The scope, compass and nature of the United States of America’s power in the post-9/11 context has run as a thematic thread through recent issues of Theoria.
The Editorial in Theoria 101, written as the United States of America led a ‘coalition of the willing’ in the invasion of Iraq, posed questions about the global significance, viability and desirability of this project. In this first issue of 2004 some of the contributions explore further the implications of this invasion, and the role of the U.S. in world affairs.
The continued importance of a global issues general education course
Carol D. Miller
At the beginning of the semester, 42.6 per cent of undergraduates enrolled in a lower division, general education global studies course at a comprehensive state university in the Midwestern United States reported that they ‘didn’t know’ what the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was, and 85 per cent believed that, in general, trade with other countries created jobs. Analyses of data show that those who did not rely on TV or radio for their news sources were less likely to know what NAFTA was, but their knowledge transformed by the end of the semester. Results demonstrated the necessity for general education courses focused on global issues in an era when students do not rely on traditional sources for news information.
Felipe Adrián Vázquez Gálvez and Liliana Rivera-Lozano
*Full article in Spanish
English abstract: NAAEC acts as an independent platform for the international cooperation between the United States, Mexico and Canada over a wide range of environmental protocols. The CEC was formed as a practical and valuable tool to achieve NAAEC goals. Therefore, the CEC supervises the development of environmental policies and their accurate implementation among the three nations. In addition, the CEC promotes the participation of private citizens in collaboration with their governments to develop diverse strategies for conservation, protection, and improvement of our shared environment. Whether or not it is necessary to maintain regular operations of NAEEC is a subject currently evaluated during the present renegotiations of NAFTA, which provides new opportunities in view of the contemporary political, economic and environmental scene.
Spanish abstract: El ACAAN actúa como una plataforma independiente de cooperación internacional entre Estados Unidos, México y Canadá para el desarrollo de protocolos de protección del medio ambiente. La CCA se concibe como una práctica herramienta para la instrumentación de las metas trazadas por el ACAAN. En consecuencia, la CCA se encarga de gestionar, supervisar e implementar diversas estrategias de conservación, protección, y mejoramiento del medio ambiente por medio de la colaboración entre la sociedad civil y el sector gubernamental. En la actualidad, el debate en torno a si la reciente revisión y ratificación del TLCAN requerirá mantener el existente funcionamiento del ACAAN permite el planteamiento de nuevas áreas de oportunidad en vista del actual contexto político, económico y ambiental global.
French abstract: L’ANACDE sert de plate-forme indépendante pour la coopération internationale entre les États-Unis, le Mexique et le Canada sur un large éventail de protocoles environnementaux. La CCE a été créée comme outil pratique et utile pour atteindre les objectifs de l’ANACDE. Par conséquent, la CCE supervise l’élaboration des politiques environnementales et leur mise en oeuvre précise parmi les trois pays. En outre, la CCE encourage la participation des citoyens à l’élaboration de stratégies diverses en faveur de la conservation, la protection et l’amélioration de notre environnement commun. La question de savoir s’il est nécessaire ou non de maintenir les opérations régulières de l’ANACDE est actuellement débattue lors des renégociations de l’ALENA, qui ouvre de nouvelles perspectives sur les scènes politique, économique et environnementale contemporaines.
Kurdish Diasporic Experience in Binghamton
Aynur de Rouen
Through interviews with Iraqi Kurdish refugees who are currently living in and around Binghamton, New York, this study aims to evaluate details about the impact of the diaspora on these refugees and its effects on the development of Kurdish identity. Specifically, it focuses on the narratives of refugees who have faced physical pressure and violence, cultural assimilation and ethnic cleansing in their homeland, which has left an indelible mark on their memories and identities. Lastly, these notes from the field articulate how collective memory gives voice to the shared Kurdish past, refugees’ experiences in diaspora and the importance of spreading memories of the older generations, particularly to second-generation refugees, in shaping identities and reconstructing place in the United States.
Iris Marion Young
The world did not need the war against Iraq to understand that the United States of America stands alone among states in the magnitude of its military might. The blatant manner in which the U.S. flaunted that power in the face of fierce opposition from global civil society and nearly all states, however, demonstrates that the U.S. will use its power in ways that it judges right, without the approval or consent of other agents.
John D. Rayner
In the history of Progressive Jewish liturgy, Britain’s Liberal movement has, in spite of its relatively small numbers, played a unique role. For one thing, it has taken cognisance of the liturgical traditions of both of the two main centres of Progressive Judaism: Germany and the United States of America. (Britain’s Reform movement, by contrast, has preferred to do ‘its own thing’, with little reference to what has been done elsewhere.) For another thing, its publication in 1967 of Service of the Heart marked the beginning of a new trend, which has since manifested itself throughout the Progressive Jewish world.
Going Through the Motions at the News Corporation AGM
I present here an account of the incorporation of a media company hitherto part of a peripheral state within the juridical economic order of a global power—the United States of America. I concentrate on the crucial performative event in which Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is trans-corporated from an Australian registered business to an American one. The event I describe is in fact a rite de passage whereby a local company is legally recognized as a global power. The approach I take is in effect a situational analysis in the tradition of Max Gluckman, wherein the description is part of the analysis.
A Renewed Biological Imaginary of 'Race', Place and Identification
In the United States of America, use of DNA samples in criminal investigation and of genetic ancestry tests in 'personalised medicine', 'pharmacogenetics' and for personal consumption has grown exponentially. Moreover, use of such technologies is visible in the public sphere. In South Africa, DNA sampling for ancestry testing is the most publicly visible application of these technologies. This work has shifted constructions of 'KhoiSan' communities from yesterday's 'missing evolutionary link' to today's 'Edenic origin of humankind'. I question human biogenetics as a home for meanings of history, humanity and belonging. To this end, I read selected genetic genealogical studies of communities considered 'KhoiSan', 'Coloured' and 'Lemba' in South Africa against concerns raised in recent literature about the use of such studies in the United States of America. I ask why bio-centric conceptions of 'race', identity and 'the human' remain so resilient. To grapple with this question, I draw on Sylvia Wynter's (2001; 2003) adaptation of Frantz Fanon's (1986) concept of 'sociogeny' into 'the sociogenic principle'. I close by suggesting the code for what it means to be human is best located in the 'word' rather than the human genome.
The Case of the USA
Adam B. Seligman
The separation of church and state in the USA and the critical role of disestablishment in the political doctrines of that country is no indication of a secular polity. In fact, the separation of church and state as developed in 18th century American political thought was itself a religious doctrine and rested on the unique religious beliefs of certain Protestant Churches there. One consequence of this particular mode of accommodating religion has meant that the challenge of pluralism and difference in the United States of America is met, most often, by liberal indifference. Differences are trivialized, aethetisized and, more critically, privatized. They are shielded from public scrutiny and conceptualized as irrelevant to public concern. This is an increasingly inadequate response to the challenge of difference and the plurality of the human experience. Challenges to contemporary modes of accommodating religious and ethnic pluralism are necessitating the formulation of new sets of answers which are not based on such Protestant or post-Protestant assumptions.