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).



Backstage Orientalism. See Hidden Orientalism.


Baha'i Orientalism

Scholars have used this term in one of two ways.  First, they use it to describe the ways in which European Orientalist scholars in the past imagined and constructed the Baha'i faith as a typically inferior Oriental religion. In this sense, Baha'i Orientalism is a form of traditional OrientalismSecond, scholars use this term to describe Baha’i views especially of Persia as exemplified in the writings of Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957), the long-time head of the Baha'i faith.  He articulated a dualistic Western ideological Orientalism close to that described by Edward W. Said (i.e. Saidian Orientalism), which imagined Islam to be a false religion and Persia to be uncivilized.  His views replaced those of earlier Baha’I leaders, who imagined Asian (Indian) religions to be more spiritual and contain more wisdom than Western religions. In this second sense, this term is a form of self-Orientalism. This term is very rarely used.  [rev. 1/21]

See also: Ideological Orientalism, Religious Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Self-Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Geoffrey Nash, “What is Bahai Orientalism?” Humanities 10 (2021); Denis MacEoin, “From Babism to Baha'ism: Problems of Militancy, Quietism, and Conflation in the Construction of a Religion.” Religion 13 (1983); John Walbridge, “Scholarship,” 1995. At Talisman Home Page (, accessed 5/17.

Banal Orientalism

Scholars use this term to argue that negative ideological Orientalisms infect not only academic and literary discourse but also the way people talk and act in their everyday lives, using the word, “banal,” simply to mean that which is everyday and ordinary.  Michael Haldrup, et. al. (2006) are the first to use this term, basing it on Michael Billig's notion of “banal nationalism”.  By “banal Orientalism,” they mean an “everyday routine way of talking and acting in everyday life - a language that forces us to think in ‘us‘-‘them’ dichotomies - a ‘habit‘ that enables an internal orientalization to be (re) produced as a natural form of life.”  Because banal Orientalism is routinely practiced in everyday life, they also call it “practical Orientalism,” again meaning simply ordinary everyday practices.  As they and other scholars use this term, it represents an extension of Edward W. Said’s (Orientalism, 1978) understanding of Orientalism, which they apply particularly to Danish and, more generally, to European Orientalisms.  There is a sense in which banal Orientalisms are functionally covert Orientalisms because their very commonality causes people to overlook the ways they shape their thinking and actions.  This term is not widely used, and those scholars who use it invariably cite Haldrup, et. al.  It should be noted that it was used at least once in the era of classical Orientalism, apparently in the fuller meaning of “banal” as being an Orientalism that is uninspired and unoriginal (see Lazare Saminsky, 1924).  [revised 12/20]

See also: Binary Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, European Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Internal Orientalism, Practical Orientalism (Post-Saidian), Saidian Orientalism, Scandinavian Orientalism, Second-degree Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Shomki Chakrabarti, “Multiculturalism as Reported by the European Online Press: A Qualitative Study on the Manifestation of Othering Discourses” (MA thesis, Central Florida, 2015); Monica Doebel, "Discursive Mapping: Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Thomas Jefferson’s Construction of Selfhood and Otherness" (Paper, Hollins U., 2017); Tabea D. Friedel, “Practical Orientalism in Mass Media
An Analysis of the Media Reporting in Relation to the Sexual Assaults in Cologne by the German TV Channel ZDF” (M.A. thesis, Lund U., 2016); Michael Haldrup, et. al., “Practical Orientalism: Bodies, Everyday Life and the Construction of Otherness.” Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography 88 (2006); Lasse M. Koefoed, “Majority and Minority Nationalism in the Danish Post-Welfare State.” Geografiska Annaler. Series B. Human Geography, 97 (2015); Natalie Koch & Anssi Paasi, “Banal Nationalism 20 Years On: Re-thinking, Re-formulating and Re-contextualizing the Concept.” Political Geography 54 (2016); Lazare Saminsky, “Béla Bartók and the Graphic Current in Music.” The Music Quarterly 10 (1924).

