A stranger’s house

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

The Palgrave Handbook of Imposter Syndrome in Higher Education




School of Arts and Humanities


Polain, M. (2022). A stranger’s house. In M. Addison, M. Breeze & Y. Taylor (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Imposter Syndrome in Higher Education (pp. 75-90). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-86570-2_5


Polain’s Armenian mother was a second-generation genocide survivor born under a stranger’s house ‘like a dog’ (her words); Polain’s Irish father fled home at 19, cut contact with his family, died young. Third-generation genocide survivor, migrant, ‘half-orphaned’ and ‘half-Armenian’ (again her mother’s words), Polain attended seven schools. Multiply estranged—from homelands, families, language, cultures, religions; from host nation (Australia); and from Anglo-masculinist dominated education—she nevertheless found solace, order, self-esteem in study. Homi Bhabha’s third space (The Location of Culture. Routledge, London and New York, 1994) recognizes unstable, conflicted positions as energized fields, enabling the embrace of marginalization as legitimate, charged place from which to speak/write. Autobioethnography (Lorde in Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. UK: Penguin Random House, 1982/2018; Cantu in Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Fontera. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995/2015) provides maquette and rationalization for use of memory, post-memory (Hirsch in Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust. Columbia University Press, New York, 2012), re-imagination and speculation in Polain’s fiction and poetry. © The Editor(s)(if applicable)and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022.



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