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Glossary of Orientalisms


Note:  in the text of each entry, users will find terms for Orientalisms sometimes highlighted in bold and sometimes highlighted in italics.  Bold Orientalisms (e.g. Aboriginal Orientalism) refer to main entries in this glossary.  Italicized Orientalisms (e.g. Afro Orientalism) do not have their own entry but are referred to in an another entry, which is indicated by a "See" entry (e.g. Afro Orientalism. See Black Orientalism).



Aboriginal Orientalism

This term is part of the scholarly vocabulary of classical Orientalism, which modern-day scholars now use only in the context of their studies of that period.  Scholars in the late 19th and earlier 20th centuries used this term to describe the physical and mental characteristics of indigenous peoples in North America, the Philippines, and elsewhere (including Ireland), which were supposed to have an “Oriental” heritage. They imagined and constructed these people to have the usual and essential traits of Orientals, such as being childish, ignorant, mystical, taciturn, and so forth.  Scholars, thus, referred to the “aboriginal Orientalism” of the pre-Conquest people of Mexico (Dabney, et. al., 1916) and of the Filipinos under American rule (French, 1905).  [revised, 4/21]


See also: Australian Orientalism, Canadian Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism.


Sources & ExamplesCharles W. Dabney, et. al.A Study of Educational Conditions in Mexico (Committee for the Study of Educational Conditions in Mexico (1916); Willard French, “The Public-School System in the Philippines,” The North American Review 180 (April 1905); Funie Hsu, “Colonial Articulations: English Instruction and the ‘Benevolence’ of U.S. Overseas Expansion in the Philippines, 1898-1916” (Ph.D. diss, U of California, Berkeley, 2013); Andrew WarrenThe Orient and the Young Romantics (Cambridge, 2014); G. B. Winton, “The Present Situation in Mexico.” In Proceedings of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association; Volume IX, Part I for the Year 1915-1916 (Torch Press, 1917).

Abstract Orientalism

Scholars, including art critics, generally use this term in one of two ways. First, it has been frequently used since the 19th century to describe an artistic style or form, often associated with Romanticism, that was imagined to represent the exotic, mysterious, and mystical East. Thus, Western fine arts and crafts—including fashion, architecture, painting, ornamentation, opera, furnishings, and poetry—portray an Orient that is removed or detached (“abstracted”) from the real world. Second, much less often modern-day scholars use this term, mostly in passing, to describe the ways in which ideological Orientalisms are used to imagine and construct Orients, such as a “spiritual” Orient, that are removed (“abstracted”) from Asian realities. For the most part, these two usages represent two different, unrelated traditions in the use of this term, the first being much the older and more common. Both, however, treat the Orient as having an essential, exotic, and alien identity, which is easily distinguishable from that of the West—whether artistically or ideologically. [revised 5/17]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism.


Sources & ExamplesNiels BrimnesConstructing the Colonial Encounter: Right and Left Hand Castes in Early Castes in Early Colonial South India (Curzon, 1999); Derek Bryce, “Historicising Hospitality and Tourism Consumption: Exploring Orientalist Expectations of the Middle East,” Consumption Markets & Culture 16 (2013);  Clancey GregEarthquake Nation: The Cultural Politics of the Japanese Seismicity, 1868-1930  (University of California, 2006); Mark Crinson, Empire Building: Orientalism and Victorian Art (Routledge, 1996); Lewis F. Day, Nature in Ornament  (B. T. Batsford, 1894); Timothy S. DobeHindu Christian Faqir: Modern Monks, Global Christianity, and Indian Sainthood (Oxford, 2015); Rubén GalloNew Tendencies in Mexican Art: The 1990’s (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004); Daniel M. Varisco, “UnOrienting Marx,” 2010. At Tasbsir (, accessed 5/17.

Academic Orientalism

Scholars use this term widely and frequently to refer to the most important single form of Orientalism as the notion was first described by Edward W. Said (1978). Less frequently, scholars use the terms scholarly Orientalism or scholastic Orientalism instead of academic Orientalism. This term has historically included the whole academic field of the scholarly study of “the Orient” including scholars, educational institutions, scholarly societies, publications and journals, conferences and seminars, and everything else that went into making it a field of study. There is some consensus that academic Orientalism since World War II has been superseded by the modern field of Asian studies including Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. Scholars differ, however, over the origins and early development of this field, some seeing it going back into ancient or medieval times, others arguing for varying dates of origin up to the 18th century. It is generally held that academic Orientalism had its roots in European biblical and theological studies and in its early manifestations was often related to Christian missionary concerns. Philology, originally, was the queen of Orientalist scholarship. Mature academic Orientalism emerged late in the 18th century and came to full bloom in the 19th century. Scholars also differ on the relationship of academic Orientalism to the larger notion of ideological Orientalism. Just how “Orientalist,” that is, was academic Orientalism? Said claims that the field was a tool of colonialism and a manifestation of Eurocentrism that promoted dualistic stereotypes of an inferior, declining, and essentially static Orient compared to an advanced, dynamic West. Orientalist academics, he argues, believed that it was their duty to speak for and, in a sense, reclaim the Orient—to define it and thereby dominate it. In reaction to Said, other scholars point out that academic Orientalism produced massive amounts of truly scientific work that often contradicted Orientalist stereotypes and prejudices and that contributed significantly to the modern study of Asia including the Middle East and Islam. Some accuse Said of himself treating academic Orientalism as an a-historical category, assigning it its own essential, unchanging, and negative nature. The issues surrounding these debates are made still more complex by the fact that academic Orientalism emerged, developed, and was expressed in different ways in different Western nations. Thus, for example, scholars debate the similarities and differences between German academic Orientalism and the French and British versions, which are the ones most closely examined by Said. Russia, beginning at around 1800, also developed its own distinctive approach to the scholarly study of Eastern peoples, which is called "Orientology". Scholars have also recognized that Asian scholars, notably in India, participated in and influenced the development of academic Orientalism while usually accepting its central premise that the Orient is essentially different from the West. [revised 8/17]


See also: Accidental Orientalism, Amateur Orientalism, American Orientalism, Ancient Orientalism (Traditional), Anglo-French Orientalism, Arabic Orientalism. Biblical Orientalism, Bourgeois Orientalism, Caribbean Orientalism, Catholic Orientalism, Celticism, Administrative Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Comparative Orientalism, Consumer Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Eurocentric Orientalism, European Orientalism, Evangelical Orientalism, French Orientalism, Hegelian Orientalism, Homoerotic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Implicit Orientalism, Indological Orientalism, Institutional Orientalism, Intellectual Orientalism, International Congress of Orientalists, International Orientalism, Islamic Orientalism, Jesuit Orientalism, Kantian Orientalism, Learned Orientalism, Linguistic Orientalism, Military Orientalism, Musical Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism, Official Orientalism, Oriental Enthusiasm, Oriental Formalism, Oriental Renaissance, Orientalism Proper, Orientalist Anthropology, Orientalist Archive, Orientalist Buddhism, Orientalist Dogma, Orientalist Education, Orientalist Epistemology, Orientalist Ethnography, Orientalist Imagination, Orientalist Literature, Orientalist Science, Orientology, Paradoxical Orientalism, Personal Orientalism, Philological Orientalism, Philosophical Orientalism, Postcolonial Orientalism, Professional Orientalism, Protestant Orientalism, Psychological Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Saidianism, Scientific Orientalism, Scottish Orientalism, Secular Orientalism, Semitic Orientalism, Simian Orientalism, Sinological Orientalism, Sociological Orientalism, Soviet Orientalism, Structural Orientalism, Sub-Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism, Unconscious Orientalism, Utilitarian Orientalism, Victorian Orientalism, Weberian Orientalism, Western Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesSadik Jalal al-Azm, "Orientalism and Orientalism in Reverse." In Orientalism: A Reader (Edinburgh, 2000); Robert Irwin, “An Orientalist Mythology of Secret Societies.” In Orientalism and Conspiracy: Politics and Conspiracy Theory in the Islamic World (I. B. Tauris, 2011); Jukka Jouhki, “Imagining the Other: Orientalism and Occidentalism in Tamil-European Relations in South India” (Academic diss., U. of Jyväskylä, 2006); Nathanel Knight,“On Russian Orientalism: A Response to Adeeb Khalid.” Kritika 1 (2000); Lucy K. Pick, “Orientalism and Religion.”  Middle East Viewpoints 12 (2009); Amit RayNegotiating the Modern: Orientalism and Indianness in the Anglophone World ( Routledge, 2007); Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); George Snedeker, “Edward Said and the Critique of
 Orientalism.”  Nature, Society, and Thought 3 (April 1990).

Accidental Orientalism


Scholars tend to use this term and the terms unintentional Orientalism and inadvertent Orientalism in passing and generally not as technical terms as such. Although not rare, “accidental Orientalism,” is also not commonly used; “unintentional Orientalism,” is used still less often; and “inadvertent Orientalism” is relatively rarely used. Scholars use all three to describe situations in which even those who are self-aware of Orientalist prejudices unwittingly speak or act in Orientalist-like ways that still imagine and construct Asians as having essential and exotic natures. Instances include sloppy scholarship, observations about Asia that may be realistic but still reinforce Orientalist prejudices, or more generally language, attitudes, or behaviors that can be taken to be expressions of ideological Orientalism, however  unintended. All three of these terms point to the insidious nature of ideological Orientalism and the ways it can infect even the most well-meaning descriptions of “the (Oriental) Other.”  [9/17] 

See also: Academic Orientalism, Hidden Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism.

Source & Examples: Accidental Orientalism: hasaka1212, “Pitts and Orientalism,” 2013. At Transnational Encounters with Islam in 18th- and 19th-Century British Literature (, accessed, 9/17; Barbara SpackmanAccidental Orientalists: Modern Italian Travelers in Ottoman Lands (Liverpool, 2017).  Inadvertent Orientalism: Werner Menski, “On Vyavahāra.” Indologica Taurinensia 33 (2007).  Unintentional Orientalism: Nourhan Elsayed, “University College London vs Georgetown in Qatar: Differences in Course Structure and Class Spirit,” 2015. At GU Office of Global Education: Student Blog (, accessed 9/17; Anmol Ghavri, “Ghavri: Unintentional Orientalism,” 2016.  At The Dartmouth (, accessed 9/17.

