The End of the Enlightenment?


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The Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs would like to acknowledge and thank those individuals who have provided support over the past year, including faculty advisor Dr. Erik Jones, Director Kenneth Keller, the Bologna Center student government, debate participants Ashley Elliot and Jeffrey Phillips, translator Filippo Chiesa, and the contributors to the annual fundraising auction.

2008 Journal Staff


Emily Harter*

Managing Editor

Christina Sohn*

Executive Editor

Mike Casey

Copy Editor

Jill O’Donnell*

Finance Director

Will Herter

Public Relations

Dara Iserson

Layout Editor

Rajiv D’Cruz

Web Editor

Ryker Labbee

Event Planners


Natasha Adams
Nazanin Berarpour
Brittany Williams


Nathaniel Adams | Melissa Chadbourne | Ashley Elliot | Shannon Ewan | Jessica Ferro* | Hristijan Gjorgievski | Nicole Goldstein* | Stephanie Harmon | Peter Hubbard | John Jacobsen* | Nicole Marquez | Rose McGovern | Sera Park | Jackie Quinones* | Benjamin Rinaker | Marjorie Schincariol* | Nermina Šljivo | Katie Soulé

Copy Editors

Natasha Adams | Shannon Ewan | Peter Hubbard | Nikki Marquez | Xavier Pallàs | Sera Park | Tom Spoth | Claire Sturm | Brittany Williams

* Article Selection Committee




The term “modernity” is rooted in ideas that are embodied in the Enlightenment, namely, the triumph of reason, rationality and individuality, and is often associated with a Western worldview. However, to use the term singularly in this sense is to not fully understand its complex constitutive elements. This paper explores how modernity can be interpreted in diverse ways by different actors. It highlights the two main trends followed by various modernity projects, and further illustrates how this divergence in interpretation increases the potential for conflict at various levels.


Religion is a subject academia often overlooks when it considers the origins of the modern African state. This paper aims to analyze religion’s role in shaping African society through its complex, political relationship with colonial administrations under indirect rule. In order to understand this historical process, the hegemonic-culture thesis is examined, critiqued, and applied to the case studies of Nigeria and Rwanda. Based on its findings, this study suggests that the hegemonic-culture thesis elucidates the process of state formation as manipulated by colonial rule, but cannot fully explain contemporary conflict because it fails to account for religion’s influence on the development of the African state and society.


Nuclear proliferation is often seen as a one-way street. The standard realist logic concerning proliferation is that states seek nuclear weapons to counter threats to their security, based on an often-narrow calculation of costs and benefits. Reality is much more complicated. When states do disarm, they base their nuclear decisions on their own highly subjective needs. The following paper attempts to capture this interaction by expanding traditional cost-benefit analysis into a framework that incorporates subjective as well as objective variables. This framework attempts to assess the viability of competing policy options facing promoters of disarmament.


The rise of radical Islam along both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border has its roots in three major factors. The first is the disintegration of Afghan social structures at both the state and tribal levels, beginning in 1979 with revolts against the communist government and the subsequent Soviet invasion. The second is the increased sway of political Islam, due mostly to outside influences, including Salafist thought from the Middle East, and the more local Deobandi philosophy. The third is the radicalization of the Pashtuns, the dominant ethnic group along the border. This paper will examine how these three converging factors have created the current instability on both sides of the border, and where it might lead.


During World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army raped and tortured an estimated 200,000 women, mostly Korean and Chinese. Half a century later, documents were discovered within Japan’s Defense Agency (now called the Ministry of Defense) proving that state officials sanctioned underground brothels. To this day, the Japanese government refuses to directly acknowledge and apologize for its actions. The purpose of this paper is to argue that the Japanese government must admit to its past war crimes. The reasons are threefold: victims deserve an official apology; an admission of guilt would lessen Japanese tensions with its Asian neighbors; and it would reinforce the universal intolerance for war crimes as seen in the military tribunals of Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and Nazi Germany.


The EU’s energy and foreign policy vis-à-vis Algeria is ambitious, seeking as it does to achieve three primary objectives—democratization, economic liberalization, and security of energy supplies. Whether the EU will succeed in these objectives is far from certain. This paper analyzes the historical record in an attempt to discern the likelihood that the EU will indeed achieve its objectives. In doing so, it assesses EU policy towards Algeria since 1995, identifies the main challenges and opportunities facing EU policymakers in Algeria, and proposes a new policy approach for EU leaders to consider in pursuing more secure energy supplies and internal political and economic reform in Algeria.


Sustained economic growth is a uniquely modern concept. World per capita incomes, after millennia of stagnation, only rose significantly at the end of the eighteenth century. This development first took off in Western Europe, and it has largely not taken place in sub-Saharan Africa. This divergence is due, in part, to an interconnected series of Enlightenment-era cultural trends in Europe epitomized by the rise of the developmental state based on a social contract, the increasing influence of rationality and applied science within the economy, and the encouragement of economic development by religion. These trends represented a cultural shift toward individualism in the political, economic, and religious spheres of the Western world during the Enlightenment and stand in stark contrast to Sub-Saharan Africa’s postcolonial culture of collectivism and ineffective development strategies based on Pan-Africanism and statism. As such, the prospect of future economic development in Africa along a Western path would require a cultural transformation.


This essay argues that there is a ground on which to build a legal case for a doctrine of humanitarian intervention. Instances of armed intervention to protect human rights without the prior authorization of the United Nations Security Council represent a conflict between core norms of the international community: the prohibition of the use of force, on one hand, and the prohibition of grave violations of human rights, on the other. Though many of the legal justifications put forth in the literature are inadequate, such action is legally defensible as a balancing between peremptory norms of international law. But to ensure proper balancing of these norms, a system must be adopted to regulate such intervention.