Barbaric Orientalism

The use of this term goes back into the 19th century, and it seems to have been fairly frequently used in the early decades of the 20th century. Although sometimes used in the sense of ideological Orientalism to imagine and construct Orientals as essentially cruel, backward, uncivilized, and brutal, more often it was used to describe a certain style of vivid, colorful, and assertive aesthetic Orientalism in the arts, music, the theater, and fashion. Modern scholars use this term only infrequently, sometimes in their historical studies of earlier Orientalist aesthetics or, even less frequently, to describe negative ideological Orientalisms as being themselves "barbaric". Scholars and others have also used the term barbarous Orientalism in generally the same way as "barbaric Orientalism" but much less often, and it seems to have been used most often in a pejorative sense to describe an objectionable architectural style that was supposedly Oriental. Although neither of these terms are frequently used today, they do point to a much more general association between historical Orientalisms and the notion of the barbarian, which imagines and constructs "Orientals" as being cruel and wicked.

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Architectural Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Basuli Deb, “Transnational Feminism and Women Who Torture: Re- imag(in)ing Abu Ghraib Prison Photography,” Postcolonial Text 7 (2012); “Fetching Tea Gowns.” Washington Times  No. 4893 (7 November 1907); George M. GouldConcerning Lafcadio Hearn (George W. Jacobs & Co., 1908); R. H. GrettonA Modern History of the English People 1910-1922 (Martin Segker, 1929); Michael D. K. Ing, “Future Prospects in the Comparison of Religions.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 44 (2011); L. March PhillipsIn the Desert: The Hinterlands of Algiers (Edward Arnold, 1909); John RichardsonA Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932 (Knopf, 2007).

Barbarous Orientalism. See Barbaric Orientalism.

Beat Orientalism

Scholars generally use this term and the term hippie Orientalism to describe the ways in which the American counter-cultural "beat generation" imagined the United States as a cultural and spiritual wasteland and idealized Eastern cultural and social settings as being exotic, premodern, and the antithesis of America. Their discourses and practices were thus dualistic, ideological, and treated American and Asian cultures as having unchanging essences. Josephine Park (2008), considering specifically the work of Gary Snyder, uses the term beatific Orientalism as a synonym for beat Orientalism.

See also: Counter-Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Eclectic Orientalism, Pop Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Postmodern Orientalism, Self-Orientalism, Zen Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesBrian EdwardsMorocco Bound: Disorienting America’s Maghreb, from Casablanca to the Marrakech Express (Duke, 2003); Jimmy FazzinoWorld Beats: Beat Generation Writing and the Worlding of U.S. Literature (Dartmouth, 2016); Josephine Park, Apparitions of Asia: Modernist Form and Asian American Poetics (Oxford, 2008).

Beatific Orientalism. See Beat Orientalism


Belated Orientalism

Ali Behdad coined this term to describe the experiences of mid-19th century French and British travel-writers who, he argues, visited and wrote about Asia in a new era when the far-distant, exotic, and mysterious “Orient” of earlier times was less distant, less exotic, and had become better known. They had gone to the Orient as explorers, only to discover that they were more like tourists.  Their experience and understanding of the East, that is, was one that came later than the earlier era of Orientalism and was more complex and conflicted.  It was, in that sense, “belated”.  Some of these travelers, Behdad contends, felt a sense of melancholy at the loss of that earlier, simpler, and supposedly more authentic Orient.  In any event, their feelings of belatedness were still a form of Orientalism.  They still imagined and constructed the Orient as having an essential, timeless being, and while they seemed more doubtful of European superiority, they were still complicit in European colonialism.  Behdad notes that his own generation of more recent postcolonial scholars in the late 20th century faced a somewhat similar situation in that their critiques of colonialism came after the first generation of post-colonialist scholars.  As later scholars, they were thus “belatedly” aware of the ongoing power of Orientalist ideologies and the fact that they too were not free of the influence of that power.  These belated postcolonial scholars, therefore, had to craft new critiques of and responses to Orientalist thinking.  In both of these cases, the notion of belated Orientalism suggests that Orientalism takes different shapes in different times and cannot be treated as a single monolithic “thing”.  In Behdad’s estimation, the notion of Orientalism is all the more powerful because of its diversity.  Although Behdad coined this term to describe a significant form of Orientalism generally, it remains largely a specialized term used most often in terms of 19th century European Orientalist literature, especially travel literature, and scholars who use this term usually cite Behdad. [8/19]

See also: Exotic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Nostalgic Orientalist Nostalgia, Orientalist Tourism.

