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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).



Canadian Orientalism


Scholars use this term to describe the ways in which white Canadians imagine and construct a wide range of Others, nationally and internationally, as having essentially exotic, timeless natures, which are almost always seen as being inferior to and often a threat to the white Canadian Self. In various contexts, these Others have included aboriginal (First Nation) peoples, Québécois, Asians generally, southern and eastern Europeans, and more recently, Arabs and Muslims. Canadian Orientalisms are thus classic examples of ideological Orientalism and traditional Orientalism. Aboriginal peoples, in particular, are imagined to fit into a limited number of racist, stereotypical Orientalist paradigms such as the "noble savage" or the dualistic and more common distinction between the "savage" Indian and the "civilized" white. Canadian treatments of "Orientals" in literature and the press, including especially Arabs and Muslims, mirror the more widely held Western stereotypes of an exotic, menacing, and often sensualized Other that is a danger to Western civilization and Canadian security. Some scholars observe that Canadian feminists have expressed Orientalist attitudes in their images of Arab and Muslim women and others as suffering under essentially different social conditions from (white) Canadian women. Other scholars contend that white Canadians have exhibited Orientalist attitudes towards Others since the early days of the settlement era of the 18th and 19th centuries. And they observe that even attempts to create a multicultural Canada have been built on assumptions of the primacy of white Canadian values and mores, to which Others are to be assimilated. As is the case with other national Orientalisms, Canadian Orientalism is articulated by a variety of agencies including academic institutions, societies, and journals as well as through the arts, literature, news and popular media, and films. In sum, scholars contend that white Canadians have long drawn on dualistic Orientalists habits of the mind to construct stereotypical images of Others, sometimes exotic and even alluring, but invariably essentially and irredeemably inferior.  [7/17]

See also: Aboriginal Orientalism, Feminist Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Neoliberal Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism, Western Orientalism, White Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Antonius Rachad, “A Mediated Relationship: Media Representations of Arabs and Muslims as a Political Process.” In Targeted Transnationals: The State, the Media, and Arab Canadians (UBC Press, 2013); Melanie Butler, “Canadian Women and the (Re)production of Women in Afghanistan” (M.A. thesis, British Columbia, 2008); Brendan F. R. Edwards, “’He Scarcely Resembles the Real Man’: Images of the Indian in Popular Culture,” n.d. At Our Legacy (, accessed 7/17; Hanan Harb, “New Orientalism: Depictions of Muslims in the Canadian Media” (M.A. thesis, Program of Immigration and Settlement Studies, 2008); Travis A. Hay, “Fictions of a Settler-State: Indigenous and Iraqi Peoples in Canadian Newspapers, 1990-2010” (M.A. thesis, Lakehead U., 2012); Quentin Kayne, (2005) “Postcolonialism and First Nations in Canada,” 2005.  At Athabasca University (, accessed 7/17; Hijin Park, “Migrants, Minorities and Economies: Transnational Feminism and the Asian/Canadian Woman Subject.” Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 17 (2011); John L SteckleyAboriginal Voices and the Politics of Representation in Canadian Introductory Sociology (Canadian Scholars' Press & Women's Press, 2003); Anne Verymeyden, “The Popularization of Belly Dance in Toronto, Canada (1950-1990): Hybridization and Uneven Exchange” (Ph.D. diss., Guelph, 2016); W. Peter WardWhite Canada Forever: Popular Attitudes and Public Policy Toward Orientals in British Columbia, 3rd ed. (McGill-Queen’s U., 2002).

Canonic Orientalism. See Canonical Orientalism.

Canonical Orientalism


Scholars use this term and the term canonic Orientalism in two ways.  First, they use them almost always in passing to refer to the authoritative (“canonical”) status of Edward W. Said’s book, Orientalism (1978), for the study of the notion of Orientalism.  In this usage, Said’s book itself is canon when it comes to the study of Orientalism, making these terms synonyms for Saidian Orientalism.  Use of this term in this first sense is neither rare nor frequent.  Second and very rarely, scholars use these two terms to refer to the particular type of Orientalism described by Said, that is classical Orientalism (a.k.a. Traditional Orientalism), which they take to be the benchmark for understanding the notion of Orientalism.  In this usage, it is 19th century classical Orientalism that is "canonical"—not the book, which is simply a description of the canon.  [revised 1/20]