Administrative Orientalism

Although Edward W. Said (Orientalism, 1978) does not use this term as such, he does argue that after the opening of the Suez Canal (1869) and again after World War II, European Orientalism was adapted to the needs of the European powers in the administration of their colonies and then in their post-colonial relations with their former Asian colonies.  In practice, scholarly use of this term and of the term "Orientalist administration" has been limited mostly, but not entirely, to the history of late 18th-early 19th century British rule in India to describe the ways in which colonial officials such as Sir William Jones (1746-1794) used the findings of academic Orientalism for administrative ends, such as creating a body of laws based on supposedly authoritative ancient Indian texts.  These administrators were members of the British “Orientalist” faction, which sought to indigenize Western learning and practices in India in order to solidify colonial rule.  This term is not frequently used, and the term, “Orientalist administration,” is rarer still.  [revised 12/20]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Colonial Orientalism, Constructive Orientalism, European Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Orientalist Archive, Political Orientalism, Practical Orientalism (19th Century).

Source & Examples: Administrative Orientalism: Vasant Kaiwar, The Postcolonial Orient: The Politics of Difference and the Project of Provincialising Europe (Brill, 2014); Siddhant Kalra, “Indian Law, Hinduism and Orientalism: Mapping Discourse in Oriental Scholarship,” n.d. At (, accessed 8/20; John M. MacKenzie, Orientalism: History, Theory and the Arts (Manchester U., 1995); Camila Pastor, The Mexican Mahjar: Transnational Maronites, Jews, and Arabs under the French Mandate (U. of Texas, 2017); Jenny Sharpe, "The Violence of Light in the Land of Desire; or, How William Jones Discovered India." boundary 2 20 (1993).  Orientalist Administration: Michael J. Franklin, “’Passion's Empire’: Sydney Owenson's ‘Indian Venture,’ Phoenicianism, Orientalism, and Binarism.” Studies in Romanticism 45 (2006); Delia Konzett, "War and Orientalism in Hollywood Combat Film." Quarterly Review of Film and Video 21 (2004); David Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization, 1773-1835 (U. of California, 1969).

Adolescent Orientalism

A handful of scholars have used this term to object to Edward W. Said’s portrayal of Medieval Orientalism in his foundational work, Orientalism (1978).  Kathleen Biddick (2000), although she does not use this term as such, was apparently the first scholar to argue that Said incorrectly treats Medieval Orientalisms as if they were essentially immature, incomplete, and religiously based (i.e. “adolescent”) ways of imagining and constructing the East that were superseded by the more mature and substantial Orientalisms of later eras.  She accuses him of orientalizing Medieval Orientalisms, that is failing to see their integrity as mature systems of representation in their own right.  John V. Tolan (2002), picking up on Biddick’s arguments, appears to be the first scholar to use this term as such, which is otherwise only very rarely used.  [1/21]

See also: Mature Orientalism, Medieval Orientalism, Pre-modern Orientalism, Religious Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Temporal Orientalism.

Source & Examples: Kathleen Biddick, “Coming Out of Exile: Dante on the Orient(alism) Express.” American Historical Review 105 (2000); Amber Sackett, "The Anti-Islam Narrative in Diderot’s Entry “Sarrasins” for the Encyclopédie (1751-1772)," McNair Scholars Journal 21
(2017); Jenna L. Stook, “Troubled Identities: Saracen Alterity and Cultural Hybridity in Middle English Romance.” (Ph.D. diss., U. of Calgary, 2010); John V. Tolan, Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination (Columbia U., 2002); David Vermeiren, ““Oriëntalisme in de middeleeuwen De representatie van Mohammed in Jacob van Maerlants ‘Spiegel historiael’,” 2010. At DBNL (, accessed 1/21.

Aesthetic Orientalism

Scholars use this extremely broad, frequently used term, which originated in the 19th century, along with the terms Orientalist Aesthetic(s) and artistic Orientalism, to describe the ways in which Orientalist artists and crafts people have imagined and constructed "the Orient" as the exotic, timeless Other whose alluring beauty can be captured and embodied in works of art and craft. Western aesthetic Orientalisms reached their pinnacle in the later part of the 19th century, but they continue to shape international perceptions of Asia including the Arab Middle East down to the present. At its height, aesthetic Orientalism both influenced and was influenced by Romanticism. While Edward W. Said (1978) did not use these terms, he did point out that the aesthetics of the Orient played an important, if sometime ambiguous, role in imagining and constructing the essentially exotic, timeless, sensuous, brutal, and inferior Other of Saidian Orientalism. Since Said, scholars have engaged in an intense debate over the relationship between Orientalist aesthetics, colonialism, and imperialism. That debate has led to the insight that aesthetic Orientalism is a highly complex notion historically, culturally, and artistically; and there are no easy answers in discerning its relationship to ideological Orientalisms and political Orientalisms. Scholars point, for example, to the music of the British composer Muslimgauze (Bryn Jones, 1961-1999), the work of the French fashion designer, Paul Poiret (1879-1944), and that of the American painter, John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), as examples of Orientalist artists who have treated their subjects with an Orientalist's assumed authority but also with greater sensitivity and understanding than has usually been the case.  Matters are made sill more complex by the fact that Western Orientalist aesthetics have also influenced indigenous Asian art including Asian immigrant art in the West, which in turn has led to Asian aesthetic reverse Orientalisms that "speak back" to the West. Thus, at times aesthetic Orientalisms are mostly about the West's search for a self-identity that has imagined the Orient as its alter-ego, usually essentially inferior and uncivilized but sometimes as the mystical, spiritual East that is superior to the West. At other times, however, they are about the relationship between the East and the West and how each influences the other through the lives of individual artists practicing a wide range of arts and crafts—including even the "art" of smoking cigarettes. Scholars also point out the commercial importance of those works both in exploiting Asians and in communicating alternative images of them. Commercial Orientalisms were particularly important in the Victorian era and again in the 1920s when, among other things, they promoted new, less form-fitting clothing alternatives especially for women. [revised 12/17]


See also: Abstract Orientalism, American Orientalism, Anglo-French Orientalism, Animal Orientalism, Arabic Orientalism, Architectural Orientalism, Art Deco Orientalism, Avant-garde Orientalism, Barbaric Orientalism. Biblical Orientalism, Bloomsbury Orientalism, Caribbean Orientalism, Chinoiserie, Comic Orientalism, Conventional Orientalism, Celticism, Commercial Orientalism, Cooperative Orientalism, Cosmopolitan Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Decadent Orientalism,  Demotic Orientalism, Eastern Orientalism, Eclectic Orientalism, Economic Orientalism, Egyptian Orientalism, Egyptomania, Ethnographic Orientalism, Exotic Orientalism, False Orientalism, Fashion Orientalism, Gendered (Gender) Orientalism, Genuine Orientalism, Good & Bad Orientalism(s), Greek Orientalism (Modern), Hidden Orientalism, Hybrid Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, International Orientalism, Late Orientalism, Levantine Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Local Orientalism, Magical Orientalism, Material Orientalism,  Musical Orientalism, Mythic Orientalism, Naïve Orientalism, Neoliberal Orientalism, New Orientalism, Oriental Enthusiasm, Oriental Fad, Oriental Fiction, Oriental Look, Orientalist Exotica, Orientalist Exoticism, Orientalist Fad, Orientalist Fantasy, Orientalist Gaze, Orientalist Imagination, Orientalist Nostalgia, Ottoman Orientalism, Personal Orientalism, Pictorial Orientalism, Political Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Postcolonial Orientalism, Pre-Orientalism, Pulp Orientalism, Quasi-Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Scottish Orientalism, Seaside Orientalism, Sexist Orientalism, Soviet Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, Theatrical Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism, Transorientalism, Turkish Orientalism, Unconscious Orientalism, Virtual Orientalism, Visual Orientalism, Western Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Aesthetic Orientalism: Charlie Bertsch, “Love Lessons,” 2009.  At Jewcy(, accessed 12/17; David BrodyVisualizing American Empire: Orientalism and Imperialism in the Philippines (Chicago, 2010); Alice M. Hart, “Japanese Women.” The Saturday Review 80 (1895); Pablo Diener, "The Picturesque as an Aesthetic Category in the Art of Travelers: Notes on J. M. Rugendas's Work." Historia (Santiago) 4 (December 2007); Porochista Khakpour, “A Persia More French: Paul Poiret Orientalist bon Vivant and Inventor of Mass Haute Couture.” Bidoun: Arts and Culture from the Middle East 6 (2006); Gema Martín-Muñoz, “A Thousand And One Histories.” In Critical Muslim 06: Reclaiming Al-AndalusI (Hurst, 2013); Camille MauclairThe Great French Painters and the Evolution of French Painting from 1830 to the Present Day (Duckworth, 1903); Geoffrey P. NashFrom Empire to Orient: Travellers to the Middle East, 1830-1926 (I. B. Taurus, 2005); Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Lise Skov, “Fashion Shows, Fashion Flows: The Asia Pacific Meets in Hong Kong.” In Rogue Flows: Trans-Asian Cultural Traffic (Hong Kong U., 2004); Evgeny Steiner, “In the Eye of the Beholder: Ugliness, Beauty and Exoticism in the Orientalist Quest for Otherness,” n.d.  At (, accessed 12/17; Hala Abdul Haleem Abu Taleb, “Gender, Media, Culture and the Middle East” (Ph.D. diss., Washington State, 2009); Mari YoshiharaEmbracing the East: White Women and American Orientalism (Oxford, 2003). Orientalist Aesthetics: Jason Edwards,‪ Alfred Gilbert's Aestheticism: Gilbert Amongst Whistler, Wilde, Leighton, Pater and Burne-Jones (Ashgate, 2006); Roger Benjamin, Orientalist Aesthetics: Art, Colonialism, and French North Africa, 1880-1930 (California, 2003): Naomi Rosenblatt, “Orientalism in American Popular Culture.” Penn History Review 16 (Spring 2009): 51-63; Mark R. Westmoreland, "Post-Orientalist Aesthetics: Experimental Film and Video in Lebanon." Invisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Studies 13 (Spring 2009).

Affirmative Orientalism

Richard J. Fox is widely credited with first using this term, as early as 1989. Scholars use it to describe a form of positive Orientalism frequently closely associated with Romantic Orientalism, which is most often used in relationship to India and South Asia generally. A number of scholars have used this term to argue that Edward W. Said's description of ideological Orientalism (i. e. Saidian Orientalism) is too negative and one-sided. They observe that in Europe, the United States, and South Asia, various spiritualist movements and thinkers have expanded or inverted ideological Orientalism to imagine a spiritually superior East in contradistinction to a materialistic, a-moral West.  While some scholars believe that affirmative Orientalisms successfully divorce the notion of Orientalism from Western categories of power, others argue that they still reinforce Orientalist stereotypes. In particular, they differ on whether or not affirmative Orientalisms articulated by Asians mark a departure from Saidian Orientalism or, instead, demonstrate its power to infect Asian thinking with a Western fixation on dualistic essences and stereotypes.