Sources & ExamplesLahoucine Aammari, "A Woman Traveller in the Moorish Sanctum: A Look at Emily Keene, Shareefa of Wazzan’s My Life Story." Prague Journal of English Studies 6 (2017); Ali Behdad, Belated Travelers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution (Duke, 1994); Kirsty Bennett, “From Desire to Discontent: Isabelle Eberhardt Between Cultures” (M.Phil thesis, Sussex, 2013); Chris Bongie, Review of “Ali Behdad, Belated Travelers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution.”  Modern Fiction Studies 42 (1996); Farid Laroussi, “Unfinished Business: Orientalism and Maghrebi Literature in French.” International Journal of Francophone Studies 10 (2007); Cinzia Sartini-Blum, "Incorporating the Exotic." In A Place in the Sun: Africa in Italian Colonial Culture from Post-Unification to the Present (2003); Slobodan Sucur, “Theory, Period Styles, and Comparative Literature as Discipline.” CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 2 (2000).

Benevolent Orientalism. See Sympathetic Orientalism.

Benign Orientalism. See Sympathetic Orientalism.

Biblical Orientalism (Contemporary)

Modern-day scholars usually use this term in one of two closely related ways to analyze 19th and earlier 20th century biblical Orientalists who sought to defend the Bible from secular critics by preserving its authority and sanctity (see "Biblical Orientalism (Traditional)" below).  First, scholars today use this term to describe and analyze the ways in which biblical scholars and Western Christian leaders (primarily Protestant) historically sought to defend the Bible from its critics by imagining and constructing it as an "Oriental" text containing obscure idioms, usages, figurative styles, stories, and forms that had to be explained to Western audiences. The Bible, that is, was treated as a cultural artifact; and while the goal of this strategy was to combat skepticism by supporting the truth of the Bible and to discern deeper biblical meanings, some scholars argue that this "orientalization" of the Bible actually reduced its prestige as a sacred text.  Second, scholars also use this term to describe and analyze the ways in which the Bible has traditionally been used to imagine and construct latter-day Palestine as the timeless Holy Land that had remained essentially the same since biblical times. Biblical Orientalists thus largely ignored modern-day Arab Muslim Palestine entirely or treated Palestinians as being essentially the same today as they were in biblical times—exotic, backward, poor, ignorant, sensuous, and irreverent. By the same token, biblical Orientalists were mostly interested in ancient, Jewish Palestinian geography rather than contemporary geography. Describing an "Implicational Hierarchy of Biblical Orientalism," Lorenzo Kalmar notes, furthermore, that Christian Orientalist artists usually dressed biblical figures in Oriental dress to a greater or lesser degree depending on their distance from Jesus, who was seldom represented as dressing in obviously "Oriental" dress. Scholars, finally, note that in general traditional biblical Orientalists, including Christian biblical scholars, clergy, theologians, and missionaries, were mostly non-specialists in the field of Orientalism. [revised 1/18]


See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Ancient Orientalism (Contemporary) Biblical Orientalism (Traditional), Christian Orientalism, Evangelical Orientalism, Exotic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Orientalist Exotica, Orientalist Exoticism, Old Testament Orientalism, Protestant Orientalism, Religious Orientalism, Vernacular Orientalism.


