International Dialogue

International Dialogue

Notes from the Editor

I do not know what other editors think about when they sit down at a keyboard (I abandoned the typewriter long ago) to write the opening words for an upcoming issue. We all probably have a different set of mental experiences, reflecting our internal makeup as well as the external surroundings in which we have placed ourselves. For me it is sort of like writing poetry—I must be “in the mood.” Once in the mood, lines and stanzas flow smoothly onto paper. Likewise, the paragraphs of Notes from the Editor quickly fill my computer screen. Unfortunately, being told that I would not have access to my office over the summer months due to a much-needed building update affected both my teaching a summer course on political philosophy and working on the journal. Yet I was able to get back on track by finishing off the summer with back-to-back trips to Kosovo and Iceland, trips that helped me to think about the eventual layout of this volume. Creative inspiration not only happens while sitting in a book lined office, but can be had from changing locations, including walking the streets of distant capitals.

The work of scholars representing three continents fill this year’s volume. The volume begins with an article entitled “Institutionalized Violence in the History of Mind/Body Dualism and the Contemporary Reality of Slavery and Torture: Reflections on Elaine Scarry and The Body in Pain” by the philosopher Wendy Lynne Lee. Lee argues that the dualistic impulse Bibi Bakare-Yusef identifies in Scarry’s analysis of the experience of pain distorts that very analysis. Examining this distortion, however, allows us to move beyond Scarry’s analysis to inquire into the role of institutions of violence such as slavery and sex-trafficking. Lee’s work is followed by Curtis Hutt’s article entitled “Using Bourdieu to Answer Spivak: On the Study of Historical Subaltern Religious Practices.” Building on the work of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak that challenges the ability of scholars to grasp subaltern religions, and drawing inspiration from Pierre Bourdieu, Hutt taps into his own historical work to temper the historical blindness of the subaltern past.

Several review essays covering the topics of secularism, post-human capitalism, and democracy follow the Hutt article. The first is Sotiris Mitralexis’s essay of books by Peter Harrison, Étienne Balibar, and Talal Asad that examine religion and secularism. The second is an essay by Edward Sankowski and Betty J. Harris, two of ID’s assistant editors, which exposes Slavoj Žižek’s latest work on technology and science in the contemporary world. The third is Peter Stone’s piece on Jason Brennan’s defense of epistocracy. Six book reviews and a book note follow the review essays. These contributions focus on books dealing with Ukraine, terrorism, orientalism, political aesthetics, political realism, Israel, and the work of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. The volume ends with a transcript of a panel discussion with the Honorable Richard Goldstone, who was Chief UN Prosecutor in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and Lewis Gordon, a professor of philosophy and Africana studies at the University of Connecticut, who has written extensively on race and racism, postcolonial phenomenology, Black existentialism, and the work of Frantz Fanon. The discussion was moderated by Alecia Anderson, an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), who specializes in racial and ethnic relations, political sociology, and social theory. The discussion was part of Human Rights Week and took place at UNO on September 25, 2019.

I thank the editors, staff, and board members for their assistance in putting together Volume 9. I want especially to thank Kathryn A. Cox Schwartz, who has served as editorial assistant since the inception of ID, and the Executive Committee of The Leonard and Shirley Goldstein Center for Human Rights for their financial support. I also welcome back Angela Brown as administrative assistant.

There is still a need for additional board members and editors, including an associate editor. Interested individuals should send a letter of interest and a CV to rconces@unomaha.edu.

I thank all those who reviewed manuscript submissions to ID over the past year. I am grateful for their adherence to deadlines and, most importantly, their insightful comments to both editors and authors. The following list includes board members and external referees who reviewed submissions for Volume 9:

  • Per Bauhn, Lund University
  • Christian Bjørnskov, University of Aarhus
  • Caron E. Gentry, University of St. Andrews
  • Curtis Hutt, University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Paul Kriese, Richmond, IN
  • Azzedine Layachi, St. John’s University (NY)
  • Stephen Morton, University of Southhampton
  • Kassam Zayn, Pomona College

Finally, on behalf of the editorial staff, I sadly announce the passing of two of ID’s long time board members. Zdravko Grebo (1947–2019) was a member of the European/Middle Eastern Editorial Board. I first met Zdravko on one of my early trips to Sarajevo, perhaps 2001. He was a professor of law at the University of Sarajevo Law School. I knew him as a happy fellow, one who was always willing to take a look at a submission that was hard to place. Perhaps this reflected his interest in whatever promoted civil society building. No doubt he would have been pleased with ID’s association with the Goldstein Center for Human Rights.

Zdravko was extremely accomplished. He was the founder of the Sarajevo radio station ZID, a member of the Executive Board of Bosnian Peace Corps, the founder of Open Society Foundation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Soros Foundation), the founder of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the University of Sarajevo, and the author of four books and 150 articles. His presence will be missed.

Someone with whom I was much closer, Joseph Bien (1936–2019), was a member of the North American/Australasian Editorial Board. Joe was one of my professors at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He served on my dissertation committee and over the years became both mentor and friend. He was extremely supportive of the ID project early on and contributed books reviews in some early volumes. I was fortunate enough to have dinner with him when he travelled to Omaha to participate in two annual conferences at UNO. Whether we sat in an Italian or Persian restaurant, Joe took delight in telling stories of his travels around the world—to China, Romania, South Africa, France, and Croatia—as well as long discourses on two of his loves, opera and classical music. We shared many interests, including rummaging through bookstores and planning trips to the Balkans—which meant for him his annual trip to Dubrovnik to serve as course director at the Inter-University Centre.

Joe received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He was an assistant professor at the University of Texas-Austin (1968–73) and made his way to Missouri, where he taught from 1973 to 2015. His areas of research covered the history of political philosophy, post-war French thought, Georg Lukács, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, to name just a few. Joe published well over 100 works, including being the translator of Merleau-Ponty’s Adventures of the Dialectic. Although his association with ID will be missed, I mourn the loss of my mentor and friend.

Lastly, I announce that my dear friend and colleague, Jasminka Babić-Avdispahić, has stepped down from her position as ID’s long-time associate editor. I first met Jasminka as a Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sarajevo. I was fortunate enough to offer lectures on applied ethics to her students. It has been my pleasure to have gotten to know her family and to have had her as a trusted colleague for all these years. Her work as an editor will be missed as well.

- R.J.C. -- Omaha


Book Reviews


Art as a Political Witness
Lenore Metrick-Chen


Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times
Gonzalo Bustamante Kuschel

Responses or Comments


Table of Contents
Rory J. Conces


Notes from the Editor
Rory J. Conces

Review Essays

Book Note