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Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9211-5811 Koshy Minu Susan

Abstract

Terror narratives have been characterized by a dialogism where the “normative” I—i.e. the “non-threatening mainstream”—defines and delineates subjects whose identity is centred on their (actual or presumed) location in the terror network. This is especially so in the case of Asian migrants who settle down in Western countries, as their very identity as Asian locates them at a precarious point in the real or imagined “terror network.” The migrant is no longer the Du (Thou), but the Es (It), imparting an identity to the Ich (I), where the Ich denotes the “original” citizens of the country. The transactions of the “I” with the “Thou” and the “It” become significant in the context of Asian immigrants in that, for the dominant mainstream (the “I”), the “terrorist” is an Es/”It” that has gradually marked its transition from the Du/“Thou.” The person of the “terrorist” finds its ontological properties from the gradual movement away from a “Thou” to an “It.” The hitherto unbounded “Thou” is transformed into a definable “It,” by ascribing to her/him a religion, race, colour, nationality and ethnicity. He/she is not confronted, as every “Thou” is, but is rather “experienced” as a source of terror, as an “It.” The paper attempts to explore the transformation of the figure of the “migrant terrorist” from a confronted “Thou” to an “imagined/experienced” “It” through an analysis of New York (2009) by Kabir Khan and Home Fire (2017) by Kamila Shamsie.

Keywords

Ich-Du, Ich-Es, Asian migrant, terror narratives, objectification, pathologizing gaze

References

Agamben, Giorgio. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford UP, 1998.

Brown, Bill. “Thing Theory.” Critical Inquiry, vol. 28, no. 1, 2001, pp. 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1086/449030

Buber, Martin. I and Thou. Translated by Ronald Gregor Smith. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006.

Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Grove, 1963.

Jayal, Niraja Gopal. Citizenship and Its Discontents. Harvard UP, 2013.

New York. Directed by Kabir Khan, performances by John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Neil Nitin Mukesh, Yash Raj Films, 2009.

Ray, Raka, and Seemin Qayum. Cultures of Servitude: Modernity, Domesticity and Class in India. Stanford UP, 2009.

Said, Edward W. Orientalism. Pantheon, 1978.

Shamsie, Kamila. Home Fire. Bloomsbury India, 2017.

First Page

97

Last Page

105

Language

eng

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