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Xenophily or xenophilia means an affection for unknown/foreign objects or peoples. It is the opposite of xenophobia or xenophoby. The word is a modern coinage from the Greek "xenos" (ξένος) (stranger, unknown, foreign) and "philia" (φιλία) (love, attraction), though the word itself is not found in classical Greek.
In biology xenophily includes, for example, the acceptance by an insect of an introduced foreign plant closely related to the normal host. Xenophily is distinguished from xenophagy (or allotrophy), and is less common than xenophoby. Early 20th Century entomologists incorrectly concluded that the evolution of the glandular terminal disk was a function of xenophily, following its discovery in myrmecophilous larvae.
Cultural xenophilia according to some sources can be connected with cultural cringe, or the feeling that one's own culture is inferior. It may also be area-specific, such as led the Romans to believe that Greeks were better than Romans at music, art and philosophy, but evidently not better at military matters.
In politics and history
George Washington, in his 1796 Farewell Address, described the influence of attachment of one nation for another, which he saw as negative:
So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.
As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.
Xenophilia is a theme found in science fiction, primarily the space opera sub-genre, in which one explores the consequences of love and sexual intercourse between humans and extraterrestrials, particularly humanoid ones. A satirical example is XXXenophile, an X-rated comic book written by Phil Foglio. A more somber example is the relationship of Sarek and Amanda Grayson (Spock's parents) in Star Trek. There are also multiple examples of xenophilia between the main character and his or her alien shipmates in the Mass Effect (series) of games for the Xbox360, PC, and most recently the PlayStation 3.
In the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a character named Xenophilius Lovegood (the father of one of Harry Potter's more eccentric friends, Luna Lovegood) is characterized by his interest in unusual or unknown objects, animals, and concepts – as his name unmistakably implies.
The film Watermelon Man centers in part on a white man trying to have sex with a white woman he works with. His efforts fail until he is magically turned into an African American, at which point she is more than willing to sleep with him. It is only the following day that the protagonist realizes, to his horror, that the woman is a xenophile and only had sex with him because of his race; she had no interest in him as a person.
- Colonial mentality
- Cultural appropriation
- Intercultural competence
- Henry Liddell, Robert Scott, Henry Jones, and Roderick McKenzie. A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. pp. 1189, 1939.
- Pierre Jolivet Insects and plants: parallel evolution and adaptations Page 33 - 1986 "(b) Examples of Xenophily. Conversely, xenophily is the acceptance by an insect of an introduced foreign plant closely related to the normal host. Xenophily, very different from xenophagy (allotrophy), is less common than xeno-phoby.
- Tropical zoology Volume 14 - Page 169 Centro di studio per la faunistica ed ecologia tropicali (Italy), Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche (Italy). Centro di studio per la faunistica ed ecologia tropicali - 2001 "Earlier authors believed that the evolution of the glandular terminal disk was related to xenophily, probably because of its discovery in myrmecophilous larvae (Boving 1907; Brauns 1914; "
- Burke, Peter (2005). History And Social Theory. Polity. p. 85.
- John Gray Landels Music in ancient Greece and Rome Page 199 1999 "... it was a kind of xenophilia, which led Romans to believe that foreigners (especially Greeks) were 'better at that sort of thing than we are'."