Sources & Examples: David Alun, "Sir William Jones, Biblical Orientalism and Indian Scholarship." Modern Asian Studies 30 (1996); Otto Binder, “Black Adam, Orientalism, and The Marvel Family #1,” 2014. At Sequart Organization (, accessed 5/16; Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud, Radical Orientalism: Rights, Reform, and Romanticism (Cambridge, 2015); Karen FangRomantic Writing and the Empire of Signs: Periodical Culture and Post-Napoleonic Authorship (U. of Virginia, 2010); John M. GanimMedievalism and Orientalism: Three Essays on Literature, Architecture and Cultural Identity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); Ruger HelmersNot Russian Enough? Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in Nineteenth-Century Russian Opera (Rochester, 2014); Ivan Kalmar, “Jesus Did Not Wear a Turban: Orientalism, the Jews, and Christian Art." In Orientalism and the Jews (Brandeis, 2005); Lorenzo Kamel, “Artificial Nations? 
The Sykes-Picot and the Islamic State’s Narratives in a Historical Perspective.” Diacronie 25 (2016); Lorenzo KamelImperial Perceptions of Palestine: British Influence and Power in Late Ottoman Times (I.B. Tauris, 2015); Michael Ledger-Lomas, “Conder and Sons: Dissent and the Oriental Bible in Nineteenth-Century Britain.” In Dissent and the Bible in Britain, c. 1650-1950 (Oxford, 2013); James H. Lehmann, "The Vicar of Wakefield: Goldsmith's Sublime, Oriental Job." ELH 46 (1979); Parvez Manzoor, “Method Against Truth:  Orientalism and Qur’anic Studies,” 2005.  At The American Muslim ( Accessed 1/18; Basem L Ra’ad, “Constructive of Sacred Topography: the Nineteenth Century and Today.” In Nineteenth-Century Worlds: Global Formations Past and Present (Routledge, 2008); R. S. SugirtharajahExploring Postcolonial Biblical Criticism: History, Method, Practice (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

Biblical Orientalism (Traditional)

As understood in the 19th and 20th centuries up to roughly the early 1950s, especially by Christian biblical and theological scholars, biblical Orientalism was an approach to Christian apologetics aimed at defending the Bible from the inroads of secular biblical criticism. It was based on the claim that the Bible is an "Oriental text." God, that is, was believed to have spoken through the biblical authors, who were "Orientals," using their own languages and cultures as the vehicles for divine inspiration. This meant that supposedly obscure, difficult biblical passages could be explained by bringing to light their Oriental nature, especially through the study of Hebrew and other Semitic languages and cultures, which were understood to be essentially different from European languages and cultures—less logical and more poetic, emotional, and given to hyperbole. By and large, 19th century Christian sources tend to refer to "biblical Orientalists" rather than biblical Orientalism as such and to use the plural form, "biblical Orientalism(s)", to refer to words, phrases, images, styles, and forms deemed "Oriental". Those sources, however, frequently use the term ancient Orientalism when discussing Orientalism in biblical times and in the Bible. In any case, scholars usually gave priority to philological studies, especially in the 19th century. [2/18]


See also: Academic Orientalism, Ancient Orientalism (Contemporary), Ancient Orientalism (Traditional), Biblical Orientalism (Contemporary), Christian Orientalism, Old Testament Orientalism, Oriental Formalism, Philological Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: "Book Review of The Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul by James Smith."  North British Review American Edition 6 (1849); "Dr. John Kitto."  The Scottish Review 4 (1856); John Eadie, John Kitto, D.D., F.S.A. (William Oliphant & Sons, 1858); "Foreign Catalogue." The British Critic 25 (1800); A. L. Frothingham Jr., "Archaeological News: Summary of Recent Discoveries and Investigations." American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts 10, (1895); Thomas Levy & David N. Freedman, "William Foxwell Albright, 1891-1971," 2009. At The Bible and Interpretation (, accessed 1/18; Henry G. Migault, Eight Historical Dissertations in Suicide, Chiefly in Reference to Philosophy, Theology, and Legislation (G. Mohr, 1856); "Mr. Young's New Translation of the Bible." Evangelical Christendom N.S. 2 (1861); No Critic, "Biblical Orientalisms." The Christian Observer American Edition 1 (1843).


