Shortlisted for the Sahitya Akademi Award.

Pnina Werbner, Professor Emerita, Keele University, UK:

“A reflective, deeply personal account of what makes contemporary xenophobia new, written by a highly esteemed novelist, poet and cultural critic. Tabish Khair moves with ease through philosophy, literature, politics, economics, and popular culture, in order to probe the impact of late capitalism on perceptions of strangerhood.”

Xenophobia, the fear or dislike of strangers, can be seen throughout the course of history in the form of communal riots, racist attacks, religious hatred, and genocide. Hindu–Muslim riots in India, Sinhalese–Tamil tensions in Sri Lanka, ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia, purging of Shias and Sunnis in Iraq and Syria, skinheads attacking immigrants, and the Jewish holocaust in Europe are a few examples.

In The New Xenophobia, Tabish Khair studies this fear in a historical, philosophical, and socio-economic context. Tracing the changes in xenophobic thinking over the past three decades, he examines the unexplored relationship of xenophobia with power and capitalism and shows how changes in capitalism have altered the image of the stranger.

Through his study, Khair provides new insights into racism and slavery, and fresh perspectives on the rise of ethnic, cultural, and religious politics in today’s age of globalization.

(January 2016: India and UK; April 2016: USA)

“If he [Khair] surprised a few with “Muslim Modernities”, he shocks us with his latest “The New Xenophobia”. The book, talking of structure of power, politics of exclusion and a perceived superiority of the economically empowered calls for careful attention. At one level, it takes you back to a history lecture, at another Khair provides you with the insight of an economist. In between, you wonder if you had wandered into a sociology classroom. All along, Khair nudges you to think afresh, get rid of convenient stereotypes, and understand that the dynamics of the world are constantly changing.” – THE HINDU


“The New Xenophobia is a breezy little book with one central thesis. Xenophobia has been part of the human condition, though as Khair points out, the stranger we fear is not just any stranger, but a particular kind of stranger. What he calls “Old Xenophobia” constructed strangers under the sign of difference: the strangers are a threat because they are construed as different; the premium is on emphasising their difference. Paradoxically, the old xenophobia has a place for recognising difference. In the “New Xenophobia”, by contrast, “the stranger remains a stranger but is not allowed to exhibit their [sic] sign of difference.” In the old xenophobia, there are no fantasies of assimilating strangers; in the new xenophobia, the official fantasy is that of assimilating strangers. But, in a strange way, this is even more xenophobic because the strangers have to now conform and erase differences.” – THE INDIAN EXPRESS

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“Highly timely and highly commended.”

-THE TIMES (Higher Education) More at: