About The Stranger Within

Welcome to the Spring 2018 issue of Rejoinder, an online journal published by the Institute for Research on Women at Rutgers in partnership with The Feminist Art Project. The theme of this issue is “The Stranger Within.” When we issued a call for submissions on this topic we asked contributors to consider three questions: Why are we often troubled by the presence of strangers? What does it mean to encounter strangeness in ourselves or in the spaces we frequent? And what are the ethics, aesthetics, and politics of naming the strange—and the stranger? We hoped to receive a wide range of responses and were not disappointed.

This issue of Rejoinder features essays, fiction, poetry, and artwork related to our theme. While many of our contributors make allusions to the writings of Julia Kristeva, it is not necessary to be an expert in psychoanalysis or literary theory to appreciate their work. Our contributors define or depict the stranger in a variety of ways, ranging from a dissociated part of the self to a displaced political history. Strangers are bones inhabiting a body, outsiders in an inhospitable terrain, blind people in an ableist world. The stranger is not always strange, or peculiar, but ordinary until marked as other. Our strangers dwell within, or visit, contexts that include the United States and Thailand, the psyche and the photograph. They are powerful, political, puzzling, and provocative.

We thank our contributors for giving us the opportunity to feature their work in Rejoinder. We hope you enjoy this issue on “The Stranger Within.” Please subscribe to receive future issues and join our email list to learn more about IRW.

Sarah Tobias