Welcome to the first issue of The Public Sphere. We have titled this issue “debut,” as it is our very first issue and not quite volume one. Only members of the core staff have contributed essays and art for this initial issue. Each piece queries something we may have taken for granted about politics, religion, culture, and media. Lauren Espineli”s photo essay considers how her trip to Egypt defied her expectations. Valerie Bailey Fischer examines desires to be a Good Samaritan in a road trip through Israel and Palestine. Jacqueline Hidalgo considers how our quests for transformation must be coupled with practices of everyday life. Marc Lombardo traces the limits that our current remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr. place upon our own efforts to transform the world. Paloma Ramirez wonders how text messaging became an acceptable part of dating practice. Katy Scrogin asks us to think about what we really mean by and want in “friendship” now that we can befriend everyone on MySpace.
Individual authors may disagree with positions taken by other authors in this magazine. We think that such dissonance is central to conversation in the public sphere. We invite you to read our initial queries of public life and then to respond with your own thoughts.
For our first official issue, The Public Sphere seeks essays and art that query public life. We especially seek pieces that explore the topic of “global responsibility.” What questions arise from the Beijing Olympics? What challenges for global citizenship are posed by the foreign policy platforms of John McCain and Barack Obama? What possibilities and limits for global engagement does the Internet make possible? If you are interested in writing for our next issue, please submit your piece via email in either .rtf or .doc format to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 15, 2008. Essays should be no longer than 2000 words. Artistic interpretations should be submitted in .jpg format. Poetry and short fiction are also welcome.