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Dr Susan Bird
CQ University

Themes of the alien Other are some of the most ubiquitous and enduring in science fiction.  A common narrative includes a depiction of ordinary suburban life infiltrated by alien shapeshifters cleverly disguised as humans.  The all-too-real threat of these humanoid beings is revealed in their superior intelligence and technology, our inability to determine their (almost always malevolent) intent, and perhaps most terrifyingly, their shapeshifting ability to be at once both us and Other.

This fear of an invading but hidden Other is a cultural meme that reflects a core human anxiety, the fear of difference, and its ability to threaten who we are.  This theme is also reflected in the law.  One example can be drawn from Constitutional law.  The Constitutional framers made little attempt to disguise their xenophobic leanings when determining who would be recognised as Australian, and who posed a ‘lurking danger’[1]to the newly-minted identity.  Anxiety around the Other and citizenship continues with the deportation of dual nationals who walk amongst us but hold a potential to threaten our way of life.

This paper will use examples from both legal and cultural discourse to expose how both represent the feared Other within.

[1]Rv MacFarlane; Ex parte O’Flanagan and O’Kelly (Irish Envoys Case) (1923) 32 CLR 518

Susan Bird BA (Hons), LLB (Hons), PhD Susan Bird received honours in both Arts and Law, and holds a PhD in Law. Susan’s research interests include literature, philosophy, legal geographies, food waste, Constitutional law and theory. She works as a lecturer at CQUniversity where she teaches into an entirely online program in the units Constitutional law, Contract Law and the honours program. Susan is a part of an interdisciplinary team which in 2019 won external funding to research solutions to food waste in Australia.

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