See also: Ancient Orientalism (Traditional), Blatant Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Dohra AhmadLandscape of Hope: Anti-Colonial Utopianism in America (Oxford, 2009); Vincent Edward Burgess,"Gandhi's Diet and ‘The Other' Side of Orientalism" (MA thesis, Colorado, 2011); J. J. ClarkeOriental Enlightenment: The Encounter Between Asian and Western Thought (Routledge, 1997); Richard G. Fox, “Self-Made.” In Narratives of Agency: Self-Making in China, India, and Japan (Minnesota, 1996); Richard King, "Orientalism and the Study of Religions." In The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion (Routledge, 2005); Joseph LennonIrish Orientalism: A Literary and Intellectual History (Syracuse, 2004); Alexandra Munroe, “Reflections on The Third Mind.” In East-West Interchanges in American Art: A Long and Tumultuous Relationship (Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2012); Manfred B. StegerGandhi’s Dilemma: Nonviolent Principles and Nationalist Power (St. Martin’s, 2000).

Afro Orientalism. See Black Orientalism.


Aggressive Orientalism

Scholars have used this term since the 19th century in two ways. Traditionally, Orientalist scholars up to the World War II era used this term to describe the ways in which "Orientals" and their religions and philosophies forcefully challenged the West in ways that were imagined and constructed to be essentially hostile and confrontational. The Ottoman Empire was thus described as once threatening southeastern Europe militarily with its "aggressive Orientalism." Or again, ancient Hellenism was thought to be a form of "aggressive Orientalism," inimical to true Roman thinking. Contemporary scholars today occasionally use this term to describe the most blatantly hostile and confrontational forms of ideological Orientalism as described by Edward W. Said (1978).


See also: Ancient Orientalism (Traditional), Blatant Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesContemporary Usage: Allen R. Carlson, et al., "Nations and Nationalism Roundtable Discussion on Chinese Nationalism and National identity." Nations and Nationalism 22 (2016); Richard Cravatts, “Antisemitism and the Campus Left.” Journal for the Study of Antisemitism 3 (2011); Ian Inkster, “Oriental Enlightenment: The Problematic Military Experiences and Cultural Claims of Count Maurice Auguste comte de Benyowsky in Formosaduring 1771.”  Taiwan Historical Research 17 (2010). Traditional Usage: Grant AllenEvolution of the Idea of God: An Inquiry (Henry Holt & Co., 1897); Trevor Gervase Jalland,  The Church and the Papacy: An Historical Study (SPCK, 1942); Clarence Richard JohnsonConstantinople To-day or The Pathfinder Survey of Constantinople: A Study in Oriental Life (Macmillan, 1922).

Alpine Orientalism


A few scholars use this term to describe literary works by figures such as Lord Byron (1788-1824), William Wordsworth (1770-1850), and others who use Orientalist-like imagery to imagine and construct mountainous landscapes as being exotic, mythic, supernatural, ethereal, vacant, desert-like, timeless, and even “charged with sensuality” (Scott Hess, 2012, possibly the first to use this term). Such treatments can also imagine mountain peoples as being isolated, backward, and even dangerous. Alan Richardson (2019) notes that Byron’s poem, Manfred  (1816-1817),  draws on Middle-Eastern images and religious allusions to capture the magnificence of the Alps, and Eva-Maria Müller (2019) links such literary imagery to creating mountains as attractive tourist destinations. This is a rarely used term. [11/22]

See also: Environmental Orientalism, Orientalist Tourism.

Sources & Examples: Alpine Orientalism: Scott Hess, Willaim Wordsworth and the Ecology of Authorship (U. of Virginia, 2012); Eva-Maria Müller, “Alpine Orientalism: A Postcolonial Reading of Mountain Travel Literature” (46th International Conference of the Austrian Association for American Studies, “Mediating Mountains," U. of Innsbruck, 2019); Eva-Maria Müller, “Dissertation Description: ‘Rewriting Alpine Orientalism: Lessons from the Canadian Rockies and Austrian Alps,’” n.d. At Universität Innsbruck (, accessed 11/22; Explore Staff [Freddie Wilkinson interview], “One Man, A Thousand Stories,” 2019. At Explore (, accessed 11/22; Alan Richardson, “Alpine Orientalism in Manfred,” 2019. At Romantic circles (, accessed 11/22. Background: Jennifer TumSuden, “The Lure of the Exotic: An Examination of John Singer Sargent’s Orientalist Mode” (MA thesis, Harvard, 2016).

Alternative Orientalism


Scholars generally use this term to describe ideological Orientalist discourses and practices that in some way alter the usual configuration of Orientalist prejudices and even push the boundaries of what can be considered Orientalist. These alternative discourses and practices may rework Orientalist themes, change the ways Orientalist values or categories are valued, or challenge and seek to subvert Orientalist prejudices. Alternative Orientalisms, in theory, remain Orientalist, which is to say that they treat the (Oriental) Other as having an essential, largely unchanging nature that is distinctly different from the West. As scholars use the term, however, these alternative discourses and practices may rely only partly on dualistic, essentializing categories to describe the Other. In some cases, scholars use this term to name discourses and practices alternative to Orientalism, which are not technically Orientalist at all.

See also: Cosmopolitan Orientalism, Counter-Orientalism, Dialogic Orientalism, Dissident Orientalism, Inverse Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Ming Dong GuSinologism: An Alternative to Orientalism and Postcolonialism (Routledge, 2013): Reina LewisGendering Orientalism: Race, Femininity and Representation (Routledge, 1996); Ignacio López-Calvo, “Introduction.” In Alternative Orientalisms in Latin America and Beyond (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007); Sheng-Mei MaThe Deathly Embrace: Orientalism and Asian American Identity (Minnesota, 2000); Silke Schmidt(Re-)Framing the Arab/Muslim: Mediating Orientalism in Contemporary Arab (Transcript Verlag, 2014); Leong YewAsianism and the Politics of Regional Consciousness in Singapore (Routledge, 2014).

Amateur Orientalism


Scholars use this fairly frequently used term along with the term "amateur Orientalist" and the much less often used term lay Orientalist to describe the qualifications of a class of Orientalists and a stage in the development of Oriental studies as an academic field—in contradistinction with professional Orientalism. Scholars note that the distinction between"amateur" and "professional" is often difficult to make, and they seldom provide a clear definition of what they mean by "amateur" in any event. By-and-large, the amateurs were Orientalists who were not part of the academic establishment of Orientalist professors that emerged in the 19th century. Some of them, in fact, displayed all of the skill and qualities of the professionals while others were clearly much less competent as researchers and scholars. It is widely recognized that Orientalism as a field of study began with amateurs long before the emergence of its professional, more fully "scientific" stage and that they contributed greatly to the development of Oriental studies and to the Western knowledge of Asia. It is also understood that as a class they were as ideological as any professional scholars and as prone to treat (or not treat) the Orient stereotypically. It is difficult, however, to make generalizations precisely because they were amateurs. Many lived and worked in Asia. Many did not, but of those who did not many travelled there. Some were skilled in Asian languages. Some were not. Some wrote personal travelogues, some wrote scientific monographs, and some were painters—among other things. Some were excellent scholars and some were charlatans. One thing most of them seem to have shared was an enthusiasm for the Orient and a love of research and writing. Many of them were women, especially British women, but it must be noted that scholars who study amateur women Orientalists seldom describe them as being amateurs. Finally, where scholarly descriptions of professional Orientalism today tend to focus on issues and debates, when it comes to amateur or lay Orientalists they largely focus on the work of particular individuals such as, for example, Henry Creighton (1764-1807) of the East India Company who conducted groundbreaking work on the ruins at Gaur, India.  Scholars and others infrequently use such terms as  armchair Orientalism, library Orientalism, and "domestic Orientalists" to describe stay-at-home (amateur) Orientalist artists, writers, and scholars, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, who had no first-hand experience of Asia or Asians. [11/18]


See also: Academic Orientalism, Early Orientalism, Early Modern Orientalism, French Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Oriental Enthusiasm, Professional Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Amateur Orientalism: Edward Blyth, “Some Further Notices of the Species of Wild Sheep, by Ed. Blyth.” Journal of the Asiatic Society 16 (1847); Supriya Guha, “Bengal’s Intellectual ‘Adda’ Comes Alive in an Exhibition on the Asiatic Society,” 2016. At hindustantimes (, accessed 9/18; Izabela Kalinowska, Between East and West: Polish and Russian Nineteenth-century Travel to the Orient (Rochester, 2004); Kris K. Manjapra, “The Illusions of Encounter: Muslim ‘Minds’ and Hindu Revolutionaries in First World War Germany and After.” Journal of Global History1 (November 2006); Pratip Kumar Mitra, “Henry Creighton  (1764-1807).” Pratna Samiksha NS 3 (2012); Billie MelmanWomen's Orients: English Women and the Middle East, 1718-1918: Sexuality, Religion and Work (Michigan, 1992); Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); William B. Scott, “Exhibition of Pictures by Artists of the Continental Schools, French Gallery, Pall Mall.” The Academy 2 (1871); Elizabeth Warnock Ferna, “The Muslim Women’s Movement is Discovering Its Roots in Islam, Not in Imitating Western Feminists.” Foreign Service Journal 77 (2000); Julia Kuehn, “Amelia Edwards’s Picturesque Views of Cairo: 
Touring the Land, Framing the Foreign.”  Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 5 (2009).  Arm Chair Orientalism: Cornel ZwierleinImperial Unknowns: The French and British in the Mediterranean, 1650-1750 (Cambridge, 2016).  Library Orientalism: Frederick GarberSelf, Text, and Romantic Irony: The Example of Byron (Princeton, 1988).

Ambivalent Orientalism

Scholars use this term only infrequently; but when they do use it, they generally use it in one of two ways. First and more often, some use it to describe treatments of an (Oriental) Other that imagine and construct the Other in mixed, contrasting terms that reflect positive and negative sides or aspects of that Other, such as seeing the Orient as having a glorious past and inglorious present. Second and much more rarely, scholars use this term to describe the attitudes of an "Oriental" Self concerning its own ethnic heritage. Rosanne Hughes (2017) thus argues that Chinese American artists and writers have historically shown mixed feelings about the image of foot binding. They both embrace it as an element of their cultural identity and treat it critically.


