Ethics Center speakers tackle politics, robot rights and more

Contact: Taylor Koopman

Dr. Bernhard Stahl

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—An expert on international politics and policy, particularly in Southeastern Europe and the Arab world, kicks off the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society's fall 2019 lecture series at Western Michigan University Wednesday, Sept. 4.

Dr. Bernhard Stahl of the University of Passau, Germany, will speak at 3:30 p.m. in the Brown and Gold Room of the Bernhard Center on the topic, "Politics of Denial: Germany's International Responsibility and the Silencing of Mass Atrocities." Stahl is participating in a faculty exchange program between WMU and the University of Passau.

In his lecture, Stahl will use Germany as a case study to examine the thesis that mass atrocity situations are silenced in globally influential countries, which thus fail to assume their responsibilities. His lecture will identify silencing mechanisms—non-mentioning, trivialization and framing–allowing his audience to draw important implications regarding future theoretical and explanatory analysis.

Following Stahl is Dr. Jason Marker of Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana, to ask what the United States would really have to deliver if the country promised health care as a "right." Marker will speak as part of the WMU Medical Humanities Conference at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at the WMed campus auditorium at 300 Portage Street.

Ethics Center events

  • 3:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, Room 2008, Richmond Center for Visual Arts, Dr. Ashley Atkins, WMU assistant professor of philosophy, "Race and the Politics of Loss: Revisiting the Legacy of Emmett Till"
  • 6:45 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10, Kirsch Auditorium, Fetzer Center, Dr. Juan Cole, professor of history, University of Michigan, "The Saudi Crisis in the Contemporary Middle East"
  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, Brown and Gold Room, Bernhard Center, Dr. David J. Gunkel, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Communication, Northern Illinois University, "The Right(s) Question: Can and Should Robots Have Rights?"
  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, Brown and Gold Room, Bernhard Center, Dr. Anna Popkova, assistant professor of communication, and Taylor Koopman, graduate student in communication, both of WMU, "Populism, Social Media and Democratic Participation"
  • 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, Room 157, Bernhard Center, Dr. Saba Bazargan-Forward, associate professor of philosophy, University of California, San Diego, "Justifying the Beneficiary Pays Principle"

All events are free and open to the public and qualify for WMU Signature credit. For more information, contact Dr. Norman Hawker, acting director, at or visit

About the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society

In August 1985, the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society was created after WMU faculty across the curriculum met to discuss their common interests in studying and teaching ethics. Each academic year, the center sponsors 15 to 20 public presentations addressing a wide range of ethical issues. Originally sponsored by WMU's Graduate College, the center is now housed in the College of Arts and Sciences.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.