Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia

Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia

by George Makari
Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia

Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia

by George Makari


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Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
A Bloomberg Best Nonfiction Book of 2021

A startling work of historical sleuthing and synthesis, Of Fear and Strangers reveals the forgotten histories of xenophobia—and what they mean for us today.

By 2016, it was impossible to ignore an international resurgence of xenophobia. What had happened? Looking for clues, psychiatrist and historian George Makari started out in search of the idea’s origins. To his astonishment, he discovered an unfolding series of never-told stories. While a fear and hatred of strangers may be ancient, he found that the notion of a dangerous bias called "xenophobia" arose not so long ago.

Coined by late-nineteenth-century doctors and political commentators and popularized by an eccentric stenographer, xenophobia emerged alongside Western nationalism, colonialism, mass migration, and genocide. Makari chronicles the concept’s rise, from its popularization and perverse misuse to its spread as an ethical principle in the wake of a series of calamites that culminated in the Holocaust, and its sudden reappearance in the twenty-first century. He investigates xenophobia’s evolution through the writings of figures such as Joseph Conrad, Albert Camus, and Richard Wright, and innovators like Walter Lippmann, Sigmund Freud, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Frantz Fanon. Weaving together history, philosophy, and psychology, Makari offers insights into varied, related ideas such as the conditioned response, the stereotype, projection, the Authoritarian Personality, the Other, and institutional bias.

Masterful, original, and elegantly written, Of Fear and Strangers offers us a unifying paradigm by which we might more clearly comprehend how irrational anxiety and contests over identity sweep up groups and lead to the dark headlines of division so prevalent today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393652000
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/14/2021
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,115,853
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

George Makari is a psychiatrist, historian, and author most recently of Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind. Director of the DeWitt Wallace Institute and professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, he lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Out of Beirut xi

Part 1 The Origins of Xenophobia

Chapter 1 In Search of Xénos 3

Chapter 2 Avant la lettre, or The Black Legend 17

Chapter 3 The First Xenophobes 39

Chapter 4 The Boxer Uprising 49

Chapter 5 Colonial Panic 62

Chapter 6 Commence the Unraveling 71

Chapter 7 Immigrant Boomerang 87

Chapter 8 The Road to Genocide 99

Part II Inside the Xenophobic Mind

Chapter 9 Little Albert and the Wages of Fear 129

Chapter 10 The Invention of the Stereotype 151

Chapter 11 Projection and the Negative of Love 175

Chapter 12 The Enigma of the Other 195

Chapter 13 Self Estrangements 213

Part III The Return of the Stranger

Chapter 14 Why We Hate Them 231

Chapter 15 The New Xenophobia 246

Coda: In the Pyrenees 267

Acknowledgments 271

Notes 275

Illustration Credits 325

Index 327

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