See also: De-Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Late Orientalism, Self-Orientalism.


Sources & ExamplesEdwin James AikenScriptural Geography: Portraying the Holy Land (I. B. Tauris, 2010); Roxane Hughes, “Ambivalent Orientalism: Footbinding in Chinese American History, Culture and Literature” (Ph.D. diss, Lausanne, 2017); Tatjana Thelen, “Shortage, Fuzzy Property and Other Dead Ends in the Anthropological Analysis of (post)Socialism.” Critique of Anthropology 31 (2011).

American Orientalism

Scholars use this frequently used term to describe the ways in which the majority of Americans since colonial times have imagined “the Orient” and “Orientals” as being essentially exotic, timeless, and usually inferior.  Rooted in the classical Orientalism of Europe, Americans have constructed Asians as being, among other things, backward, irrational, emotional, incapable of change, despotic, opulent and avaricious, sensual, mysterious, and in all these ways the opposite of the West.  Scholars find these stereotypes frequenting American academic, political, and popular cultures, and feminist scholars note that American Orientalism also frequently employs gendered stereotypes, which identify Orientals with female inferiority and America with masculine superiority.  At the same time, however, Americans have also imagined Oriental exoticism to be alluring, and scholars argue that American Orientalism is marked by an ambivalence regarding the Orient that exhibits a push-pull basket of feelings of revulsion and attraction by which Orientals are also imagined to be spiritual, sophisticated, and mystical; and the Orient is believed to be a source of wisdom, beauty, and artistry as well as self-improvement practices such as yoga and meditation.  Beginning in colonial times, this ambivalence toward the East was expressed both by the growing consumption of “exotic” Oriental goods (real and fake) and the growing inclination toward racialist stereotypes of Orientals.  Conflict with the Barbary pirates beginning in the 1780s spurred America’s racist Orientalism, as did the fascination Protestant Americans had with biblically-based images of the Holy Land and their regret that it had fallen into the hands of “infidels”.  During the 19th century, the focus of American Orientalism eventually shifted from the Middle East to East Asia, especially China and then Japan, because of the importation of desirable material goods from there and because of East Asian immigration.  The result has been a dual focus by which American Orientalisms focus on both the exotic Asia itself and Asian Americans.  American Orientalism’s sense of ambivalence toward Asia is mirrored in its attitudes toward especially East and South Asian Americans: they have been feared as an economic threat, a threat to national security, and as a threat to racial purity, but they more recently are also imagined to be industrious, over-achieving "model citizens".  Well into the 20th century, the U.S. government followed a policy of exclusion that severely limited Asian immigration.  Scholars infrequently use the term "Asian American Orientalism" to describe the ways in which American society frequently imagines Asian Americans.

Various scholars have explored the ways in which American Orientalist stereotypes have been expressed academically, in the arts and literature, in popular culture, and especially by women who by the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century embraced many Oriental exoticisms, including clothing fashions, as a means to express and explore their unique identities as women.  While some Americans did see the Orient in a more positive light (as a source of wisdom, for example) and both American popular and high culture valued Asian goods and their designs, the core attitude towards the East continued to be that it was heathen, uncivilized, and barbaric.  American missionaries, businessmen, travelers, and diplomats all played a hand in perpetuating these long held racist, sexist, and nationalist stereotypes.  The seizure of the Philippines in 1898 and the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II marked two particularly egregious examples of the impact of these stereotypes on both Asians and Asian Americans.  After World War II the focus of American Orientalist concern shifted to the Middle East, especially with founding of the State of Israel (1948), which marked a pivotal moment in American modern Orientalism.  Middle Eastern Islamic peoples were no longer seen as alluring or exotic but rather is being terroristic, violent, demagogic, and relentlessly anti-Western, anti-democratic, and anti-Israel.  American academics, politicians, and the public particularly branded Islam as being an intolerant, male-dominated, despotic corrupting influence on “the Arabs”.  Middle Eastern oil was another important factor influencing American attitudes.  Scholars often call these more recent expressions of Orientalism, especially after 9/11, “neo-Orientalism”.  David Little (2008) notes the close connection between popular Orientalist stereotypes and the conduct of American foreign policy, especially since 1945, which has been particularly marked by the willingness of the American government to engage in a long series of military engagements in nearly every region of Asia beginning with the Korean War (1950-1953).

Scholars emphasize that American Orientalism has never strayed very far from its European roots, this being particularly true of American academic Orientalism, which long labored under the shadow of the Europeans and even when it became prominent after World War II called on imported European scholars to promote its growth.  Scholars do note that American academics have been instrumental in shifting academic Orientalist discourses from their philological roots to greater use of a social science approach.  They also point to the important role in perpetuating Orientalist stereotypes that Orientalist academics have long played by so-called “experts” in Islam and the Middle East.  Various cultural agencies and movements have also played their role in perpetuating American Orientalist stereotypes including, for example, circuses, fairs, congresses, pulp publications, and films epitomized by Disney’s Aladdin (1992).  Scholars have particularly identified The National Geographic as a key purveyor of stereotypical images of the East, especially the Arab and Islamic Middle East.  [7/20]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Aesthetic Orientalism, Beat Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Climatic Orientalism, European Orientalism, Evangelical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Imperial Orientalism, Material Orientalism, Missionary Orientalism, Modern Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism, Paranoid Orientalism,  Philological Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Radical Orientalism (2nd Usage), Saidian Orientalism, Textual Orientalism, White Orientalism, Women’s Orientalism, Western Orientalism, Zionist Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesSadiq Al-Ali, “American Orientalism in Popular Culture Post 9/11: A Gramscian (re)Reading,” 2013. At SSRN (, accessed 6/20; Vivek Bald, “American Orientalism,” 2015.  At Dissent (, accessed 6/20; David Brody, Visualizing American Empire: Orientalism and Imperialism in the Philippines (U. of Chicago, 2010); Nick Browne, “The Undoing of the Other Woman: Madam Butterfly in the Discourse of American Orientalism.” In The Birth of Whiteness: Race and the Emergence of U.S. Cinema (Rutgers U., 1996); Karen J. Leong, The China Mystique: Pearl S. Buck, Anna May Wong, Mayling Soong, and the Transformation of American Orientalism (U. of California, 2005); Douglas Little, American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945 (North Carolina U., 2008); Minjeong Kim & Angie Y. Chung, “Consuming Orientalism: Images of Asian-American Women in Multicultural Advertising.” In The Kaleidoscope of Gender: Prisms, Patterns, and Possibilities (SAGE, 2008); Christina Klein, Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961 (U. of California, 2003); Colleen Lye, “Introduction: In Dialogue with Asian American Studies.” Representations 99 (2007); Meghana V. Nayak & Christopher Malone, "American Orientalism and American Exceptionalism: A Critical Rethinking of US Hegemony." International Studies Review 11 (2009); Josephine Park, Apparitions of Asia: Modernist Form and Asian American Poetics (Oxford, 2008); Melissa E. Poulsen, "American Orientalism & Cosmopolitan Mixed Race: Reading Onoto Watanna and Han Suyin's Asian Mixed Race." Asian American Literature Discourses & Pedagogies 3 (2012); Aayesha Rafiq, “From European to American Orientalism.”  Academic Research International 5 (4) (2014); Edward Said, “On ‘Orientalism’,” n.d. At Media Education Foundation (, accessed 6/20; Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Herbert R. Swanson, “Orientalism as an Ideology: the Utility of Said’s Notion of Ideology for the Study of Orientalism,” 19 June 2020.  At Orientalism Studies (; John Tchen, New York Before Chinatown: Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture 1776-1882 (Johns Hopkins, 1999); Hsu-Ming Teo, “American Popular Culture Through the Lens of Saidian and Post-Saidian Orientalist Critiques.” Critical Race and Whiteness Studies 10 (2014); Nessim J. Watson.  “Action Movie Arabs and the American Call to Endless War: The Role of American Orientalism in Organizing the United States" Response" to the 9/11 Attacks” (Ph.D. diss., U. of Massachusetts Amherst, 2005); Mari Yoshihara, Embracing the East: White Women and American Orientalism (Oxford, 2003)..


Ancient Greek Orientalism. See Greek Orientalism (Ancient).

Ancient Orientalism


Orientalist scholars in the 19th century and well into the 20th century used this term generally to describe what they imagined to be the thought-ways and life-ways of civilizations in the distant past from Egypt to India to China. They tended to focus on ancient religious and philosophical systems, which they saw as being intimately related to each other and evident in ancient literature and in such things as temple inscriptions. They constructed those "ancient Orientalisms" to be essentially exotic and the opposite of the modern West and believed it almost impossible for Westerners of their time to understand ancient ways of thinking and believing. They also believed that the modernization and Westernization of Asian nations displaced those ancient Orientalisms. In effect, then, Orientalist scholars and others imagined ancient Orientalism to be an archetype, a single "thing" that was primitive, rigidly hierarchical, mystical, spiritualistic, and philosophically dualistic. It was this archetypal ancient Orientalism that Orientalist scholars studied as they sought to discern both the nature of ancient Orientalism and its connections with later times. Occasionally, some scholars used this term to describe traditional societies in places other than Asia, such as Polynesia. This term was also used to describe old-fashioned "Oriental" styles in the arts and in fashion. Protestant biblical and ecclesiastical scholars used this term to describe the social, cultural, and intellectual context of the Bible in biblical times. On the one hand, they generally held that the Old Testament was immersed in the systems of ancient Orientalisms, which explained many of the seeming contradictions and archaisms it contains such as anthropomorphic treatments of God. Protestant biblical scholars and others employed their putative insights into the Old Testament's ancient Orientalist context to defend the Bible against its detractors while other scholars argued that those Orientalisms pointed to the deficiency of the Christian scriptures. On the other hand, the majority of Protestant scholars also believed that ancient Orientalism was a great enemy of the early church, injecting into it foreign elements such as Gnosticism and monasticism. As Protestants, they held that ancient Orientalisms also infected Roman Catholicism long after ancient times. This term seems to have been fairly frequently used well into the 20th century. 


