Tag Archives: Laila Halaby

The Exclusion’s Legality and Normality in Laila Halaby’s Once in a Promised Land (Published)

This paper is devoted to dissecting the emerging aspects of exclusion and otherness that characterize Post-Modernity by referring to the specific context of the US culture as presented in Laila Halaby’s Once in a Promised Land (2007). What is remarkable about this exclusionary spirit of our times is its increasing legality and normality. The paper deals with exclusion and otherness by building on Michel Foucault’s perceptions introduced in his seminal book History of Madness (1961). Foucault examined the history of exclusion in early modern and modern eras and provided a new understanding of the development of the modern institutions of the Western world. In this paper, we build on Foucault’s position on exclusion and otherness to reveal a wider scope of interpretations that this theory can provide. We argue that Halaby’s novel pinpoints a new generation/manifestation of the exclusionary spirit that Foucault diagnosed. The protagonists of Halaby’s novel are excluded from their social and political context through dynamics that legalize and normalize their exclusion.            

Keywords: Exclusion, Foucault, Laila Halaby, Once in a Promised Land, Otherness