Book Clubs on Ethics

The Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at Western Michigan University is partnering with Humanities for Everybody to sponsor reading groups during the fall 2021 semester. Join us for spirited discussions about ethics. First 11 sign-ups for each book club get a free book, courtesy of series partner Humanities for Everybody. Download flier.

Ethics Between the Lines

Participants will join the discussion leaders for lively virtual discussions. Students who attend all of the meetings for their book club receive Signature credit.

Charlie Kurth, associate professor of philosophy, will be leading discussions on political philosopher Michael Sandel’s award-winning The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good? Why do we think that merit—in, say, college admissions or hiring—is important? Is it? Does our focus on (or, perhaps better, obsession with) merit work to enhance or corrupt our civic bonds and social institutions? If we think merit plays too big a role in our lives, what other options do we have? Participants will explore these questions in this timely work on justice and inequality from the instructor of Harvard’s famous online “Justice” course. Virtual discussions will take place on WebEx at 5:30 p.m. Mondays, Sept. 20, Sept. 27, Oct. 4 and Oct. 11.

Kathy Purnell, immigration attorney and part-time instructor in in the School of Public Affairs and Administration, will be leading discussions of political philosopher Joseph Carens’ The Ethics of Immigration. How should democracies think about immigration? What ethical questions do immigration policies raise concerning belonging, justice, freedom and equality? Do democratic principles ultimately entail a moral commitment to open borders? Virtual discussions will take place on Zoom at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Oct. 13, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3.

Tyler Gibb, co-chief of the Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities & Law at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, will lead discussions of Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present. This book is the best comprehensive account of the mistreatment of Black Americans by the medical establishment. It examines multiple examples of exploitation and mistreatment, in addition to the well-known Tuskegee Syphilis Study. It will be of interest to anyone interested in medicine, sociology, history, race studies or bioethics. Discussions will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Nov. 3 and Nov. 17. Participants can either join virtually via WebEx or in-person at the Jenson Fireplace Lounge at the WMed UpJohn Building, 300 Portage Street in downtown Kalamazoo. 

All groups are open to everyone.

Register here


Schedule and updates