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


Sources & Examples: FIRST USAGE: Canonical Orientalism: Toufoul Abou-Hodeib, A Taste for Home: The Modern Middle Class in Ottoman Beirut (Stanford U., 2017); Marna Broekhoff, “A Tale of Two Writing Centers in Namibia: Lessons for Us All.” Journal of Academic Writing 4 (2014); Emily Chao, “Layered Alterities: Discourses of the Other in Lijiang, China.” Concentric 34 (2008); Catherine Lord w/ Michelle Williams Gamaker, “House of Preposterous Women: Michelle Williams Gamaker re-auditions Kanchi.” OAR: Oxford Artistic and Practice Based Research Platform 3 (2019). Canonic Orientalism: Patricia Almarcegui,  “Mediterranean Artists as Footnotes: On Exhibitions and Other Forms of Culture.” Quaderns de la Mediterrània 17 ( 2012); Thomas W. Gallant, Experiencing Dominion: Culture, Identity, and Power in the British Mediterranean (U. of Notre Dame, 2002). SECOND USAGE: Canonical Orientalism: Sayres S. Rudy, “Pros and Cons: Americanism against Islamism in the ‘War on Terror’.” Muslim World 97 (2007). Canonic Orientalism: [Desmond Hosford & Chong J. Wojkowski], “Introduction.” In French Orientalism: Culture, Politics and the Imagined Other (Cambridge Scholars, 2010).

Capitalist Orientalism

This term usually appears in the scholarly literature on Orientalism in one of two ways.  First, a very few scholars use it, very rarely, to describe the ways in which capitalism as an economic and political system can function as a medium for the Orientalist imagining and constructing of an "exotic" Other through the production and consumption of equally exotic commodities thought to represent the Other's culture. These commodities can include tourism, fashion, films, and almost anything else that can be bought and sold. Kay B. Warren (1998) thus defines capitalist Orientalism simply as the commodification of the exotic.  Second, Sunaina Maira (2007) frequently uses the term, "late capitalist Orientalism," without clear definition but apparently to refer to recent capitalism and apparently with the same meaning of the commodification of the exotic, particularly commodities that she refers to as representing "Indo-chic Orientalism," a form of popular Orientalism. Her usage is widely cited by other scholars.

See also: Commercial Orientalism, Economic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesMichael Burrows, “The Lives of Others: The Colonial Gaze in Albanian Film Coproductions” (B.A. thesis, William & Mary, 2016); Inês Lourenço, “Bollywood in Portugal: Watching and Dancing Practices in the Construction of Alternative Cultural Identities.” Etnográfica 21 (2017); Sunaina Maira, “Indo-Chic: Late Capitalist Orientalism and Imperial Culture.” In Alien Encounters: Popular Culture in Asian America (Duke, 2007); Kay B. Warren, Indigenous Movements and Their Critics: Pan-Maya Activism in Guatemala (Princeton, 1998).


Caribbean Orientalism


This term is not frequently used. Scholars who do use it generally use it to describe a form of ideological Orientalism, by which the diverse and racially-mixed peoples of the Caribbean have been and continue to be imagined and constructed as being essentially exotic, alluring (sensuous), backward, and so forth in Northern art, literature, and academic scholarship, as well as in the tourism industry. 


See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Academic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Orientalist Tourism, Sexual Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesVermonja R. Alston, “Race-Crossings at the Crossroads of African American Travel in the Caribbean” (Ph.D. diss., Arizona, 2004); Mimi B. Sheller, Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies (Routledge, 2008).

