Dr. Arline T. Geronimus: Weathering

Monday, April 10, 2023 - 6:30pm

We welcome Dr. Arline T. Geronimus to discuss her new book Weathering: The Extraordinary Stress of Ordinary Life in an Unjust Society. She'll be joined in conversation by Loretta J. Ross.

Please note: Masks are kindly encouraged at Literati Events.

Fusing science and social justice, renowned public health researcher Dr. Arline T. Geronimus offers an urgent, "monumental" book (Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped from the Beginning) exploring the ways in which systemic injustice erodes the health of marginalized people.

America has woken up to what many of its citizens have known for centuries and to what public health statistics have evidenced for decades: systemic injustice takes a physical, too often deadly, toll on Black, brown, working class and poor communities, and any group who experiences systemic cultural oppression or economic exploitation. Marginalized Americans are disproportionately more likely to suffer from chronic diseases and to die at much younger ages than their middle- and upper-class white counterparts. Black mothers die during childbirth at a rate three times higher than white mothers. White kids in high-poverty Appalachian regions have a healthy life expectancy of 50 years old, while the vast majority of US youth can expect to both survive and be able-bodied at 50, with decades of healthy life expectancy ahead of them. In the face of such clear inequity, we must ask ourselves why this is, and what we can we do.

Dr. Arline T. Geronimus coined the term "weathering" to describe the effects of systemic oppression--including racism and classism--on the body. In Weathering, based on more than 30 years of research, she argues that health and aging have more to do with how society treats us than how well we take care of ourselves. She explains what happens to human bodies as they attempt to withstand and overcome the challenges and insults that society leverages at them, and details how this process ravages their health. And she proposes solutions.

Until now, there has been little discussion about the insidious effects of social injustice on the body. Weathering shifts the paradigm, shining a light on the topic and offering a roadmap for hope.

Arline T. Geronimus is a Professor in the School of Public Health and Research Professor in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, where she also is affiliated with the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health. She is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science.

Loretta J. Ross is a founder of the Reproductive Justice movement, a public intellectual, a MacArthur Foundation "genius " award recipient,  and a visiting associate professor at Smith College where she teaches courses on White Supremacy, Human Rights, and Calling In the Calling Out Culture. She has co-written three books on reproductive justice: Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive JusticeReproductive Justice: An Introduction; and Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, Critique, and Calling in the Calling Out Culture.

Event address: 
124 E. Washington
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Weathering: The Extraordinary Stress of Ordinary Life in an Unjust Society By Dr. Arline T. Geronimus Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316257978
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Spark - March 28th, 2023