Book clubs examine college admissions, immigration, medical establishment's treatment of Black Americans – WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society is hosting a series of virtual book clubs during the fall 2021 semester. The first 11 people who sign up for each book club will get a free copy of the book, courtesy of series partner Humanities for Everybody. Participants will join the discussion leaders for lively discussions either in person or virtually, depending on the book club.  
The discussions of three books begins Monday, Sept. 20, and continues through mid-November. Fill out this form to register. Upon registration, you will receive details about the meetings and instructions for joining the discussions.
Dr. 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. Online discussions will take place on Webex at 5:30 p.m. Mondays, Sept. 20, Sept. 27, Oct. 4 and Oct. 11.
Dr. 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? Online discussions will take place on Zoom at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Oct. 13, 20 and 27.
Dr. Tyler Gibb, co-chief of the Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities and Law at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, will be leading discussions on journalist Harriet A. Washington’s award-winning 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. 
Students are able to earn WMU Signature credit for any book club for which they attended all scheduled meetings. Learn more about the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society and its book clubs.
In August 1985, the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society was created after Western 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.
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