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Volume Editor: Margaret Sönser Breen
Truth, Reconciliation, and Evil analyses evil in a variety of forms—as an unspeakable crime, a discursive or narrative force, a political byproduct, and an inevitable feature of warfare. The collection considers the forms of loss that the workings of evil exact, from the large-scale horror of genocide to the individual grief of a self-destructive homelessness. Finally, taken together, the fourteen essays that comprise this volume affirm that the undoing of evil—the moving beyond it through forgiveness and reconciliation—needs to occur within the context of community broadly defined, wherein individuals and groups can see beyond themselves and recognise in others a shared humanity and common cause.
Truth, Reconciliation, and Evil consists of expanded versions of papers presented at the Fourth International Conference on Evil and Wickedness, held in Prague in March 2003. The essays represent a variety of disciplinary approaches, including those of anthropology, linguistics, literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis.
Volume Editors: Rob Gildert and Dennis Rothermel
Symbolic Excuses on False Pretenses or True Reconciliation out of Sincere Regret?
Since the 1990s we witness a rise in public apologies. Are we living in the ‘Age of Apology’?
Interesting research questions can be raised about the opportunity, the form, the meaning, the effectiveness and the ethical implications of public apologies.
Are they not merely a clever and easy device to escape real and tangible responsibility for mistakes or wrong done? Are they not at risk to become well-rehearsed rituals that claim to express regret but, in fact, avoid doing so?
In a joint interdisciplinary effort, the contributors to this book, combining findings from their specific fields of research (legal, religious, political, linguistic, marketing and communication studies), attempt to articulate this tension between ritual and sincere regret, between the discourse and the content of apologies, between excuses that pretend and regret that seeks reconciliation.
Volume Editor: Avery Plaw
Frontiers of Diversity critically examines the explanatory and normative power of pluralism in contemporary philosophy, politics, economics and culture. Based on the papers presented at the “First Global Conference on Critical Issues in Pluralism” at Mansfield College, Oxford, it brings together for the first time essays examining pluralism’s impact, both positive and negative, in each of these critical domains. These essays exhibit something of the fertility of the concept of pluralism, not only across the spectrum of fields, but at all levels of analysis, from individual to social to national and international, touching on specific cases from around the world. Through their diversity, the essays are intended to both promote cross-pollination between these domains of study and experience, and to encourage reflection on pluralism as a powerful cross-disciplinary approach for understanding the contemporary world.
Volume Editor: Mark L. Perry
Rarely do academics and policymakers have the opportunity to sit down together and contemplate the broadest consequences of war. Our comprehension has traditionally been limited to war’s causes, execution, promotion, opposition, and immediate political and economic ends and aftermath. But just as public health researchers are becoming aware of unexpected, subtle and powerful consequences of human economic action, we are beginning to realize that war has many short- and long-term consequences that we poorly understand but cannot afford to neglect.
These papers contribute to a growing discourse among academics, scholars and lawmakers that is questioning and rethinking the nature and purpose of war. By studying the effects of war on communities we can more readily understand and anticipate the consequences of present and future conflicts. Such an understanding might well enable us to plan and execute military action with a more clearly defined set of post-war goals in mind. Whereas traditionally a government at war seeks the defeat of the adversary as its primary and often sole aim, through a clearer understanding of war’s effects other aims will also become prominent. War, like surgery, could gradually become more refined, could minimize damage in ways that are currently unimaginable, and could involve an increasingly heavy responsibility to prepare for and facilitate reconstruction.
Projects such as this volume are, of course, only the beginning. The more we understand the evolving nature of war, the better prepared we will be to protect communities from its harmful effects.
Author: Joseph Agassi
Volume Editor: Esther Peeren
In the twenty-first century, the terms “representation” and “identity” seem to have gone out of fashion. The essays collected here, however, seek to demonstrate the extent to which they continue to matter in the social, political and cultural struggles waged by marginalized communities across our postcolonial and globalizing world. The volume starts by offering contingent readings of prominent identity-related concepts – hybridity, insularity, the west, ubuntu, and orientalism – which ask how these concepts translate into practical, situated ways of grappling with the legacies of colonialism. It continues by exploring the relational articulation of collective identities and their histories (as shared rather than competing), and the way origin narratives and notions of indigeneity, in contexts as diverse as Namibia, Uruguay and Bolivia, function not as fixed roots, but as constructed representations that are manipulated according to the demands of the present. Finally, tradition, too, emerges as open to continuous strategic re-invention in contributions dealing with female agency in a Hindu ritual, peasant understandings of modernity in Zimbabwe, the resurgence of Chinese culture in Indonesia, and André Brink’s rewriting of South African history.
The Construction of Europe in Serbian Culture
The book examines the discursive construction of the representation of “Europe” in the selected writings of leading Serbian writers and intellectuals in the first half of the twentieth century. In addition to being of particular significance in the process of the genesis of our understanding of Europe across the continent, these several decades were crucial for the discursive construction of “Europe” in Serbian culture: when after the end of the Cold War the debate on Europe became possible again, it was on a discursive level to a large extent determined by the stockpile of images and ideas created between the world wars. The book seeks to answer the following questions: who constructed “Europe”, and with what authority? For whom were these constructions intended? How was this representation validated? What purposes was it meant to serve? Which issues were raised in comparing “Europe” with Serbia, and why? Which textual traditions were the elements of this construction borrowed from? How did the construction of the European other define Serbian self-representation? This volume is of interest for all those working in Slavic or East European studies - especially cultural, intellectual and political history of the Balkans - imagology, and European studies.
Volume Editor: Tobe Levin
“One afternoon, a patient who had been in three times weekly ... psychotherapy ... left my office after her session, drove down to the train tracks half a mile from my office, and sat down facing an oncoming train.” This tragic event opens the essay by psychoanalyst Susanne Chassay who explores the relationship between private and political terrorism. Her viewpoint complements analyses of violence – that ‘mercurial gestalt’ – by other contributors to this collection derived from a 2003 Cultures of Violence conference held at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, organized by the Inter-disciplinary Net. From fields as diverse as philosophy, sociology, psychology, history, political science, literary criticism, and forensics, authors consider, for instance, hostility to European minorities; military training and torture; the ‘endemic violence’ aesthetically recorded by Haitian novelists; child abuse in film; female genital mutilation in fiction; or the massacre of Koreans during the 1923 Japanese earthquake. Violence in contact zones in Northern Ireland or in the memory of South African museum directors trying to comply with Truth and Reconciliation Commission mandates is also an object of scrutiny here. Finally, that vexed, primordial issue of violence – nature or nurture? – is probed.
Intellectual Exchange and the Rethinking of Europe 1914-1945
Volume Editors: Carlos Reijnen and Marleen Rensen
European Encounters explores the making and remaking of ideas of Europe between 1914 and 1945 as a result of intellectual encounters and intellectual exchange. Against the background of the first half of the twentieth century European intellectuals feverishly chased new and uncharted territories, most often across national borders. Their encounters with other intellectuals, or ideas, cultures, concepts and practices produced new understandings of Europe and triggered projects for Europe’s future. West-European writers turned to Russian literature, Catholic politicians from Northern Europe embraced corporatist and fascist solutions from Mediterranean Europe, scientists pointed at science and their network as sources of peace and reconciliation and others committed themselves to the European federalism of the Pan-Europa Movement. This volume unravels the encounters and exchanges that lie at the roots of this attempt at rethinking Europe.