Binary Orientalism

Scholars use this term and the term Orientalist dualism, along with the less frequently used terms, dualistic Orientalism and Manichean Orientalism, to describe a core characteristic of Orientalism as described by Edward W. Said in his book, Orientalism (1978)—by which ideological Orientalists divide humanity into the absolute and polar opposite categories of Self and Other. The fundamental duality is that of the West versus the Orient, so that Western Orientalists imagine and construct themselves (the Self) to be "modern", for example, and Orientals (the Other) to be "traditional". Or again, they imagine themselves to be rational and Orientals to be sensual. In the majority of cases, Western Orientalists imagine and construct (Oriental) Others as being essentially and irredeemably inferior and best described by such adjectives as backward, weak, immoral, sensual, exotic, and ignorant—among many other things. The Western Self is thus civilized, superior, powerful, moral, and wise. Some scholars use the term geographical Orientalism (first usage) in this same way, to reinforce the sense that the (Western) Self and the (Oriental) Other occupy essentially different "spaces" and that this difference is fundamental to the notion of Orientalism itself. The term "binary Orientalism" is also used, if less often but still not infrequently, to describe forms of Orientalist dualism that see the Orient as the empowered, superior Self in what is often termed reverse Orientalism. In these cases, Orientalists most often envision the Orient as being essentially spiritual and wise as opposed to the West, which is constructed as being materialistic and ignorant of true spirituality.  [revised 9/18]

See also: Banal Orientalism, Brown Orientalism, Comparativist Orientalism, Christian Orientalism, Dialectical Orientalism, Geographical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism, Nuclear Orientalism, Occidentalism, Orientalist Epistemology, Postcolonial Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Structural Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Jan Alber, “The Specific Orientalism of Lord Byron’s Poetry.” AAA: Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik 38 (2013); Thomas AngottiThe New Century of the Metropolis: Urban Enclaves and Orientalism (Routledge, 2012);  Khaled A. Beydoun, “Between Indigence, Islamophobia, and Erasure: Poor and Muslim in ‘War on Terror’ America.” California Law Review 104 (2016); Lewis G. Janes, A Study of Primitive Christianity (Index Association, 1886); Amit Ray,“‘Indianness’ and Contemporary Cosmopolitan Fictions: Of Bookers and ‘Spice’ and Everything Nice.” In Neither East Nor West: Postcolonial Essays on Literature, Culture and Religion (Södertörns högskola, 2008); Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Steven Seidman, “The Colonial Unconscious of Classical Sociology.” In Postcolonial Sociologies: A Reader (Emerald Group, 2016); Anna Cooper Sloan, “Imperial Hollywood: American Cinematic Representations of Europe, 1948-1964” (Ph.D. diss., Warwick, 2013); Herbert R. Swanson, “Said’s Orientalism and the Study of Christian Missions.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 28 (2004).

Black Press Orientalism. See Journalistic Orientalism.

Black Orientalism

Scholars generally use this term to describe African American Orientalist pronouncements (including also institutions and practices) that fall into two broad categories. First, some of those discourses are used by African Americans to imagine an (African) Other that is essentially positive, which includes discourses and practices that construct the African "homeland" in nearly mythic terms. These Orientalist strategies contributed to the creation of various African American new religious movements.  Second, other African American Orientalist discourses are directed against an alien Other—notably against Islam, including specifically black Islam in the United States. Other negative Orientalist pronouncements and practices imagine and construct Africans or Asians to be "heathen Africans" or "backward Orientals." In both cases, the context of black Orientalism is the need by African Americans to deal with racial oppression, and the Other is either Africans (including even other African Americans) or Asians, especially Chinese-Americans. In general, scholars see black Orientalisms as being distinct from white American Orientalism while retaining varying degrees of American cultural values, attitudes, and categories. Some scholars use the term Afro Orientalism with the same meanings as this term.

See also: Cultural Orientalism, Counter-Orientalism, Journalistic Orientalism, Peripheral Orientalism, Racial Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, White Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Jacob S. DormanChosen People: The Rise of American Black Israelite Religions (Oxford, 2013); Jacob S. Dorman, “’A True Moslem Is a True Spiritualist’: Black Orientalism and Black Gods of the Metropolis.” In The New Black Gods: Arthur Huff Fauset and the Study of African American Religions (Indiana U., 2009); Graham Harrison, Issues in the Contemporary Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa: The Dynamics of Struggle and Resistance (Palgrave, 2002); Helen H. Jun, “Black Orientalism: Nineteenth-Century Narratives of Race and U.S. Citizenship.” American Quarterly, 58 (2006); Helen H. JunRace for Citizenship: Black Orientalism and Asian Uplift from Pre-emancipation to Neoliberal America (New York U., 2011); Sherman A. Jackson, “Black Orientalism: Its Genesis, Aims, and Significance for American Islam.” In Black Routes to Islam (Palgrave McMillan, 2009); Nami Kim, “Engaging Afro/black-Orientalism: A Proposal.” Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion 1 (2010); Ali A. Mazrui, “Black Orientalism? Further Reflections on ‘Wonders of the African World’ by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” The Black Scholar 30 (2000).

