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The Other - Feeling Like a Stranger

Here is an assignment I had in class and some examples of my favorite student responses...

Have you ever felt different, like a social "other"? A social theorist named Georg Simmel once said: "The stranger is close to us insofar as we feel between him and ourselves similarities of nationality or social position, of occupation or of general human nature. He is far from us insofar as these similarities extend beyond him and us, and connect us only because they connect a great many people."

What Simmel is describing is that being a stranger is actually a form of a social relationship. A stranger helps to connect a group of people who see the stranger as not fitting into their group, while also reminding the stranger that they stand outside of the group.

For this assignment, find or create an image of being a social other with which you identify. Upload the image as an image file (.jpg, .png, .giff). If you create an image through drawing or some other format that is not easily an image, then take a picture of it. Or you may find an image existing on the Internet. To receive the full points for this assignment, the visual must obviously represent social "othering," by displaying a person or persons who are perhaps viewed to be "strangers" in the Simmelian sense described here.

In the submission field, be sure to include a brief description of what is depicted in the picture. Explain how the picture represents your experience of being "The Stranger."

Source: All images are courtesy of Google Images, other internet sites and avatar makers, or are students' own pictures.

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