Global Justice Think Tank Spring 2015 –
Building a Theme
My students this year were interested in the difference between sovereignty and cultural identity, with special attention to the issue of “self-determination” in that context. There is a good bit of attention in the academic press about related issues and we looked at several books, most of which revolved around the demise of the state as the central governing structure of people’s lives. Much of the current world attention is on“ethno-cultural” conflict (avoiding the idea of religion for reasons to be explained later).
Before that work began, there was a project produced for Heartland Alliance, an NGO operating in Kurdish Iraq before the capture of so much territory by IS.
- Jess Morrison produced a thorough study of methods of implementing the Convention Against Torture, which was intended to be the subject of parliamentary action in Iraq.
The papers presented here respond to the governance and sovereignty theme in different ways.
- Nadiha Hadzikadunic looks at sovereignty and inter-cultural conflict from the perspective of her native Bosnia, a conflict from which she escaped to build a new life in the West.
- Thomas Patch explores the question of sovereignty in our complex world by looking at the important roles of recognized actors which are not exactly nation-states, such as the Knights of Malta, the British Commonwealth, and the First Nations of Canada.
- Justin Hosman looks at the role of the internet and the possible disintegration of sovereignty in light of the insignificance of borders to electronic communication.
- Jenica Maxwell’s look at sovereignty and sexual slavery deals with the very difficult problem of attempting to enforce minimal norms of human dignity across borders of intransigent states.
To all of those papers I have added my own introductory piece that attempted to get the students onto related tracks for their research. I hope these papers contribute to the enhancement of human dignity in the ongoing debate over how to deal with globalized governance.