Blatant Orientalism

This term is fairly frequently used by scholars, virtually always in the obvious sense of the meaning of "blatant"—that is, something that is flagrantly obvious and conspicuous to the point of being offensive. Some scholars point to Edward W. Said's description of Orientalism (1978), as being a description of the standard for blatant, "in your face" expressions of ideological Orientalism. They understand blatant Orientalism thus to include its most objectionable aspects such as racial and gender profiling, the stereotyping of peoples especially as being "exotic," the arrogant division of peoples and nations into categories such as civilized and barbarian, and imagining and constructing the "Other" to be essentially, irredeemably inferior and defective. Scholars frequently use this term to describe various art forms—such as, for example, motion pictures, fashion design, and opera—which in their judgment display conspicuous, objectionable (blatant) expressions of Orientalist stereotypes. Other scholars point to the fact that women, especially women of color, are very often the objects of conspicuous, objectionable Orientalist stereotyping. Michal Frenkel and Yehouda Shenhav (2006) also use the term front-stage Orientalism to mean blatant Orientalism.  [8/18]

See also: Aggressive Orientalism, Comic Orientalism, Dogmatic Orientalism, Hard Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Infantile Orientalism, Manifest Orientalism, Naïve Orientalism, Orientalist Common Sense, Overt Orientalism, Pulp Orientalism, Racial Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Sexist Orientalism, Vulgar Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Michal Frenkel & Yehouda Shenhav, "From Binarism Back to Hybridity: A Postcolonial Reading of Management and Organization Studies." Organization Studies 27 (2006); Viggo Mortensen, “Out of the Abundance of the Heart: A Missiology for the Future.” In Walk Humbly with the Lord: Church and Mission Engaging Plurality (Eerdmans, 2010); Adriana Nieves, “Madama Butterfly: The Mythology; or How Imperialism and the Patriarchy Crushed Butterfly's Wings,” 2014. At Music Performance Commons (, accessed 7/17; robeyoung91, “Neon Jungle Demonstrate Trouble for Brave Hearts,” 2014. At Watching Things (, accessed 7/17; Mark Thompson, “ICT, Power, and Developmental Discourse: A Critical Analysis.” In Global and Organizational Discourse about Information Technology (Springer, 2003).

Bloomsbury Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe the ways in which the members of the earlier 20th-century, English-based "Bloomsbury Group" interacted with Asian cultural, literary, and artistic influences on the West and, in turn, exerted influence over certain Asian artists and writers. True to their avant-garde and iconoclastic values, the members of the group, which included leading cultural figures, such as Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), opened themselves to the impact of Asian values and styles. At the same time, however, they also often imagined and constructed the Orient to one degree or another with negative ideological and racial stereotypes, seeing "the Orient" as having an essentially inferior nature. Scholars also note that the Bloomsbury Group influenced a number of Asian artists and writers of whom the Chinese author Ling Shuhua (1900-1990) seems to be most often mentioned. In sum, Bloomsbury Orientalism was in some ways a form of positive Orientalism, but one that still mixed in some of the attitudes of Saidian Orientalism.  [9/18]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Jessica Neno Cloud, “T.S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”, and Yoga Philosophy” (M.A. thesis, Southern Mississippi, 2018); John Walter de GruchyOrienting Arthur Waley: Japonism, Orientalism, and the Creation of Japanese Literature in English (U. of Hawai’i, 2003); Lise Jailant & Alison E. Martin, “Introduction: Global Modernism.” Modernist Cultures 13 (2018); Sonita Sarker, “Bloomsbury and Empire.” In The Handbook to the Bloomsbury Group (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018); Jason Kin Wai Yan, “’But the Sound That is Left Cold and Clear’: Writing Transnational Chineseness in Ling Shuhua’s Ancient Melodies,” 2016. At margins (, accessed 9/18.

