creating a new PPE master's program at the Universidad de las Américas (Mexico).




Nada Gligorov is associate professor of bioethics and director of graduate studies at Alden March Bioethics Institute (AMBI) at Albany (New York) Medical College. She received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. Prior to joining AMBI, she was associate professor of medical education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The primary focus of her scholarly work is the examination of the interaction between common-sense and scientific theories. She is the author of Neuroethics and the Scientific Revision of Common Sense (Studies in Brain and Mind, Springer, 2016). She is also the co-editor of The Human Microbiome: Ethical, Legal and Social Concerns (Oxford University Press, 2013). Gligorov has published in the Hastings Center Report, AJOB-Neuroscience, Neuroethics, and The Monist. Her current research focuses primarily on whether brain death is biological death and the role of cognitive and emotional processes in pain perception.


Fabrice Jotterand is a professor of bioethics and medical humanities and director of the graduate program in bioethics at the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities in the Medical College of Wisconsin. He is also the resident philosopher at the MCW Kern Institute, where he directs the Philosophies of Medical Education Transformation Laboratory (P-METaL). He holds a second appointment as senior researcher at the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Basel, Switzerland. He has published more than 60 articles, book chapters and reviews in leading academic journals and has published five books. His forthcoming book, The Unfit Brain and the Limits of Moral Bioenhancement, focuses on the ethical and social implications of using neurotechnologies in psychiatry to alter antisocial behavior, psychopathic traits and other so-called “moral pathologies.” 


Ethics and the Lifespan of a Fact

 After the cast performs a short scene from the play, the play’s director will facilitate a discussion of some of the ethical issues posed by Farmers Alley Theatre’s production of “Lifespan of a Fact” concerning facts, truth and the media. This program is free and open to the public. For those who would like to see the entire play first, there are seven performances beforehand: Feb. 11, 12 and 17, 18, 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 13 and 20 at 2 p.m. Individual tickets will be for sale through Farmers Alley Theatre’s box office and website.

D. Terry Williams is the director for Farmers Alley Theatre’s production of “Lifespan of a Fact.”He is professor emeritus of the Department of Theatre at Western Michigan University, where he served as chair of the department for 23 years. Previously, Williams was director of theatre at the University of Northern Iowa. He holds a Ph.D. in theatre history and dramatic literature from Indiana University. He has directed more than 100 productions for university, community and professional theatres, including operas at WMU and Indiana University, and collaborations with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Fontana Chamber Arts and the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival.



Sue Ellen Christian is a Presidential Innovation Professor at Western Michigan University, where she serves as a faculty member in the journalism program in the School of Communication. She teaches courses in journalism, multimedia, media literacy and news literacy. She is the author of Overcoming Bias: A Journalist’s Guide to Culture and Context (2e, 2021) and Everyday Media Literacy: An Analog Guide For Your Digital Life (2020), both published by Routledge.


Richard Katrovas is a professor in the Department of English at Western Michigan University. Katrovas' poems, stories and essays have appeared in many leading literary journals and anthologies. He has won numerous grants and awards, including the Wesleyan New Poets Series award for Green Dragons (Wesleyan University Press, 1983). His most recent works are Prague Winter (poetry, Carnegie Mellon, 2005), The Years of Smashing Bricks (memoir, Carnegie Mellon, 2007) and Scorpio Rising: Selected Poems (Carnegie Mellon, 2010). Katrovas edited Ten Years after the Velvet Revolution: Poetry from the Czech Republic (Loyola University of New Orleans Press, 1999).




Laurie Carter Rose, a member of the show’s cast, plays Emily Penrose, the editor of a New York magazine who is looking for a transformative article to prop up the publication’s sinking prospects. Rose is a Chicago-based actor originally from Cincinnati. She is a graduate of Miami University and a 30-year member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA. She enjoys print and voice-over work and audiobook narration. Her theater credits include Follies and Bed Full of Foreigners, Drury Lane Oakbrook; Jesus Christ Superstar (National Tour with Ted Neely and Carl Anderson); and Sunset Boulevard (London’s West End starring Betty Buckley). Her TV/film credits include Chicago Med and The Tonight Show.





Myles Schwarz, a member of the show’s cast, playsJim Fingal, a recent Harvard graduate hired as a fact checker for a fading New York magazine. Schwarz is a Chicago-based actor born in Grand Rapids. He has been writing and performing in his own short film projects since 2020, the year he graduated with a B.F.A. in acting from Western Michigan University. Kalamazoo theater-goers may recognize him from some of his roles at WMU, such as Prior Walter in Angels in America in 2018, or Rasome Foster in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance in 2019.






