The Stranger's Work reads Hazel Carby's Reconstructing Womanhood into a critical tradition that considers the awkwardness and “outsider” status of Western intellectuals, particularly those who take up the subjects of diaspora and colonization. With special emphasis on C.L.R. James' Mariners, Renegades, and Castaways, Albert Camus' The Stranger, and James Baldwin's “Stranger in the Village” Reid-Pharr argues that Carby's particular genius is her sensitivity to the ways that the works of colonial and diasporic intellectuals must by necessity grapple with their own outsider status. In particular, he suggests that these intellectuals have little choice but to operate within routes established by the very forms of oppression that they attempt to disrupt.

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