Bogus Orientalism. See False Orientalism.

Hollywood Orientalism. See Cinematic Orientalism.


Scholars usually use this term to describe situations in which Northern nations, cultures, or peoples are imagined and framed as essentially exotic Others. They may be imagined to be inferior, ignorant, and savage; or they may be framed as being superior because, for example, they are less infected with the ills of the modern world. Scholars largely associate this term with Edward W. Said's understanding of Orientalism (i.e. Saidian Orientalism), in which "the North" takes the place of "the East". While some scholars state that Borealism and Orientalism are virtually the same phenomenon, others caution that Borealism is often expressed in less intense ways than Saidian Orientalism and that Borealists are less inclined to frame the Other in negative, hurtful ways. Some scholars use the term norientalism having the same meaning.

See also: Arctic Orientalism, Arcticality, Finnish Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Quasi-Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Scandinavian Orientalism, Swedish Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Agata Bachórz, “Disgusting Shark Meat and the Taste of North: Icelandic Food in the“Mouth”of Polish Tourists and Migrants.” In Mobility to the Edges of Europe: The Case of Island and Poland (Scholar Publishing House, 2016); Sumarliði R. Ísleifsson, "Images of Iceland and Greenland in the Late Seventeenth and First Half of the Eighteenth Century." Sjuttonhundratal 12 (2015); Aaron Kallinen, “The Heroic North: The Image of Finland and the Continuation War in the Texts of Agustín de Foxá” (M.A. thesis, U. of Eastern Finland, 2010); Katla Kjartansdóttir & Kristinn Schram, “’Something in the Air’: Performing the North within Norden.”  In Performing Nordic Heritage: Everyday Practices and Institutional Culture (Routledge, 2013); Kristinn Schram, “Banking on Borealism: Eating, Smelling, and Performing the North.” In Iceland and Images of the North (U. du Québe, 2011).

Bourgeois Orientalism


Most scholars use this term as a member of the family of Orientalist terms used in the study of Orientology, Russian Orientalism, and Soviet Orientalism.  Soviet Orientologists believed that “bourgeois Orientalism,” was the academic study of the Orient practiced by Russian scholars prior to the Russian Revolution, which was very much like the European study of Orientalism more generally.  Some scholars who use this term understand it to mean more specifically the form of Orientalism critiqued by Edward W. Said (1978) and a few argue that he based his view of Orientalism on previous Soviet scholarly critiques of bourgeois Orientalism, which was understood to be colonialist, imperialist, and focused on nationalist rather than class concerns in denial of Marxist principles. Rarely, a few scholars use this term in the study of French Orientalisms to describe mundane, run of the mill European Orientalism. [2/21]


See also: Academic Orientalism, European Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Marxist Orientalism, Orientology, Russian Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Soviet Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Bourgeois Orientalism: E. A. Belyaev, Arabs, Islam and the Arab Caliphate in the Early Middle Ages. ( Praeger, 1969); Alexander R. C. Bolton, Soviet Middle East Studies: An Analysis and Bibliography, Part 1 (Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1959); Craig Brandist, “Language, Culture and the Politics of Delimitation in Revolutionary Russia: Some Forgotten Origins of Postcolonial Theory.” In Beyond Borders and Boundaries: Diasporic Images and Re-presentations in Literature and Cinema (Ajmer, Rajasthan Navvishnu Publications, 2018); Craig Brandist, “Varieties of Ideology Critique
in Early Soviet Literary and Oriental Scholarship.” Przegląd Filozoficzno-Literacki 2 (2017); Klas Grinell, “Muhammad at the Museum: Or, Why the Prophet Is Not Present.” Religions 10 (2019); Michiel Leezenberg, "Soviet Kurdology and Kurdish Orientalism." In The Heritage of Soviet Oriental Studies (Routledge, 2011); Simona E. Merati, “Russia's Islam: Discourse on Identity, Politics, and Security” (Ph.D. diss., Florida International U., 2015); Jeremy Tambling, "Cinematic Carmen and the ‘Oeil Noir’." In Carmen: From Silent Film to MTV (Rodopi, 2005); Geoffrey Wall, “Flaubert's Oriental Education,” 2001. At The Guardian (, accessed 2/21.  Other: Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978).