Since Edward W. Said (1978), modern-day scholars have largely used this term in the context of an on-going debate over the applicability of his notion of Orientalism to civilizations of the ancient past, which debate has focused largely on the ancient Greeks. Said discerned the presence of ideological Orientalism in ancient Greece and argued that latter-day Orientalism can be traced back to Greece. Scholars have in response (or reaction) fallen into three camps, some accepting Said's argument whole cloth, some rejecting it entirely, and others discerning in the ancient world only some elements of what might be called "Orientalism". Apart from Greece very little study has been done on the possible application of the notion of Orientalism to the ancient world making this term less significant now than it was in the 19th century and might otherwise be today. [revised 8/18]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Aggressive Orientalism, Ancient Orientalism (Contemporary), Biblical Orientalism, Greek Orientalism (Ancient); Ideological Orientalism, Old Testament Orientalism, Pre-Modern Orientalism.

Sources & Examples:  Before Said: August BlauveltThe Present Religious Crisis (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1882); B. O. Flower, “The Next Forward Step for Women; or, Thoughts on the Movement for Rational Dress.” The Arena 6 (1892); Philip C. FrieseSemitic Philosophy: Showing the Ultimate Social and Scientific Outcome of Original Christianity in Its Conflict with Surviving Ancient Heathenism (S. C. Griggs & Co., 1890); O. D. Miller, “Catholicism and Universalism, from the Standpoint of Philosophy.”  The Universalist Quarterly & General Review  NS 23, (1886);  “The Science of History.” The Westminster Review (American Edition) 115 (1881).  Since Said: Cristopher E. Forth, “Fat, Desire and Disgust in the Colonial Imagination.” History Workshop Journal 74 (2012); Michal Gawlikowski, “Zoroastrian Echoes in the Mithraeum at Hawarte, Syria.”  ARAM 26 (2014); Yang Huang, “Orientalism in the Ancient World: Greek and Roman Images of the Orient from Homer to Virgil” Bulletin of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies 5 (2007;  A. Bernard Knapp,“Orientalization and Prehistoric Cyprus: The Social Life of Oriental Goods.”  In Debating Orientalization: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Change in the Ancient Mediterranean (Equinox Press, 2010); Naoíse Mac Sweeney, Foundation Myths and Politics in Ancient Ionia (Cambridge, 2013); Rod S. Sachs, “Chaucer’s De-colonized Custance” (M.A. thesis, Texas at Arlington, 2014); Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Phiroze Vasunia, "Hellenism and Empire: Reading Edward Said." Parallax 9, 4 (2003).


Anglo-French Orientalism


Edward W. Said (1978)  uses this term prominently to describe the combined features of French Orientalism and British Orientalism as being the heart and core of European Orientalism from the late 18th century until after World War I. Britain and France, according to this notion, were the dominant colonial European powers in Asia and influenced each other’s parallel and overlapping experience and understanding of the Orient. Anglo-French Orientalism was, thus, a dualistic ideology that imagined “the Orient” has having a single essential, irredeemable identity that was inferior to the West and that justified European colonialism. This ideology, according to Said, was articulated by a range of French and British academic, artistic, literary, political, economic, and religious agencies, institutions, and movements to the extent that Orientalism suffused Anglo-French perceptions of Asia and profoundly influenced those perceptions across Europe—although it must be acknowledged that there were other Orientalist voices in Europe as well, notably German Orientalism. Scholars of Orientalism since Said widely and frequently use this term, usually in passing and on the assumption that the notion of Anglo-French Orientalism is historically accurate. They often cite Said directly or implicitly when they use the term. Daniel M. Varisco (2017) is a rare example of a scholar who questions that assumption, largely on theoretical grounds. In addition to this term, a small handful of scholars use the cognate terms of “Franco-British Orientalism,” “English-French Orientalism,” or “British-French Orientalism”. In sum, the widespread use of this term witnesses to the profound impact that Said continues to have in the study of European classical Orientalism. [9/22]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Aesthetic Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Deep Orientalism, European Orientalism, French Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism, Western Orientalism.


Sources & Examples: Anglo-French Orientalism: Stephanie Cronin, “Introduction: Edward Said, Russian Orientalism and Soviet Iranology.” Iran Studies 48 (2015); Snežana Dabić, W.B. Yeats and Indian Thought (Cambridge Scholars, 2016); David N. Geraghty, “Old Stories, New Authors: Orientalism, Cosmopolitanism and India” (Ph.D. diss, Monash U., 2014); Lim Jie-hyun, “Imagining West and Self in the Global Easts: On Poland and Korea.” In Western Historiography in Asia (De Gruyter, 2022); Valerie Kennedy, Edward Said: A Critical Introduction (Polity Press, 2013); Bülent Küçük, “Borders of Europe: Fantasies of identity in the enlargement debate on Turkey.” New Perspectives on Turkey 41 (2009); Sonja Lawrenson, “Prudence and Prejudicde in Maria Edgeworth’s ‘Murad the Unlucky’ (1804).” In Ireland’s Imperial Connections, 1775-1947 (Springer, 2019); Joseph Lennon, “Irish Orientalism: An Overview.” In Ireland and Postcolonial Theory (U. of Notre Dame, 2003); Karin E. Mæland, “A Study of Hermeneutics in the Approach to Indian Philosophy in the West” (M.Phil. thesis, U. of Oslo, 2019); Nataliia Pestereva, “Russia, Empre, and the Case of the North Caucaus, 18202-2013” (Ph.D. diss., U. of Alberta, 2019); Raejeswari S. Rajan, “After ‘Orientalism’: Colonialism and English Literary Studies in India.” Social Scientist 14 (1986); Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Daniel M. Varisco, Reading Orientalism: Said and the Unsaid (U. of Washington, 2017). Franco-British Orientalism: Rasoul Alikbari, “Nathaniel HJawthorne and the Meiosis of Americanism in The Marble Faun.” Criterion 7 (2014).

Animal Orientalism


Scholars use this term only very rarely and then only in passing to describe ways in which animals are imagined, constructed, and exploited as an essentially inferior "Other" that is the opposite of the human race. Sherryl Vint uses the term sapien Orientalism and draws parallels between colonialism and the relationship between humanity and animals in early science fiction. This term is also used very rarely in the art world to describe artistic renderings, notably paintings, of animals in what is taken to be an exotic, "Orientalist" style. A form of this Orientalism, simian Orientalism, however, is much more frequently used.


See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Simian Orientalism.


Sources & Examples: David Moses, “Writing Animals, Speaking Animals: The Displacement and Placement of the Animal in Medieval Literature”  (Ph.D. diss., Edinburgh, 2003);  Sherryl VintAnimal Alterity: Science Fiction and the Question of the Animal (Liverpool U., 2010).

Anthropological Orientalism.  See Orientalist Anthropology.  And See Ethnographic Orientalism (2nd Usage).

Anti-Arab Orientalism. See Arab Orientalism.

Anti-Asian Orientalism. See Asian Orientalism.


Anti-Islamic Orientalism

Scholars use this term as a synonym for Saidian Orientalism as described by Edward W. Said (1978), emphasizing particularly the Western Orientalist stereotyping of Islam as supposedly backward, sexist, violent, and at its worst closely allied to terrorism. It is neither frequently used nor rare. [revised 8/18]

See also: Dogmatic Orientalism, Hard Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Islamic Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism.


Sources & Examples: Layla F. Abdeen & Muna M. Abd-Rabbo, "Orientalist Discourse in John Updike’s The Coup: A Saidian/Foucauldian Perspective." Dirasat: Human and   Social Sciences 45 (2018); Lisa Lowe, “The Worldliness of Intimacy.” In Edward Said: The Legacy of a Public Intellectual (Melbourne U., 2007); Mark Woodward, Java, Indonesia and Islam (Springer, 2011).

Anti-Jewish Orientalism. See Jewish Orientalism.

Anti-Muslim Orientalism. See Anti-Islamic Orientalism.

Antinomic Orientalism

Christopher T. Fan uses this term to describe what is generally assumed to be a key aspect of the fundamentally dualistic nature of the notion of Orientalism, especially as it is used by Edward W. Said (Orientalism, 1978).  There is a Self and an Other and a West and an East, that is, which are seen to be essentially and irredeemably different.  In the Saidian schema, they are also treated as being “antinomic,” i.e. fundamentally in unresolvable conflict and opposition with each other.  Orientalist ideologies pit Self against Other and West against East.  Fan examines the efficacy of this basic structure of Saidian Orientalism for understanding developments in the notion of Techno-Orientalism since the 1980s.  Use of this term is extremely rare.  [1/21]

See also: Postmodern Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Structural Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism.


Sources & Examples: Foram Chandara, “Identity in Postcyberpunk and Games,” n.d. At DSpace Repository (, accessed 1/21; Tara Fickle, The Race Card: From Gaming Technologies to Model Minorities (New York U., 2019); Christopher T. Fan, “American Techno-Orientalism: Speculative Fiction and the Rise of China.” (Ph.D. diss., U. of California, Berkeley, 2016); Christopher T. Fan, "Techno-Orientalism with Chinese Characteristics: Maureen F. McHugh’s China Mountain Zhang." Journal of Transnational American Studies 6 (2015).



Scholars generally use this frequently used term in two distinct and different ways. First, scholars at times associate this term with Edward W. Said's critique of the field of Oriental studies ("Orientalism") and those scholars who have embraced his perspective. Said is usually considered to be the premier anti-Orientalist, and "anti-Orientalism" is thus closely associated with Saidian Orientalism and its critique of Orientalism. This term is particularly used by scholars who either reject Said's analysis entirely or consider it to be seriously flawed in particular ways. Others including some Asian scholars, however, use this term in a more positive way, embracing its anti-Orientalist critique of ideological OrientalismSecond, Scholars also use this term to describe historical anti-Asian racism in the United States and Canada, especially on the West Coasts of both nations. [4/17]


See also: Dialectical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Racial Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.


Sources & Examples: First Usage: Peter Gran, “Orientalism’sContribution to World History and Middle Eastern History 35 Years Later.”  In Debating Orientalism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); Rahila Gupta, “Taking a Flawed Stand Against Orientalism.” At 50.50 Inclusive Democracy (, accessed 4/17; Bernard LewisIslam and the West (Oxford, 1993); S. SayyidA Fundamental Fear: Eurocentrism and the Emergence of Islamism, 2nd ed. (Zed Books, 2003); Emmanuel Szurek, “’Go West’: Variations on Kemalist Orientalism.” In After Orientalism: Critical Perspectives on Western Agency and Eastern Re-appropriations (Brill, 2015).  Second Usage: Roger Daniels, The Politics of Prejudice: The Anti-Japanese Movement in California and the Struggle for Japanese Exclusion (California, 1962); Michael KlucknerVanishing British Columbia (UPC Press & U. of Washington, 2005).

