Making Strangers

Outsiders, Aliens and Foreigners

Abbes Maazaoui (Ed.)

by Jeffrey R. Wilson (Harvard University), Abigail Taylor (University of Sydney, Australia), Amanda McMenamin (Wilson College, PA), Laureano Corces (Fairleigh Dickinson University, NJ), Marguerite Bordry (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris, France), Shaun Friday (Southern New Hampshire University), Ezra Engling (The Université du Québec in Montréal, Canada), Chia-Sui Lee (National Taiwan University, Taiwan), Yubraj Aryal (The University of Montreal, Canada & NYU, NY), Shastri Akella (The University of Massachusetts), Jennifer Boum Make (The University of Pittsburgh), Amandine Guyot (Université Paris 13 – Villetaneuse, France), Beatriz Calvo-Peña (Barry University, FL), Walid Romani (The Université du Québec in Montréal, Canada)

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Studies on foreignness have increased substantially over the last two decades in response to what has been dubbed the ‘refugee crisis.’ Yet, their focus has been generally on specific areas such as region, period, ethnic group or author. Predicated on the belief that this so-called ‘twenty-first century problem’ is timeless, and as old as humanity itself, the proposed collection of essays shows cases based on both long-term historic perspectives and individual 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 complacent reluctance to notice the unmistakable reality of the 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 experimentations with intercultural transfers by Gisèle Pineau.

We are not born foreigners; we are made. The purpose of the book is to assert, as denoted by its title, this fundamental premise, and contend that the making of strangers is a deliberate and purposeful process, even though it may be born out of an uncontrollable and primal urge to survive. 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 the current plight of 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.




1. “You must needs be strangers”: Stigma and Sympathetic Imagination in Shakespeare’s Sir Thomas More
Jeffrey R. Wilson, Harvard University, Massachusetts

2. “A Dream Deferred”: DREAMers in Politics and the Arts
Beatriz Calvo-Peña, Barry University, Florida

3. Republican Ideals and their Dissidence: Present Day “Crimes of Solidarity" and France’s Crisis of Hospitality
Abigail Taylor, University of Sydney, Australia

4. (E)stranging the Modern Nation: Transnationalism and Bastard Border Crossings in the Duke of Rivas’ The Foundling Moor (1833)
Amanda Eaton McMenamin, Wilson College, Pennsylvania

5. Blind Spots, Tunnel Vision, and the Narratives of the Immigrant and Colonial Subject
Laureano Corces, Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey

6. Outcast, Foreign Worker, Enemy: Exile and Suspended Identity in Mario Rigoni Stern’s Storia di Tönle (1978)
Marguerite Bordry, Université Paris-Sorbonne, France


7. The Gentle Trailblazer: Longfellow’s Faith-fueled Advocacy for Victims of Colonial Power across Ethnic, Religious, and Gender Lines
Shaun D. Friday, Southern New Hampshire University, New Hampshire

8. “In Search of a Home of One’s Own: Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street”
Ezra S. Engling, Independent Scholar, Unites States

9. The Arab Who Wasn’t There: Alterity in Lawrence Durell’s Alexandria Quartet
Walid Romani, The Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada

10. 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


11. Strangers, Foreigners and Aliens in Conan Doyle’s Novels: From Imperialistic Appropriation to Literary Subversion
Amandine Guyot, Université Paris 13-Villetaneuse, France

12. 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, & Visiting Scholar at NYU, New York

13. Aesthetics of Alienation: The Displacement/Displacing Narrative of In the Light of What We Know
Shastri Akella, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), Massachusetts

14. From Modern France to the Caribbean and Back Again: Testing the Survival Chances of Cultural Transfers in Exile According to Julia by Gisèle Pineau
Jennifer Boum Make, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



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 (1982), and La Rhétorique du leurre dans Les Gommes d’Alain Robbe-Grillet (1987). He has also edited special issues on 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 outsider came naturally to him. Not only has he lived on three different continents (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 his work on Proust, Robbe-Grillet, the Beurs in France, and gender discrimination. Most recently, he has edited, in connection with this theme, two special issues of The Lincoln Humanities Journal, the first on Borders (2014), and the second on Us and Them (in press). In the spring of 2017, he taught a course on “Nous et les autres dans la pensée française et francophone” (Human Diversity in French and Francophone Thought), and coordinated an international conference on “Making Strangers.” This book is an extension of both the conference and the course.

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title
Making Strangers
Book Subtitle
Outsiders, Aliens and Foreigners
Number of pages
Publication date
April 2018