Broadcast Orientalism


Derek J. Penslar coined this otherwise seldom used term to describe the ways in which Israeli government radio policy and practice (1949-1967) stereotyped and discriminated against immigrant Mizrahi (“Oriental”) Jews in its programming’.  Scholars using this term usually cite Penslar.  [6/19]


See also:  Ideological Orientalism, Jewish Orientalism, Journalistic Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Derek J. Penslar, "Broadcast Orientalism: Representations of Mizrahi Jewry in Israeli Radio, 1948-1967."  In Orientalism and the Jews (Brandeis, 2005).

Brown Orientalism

This term is seldom used. When used, it's most notable usage has been by Ajit Chaudhuri (1994) and a small group of other scholars reflecting on the realities of Western-influenced, modern Indian uses of Orientalism. According to these scholars, Orientalism is a necessary consequence of the modern, capitalist, and Western-style worldview that sees the world in terms of essential differences between a superior Self and an inferior Other. Where nations such as India aspire to replicate a modern, capitalist, Western economy and society, it follows inevitably that one need not be"white" to be an Orientalist. One can also be "brown". In effect, "brown Orientalism" is simply an Asian form of ideological Orientalism that is indistinguishable from that practiced in the West.

See also: Binary Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism; Racial Orientalism; Self-Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesAnjan Chakrabarti & Anup DharDislocation and Resettlement in Development: From Third World to the World of the Third (Routledge, 2009); Ajit Chaudhuri, “On Colonial Hegemony: Toward a Critique of Brown Orientalism.” Rethinking Marxism 7 (1994); Ajit Chaudhuri,, Margin of Margin: Profile of an Unrepentant Postcolonial Collaborator (Anustup, 2000).

Buddhist Orientalism

A relatively small number of scholars us this term usually in one of two ways.  First, some use it to describe the ways in which Western Buddhists have viewed Asian Buddhism through an Orientalist lens as being essentially different from and superior to the West, including Western Christianity.  Second, others use it to describe the ways in which Asian Buddhists have appropriated Western Orientalist ideas to explain themselves to the West and, at times, to re-imagine their own understanding of Buddhism. In the first sense, it is a form of positive Orientalism; and in the second sense, it is a form of reverse Orientalism.

See also: Positive Orientalism, Religious Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Erik Braun, “Local and Translocal in the Study of Theravada Buddhism and Modernity.” Religion Compass 3 (2009); Hermann RebelWhen Women Held The Dragon s Tongue: and Other Essays in Historical Anthropology (Berghahn Books, 2010).

Byronic Orientalism

Scholars generally use this term to describe a poetic tradition that began with Lord Byron (1788-1824), is closely linked with Romanticism, and does not fit into Edward W. Said's description of ideological Orientalism. Byronic Orientalist discourses imagine "Oriental" Others as exotic and essentially different from Europe, but otherwise they resist racialist treatment of those Others and see them as opportunities for self-reflection. As such Byronic Orientalism stands in opposition to other British Orientalisms, notably Evangelical Orientalism [7/16]

See also: Evangelical Orientalism, Oriental Fiction, Poetic Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Soft Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Jan Alber, “The Specific Orientalism of Lord Byron’s Poetry.” AAA: Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Americanistik 38 (2013); Jody Dunville, “Orientalism,” n.d. At Romantic Politics (, accessed 7/16; Frederick Garber, Self, Text, and Romantic Irony: The Examples of Byron (Princeton, 1988); Malcolm Kelsall, “’Once did she hold the gorgeous East in fee…’: Byron’s Venice and Oriental Empire.” In Romanticism and Colonialism: Writing and Empire, 1780-1830 (Cambridge 1998); John O’Leary, Savage Songs and Wild Romances: Settler Poetry and the Indigene, 1830-1880 (Rodopi, 2011); Helen VendlerThe Music of what Happens: Poems, Poets, Critics (Harvard, 1988).