Making Strangers: Outsiders, Aliens and Foreigners

Making Strangers: Outsiders, Aliens and Foreigners

by Abbes Maazaoui


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Studies on foreignness have increased substantially over the last two decades in response to what has been dubbed the migration/refugee crisis. Yet, they have focused on specific areas such as regions, periods, ethnic groups, and authors. Predicated on the belief that this so-called “twenty-first century problem” is in fact as old as humanity itself, this book analyzes cases based on both long-term historical perspectives and current occurrences from around the world. Bringing together an international group of scholars from Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America, it examines a variety of examples and strategies, mostly from world literatures, ranging from Spain’s failed experience with consolidation as a nation-state-type entity during the Golden Age of Castile, to Shakespeare’s rhetorical subversion of the language of fear and hate, to Mario Rigoni Stern’s random status at the unpredictable Italian-Austrian borders, to Lawrence Durrell’s ambivalent approach to noticing the physically visible other, to the French government’s ongoing criminalization of hospitality, to Sandra Cisneros’s attempt at straddling two countries and cultures while belonging to neither one, to the illusive legal limbo of the DREAMers in the United States.

We are not born foreigners; we are made. The purpose of the book is to assert, as denoted by the title, this fundamental premise, that is, the making of strangers is the result of a deliberate and purposeful act that has social, political, and linguistic implications. The ultimate expression of this phenomenon is the compulsive labeling of people along artificial categories such as race, gender, religion, birthplace, or nationality. A corollary purpose of the book is to help shed light worldwide on one of the most pressing issues facing the world today: the place of “the other” amid fear-mongering and unabashedly contemptuous acts and rhetoric toward immigrants, refugees and all those excluded within because of race, gender, national origin, religion and ethnicity. As illustrated by the examples examined in this book, humans have certainly evolved in many areas; dealing with the “other” might not have been one of those. It is hoped that the book encourages reflection on how the arts, and especially world literatures, can help us navigate and think through the ever-present crisis: the place of the “stranger” among us.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781622734955
Publisher: Vernon Art and Science
Publication date: 10/10/2018
Series: Series in Sociology
Pages: 188
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Abbes Maazaoui is Professor of French and Linguistics at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. His books include The Arts of Memory and the Poetics of Remembering (2016), Proust et la claustration and La Rhétorique du leurre dans Les Gommes d'Alain Robbe-Grillet. He has also edited special issues on Us and Them (2017), Panopticon: Surveillance, Suspicion, Fear (2016), Borders (2014), and Follow Your Passion: Representations of Passion in the Humanities (2013). His essays on literary criticism and twentieth-century French and Francophone literature have appeared in Romance Notes, The French Review, Romance Quarterly, Etudes francophones, L'Esprit créateur, and in various critical collections. He is the founder and editor of The Lincoln Humanities Journal, and a member of the editorial board of the Revue du Centre d'Etudes des Littératures et des Arts d'Afrique du Nord (CELAAN).

Maazaoui's interest in the experiences of the stranger came naturally to him. Not only has he lived in three countries (Tunisia, France and the United States), his family and brothers and sisters have also been scattered across three continents and nationalities. The theme of border crossings has been present in many of his publications, including two recent special issues for The Lincoln Humanities Journal, the first on Borders (2014), and the second on Us and Them (2017). In the spring of 2017, he taught a course on Human Diversity in French and Francophone Thought ("Nous et les autres dans la pensée française et francophone"), and coordinated an international conference on "Making Strangers." This book is an extension of both the conference and the course.

Table of Contents



Abbes Maazaoui

Part one: Languages of power

1. “You must needs be strangers”: stigma and sympathetic imagination in Shakespeare’s Sir Thomas More

Jeffrey R. Wilson, Harvard University, United States

2. (E)stranging the modern nation: transnationalism and bastard border crossings in the Duke of Rivas’s The Foundling Moor

Amanda Eaton McMenamin, Wilson College, United States

3. “A Dream Deferred”: DREAMers in Politics and the Arts

Beatriz Calvo-Peña, Barry University, United States

4. “Crimes of solidarity”: France’s contemporary crisis of hospitality

Abigail Taylor, University of Sydney, Australia

Part two: Alien geographies

5. Outcast, foreign worker, enemy: exile and suspended identity in Mario Rigoni Stern’s Storia di Tönle (1978)

Marguerite Bordry, Université Paris-Sorbonne, France

6. In search of a home of one’s own: Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street

Ezra S. Engling (ret.), Eastern Kentucky University, United States

7. Blind spots, tunnel vision, and the narratives of the immigrant and colonial subject

Laureano Corces, Fairleigh Dickinson University, United States

8. The Arab who wasn’t there: alterity in Lawrence Durell’s Alexandria Quartet

Walid Romani, The Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada

9. The ethics of the ghostly: a ghost medium in J. M. Coetzee’s Life & Times of Michael K

Chia-Sui Lee, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Part three: Troubled identities

10. Strangers, foreigners and aliens in Conan Doyle’s novels: from imperialistic appropriation to literary subversion

Amandine Guyot, Université Paris 13, France

11. A strange encounter of aesthetics and imperial politics in Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn’s Poetry of the Taliban

Yubraj Aryal, University of Montreal, Canada / Central Normal China University, China

12. Aesthetics of alienation: the displacement/displacing narrative of In the Light of What We Know

Shastri Akella, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), United States



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