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National Global Imaginaries recent articles


The Theoretical Foundations of Intergenerational Ecological Justice: An Overview


“While few would deny that present generations have a moral obligation to preserve the environment for future generations, some theorists reject the existence of a legal duty in this regard. This article takes the opposite view. It argues that ample juridical as well as ethical social justice theory—contractarian distributive and reciprocity-based theories prominent among them—establishes that future generations have a legal right to a clean and healthy environment. But most helpful in ensuring intergenerational ecological justice, the author contends, is a respect-based theory of social justice which at its core honors the values that underwrite human rights law and policy inclusively conceived and embraced.”

The Cholera Stigma and the Challenge of Interdisciplinary Epistemology: From Bengal to …


“For a century and a half cholera has been a stigmatizing disease. That the entire world was susceptible to it seemed merely to accentuate its association with Asia, and particularly with Bengal and its people. The recent epidemic in Haiti suggests that cholera still carries stigma. That stigma is the product of epistemic practices within an interdisciplinary and orientalist cholera science that took shape in the 1860s and 1870s, which have, without renewed scrutiny, prevailed largely uncontested until recent decades. Those practices involved an over-interpretation of the historical epidemiological work of John Macpherson by his colleague N. C. Macnamara. Recent research, recognizing the wide distribution and genetic instability of Vibrio cholerae, offers an alternative context for appreciating Macpherson’s insights. This new program of interdisciplinary cholera research seems largely free of stigmatizing representations, but nor does it offer (or seek) a single and simple program of cholera prevention. The cholera case study invites reflection on the little-studied problem of epistemic accountability in interdisciplinary research, alerts us to questions of how disciplines are (and might be) made to cohere in policy-driven inquiries. The chief maxim is toward more explicit inclusion of the concept of multiple working hypotheses.”

Modernism and nationalism – Journal of Political Ideologies – Volume 17, Issue 1


“Various scholars have addressed nationalism as a distinctive political ideology. The majority of them recognize it as a product of modernity and as inseparable from it. This article begins by accepting this view, identifying the spread of nationalism as part of a broader process of Westernization. However, the all-encompassing ideological dimension and common thread hovering above nationalism is identified here as modernism—that is, the sum of ideological discourses, artistic expressions and political practices gravitating around the ‘need to be modern’. Modernist notions like ‘progress’, ‘growth’, ‘advancement’ and ‘development’ have been largely conceived within national frameworks and applied within a world of ‘nation-states’. Moreover, given the selective ways in which ruling elites used the vocabulary of modernity, the very ‘perlocutionary’ effect of labelling opponents as ‘anti-modern’ often became a sufficient condition for their exclusion. The article discusses whether modernism can be identified as an ideology on its own and whether its triumph was indissociable from nationalism. It concludes that nationalism belonged to a broader modernist discourse that thoroughly accompanied the expansion of modernity”

Paradox in preventing and promoting torture: marginalising ‘harm’ for the sak…


“The ultimate result of globalisation is that as the world setting is compressed there is an intensification of consciousness towards global interests, such as selective ordering, running parallel with strongly influential autonomous interests of the nation state and regional concerns. However, as risk and security disproportionately motivate globalisation, dominant nation state interests (which are at the heart of what operationalises global hegemony) become the prevailing measure of global ordering. Attitudes to ‘harm’ converge around these sectarian interests from the local to the global. As such, the need to torture, it is logically and even ‘legally’ argued, to better ensure domestic security will, if consistent with hegemonic interest, bring about both domestic and global ordering as a consequence. This article argues that globalisation has created a number of paradoxes where global ordering and governance are dictated by the dominant political hegemony and rights become secularized, not universal. Those who seek to contest the views of the hegemony, such as terrorists, are placed outside the global order and international protection and thus are subjected to the one-sided appreciation of harm that has been constructed by the hegemony 1 M. Findlay, Governing Through Globalised Crime: Futures for International Criminal Justice (Cullompton: Willan Publishing, 2008), 8. View all notes in attempts at global ordering.”

Reading Ruins against the Grain: Istanbul, Derbent, Postcoloniality – Culture, Theory a…


“The ruins of church-mosques, museums, and ancient cities inform material culture as allegories inform spiritual life, invoking forms of transcendence amidst the desacralised conditions of post-imperial modernities. Drawing on the work done by Benjamin, Jameson, and Koselleck to advance our understanding of the functioning of ruins in varying temporal contexts, this ethnography of ruins in the world after colonialism engages with the paradoxes generated by monuments in diverse urban spaces. Concentrating on the ethnographic sites of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul’s Museum of Islamic Art, and the ancient city of Derbent in contemporary Daghestan, attention is drawn to the variability of the ruin as a site of political mobilisation across space and time and particularly in the service of a postcolonial agenda.”

The Empire Writes Back…Back: Postcolonial Studies in an Age of Autogenic War …


“This essay attempts to disclose a uniquely volatile nexus that implicates – and perhaps, reinvigorates – a postcolonial analytics of insurgency. This nexus includes three strands of inquiry: the first is the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), which really is – albeit in a qualified sense – revolutionary. War is doing new things with time and space through culture, media, and data technology, and in the process is mutating not only what it means to be a part of this or that national group but is also changing what it means to be human. The second strand of inquiry focuses on the legacy of postcolonial studies, particularly the notion of ‘writing back’ which, I contend, is an apposite starting point for writing critically about the RMA. Apposite though it is, there are limits to postcolonial studies in the contemporary war context. This is so because while the divisions of individual difference are shifting, the coherence of the nation state itself is undergoing radical change. Moving outward in scope to a planetary scale, the human being per se is no longer a primary category by and for which war is happening today. Thus the third strand of inquiry is focused on the residual anthropomorphic tendencies within postcolonial studies that too narrowly limit discussions of violence and collective belonging. The concept of the human being per se remains reliant on early models of technology and media (namely, writing and literature, usually novels). Therefore, in the context of an ever-expanding global war machine, ‘writing back’ is a concept that requires fine-tuning and revision.”

Theater of the Oppressed as a Rhizome


“The spread of Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed across the Americas and the rest of the world can be understood in terms of Deleuze and Guattari’s metaphor of the rhizome, whose nomadic habit of growth and propagation mirrors the power of Theater of the Oppressed to reproduce itself in more than 70 countries worldwide. The Theater of the Oppressed rhizome is now deeply rooted in academia and has sprouted in classrooms and in the streets, bringing together students, scholars, administrators, policy makers, and community activists in the pursuit of social justice and human rights. An examination of its use as a pedagogical tool calls attention to its potential for creating a world in which human rights are appreciated and protected. Its use is particularly timely today given the worldwide attention to the rights of the indigenous peoples represented by the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007.”

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