Paul Stroili, a member of the show’s cast, playsJohn D’Agata, a veteran writer who has written a touching essay that raises Jim’s suspicions when he starts fact checking it. A resident artist at The Purple Rose Theatre, Stroili’s stage credits include God of Carnage, Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Elusive Ear, Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Fallen Souffle (Wilde Award for Best Supporting Actor), Ghosts, Wonder of the World and A Flea in her Ear. TV/film credits include Empire, Chicago P.D, Malcolm in the Middle, Brother’s Keeper and Getting Personal. As a playwright, his plays include A Jukebox for the Algonquin, Cheese Louise and My Dinner with Arlecchino. His most recent play, Last Call at the Aardvark, is available through Next Stage Press and is being adapted into a screenplay.


Do We Have an Ethical Duty of Moral Attention?

Viktor Frankl is credited with saying "Between stimulus and response lies a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose a response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness." In an age of disinformation and algorithms designed to addict us, do we have an ethical duty to curate what we allow into that precious, powerful space in our heads?  

Victoria Vuletich, J.D., is a public speaker, corporate trainer, consultant and coach focusing on ethics and professionalism. Her company, Ethics², LLC, equips individuals and organizations with practical, helpful ethics tools for navigating today’s complex world. A lawyer by training, she has extensive and unique experience in professional ethics and its connection to individual and societal wellness. She is a Distinguished Emeritus Professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, and, for 10 years, she was the Deputy Division Director/staff attorney to the Professional Standards Division of the State Bar of Michigan. She is a board member of WMU’s Center for the Study of Ethics in Society.





medical bondage

Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens will be the discussant for a series of presentations responding to her book Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. The presentations and discussion will be followed by Q&A and a book signing. The other presenters are Jaide Woods Dawson, M1 WMed medical student; Angie Tsuei, MD, PGY-III WMed OB/Gyn resident; and Catherine Kothari, PhD, WMed community health research faculty.

Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens is an award-winning historian and popular public speaker. She is the Charles and Linda Wilson Professor in the History of Medicine and Director of the Humanities in Medicine Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In this position, Dr. Cooper Owens is one of two Black women in the United States running a medical humanities program. Dr. Cooper Owens is also the director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, the country's oldest cultural institution.



Business Ethics and Sustainability

Dr. Palmer will detail efforts of Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business to ensure students in its undergraduate and graduate programs are exposed to and have the opportunity to actively learn about ethics and sustainability. Key parts of Palmer’s talk will focus on service learning and the short-term faculty-led study abroad class he teaches in India.

Timothy Palmer is a professor of management and director of the Center for Sustainable Business Practices at Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business. His integration of service learning in the capstone strategic management class led to a Michigan Campus Compact Faculty and Staff Community Service-Learning Award in 2009. Palmer received the 2014 Distinguished Professor of the Year Award from the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, and WMU’s 2014 nomination for the Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year Award. Palmer’s research on student learning, organizational reputation, sustainability and strategic decision making has appeared in numerous publications, including Organization Science and the Journal of Management.





Disputed Memorials and the Moral Standards Question

Since 2015, the United States has experienced a sharp increase in disputed memorials mounted on city streets, courthouses, and college campuses. These disputes have a long history on college campuses, where names of Confederate leaders, eugenicists and segregationists adorn buildings, streets, and monuments. From 2015 to 2020, dozens of universities, including Yale University, Princeton University, and the University of Michigan, scrambled to respond to memorial protests. The ethical questions involved in memorial retention or removal are complex. Which moral standards – past or present – should universities use to determine continued memorialization?

Ainsley Carry is vice-president for students at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and a higher education consultant. He earned a master’s degree in counseling and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Florida. He also earned master’s degrees in business administration and the study of law from Auburn University and the University of Southern California, respectively. In 2009, Carry accepted his first vice presidency at Auburn University and held a similar position at the University of Southern California (2013–2019) before joining the University of British Columbia in 2019. In his latest book — Washington Next? Disputed Monuments, Honorees, and Symbols on Campus — Carry analyzes 25 university responses to memorial disputes.





2022 Winnie Veenstra Peace Lecture

Acclaimed author Amitav Ghosh discusses the implications of climate change for conflict and peace.in an online conversation moderated conversation by Ronald Kramer, professor in the WMU Department of Sociology and a founding member of both the WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society and the WMU Climate Change Working Group.

Award-winning Indian author Amitav Ghosh’s works include The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In An Antique LandDancing in CambodiaThe Calcutta ChromosomeThe Glass PalaceThe Hungry Tide, The Ibis Trilogy, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, andThe Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis. His essays in The New Yorker, The New Republic and The New York Times appear in the anthologies The Imam and the Indian and Incendiary Circumstances. He and Margaret Atwood were joint winners of a Dan David prize in 2010. India bestowed its highest literary prize, the Jnanpith Award, to Ghosh in 2018. According to a 2019 article in the magazine Foreign Policy, Ghosh was “one of the most important global thinkers of the preceding decade.”