Anti-Semitic Orientalism

This term itself appears rarely in the scholarly literature; but when it does appear, it is used to refer to a form of historical European ideological Orientalism, originating in the 19th century. That Orientalism imagined a negative stereotype of the Jewish people, constructing them as being the "Eastern Jews" (Ostjude) who were essentially alien, weak, feminine-like, and dangerous to Western civilization. Even when this term itself is not used, several scholars have given attention to Edward W. Said's observation that Semitic Orientalisms and anti-Semitism have the same origin and are parallel phenomenon in important ways. Frank F. Scherer has used the Fruedian metaphor, ArchaeOrientalism, to describe Sigmund Frued's acceptance of the categories of anti-Semitic Orientalism while seeking to resist those categories by imagining a strong, male Westernized Jew in opposition to the Ostjude.

See also: Fascist Orientalism, Jewish Orientalism, Nazi Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Racial Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Semitic Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism, Zionist Orientalism.


Sources & Examples: Donna K. HeizerJewish-German Identity in the Orientalist Literature of Else Lasker-Schüler (Camden House, 1996): Ivan D. Kalmar, "Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: The Formation of a Secret." Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge 7 (2009); James Pasto, "Islam's 'Strange Secret Sharer': Orientalism, Judaism, and the Jewish Question." Comparative Studies in Society and History 40 (1998): Andrew N. Rubin, “Orientalism and the History of Western Anti-Semitism: The Coming End of an American Taboo.”  History of the Present 5 (2015); Frank F. SchererThe Freudian Orient: Early Psychoanalysis, Anti-Semitic Challenge, and the Vicissitudes of Orientalist Discourse (Karnac Books, 2015); Ella Shohat, “Taboo Memories and Diasporic Visions: Columbus, Palestine, and Arab Jews.” In Genealogies of Orientalism: History, Theory, Politics (Nebraska, 2008).

Anti-Western Orientalism


This term is rarely used. When it is used, scholars generally use it in one of two ways. First, Jie-Hyun Lim and a few other scholars use it to describe the use of ideological Orientalist discourses and practices by Asian ("Oriental") scholars who seek to create a positive, distinct national self-image and history over against the West and other Asian nations or groups. In effect, Asian Anti-Western Orientalists seek to use ideological Orientalist strategies to raise themselves to the status of the West in its place. This term thus describes a form of reverse OrientalismSecond, this term is very rarely used to describe Edward W. Said's Orientalism (1978) as "anti-Western." [5/16]


See also: Reverse Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Self-Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Theodore Dalrymple, “The Case for Mistrust Muslims,” 2007. At Los Angeles Times (, accessed 5/16; Jie-Hyun Lim, “Configuration of Orient and Occident in the Global Chain of National Histories: Writing National Histories in Northeast Asia.” In Narrating the Nation: Representations in History, Media, and the Arts (Berghahn Books, 2008).


Applied Orientalism


Scholars usually use this term in one of two related ways. First, it is most often used as a simple adjective, rather than as a technical term, indicating the use (application) of ideological Orientalist content and images ("discourses") in a given situation. Second, Alexander Morrison and others use it to described the ways in which ideological Orientalist scholars intend their work to advance Western policy goals. Their stereotypical Orientalist interventions usually involve colonies or colonial-like situations such as the occupation of foreign territory.

See also: Ideological Orientalism, Manifest Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: T. N. HarperThe End of Empire and the Making of Malaya (Cambridge, 1999); Baruch Kimmerling, Clash of Identities: Explorations in Israeli and Palestinian Societies (Columbia, 2008); Alexander Morrison, “’Applied Orientalism’ in British India and Tsarist Turkestan.” Comparative Studies in Society & History 51 (2009).

Arab Orientalism


Scholars use this term to describe several different and contradictory forms of ideological Orientalism, including: (1) Arab Orientalist-like discourses directed disparagingly against other Arabs (Determann terms this usage inter-Arab Orientalism.); (2) Western ideological Oriental discourses directed against Arabs (often called anti-Arab Orientalism); (3) as a synonym for the terms Islamic Orientalism and Arabic Orientalism; and, less frequently, (4) as indigenous Orientalist-like, essentializing Arab ideologies intended to support the aspirations of Arab peoples. In sum, this term is sometimes used to describe Orientalists ideologies imagined and constructed by Arabs themselves, and sometimes it is used to describe Orientalist ideologies directed against them.

See also: Arabic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Islamic Orientalism, Orientalism in Reverse.

Sources & Examples: Matthias Determann, “Review of A History of the Arabian Peninsula.” Bulletin of SOAS 73 (2010); Zaanab Ibrahim, “The Arab Orient in Edgar Allan Poe.” LURe: Literary Undergraduate Research 3 (2012); Martin Thomas, The French North African Crisis: Colonial Breakdown and Anglo-French Relations, 1945-62 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000).

Arabic Orientalism


Scholars and others use this term usually in one of two ways. First, some use it as a synonym for the term Islamic Orientalism in all three of that term's meanings, that is: (1) as the academic study of the Arab Orient; (2) as a larger body of Western writings about the Arab Orient usually influenced by academic Orientalists; and (3) (and rarely) as describing Arab works concerning their own culture and situation especially vis-à-vis the West, which discourses seem to be similar to ideological OrientalismSecond, scholars and others use this term to describe a supposedly Arab-inspired ornamental or aesthetic style found in a range of arts including music, sculpture, moving pictures, architecture, and even as a description of an equine blood line (the Lipizzaner). [12/17]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Aesthetic Orientalism, Arab Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Islamic Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Sivan Emmanual, “Orientalism Polemics,” n.d. At Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (, accessed 12/17; John HainesMusic in Films on the Middle Ages: Authenticity vs. Fantasy (Routledge, 2014); David Malvinni, The Gypsy Caravan: From Real Roma to Imaginary Gypsies in Western Music and Film (Routldege, 2004); Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Maria Todorova, Imagining the Balkans (Oxford, 2009).

Arch-Orientalism (Arch Orientalism)


Scholars only rarely use the term "arch-Orientalism," but they do use "arch-Orientalist" frequently and often pejoratively to refer to individuals, texts, works of art, or other elements that radically exemplify ideological Orientalism and/or Saidian Orientalism. In several instances, for example, Bernard Lewis is cited as an example of an arch-Orientalist. More rarely this term is used in a more neutral, less critical sense to describe individuals, etc. that fully embody Orientalism. Although not intended to be used as a technical term, this term is yet another synonym for ideological Orientalism and Saidian Orientalism. [4/17]

See also: Hard Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Kathryn S. FreemanBritish Women Writers and the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1785-1835: Re-Orienting Anglo-India (Routledge, 2014): Jim Quilty, “Ice Cream for the Soul: A Journey into Syria,” 2002.  At The Daily Star  (, accessed 4/17; Emmanuel Szurek, “’Go West’: Variations on Kemalist Orientalism.” In After Orientalism: Critical Perspectives on Western Agency and Eastern Re-appropriations (Brill, 201).

Archaeological Orientalism


Scholars generally use this term in two distinct ways. First, some use it in light of Edward W. Said's utilization of the work of Michel Foucault (1926-1984) in his analysis of Orientalism to describe a critical, historical approach to Orientalism, which understands it to be comprised of sets of social-cultural ideological "discourses" that imagine and frame Oriental Others without reference to the actual realities of Asians. "Archaeology," in this sense, means systems of thought and knowledge, that is,"discourses". This usage is infrequent and sometimes used to describe instances of reverse Orientalism whereby peoples who are suffering under Orientalist stereotypes and prejudices development their own Orientalist "discourses" ("archaeologies") to reframe their identity in positive ways. Second, other scholars use this term to refer specifically to the field of archaeology as a form of academic Orientalism and thus to the ways in which archaeologists imagine and construct the peoples whose artifacts they study, seeking to fit them into preconceived and ideologically grounded historical frameworks—sometimes treating them as if they were essentially "exotic". By-and-large, these scholars use the term Orientalist archaeology rather than archaeological Orientalism. [revised 5/17]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

ArchaeOrientalism. See Anti-Semitic Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: First Usage: John M. EfronGerman Jewry and the Allure of the Sephardic (Princeton, 2016); Layla Saleh, “(Muslim) Woman in Need of Empowerment.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (2016); Bryan S. Turner, "On the Concept of Axial Space: Orientalism and the Originary." Journal of Social Archaeology 1 (2001).  Second Usage: Morag M. Kersel, “Fractured Oversight: the ABCs of Cultural Heritage in Palestine After the Oslo Accords.” Journal of Social Archaeology 15 (2015); Oystein S. LaBianca, “Daily Life in the Shadow of Empire: A Food Systems Approach to the Archaeology of the Ottoman Period” (Paper, U. of New York at Binghamton, 1996); Michael Leadbetter, “Rediscovering Champa.” Explorations: A Graduate Student Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 12 (2014); James Preece, “Past Political, Present Tense, Future Perfect? The Concept of Political Intrinsicality in Archaeology.” The Post Hole 29 (2013); Frank F. SchererThe Freudian Orient: Early Psychoanalysis, Anti-Semitic Challenge, and the Vicissitudes of Orientalist Discourse (Karnac Books, 2015); Bryan S. Turner, "On the Concept of Axial Space: Orientalism and the Originary." Journal of Social Archaeology 1 (2001).


ArchaeOrientalism. See Anti-Semitic Orientalism.

Archetypal Orientalism


A very few scholars use this very rarely used term to describe the form of Orientalism originally described by Edward W. Said in his book, Orientalism (1978), that is, Saidian Orientalism.


See also: Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Sheng-mei Ma, Diaspora Literature and Visual Culture: Asia in Flight (Routledge, 2011); Geoffrey P. NashTravellers to the Middle East from Burckhardt to Thesiger: An Anthology (Anthem Press, 2011).


