Virtual book clubs examine ethical questions on current social topics

Contact: Sandra Borden

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The responsibilities health care workers face during a public health crisis, the moral obligation to accept the legitimacy of democracy and addressing who profits from the problem of recurring health crises are topics for a series of virtual book clubs hosted by Western Michigan University's Center for the Study of Ethics in Society beginning Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Participants will purchase and read three books and join virtual discussions on Webex. Registration is required.

  • "What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City" (2019) by Dr. Mona Hana-Attisha, discussion led by Dr. Elissa Allen, assistant professor of nursing, from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, Sept. 30 and Oct. 7. A gripping tale of the author’s courage and tenacity, this story focuses on how the Flint water crisis was discovered and then exposed to the world. This book club will explore the responsibilities that health care providers have with regard to advocating for their patients at both an individual and policy level as well as seeking justice for undeserved populations while the system is set up to ignore them.
  • "The Moral Foundation of Politics" (2003) by Ian Shapiro, discussion led by Norman W. Hawker, professor of finance and commercial law, from 4 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Oct. 13, 20 and 27. No matter which party prevails in the election this fall, the other side may be tempted to contest the legitimacy of the winners. This book club will address the ideas about owing or refusing allegiance to our government and whether we have a moral obligation to accept the legitimacy of democracy itself. Together, participants will seek out answers in Shapiro’s timely discussion of politics and morality for our highly polarized era.
  • "The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of the Avian Flu" (2005) by Mike Davis, discussion led by William Santiago-Valles, associate professor emeritus of Africana studies, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Mondays, Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30. Davis, an activist, author and recipient of the 1998 MacArthur Fellowship, traces the potential for a deadly global pandemic due to ecological conditions that originate in detrimental corporate and government decisions. Some questions that will be explored are: Who profits from the problem of recurring health crises, and what can we learn from groups that are addressing this problem?

Students are able to earn WMU Signature credit for any book club for which they attend all scheduled meetings of said book. To learn more about the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society and its book clubs, visit their website.

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 a number of public presentations addressing a wide range of ethical issues.

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