Public Culture gratefully acknowledges the generous support given by the Division of Arts and Humanitites of the Rockefeller Foundation towards the publication of this special issue on “Globalization.” In particular, we thank Tomas Ybarra-Frausto and Lynn Szwaja for their sustained interest and fruitful conversation over the years. We also thank the Globalization Project at the University of Chicago for its contribution to this issue.
Robert McCarthy, the managing editor of Public Culture, has left the office to pursue other creative challenges. We will miss the vital partnership he offered, as manifest in the critical contributions he made to this special issue. We welcome Caitrin Lynch, the new managing editor, who brings experience and a fine intelligence to bear on the Public Culture project. She has been joined by Kaylin Goldstein as editorial assistant whose good sense keeps the office steady.
Finally, readers may note that some essays in this second volume of the Millennial Quartet, although written from a pre-millennial perspective, arrive now only post-millennially. Whether due to time-space compression or to the vicissitudes of publishing on the cusp of the millennium, perhaps such a temporal stagger is appropriate to this issue on globalization at the fin de millénaire
Neelan Tiruchelvam’s violent and untimely death robbed the world of an extraordinary scholar, legislator, and political activist. He brought together scholars and activists on a global scale to discuss problems of civil society, law, and ethics. In so doing, he reminded us of the social life of theory and of the importance of placing local problems in the widest comparative perspective. He also reminded us of the importance of working on solutions to the difficult problems of ethnic terror in our midst. For this he paid with his life.
Those who took Neelan’s life acted in the name of one kind of politics. Neelan lived and died in the name of another kind of politics. That was a politics of knowledge, of radical moderation, and of systematic opposition to violence. At the time of his death, he was helping to produce constitutional solutions to some of Sri Lanka’s worst ethnic deadlocks.
Neelan wrote tirelessly and read widely in the midst of distractions and urgencies of every kind. He wrote in Tamil as well as in English so that the debate about Sri Lanka’s future could be democratic. He made many of us welcome in Colombo’s International Centre for Ethnic Studies and in his home, with his children and his wife, Sithie, who was his tireless coworker. His death was senseless. But his life has opened examples of thought and practice that will expand the possibilities of moral intervention for many of us whose ordinary interests he helped to throw into sharper ethical light. We mourn his passing and celebrate his example.
In Honor of Neelan Tiruchelvam 31 January 1944 – 29 July 1999 Friend, Scholar, Political visionary, International citizen