Lecture Series

The Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at Western Michigan University offers programs each semester.  All events are free and open to the public. See current event descriptions. Check back often for updates.

Current events

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January 18 - “The Pains of Being (Im)pure at Heart: Moral Enhancement and the Public Good,” panel discussion of Moral Enhancement and the Public Good, 6 pm. on Teams. Moderator: Michael Redinger, co-chair of WMed’s Department of Medical Ethics, Humanities, and Law. Panelists: Parker Crutchfield, associate professor, WMed Department of Medical Ethics, Humanities, and Law; Nada Gligorov, associate professor of bioethics and director of graduate studies at Alden March Bioethics Institute; Jonathan Anomaly, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics master’s program at Universidad de las Américas (Mexico); and Fabrice Jotterand, director of the Philosophies of Medical Education Transformation Laboratory (P-METaL) in the Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Hosted by Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. Download flier. Watch video.

February 16 - “Ethics and the Lifespan of a Fact,” 6 p.m. on Webex. Discussion of ethical issues concerning facts, truth and the media facilitated by D. Terry Williams, director of Farmers Alley Theatre’s production of “Lifespan of a Fact,” with School of Communication Professor Sue Ellen Christian, English Professor Richard Katrovas and the cast of the play: Paul Stroili, Laurie Carter Rose and Myles Schwarz. Co-sponsors: Farmers Alley Theatre, School of Communication, Department of English. Register for link. Download flier.

March 14 - “Do We Have an Ethical Duty of Moral Attention?” A conversation with Victoria Vuletich, founder and CEO, Ethics², 6 p.m. on Webex. Register for link. Download flier. Watch video.

March 24 - "Medical Bondage," 12 p.m. at W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Auditorium, 300 Portage Street in downtown Kalamazoo. Deirdre Cooper Owens, Charles and Linda Wilson Professor in the History of Medicine and Director of the Humanities in Medicine Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Additional presentations by 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. Co-sponsor: Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. Download flier.

March 30 - “Business Ethics and Sustainability,” 4 p.m. on Webex. Timothy Palmer, WMU professor of management, Haworth Business College. Co-sponsor: Haworth College of Business Center for Sustainable Business Practices. Register for link. Download flier. Watch video.

April 5 - “Disputed Memorials and the Moral Standards Question, a conversation with Ainsley Carry, vice-president for students, University of British Columbia in Vancouver (Canada), 6 p.m. on Webex. Co-sponsor: Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Register for link. Download flier. Watch video.

April 12 - Winnie Veenstra Peace Lecture with Amitav Ghosh, author of The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis (2021, U of Chicago Press). 7 p.m. on Webex. Presented in partnership with the Climate Change Working Group. Co-sponsors: this is a bookstore & Bookbug, the Kalamazoo Nature Center, the WMU College of Arts and Sciences, the WMU Office for Sustainability, the WMU Department of English, the WMU Institute of the Environment and Sustainability’s Gwen Frostic Committee, the WMU Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the University Center for the Humanities. Register for link. Download flier. Listen to podcast.

Past events


January 13 - Discussion of "The Infiltrators," 7 p.m. on Zoom. The film is available on Amazon Prime or to rent for $3.99 on YouTube. Netflix subscribers are invited to also view “Immigration Nation 2020, Episode 4: The New Normal.” Dialogue partners will be Justice for our Neighbors (JFON) legal staff and Executive Director of El Concilio Kalamazoo Adrian Vazquez. The theme is “Standing in the Gap: Human Rights and Immigration Detention.” Part of the Human Rights and Migration Film Discussion Series sponsored by JFON.Co-sponsors: Kalamazoo College Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, the Kalamazoo Film Society, El Concilio and the Kalamazoo Refugee Resource Collaborative. Participants must registerDownload flier.

April 5 - Winnie Veenstra Peace Lecture, “Political Effectiveness, Negative Externalities, and the Ethics of Economic Sanctions,” 5:30 p.m. on Zoom. Dursun Peksen, Political Science, University of Memphis. Co-Sponsors: Department of Political Science, Department of Economics, Global and International Studies, Haenicke Institute for Global Education. Participants must register. Download flier. Watch video. Listen to podcast.

September 24 - "The Racialized Imagination and the Practice of Medicine," 12 p.m. on Teams. Patrick T. Smith, Theological Ethics and Bioethics, Duke University Divinity School. Keynote for 11th annual Western Michigan University Medical Humanities Conference. All are welcome to attend the entire conference on Teams. Email medical-humanities@wmich.edu for more information. Co-Sponsors: Western Michigan University Medical Humanities Workgroup, Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine and Department of Philosophy

October 11 - "Empathy for the Dead," 4 p.m. at the Amphitheater on the Western Michigan University campus (between Knauss/Friedman/Dunbar). Ashley Atkins, Philosophy, Western Michigan University. In case of inclement weather, event will be held virtually on Webex. Register to be notified and to receive link. Co-Sponsor: Department of Philosophy. Download flier. Listen to the podcast.

October 28 - "A Conversation about Ethics and Carceral Higher Education," 4 p.m. on Webex. Rebecca Ginsburg, Education Justice Project, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with Dale Brown, Prison Education Outreach Program, Western Michigan University. Register for link. Co-Sponsors: Department of Philosophy and the Educational Foundations M.A. program in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies. Download flier. Watch recording.

November 4 - "A Conversation about Ethics and Political Rhetoric," 5:30 p.m. on WebEx. Peter Loge, Project on Ethics in Political Communication, The George Washington University, with Sandra L. Borden, Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, Western Michigan University. Register for link. Co-sponsors: School of Communication and Department of Political Science. Download flier. Watch recording.

Click here for previous lectures and events.