Embracing the Other: Addressing Xenophobia in the New by Dunja M Mohr

By Dunja M Mohr

Within the wake of addressing multiculturalism, transculturalism, racism, and ethnicity, the problem of xenophobia and xenophilia has been a little marginalized. the current assortment seeks, from various angles, to enquire the kin among Self and different within the New Literatures in English. How can we sign in ameliorations and what does an include symbolize for either Self and different? The individuals care for quite a few themes, starting from theoretical reflections on xenophobia, its exploration by way of intertextuality and New Zealand/Maori historiography, to analyses of migrant and border narratives, and problems with transitionality, authenticity, and racism in Canada and South Africa. Others negotiate id and alterity in Nigerian, Malaysian, Australian, Indian, Canadian, and Caribbean texts, or ponder diaspora and orientalism in Australian-Asian and West Indian contexts.

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Conditions of Cross-Cultural Perceptions 21 lians, and Maori. Where plantations developed, slaves and indentured labour were imported, creating ethnic pluralities within a colony / settlement. Yet borders were never watertight. In Imperial Rome, those born in Africa, Syria, Spain and the Balkans became Caesar through ability, power, and opportunity. But an undercurrent of unease invariably remained: the senators resisted the intrusion of provincials […] The Romans were upset at the height and size of the Gauls, Britons, and Germans, and they hated trousers […] Juvenal is full of racial prejudice.

The question is a matter of knowing how to read, as the deconstructors say, and not detaching this from the issue of knowing what to read. Texts are not finished objects. 4 Texts are open-ended, but far less in themselves than we assume. Syntax, semantics, phonology, and so on change, but these factors are the lesser influences in the figuration of meaning, far less important than those changes in us. It is Said, and you, and I, all of us – as reader–teacher–critic – who are open-ended, constantly re-coded by additions, deletions, and revisions in our personal semiotics, in what actively constitutes and motivates the operative ‘I’.

Dekker’s novel was a seminal exploration of a complex colonial situation, involving many Others. As a dedicated servant of the Dutch East India Company, he was not against colonialism; only against its abuses, its lack of basic human consideration. Moreover, the author used a range of techniques, structures, and discourses that highlight the polyphonic life of colonizer and colonized. In this sense, Max Havelaar has a more intriguing and revealing series of perspectives and textures than we find in Conrad’s works.

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