Center for Ethics Announces 2023 Spring Event Schedule

The Muhlenberg College Center for Ethics has announced its Spring 2023 event schedule for the ‘Speculative Futures’ series.

 Wednesday, February 1, 2023 09:45 AM

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The 2022-23 Center for Ethics “Speculative Futures” series continues this semester with speakers, authors and a film series.

About Speculative Futures 

Our contemporary moment is shaped by the pressures of multiple, simultaneous crises: between the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing crises of political legitimacy, growing economic inequality, the onslaughts of white supremacy and xenophobia and the looming threat of irrevocable climate disaster, the future seems intractable and murky.

Longstanding questions about what the future holds are haunted by doubts and the scale of systemic issues. Fears about scarcity and the changing world seem to hamper opportunities for solidarity and coalition-building. At the same time, this juncture presents an opportunity to reimagine the futures we want and how we might get there. In thinking about the future as something speculative — and something we might speculate about — we might collectively resist fatalism and think instead about the world we hope to create. We might think about how art helps us envision alternative possibilities, how native and evolving technologies change the ways we relate to each other and the world, how philosophy hazards rearrangements that could unlock future ways of being and knowing and how shifts in forms of political engagement offer us new opportunities for resistance.

Program directors for this year’s series are Archana Kaku, Consortium for Faculty Diversity Fellow of Political Science, and Dawn Lonsinger, associate professor of English. The Center Director is Mark Stein, professor of history.

Spring 2023 Schedule of Events

"The Struggle for Urban Climate Justice” with Joan Fitzgerald, professor of Urban and Public Policy at Northeastern University
7 p.m., Monday, February 6 at Miller Forum in Moyer Hall
The legacy of racism and the pillaging of the natural environment are the twin catastrophes of our age. We have reached a point of no return where even if we do everything right, there will be permanent damage to the planet. Not surprisingly, Black and other poor communities of color have experienced environmental assaults more forcefully than white ones. The spatial isolation of Black communities in many cities has left them even more vulnerable to climate impacts than most white families.

The profession of urban planning bears some responsibility on both fronts. As a result of intentional urban planning and policy, our nation’s cities are deeply segregated, with huge disparities in wealth and access to opportunity. Even if there were no climate emergency, which has deepened societal divides, urban planning has a role to play in dismantling the legacy of racism. And even if there were no racism, urban planning needs to support radical changes to protect communities from the effects of worsening climate change and reduce carbon emissions. Because of the convergence of environmental assaults and racial ones, there are increasingly convergent movements and opportunities for remedy.

Viral Justice with Dr. Ruha Benjamin, associate professor of African American studies at Princeton University (co-sponsored by organizers for Black History Month)
7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., Thursday, February 16 at Miller Forum in Moyer Hall

"Socialism for a Skeptical Age" with Bhaskar Sunkara
7 p.m., Wednesday, March 22 at Miller Forum in Moyer Hall

A look at the past, present, and future of democratic socialism and why it deserves a new hearing amid social and economic turmoil in the 21st Century. Bhaskar Sunkara is an American political writer. He is the founding editor of Jacobin, the president of The Nation, and publisher of Catalyst: A Journal of Theory and Strategy and London's Tribune.

Campus visit by Mohshin Hamid, author of Exit West
7 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, at Miller Forum in Moyer Hall
British Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid will discuss his 2017 bestselling book Exit West. His other novels include Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia and The Last White Man -- and a book of essays, Discontent and Its Civilizations. His writing has been translated into over forty languages, featured on bestseller lists, and adapted for the cinema.

Film Series
February 22, March 7 and March 28

Bending the Arc
7:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 22 at the Recital Hall in the Baker Center for the Arts
Introduced by Kathleen Bachynski, assistant professor of public health
Decades before they joined the fight against COVID-19, and long before they helped battle Ebola in West Africa, Dr. Paul Farmer, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, and Ophelia Dahl—all barely out of their teens at the time—began a movement that would change global health forever by co-founding Partners In Health. Bending the Arc tells their story. PIH’s revolutionary model of training community members as health workers and treating all people, with dignity and world-class medicine, has forever changed public health.

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 7 in the Great Room in Seegers Union
Introduced by Brian Mello, professor of political science
Hundreds of thousands of cats roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years they’ve wandered in and out of people’s lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich. Claiming no owners, these animals live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame–and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt. In Istanbul, cats are the mirrors to the people, allowing them to reflect on their lives in ways nothing else could.

Sleep Dealer
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 in the Great Room at Seegers Union
Introduced by Amy Corbin, associate professor of media & communications and film studies
Sleep Dealer is a Sundance award-winning sci-fi thriller packed with stunning visuals and strong social and political themes. Memo Cruz (Luis Fernando Peña) is a young man in near-future Mexico. When his family is victim of a misguided drone attack he finds himself with no option but to head north, towards the U.S./Mexico border. But migrant workers cannot cross this new world border – it's been sealed off. Instead, Memo ends up in a strange digital factory in Mexico where he connects his body to a robot in America. Memo's search for a better future leads him to love, loss, and a confrontation with a mysterious figure from his past.

About the Muhlenberg College Center for Ethics

The Muhlenberg College Center for Ethics seeks to develop our capacities for ethical reflection, moral leadership and responsible action by engaging community members in scholarly dialogue, intellectual analysis and self-examination about contested ethical issues. Through thematic lectures and events, the Center for Ethics serves the teaching and study of the liberal arts at Muhlenberg College by providing opportunities for intensive conversation and thinking about the ethical dimensions of contemporary philosophical, political, economic, social, cultural and scientific issues. In service to its mission, the Center for Ethics hosts special events and programs, provides faculty development opportunities and provides support for student programming.