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Public Culture 14.1 (2002) ix-xi
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This special issue of Public Culture is the product of a working group at the Center for Transcultural Studies that has been supported by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The Rockefeller Foundation has funded a variety of Center projects, starting in 1989 with a postdoctoral residency program on civil society and the public sphere that brought in academics, intellectuals, journalists, and cultural practitioners from Russia, China, Hong Kong, Turkey, and India at the moment when those societies were undergoing global transformations that have continued to affect them to this day. From the days of those initial collaborations, the Center has expanded into an international network of individuals and institutions whose goal is to support the development of the multiple perspectives needed to understand the global processes affecting all of us.
The ideas for this special issue arose out of discussions over the last several years that built on the earlier work on civil society and the public sphere with a fresh emphasis on the cultural forces shaping contemporary issues, such as globalization and the politics of recognition. International developments following the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center highlight the need for new ways of looking at contemporary global transformations, and the Rockefeller Foundation's support for the present project on new imaginaries has been as timely as its sponsorhip of our earlier work on civil society in the wake of 1989.
We would like to thank Elizabeth Povinelli for inviting us to publish the Center's current work in Public Culture. Like all special issues, New Imaginaries placed extra demands on the staff of Public Culture's editorial office, including Kaylin [End Page ix] Goldstein, William Elison, and Kathleen Lowrey, who rose to the occasion, as always, with verve, humor, and imagination. We thank them for their consideration and support.
This issue is dedicated to Dr. Harold M. Visotsky, Owen Coon Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University Medical School, current chairperson of the board of the Center for Transcultural Studies and a board member since the Center's founding thirty years ago. He and Bernard Weissbourd, the founder of the Center, provided the crucial inspirational guidance and creative imagination during its early years as the Center for Psychosocial Studies. The successful transformation of the Center into a decentered transnational network is due to its adoption of some of the attributes of its chairperson--a heightened sensitivity to intercultural relations, an expansiveness of vision, and a flexibility in dealing with both people and ideas--if not yet his wit and sense of humor.
--Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar and Benjamin Lee
Evanston, Illinois, and Houston, Texas
October 2001 [End Page x]
In Honor of
Harold M. Visotsky, M.D.
Mentor, Benefactor, Scholar
Photo by Gladys Visotsky