It appears almost impossible to me to introduce a new edition of this journal without mentioning the difficulties introduced by the global health crisis that has defined the last eleven months. Little did we know when we had just assembled a new editorial board that we would have to bring this edition of the journal into being with only having gathered a single time in the same room.
And yet here we are, with a new edition of this journal that feels to me, at the time of publication, almost like a picture from the past. The issues the authors confront in this edition did of course not disappear. They are as relevant as ever, and yet I cannot help but wonder if they would need to be re-evaluated today. Publishing as if we were not in this crisis suggests that it is just a temporary abberation, a suspension of normality in which no meaningful changes occur. Something that can be forgotten just as quickly as it appeared once the dust has settled.
This perspective ignores the processes of sedimentation that occur while we wait in the confines of our homes, processes of change that always occur anyhow. Perhaps it is then not that we are facing a new problem, but that the current crisis has simply raised a problem of academic publishing to the surface: that by the time a new edition is released, the world we sought to describe no longer exists in the same way. The lag between the moment of writing and the moment of publication comes to haunt us, and it is the rapidity with which the world changes today that increases its relevance.
However, it is also this lag which lies beneath the appreciation academic publications deserve. The processes which forestall sending messages out into the world allow us to ensure a thorough consideration of the content and consequences of our messages. In this sense, the value of academic publishing today might lie in just the lag that seems to make it unfit for a rapidly changing world. When everything can be immediately seen and shared on electronic communication devices, when any one thing therefore no longer seems to matter, academic publications may serve another purpose: a collection of messages crafted with care. Perhaps they come a little bit too late, perhaps they are a bit out of date. And yet, here we are.
I am highly grateful to the wonderful team behind this edition which has put in more devotion and energy than I could have asked for under these circumstances. I would like to thank Emilie de Bassompierre, Daniel Xu, Bram Wiggers, Yusser Salih, Stan Hillen, Ari Duong Nguyen, and Hannah Weise for their commitment to making another edition of the ESAJ possible. I would also like to thank the staff members at EUC who have supported us and offered invaluable advice.
As my function as the chief editor of this journal is coming to an end, I am proud to pass on the wonderful project that the ESAJ has become over the past two years to the next generation of EUC students. I hope that the journal will continue to grow as an institution within EUC, and I am looking forward to seeing what will become of it.
To our readers, I hope that the articles in this edition may invite you to contemplation, inspire you to debate, and incite you to action.
Philipp Spengler, Chief Editor.