Architectural Orientalism


Scholars use this term and the terms, Orientalist architecture and Orientalist structure(s), to describe the ways in which Western architecture is used to reinforce stereotypes of "Orientals" as being essentially exotic. While some date the origins of architectural Orientalism as far back as the 17th century, it was most popular in the latter 19th century; but even then it did not amount to a significant European architectural movement and was limited mainly to places of entertainment or leisure. The wide assortment of stereotypical styles and elements used in Orientalist architecture (such as domes and arches) has been thought to give buildings an exotic, fanciful, and even fantastical cast that recalls the mystique of far away places. Although Orientalist architects drew on designs and elements from several Asian cultures, especially Arab Islamic styles including especially Moorish architecture. Architectural Orientalism, however, differs from other forms of aesthetic Orientalism because it is physically embodied in fixed structures many of which were built in Asia as well as in the West. Various scholars have thus argued that it is often difficult to discern whether or not a particular building embodies ideological Orientalist content and images. This is for at least three reasons: first, it is not clear how a physical structure, often drawing on a widely eclectic variety of supposedly Asian designs actually communicates that Orientals are essentially exotic; second, architects often simply add Oriental decorative elements to a basically Western-style building again raising the issue of whether or not such buildings communicate Orientalist stereotypes; and, third, Oriental-style buildings were often constructed by the Western colonial powers in Asian cities to attempt to make their rule more palatable to those they ruled and thus are unusual among Orientalist discourses for their being addressed to Asian audiences rather than other Westerners—raising yet again the issue of whether or not they are "really" Orientalist at all. In addition, Chukhovich notes that Orientalist architecture has received less critical scholarly appraisal than other forms of aesthetic Orientalist expression, which means that its ideological uses and implications are also less well understood. Perhaps one of the most obviously Orientalist architectures found in Asia itself was one developed in Turkey that combined a mixture of European and supposedly Asian styles that is known as "Neo-Ottoman architecture." Orientalist designs have also been used by the tourist industry both in the West and in Asia. Jewish synagogues in Europe at times have drawn on Middle Eastern styles as a way to express Jewish identity as being distinct from other Europeans and to demonstrate their independence from European culture. The Royal Pavilion at Brighton, England, is a building that is cited most frequently as being an example of early European architectural Orientalism. Other buildings receiving attention include the Yenidze Tobacco and Cigarette Factory in Dresden, Germany, and P.T. Barnum's mansion in Westport, Connecticut, Iranistan.  Scholars use the terms, "architectural Orientalism" and "Orientalist architecture," relatively frequently and the term, "Orientalist structure(s)," much less often. [4/18; revised to add "Orientalist structure(s)," 12/20]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Art Deco Orientalism, Barbaric Orientalism, Demotic Orientalism, Eclectic Orientalism, Egyptomania, Ideological Orientalism, Jewish Orientalism, Kemalist Orientalism, Local Orientalism, Oriental Enthusiasm, Oriental Look, Orientalist Tourism, Seaside Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Architectural Orientalism & Orientalist Architecture: Adam, “Orientalism & Chinoiserie Architecture Around Europe,” 2012. At Travels of Adam (, accessed 4/18 ; Sibel Bozdoğan, “Journey to the East: Ways of Looking at the Orient and the Question of Representation.” Journal of Architectural Education 41 (1988); Steven Cairns, “The Stone Books of Orientalism.” In Colonial Modernities: Building, Dwelling and Architecture in British India and Ceylon (Routledge, 2007); Boris Chukhovich,“Orientalist Modes of Modernism in Architecture: Colonial/Postcolonial/Soviet,” 2014. At Études de Lettres (, accessed 4/18; Zeynep Çiğdem & Uysal Ürey, "The Use of Orientalist Stereotypes and the Production of Kitsch: Tourism Architecture in Turkey in the Face of Social Change." International Journal of Science Culture and Sport 1 (2013); Mark Crinson, Empire Building: Orientalism and Victorian Architecture (Routledge, 1996); Angie Jo, “Second-Hand Culture: Orientalist Architecture in Ottoman Istanbul,” 2013. At (, accessed 4/18; Tariq Khamis, “The Islamic City and Architectural Orientalism,” 2015. At Art and Architecture in the Arab World (, accessed 3/18; Rudolf Klein, “Oriental-Style Synagogues in Austria-Hungary: Philosophy and Historical Significance.” Ars Judaica 2 (2006).  Orientalist Structure(s): Davy Depelchin, “Ambiguities in Terminology and Taxonomy as Factors in the Marginalization of Architectural Styles: The Case of Orientalism.” ABE Journal 1 (2012);  “Richard Hawkins at Richard Telles,” 2013. At Contemporary Art Daily (, accessed 12/20; Winston Ho, “How Japanese and Chinese Traditions Contributed to New Orleans Architecture,” 2019. At Preservation Research Center of New Orleans (, accessed 12/20; Ivan D. Kalmar, “Moorish Style: “Orientalism, the Jews, and Synagogue Architecture.” Jewish Social Studies 7 (2001); John M. MacKenzie, Orientalism: History, Theory and the Arts (Manchester U., 1995).

Arctic Orientalism


Scholars use this term generally to describe the ways in which various peoples living in the northern polar regions, including Scandinavia, Greenland, and Canada, have been imagined and constructed as having essential, timeless, and exotic natures in ways that duplicate ideological Orientalism. Arctic Orientalists have sometimes constructed these native/indigenous peoples as noble savages who are children of nature although earlier Orientalist discourses imagined them as simply barbaric, backward, and sometimes violent. The Arctic Other, thus, is at once alluring and repulsive. Such constructions have been used to justify European colonialism in northern regions. Ann Fienup-Riordan is credited with first making the connection between Said's Orientalism and the North, and she originally used the term Eskimo Orientalism to describe Arctic Orientalism. This term is distinguished from the similar term, Arcticality, by its emphasis on imagining and constructing of Arctic peoples where "arcticality" emphasizes place and geography. [5/17]

See also: Arcticality, Borealism, Ideological Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Scandinavian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Erika Doane, “Introduction.”  In Putting the Arctic Back on the Map: A Progress Report in Anticipation of the Arctic Council’s Twentieth Anniversary (Washington, 2016); Lars Jensen, “Greenland, Arctic Orientalism and the Search for Definitions of a Contemporary Postcolonial Geography.”  KULT—Postkolonial Temaserie 12 (2015); Jay Johnston, “The Elf in Self: The Influences of Northern Mythology and Fauna on Contemporary Spiritual Subcultures.”  In Imagining the Supernatural North (Alberta, 2016); Gisli Pálaaon, Travelling Passions: The Hidden Life of Vilhjalmur Stefansson (Dartmouth, 2005); Kirsten Thisted, “De-Framing the Indigenous Body: Ethnography, Landscape and Cultural Belonging in the Art of the Pia Arke.”  Nordlit 29 (2012).



Gisli Pálsson (2002) coined this term, drawing on the frequently used notion of "tropicality," and a limited number of scholars have since taken it up. They generally see this term as being closely associated with Edward W. Said's notion of Orientalism, and they use it to describe the ways in which European and North American nations have invented the Arctic zone as being a place of extreme weather that is both dangerous and exotic. It is the place where civilization ends, making it and its peoples the essential, radical Other that functions as a mirror image of the temperate, civilized nations to the south. As in the case of tropicality, science has played a key role in constructing Western images and knowledge of the Arctic North and facilitating its colonization. This term is distinguished from the similar term Arctic Orientalism by its emphasis on place and geography where Arctic Orientalism emphasizes the imagining and constructing of Arctic peoples. [5/17]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Arctic Orientalism, Borealism, Climatic Orientalism, Environmental Orientalism, Geographical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Quasi-Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Scandinavian Orientalism, Scientific Orientalism, Tropicality.

Sources & ExamplesSebastian C. Galbo, “Thawing Legacies: Inuit Women, Modernisation and the Challenges of Cultural Liminality,” n.d.  At Cerebrtation (, accessed 5/17; Gísli Pálsson, (2002) “Arcticality: Gender, Race, and Geography in the Writings of V. Stefansson." In Narrating the Arctic: A Cultural History of Scientific Practice, 1800-1940 (Science History Publications, 2002); Sverker Sörlin, “Circumpolar Science: Scandinavian Approaches to the Arctic and the North Atlantic, ca. 1920 to 1960.” Science in Context 27 (2014).

Armchair Orientalism. See Amateur Orientalism.


Art Deco Orientalism


A few scholars use this seldom-used term and the even more rarely-used term, "Orientalist Art Deco," to describe “Oriental” influences on the artistic style, Art Deco, which was popular in Western Europe and the United States in the 1920s and 1930s and which itself reflected the popularity of Orientalist styles in the arts including fashion.  Art Deco Orientalism had an impact on architectural styles, decorative household goods, advertising, and decorative styles more generally including on such motion pictures as Mata Hari (1921).  Yiman Wang (2010) argues that Anna May Wong (1905-1961) drew on Art Deco Orientalism in crafting her approach to acting.  In general, however, the relationship of Orientalism to Art Deco has received little critical scholarly study.  [8/19]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Architectural Orientalism, Cinematic Orientalism, Popular Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Art Deco Orientalism: Théry Béord & Achim Alan Merlo, "Orientalism in Celluloid: the Production of the ‘Crazy Year’." Social and Management Research Journal 14 (2017); Douglas Milewski, “Art Deco 101 - Origins of Art Deco: Orientalism and China,” 2016. At Livejournal (, accessed 8/19; Yiman Wang, “Anna May Wong: Toward Janus-Faced, Border-Crossing, ‘Minor’ Stardom’.” In Idols of Modernity: Movie Stars of the 1920s (Rutgers, 2010).  Orientalist Art Deco: Ross King, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya: Negotiating Urban Space in Malaysia (NUS Press, 2008).

Artificial Orientalism. See False Orientalism.


Artistic Orientalism. See Aesthetic Orientalism.


Aryan Orientalism


This is an obscure term from the 19th and early 20th centuries and is not used by modern-day scholars. Scholars used it, in particular, as the name for a field of academic Orientalism that studied the branch of ancient "Aryan" race known as the "Eastern" or "Asiatic" branch. More generally, Orientalist scholars used this term to refer to the religious and philosophical thought they attributed to ancient Aryans, which were imagined to be essentially Oriental—that is more spiritualist, disembodied from reality including especially physical reality, and from a Protestant Christian perspective a source of inimical heresies. [revised 8/18]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Historical Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Robert BrownMr. Gladstone as I Knew Him, and Other Essays (Williams & Norgate, 1902); Edmond de PressenséThe Ancient World and Christianity (A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1898); William B. GreeneThe Blazing Star (A. Williams & Co., 1872); Lawrence H. Mills, Zarathustrain Gâthas in Metre and Rhythm, 2nd ed.  (Open Court, 1903).

Ashkenazi Zionist Orientalism. See Zionist Orientalism.


