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a brief introduction to Orientalism

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Cam Mosimann

on 26 March 2013

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Transcript of a brief introduction to Orientalism

Orientalism | a brief introduction Orientalism noun [mass noun]
style, artefacts, or traits considered characteristic of the peoples and cultures of Asia.
the representation of Asia in a stereotyped way that is regarded as embodying a colonialist attitude. Oxford English Dictionary Based on the writings of Edward Said Terms &
Definitions Orient Occident Near East Middle East Far East Historical Overview 13th Century | Marco Polo 15th to 17th Century | Age of Discovery 1453 | Fall of Constantinople 8th to 15th Century | Muslim Spain 17th & 18th Century | Enlightenment 18th to 19th Century | Industrial Revolution &
Decolonialization of the Americas 14th to 17th Century | The Renaissance 19th Century | Age of Imperialism & the Scramble for Africa 11th to 13th Century | The Crusades 20th Century | Decolonialism Edward Said b. November 1, 1935 d. September 23, 2003 Palestinian-American
Post-Colonialist & Critical Theorist
Inspired by Michel Foucault
"Orientalism" first published 1978
the concept of "the Other"
Said's Orientalism A colonial construct established by France and the British Empire
East vs West. Us vs Them. Christian vs Muslim
Paternalistic assumptions of power
Contemporary colonialism has seen the United States replace France and Britain as the western power
Orientalsim is a western fabrication, and thus depends on the west in order to exist Cultural Orientalism European preoccupation and fetishizing of
Eastern Art & Culture Eastern subject matter such as harems or baths appeared in European sculpture & paintings.
Coffee spread to Europe via the Middle East beginning 16th Century
Furniture designers like Thomas Chippendale offered "Chinese" designs
Music; Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" features an "Arabian Dance" and a "Chinese Dance"
Art Nouveau drew inspiration from Japanese design & natural forms "Every writer on the Orient assumes some
Oriental Precedent." "Orientalism is ultimately a political
version of reality." "Orientalism" (1978) Cultural Orientalism
Said's Critical Orientalism Paternalistic view.
What I call
"The West is Best." Assumption that western self-determination
philosophies are superior, and therefore,
that western civilization is superior.

Therefore Western civilization is justified in colonizing and administering other cultures because they are not sufficiently advanced or civilized to do it by themselves.
Therefore the west is not oppressing,
we are helping.

Surprisingly, some
people have issues
with that
opinion. What the heck is "Orientalism?" Orientalism is related to Knowledge Generation Orientalism is dependent on the intrinsic assumption that western culture and civilization is superior to all others. Therefore much the research, writing, or generation of knowledge about 'the Orient' includes assumptions about civilized society, cultural norms, governance, and competency. This assumptions specifically hold our western norms to be correct and 'normal,' and therefore hold anything that does not conform to those norms as abnormal and uncivilized. Orientalism, Race, and the "Other" How does Orientalist logic work? Race is intertwined with Orientailsm. Contrasting the physical as well as the cultural differences between Orientals and Europeans allowed the dominant culture to view the subjugated culture as an 'other,' a group lesser to Europeans in every way.

Othering is accomplished by focusing on the differences between one group and yourself, creating an 'us' versus 'them' dynamic.

This dynamic is automatically conflictual in nature. Question 1 Is Orientalism
still a relevant concept to study today?

Why or why not? Question 2 How is Orientalism different from 'race'?

How are the two concepts related? Question 3 Living in western Canada, are the concepts of Orientalism at all relevant to your lives today? Seminar Questions Reference Materials "Orientalism" Said, Edward, 1978
"World History, 4th Ed." Upshur et al, 2005
"History of Modern Design" Raizman, David, 2009 End of Presentation
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