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(Un)tolerated Neighbour: Encounters with the Radicalized Other in The Reluctant Fundamentalist and The Submission

Ayşem Seval


After the 9/11 attacks and events of its aftermath, discourses on respect for otherness and liberal tolerance are highly undercut by raising voices that are getting alarmingly close to fascism. However, while the concept of the Other is thus radicalized, it paradoxically gets so opaque that encountering it at a mundane level becomes almost impossible. It is equally difficult for the subject, that considers its self as liberal, and the “tolerated” Other to place themselves within the shifting parameters. Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Amy Waldman’s The Submission employ aesthetic tools to expose the intricate layers inherent in this paradox revealing the impossibility of a liberal discourse of tolerance in emerging representations of both self and the other after 9/11. In an attempt to understand the underlying implications of this change, this essay utilizes Slavoj Žižek’s concept of the Neighbour as well as Judith Butler’s ideas on grief to point out how aesthetic engagements with the world of the radicalized Other may provide critique of the current condition. And in the process, this study seeks an alternative to the discourse of tolerance.


Tolerance, Neighbour, 9/11, Mohsin Hamid, Amy Waldman

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The Johns Hopkins University Press

ISSN: 1920-1222

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