Asian Orientalism


Scholars use this term usually in one of two distinct ways.  First, some use it simply to refer synonymously to ideological Orientalism as described by Edward W. Said in his book, Orientalism (1978)—that is, Saidian Orientalism.  A. Czajka (2005), for example, uses this term to distinguish Said’s notion of Orientalism, which deals only with Asia, from the application of that notion to Western ideological constructions of Africa, finding that “African Orientalism” is similar to but also differs from Said’s “Asian Orientalism”.  A very few scholars, notably David H. Kim (2007), use the term anti-Asian Orientalism in this same way, that is as a synonym for Saidian Orientalism.  Second, other scholars follow Inoue Tatsuo (1999), who uses this term to describe a movement among modern Asian political and cultural leaders that challenges liberal democratic values of individual human rights and political freedom, considering them to be essentially incompatible with “traditional” Asian cultural values, which supposedly emphasize community and spirituality.  These Asian Orientalists claim that liberal democratic thinking is dangerous because it leads to crass materialism, decadence, and crime-infested societies such as those of the West.  Scholars consider this “Asian Orientalism” to be a form of ideological Orientalism because it imagines and constructs Asian cultures themselves as having an essential, timeless nature that is superior to the West and, at the same time, also treats “the West” as having an essentially inferior identity in comparison to Asia.  It is thus not only a form of self-Orientalism but also of Occidentalism.  All of this, furthermore, has little or nothing to do with actual Asian values, which is typical when it comes to Orientalist stereotypes.  [9/19]

See also: Ideological Orientalism, Occidentalism, Oriental Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Self-Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: First Usage: Awni Alkarzon, "The Influence of Faculty Exchange Programs on Faculty Members' Professional Development." Research in Higher Education Journal 30 (2016); A. Czajka, "The African Orient: Edward Said’s Orientalism and ‘Western’ Constructions of Africa." The Discourse of Sociological Practice 7 (2005); David H. Kim, “What is Asian American Philosophy?” In Philosophy in Multiple Voices (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007); Lionel Obadia, “The Internationalisation and Hybridization of Medicines in Perspective? Some Reflections and Comparisons between East and West,” 2009. At transtext(es) transcultures (, accessed 9/19; Malini J. Schueller, US Orientalisms: Race, Nation, and Gender in Literature, 1790-1890 (U. of Michigan, 2001).  Second Usage: Joanne Bauer, “The Challenges to International Human Rights.” In Constructing Human Rights in the Age of Globalization (M. E. Sharpe, 2003); Mohd A. M. Sani, “Mahathir Mohamad as a Cultural Relativist: Mahathirism on Human Rights,” 2008. At Research Gate (, accessed 8/19; Inoue Tatsuo, "Liberal Democracy and Asian Orientalism." In The East Asian Challenge for Human Rights (Cambridge, 1999); Aki Toyoyama,, “Asian Orientalism: Perceptions of Buddhist Heritage in Japan.” In Routledge Handbook of Heritage in Asia (Routledge, 2012).


Asiatic Orientalism


Scholars and art critics use this somewhat obscure and infrequently used term in three different ways.  First, scholars of earlier generations going back to the 19th century used it to describe their perception that “Asiatic peoples” were backward and inferior to the West.  Second, modern-day scholars use it to describe the Orientalist ideology of that earlier generation along the lines of Edward W. Said’s, Orientalism (1978).  Third, art critics continue to use this term to describe an aesthetic style in music and the visual arts including the cinema, which is considered to be voluptuous, languorous, and dreamy. [4/17]

See also: Cinematic Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Historical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Musical Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: James A. Altena, “Sevitzky is a Brilliant Success…,” 2019. At Pristine Classical (, accessed 1/21; Paul Cloke, “(En)culturing Political Economy: A Life in the Day of a ‘Rural Geographer’.” In Writing the Rural: Five Cultural Geographies (Paul Chapman Publishing, 1994); Hsuan L.Hsu,  “Nineteenth-Century Orientalisms.”  In The Routledge Companion to Asian American and Pacific Islander Literature (Routledge, 2016); Brigitte Kahl, “Galatians and the ‘Orientalism’ of Justification by Faith: Paul among Jews and Muslims.” In The Colonized Apostle: Paul through Postcolonial Eyes (Fortress Press, 2011); Elizabeth Kertesz, “Season Opening Gala (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra),” 2019. At ABR (, accessed 1/21; Sidney Low, Egypt in Transition ( Macmillan Company, 1914); Slobodan G. Markovich, British Perceptions of Serbia and the Balkans 1903-1906 (Dialogue Association, 2000); John Needham, The Grand Titration: Science and Society in East and West (George Allen & Unwin, 1969); Daniel S. Roberts, “’Mix(ing) a Little with Alien Nature’s’: Biblical Orientalism in De Quincey.” In Thomas De Quincey and Critical Directions (Routledge, 2008); Vimal Waidyasekera, “Asia's Legendary Film-maker,” n.d. At Artscope (, accessed 1/21.

Athenian Orientalism. See Greek Orientalism (Ancient).

Australian Orientalism


Scholars use this term for the most part to describe white Australia's adaptation of ideological Orientalism and Saidian Orientalism to its particular situation as originally (1) a colonial, immigrant "settler society," (2) located on the rim of Asia, (3) far distant from the British homeland, (4) which forcibly occupied an already inhabited continent, and then (5) received large numbers of Asian immigrants. The Asian (Oriental) Other was thus much more immediate to Australians than to those "at home" in Britain. These characteristics, according to scholars, have influenced the shape and development of Orientalism in Australia down to the present so that it tends to be focused first and foremost on East and Southeast Asians, particularly the Chinese. It tends to display a greater degree of anxiety about Oriental Others and less interest in their supposedly exotic nature than was true in Britain. This anxiety is born partly of being closer to Asia and partly for having been "colonials" who themselves were looked down on by Britain (and displaced that experience onto Others). While Asians generally, including Muslims and Arabs, have been the focus of Australian Orientalism, the place of the Aboriginal peoples has been more problematic. Although they are subjected to racial prejudice and stereotyping, the Aborigines have not been seen as being "Oriental" or linked to Asia. Thus, scholars for the most part do not use the language of Orientalism with Aborigines, while the idea of Aboriginal Orientalism is also not usually seen as applying to Australia. Beyond these particular characteristics of Australian Orientalism, it is understood that various expressions of European and British Orientalisms are also found in Australia, including the arts and literature where there are "Australian Orientalist" painters and writers just as there are elsewhere in the West.

See also: Aboriginal Orientalism, European Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism, Western Orientalism, White Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Shahram Akbarzadeh & Bianca Smith, “The Representation of Islam and Muslims in the Media (The Age and Herald Sun Newspapers).” Sociology Compass 1 (2007); Charles Ferrall, “An Introduction to Australasian Orientalism.” In East by South: China in the Australasian Imagination (Victoria U., 2005); Stathis Gauntlett, “Πώς άσωμεν επί γης αλλοτρίας; Greek Song and Identity ‘Down-under’,” Hellenic Studies/Études Helléniques 7 (1999); Helen Gilbert & Jacqueline LoPerformance and Cosmopolitics: Cross-Cultural Transactions in Australasia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009); Lars JensenUnsettling Australia: Readings in Australian Cultural History (Atlantic, 2005); Suvendrini Perera, “Representation Wars: Malaysia, Embassy, and Australia’s Corps Diplomatique.” In Australian Cultural Studies: A Reader (U. of Illinois, 1993).


Authentic Orientalism


This term, which is neither rare nor frequently used, is not in the strictest sense a technical term—the word, "authentic," meaning simply "genuine" or "really real". That being said, users of this term, including scholars, use it to describe very different things, depending on what they mean by "Orientalism" and what they consider to be "authentically" Oriental. Some merchandisers use it to advertise products that they present as being "really" Asian. In music and the opera, some critics use it to describe works and their production for audiences in which the composer is supposed to have taken some trouble to use genuine elements of "Oriental" culture, sometimes apparently being the actual Asia but sometimes seeming to allude to what is only stereotypically supposed to be Oriental. Still others use this term in a pejorative and even sarcastic way to criticize something that purports to be ("wink, wink, nod, nod") "authentically Oriental". In general, then, this term is usually used in two broad ways. First, at times it is used to describe that which is thought to be genuinely Asian. Second, at other times, it is used to describe that which claims to be (genuinely) Oriental, treating the so-called "Orient" as really and actually having a single essential, timeless, and exotic nature. [10/18]

See also: Commercial Orientalism, False Orientalism, Genuine Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Musical Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Garland H. Cannon, “Orientalism and Sir William Jones.” Michigan Alumnus Quarterly Review 62 (1955); Adrienne L. Childs,   “Tanner and ‘Oriental’ Africa.” In Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit (U. of California, 2012); Jacob S. Dorman, “Ever the Twain Shall Meet: Orientalism and American Studies.” American Quarterly 67 (2015); Daniel Goode, “Authentic Orientalism—Tan Dun,” 2007. At Daniel Goode (, accessed 10/18; Onlybydubai,  “Slumdog Millionaire: A Discourse Analysis Showcasing the Iinterchangeable Effects of Orientalism, Globalization & Universal Beliefs within Film,” 2015. At OnlybyDubai (, accessed 10/18; Esther Zandberg, “The City Engineer’s Challenge,” 2005. At Haaretz (, accessed 10/18.

Auto-Orientalism. See Self-Orientalism.

Avant-garde Orientalism


Scholars generally use this term to describe the ways in which avant-garde artists and designers, including clothing designers, imagine and construct "Orientals" through their art. Scholars note that the avant-garde artistic movement, which began in the 1850s, is a large, complex field involving many branches including, for example, surrealism, cubism, and futurism. Avant-garde artists thus employ Orientalist themes in a wide range of ways that often challenge or reframe Orientalist stereotypes in various, sometimes radical, ways while avant-garde artists virtually exemplifying ideological Orientalist stereotypes even if their work challenges artistic conventions in other ways. Pablo Picasso's painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avigonon (1907) is considered an example of a more radical reframing of Orientalist categories. Although not rare, this term is not frequently used, and David LeHardy Sweet's recent book, Avant-garde Orientalism: The Eastern 'Other' in Twentieth-Century Travel Narrative and Poetry (2017) is the key work on this subject.

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Pictorial Orientalism, Visual Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Elizabeth G. Kirk, “Neo-Orientalism: Ugly Women and the Parisian Avant-garde, 1905-1908” (M.A. thesis, British Columbia, 1988); Jane A. SharpRussian Modernism Between East and West - Natal’ia Goncharova and the Moscow Avant-garde (Cambridge, 2006); David LeHardy Sweet, “Lecture: Avant-garde Orientalism, An Introduction,” 2017.  At Linkedin (  Accessed 7/16.

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