WMU Ethics Center offers four book clubs for spring semester

Contact: Mark Schwerin

Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley book cover.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society is sponsoring four book clubs during the spring semester, starting Friday, Jan. 13, to encourage discussion about ethics.

'Autobiography of Malcolm X'

Dr. William Santiago-Valles, associate professor emeritus of Africana studies, will lead discussions of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" as told to Alex Haley. The classic from 1964 describes the experiences of the controversial activist. The group will discuss how Malcolm X's message of racial justice informs contemporary debates about race. The group will meet at 5:30 p.m. Fridays Jan. 13 and Jan. 20, at Water Street Coffee Joint, 315 E. Water St. Future meetings will be determined.

'Wisdom Won from Illness'

Ashley Atkins, associate professor of philosophy, will lead discussions of the book "Wisdom Won from Illness" by Jonathan Lear. The University of Chicago philosopher brings insights from psychoanalysis to bear on Aristotelian and Platonic notions of the psyche. Participants will examine what the non-rational aspects of our minds have to do with living the good life. The group will meet at 4 p.m. Tuesdays Feb. 7, Feb. 14 and Feb. 21 in 2072 Moore Hall.

'Marie, or Slavery in the U.S.'

Kathy Purnell, instructor in the School of Public Administration and research contracts administrator in the Office of the Vice President for Research, will lead discussions of Gustave de Beaumont's "Marie, or Slavery in the United States." Beaumont published his work—part novel, part sociological treatise—in 1835, after completing a nine-month journey across the United States, including two weeks in the Michigan wilderness with Alexis de Tocqueville. Beaumont's decision to focus his novel on an interracial couple's quest to get married in the United States seeks to engage the reader's imagination to examine critically the long-term social impact of racial inequality on democratic mores and political community in the United States. The book reading coincides with the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the historic Loving v. Virginia case involving interracial marriage. Club members will examine the contemporary relevance of "Marie" to inform ethical action to develop inclusive democracies. The group will meet at 4:30 p.m. Thursdays March 2, March 16 and March 30 in 2072 Moore Hall.

'Doctors, Patients and Other Strangers'

Tyler Gibb, co-chief of the Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities and Law at the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, will lead discussions of "Fourteen Stories: Doctors, Patients and Other Strangers" by Jay Baruch. The author of this collection of short stories is an emergency room physician who will be a keynote speaker at the seventh annual Western Michigan University Medical Humanities Conference in September. The characters give voice to a range of morally challenging issues in medicine, ranging from loss of bodily control to the limits of professional competence. The group will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays April 5 in the WMed Information Commons, April 12 in 3025 Brown Hall, and April 19 at University Roadhouse, 1332 W. Michigan Ave.

All book clubs are open to the general public as well as the WMU community. People may sign up by sending an email to ethicscenter@wmich.edu. The Ethics Center will supply the books.

For more information, go to wmich.edu/ethics, where any changes or additions to the schedule will be announced.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.