Catholic Orientalism


Scholars most frequently use this term to describe the role of the Catholic Church in the production and dissemination of a body of knowledge (an “archive”) about “the Orient” produced from the 15th into the 18th centuries. Ângela B. Xavier & Ines G. Zupanov (2015) define Catholic Orientalism as being, “…a set of knowledge 
practices geared to perpetuate political and
 cultural fantasies of the early modern 
Catholic protagonists and their 
communities.” (p. 215).  Early modern Catholic Orientalists studied Asian languages in order both to translate the Bible and to evangelize Asians.  They also studied “Oriental” belief systems, philosophies, and cultures usually with the aim of learning how to better frame their own evangelistic message.  The result was a wide-ranging, highly complex, and very large Orientalist archive, which is nearly impossible to characterize in any simple way because it was produced in and reflected a wide range of contexts both in Europe and on mission fields across Asia.  Catholic Orientalists were lay and clergy.  They were born in Europe but also in Asia.  They were orthodox and heterodox Catholics.  They were often supported by the kings of Portugal, Spain, or France and thus functioned as agents of European imperial, colonial, and commercial interests. Virtually all of them shared the single goal of converting Asians to Christianity and generally viewed other faith-systems as being false and idolatrous.  Modern-day scholars judge that the resulting Catholic Orientalist archive is primarily a body of biased fantasies mixed in with some reasonably accurate information about Asia.  One of the complexities in the study of Catholic Orientalism is that it is difficult to discern the role of Asian informants and contributors in the production of the Catholic Orientalist “archive” and, thus, to gauge the influence of Asian cultures on it.  It is also difficult to ascertain the influence early modern Catholic Orientalism had on 19th century classical Orientalism—partly because of its diversity and complexity but also because the later secular and Protestant successors who drew on it denigrated and obscured their Catholic roots.  Scholars of Catholic Orientalism are convinced, however, that it substantially influenced the development of European Orientalism both in the archive it produced and the ethnological, philological, historical, and other methods it pioneered.  They also portray it as being different from the later classical Orientalism described by Edward W. Said (Orientalism, 1978), partly because it was primarily about religious beliefs, which meant that Catholic Orientalists represented many different agendas and concerns.  Many, especially the Jesuits, were open to Asian influences and willing to experiment with adapting and accommodating Catholicism to Asian cultural contexts.  All of which is to say that no one set of generalizations, not even Said’s, fits all of them.  Europe, furthermore, was not yet the power in Asia it would become.  It should be noted that this term is only infrequently used to describe Catholic Orientalism from the 19th century onward.  [4/20] 


See also: Academic Orientalism, Christian Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Early Modern Orientalism, Evangelical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Jesuit Orientalism, Missionary Orientalism, Orientalist Archive, Orientalist Ethnography, Philological Orientalism, Protestant Orientalism, Religious Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesEmily Apter, Feminizing the Fetish: Psychoanalysis and Narrative Obsession in Turn-of-the Century France (Cornell, 1991); Zoltán Biedermann, “Querying the Origins of Orientalism: Recent Approaches.” Ler História 74 (2019); Zoltán Biedermann, “The Temporal Politics of Spiritual Conquest: History, Geography and Franciscan Orientalism in the Conquista Espiritual do Oriente of Friar Paulo da Trindade.” Culture & History Digital Journal 5 (2016); Jorge Canizares, “Review of Županov, Ines G.; Xavier, Angela Barreto, Catholic Orientalism: Portuguese Empire, Indian Knowledge (16th-18th Centuries),” 2017. At H-Net Reviews (, accessed 4/20; Annie R. George & Arnapurna Rath, “Ângela Barreto Xavier and Ines G. Županov, Catholic Orientalism: Portuguese Empire, Indian Knowledge,” 2017. At South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal
 (, accessed 4/20; Robert Irwin, For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies (Allen Lane, 2006); Julie Kalman, Orientalizing the Jew: Religion, Culture, and Imperialism in Nineteenth-Century France (Indiana U., 2012; Joan-Pau Rubiés, "Reassessing ‘the Discovery of Hinduism’: Jesuit Discourse on Gentile Idolatry and the European Republic of Letters." In Intercultural Encounter and the Jesuit Mission in South Asia (16th-18th Centuries) (Asian Trading Corporation, 2014); Pier M. Tommasino, "The Qur’an in Early Modern Iberia and Beyond." AL-QANTARA 35.2 (2014); Robert J. Wilkinson, Orientalism, Aramaic and Kabbalah in the Catholic Reformation (Brill, 2007); Ângela B. Xavier, “Catholic Orientalism and Portuguese Orientalism: Connections and Differences,” 2012.  At iscte (, accessed 4/20; Ângela B. Xavier & Ines G. Županov, Catholic Orientalism: Portuguese Empire, Indian Knowledge (16th-18th Centuries) (Oxford, 2015).

Cartographical Orientalism

A very few scholars have used this term usually in one of two ways.  First, they use it to reflect on Edward W. Said's notion of "imaginative geography," which he uses as a metaphor for the ways in which the West has historically sought to exert power over distant, alien peoples by representing them as having definable "places" in the West's imaginative construction of global "realities". "They" are the essential, exotic Other. "We" know them and own them by assigning them a defined place on the "map" of the ideological world we hold to be real. "Cartographical Orientalism" thus describes the ideological process of assigning the Other a place in our thinking that gives us power over them.  Second, this term has also been used to describe the ways in which cartographers themselves have created maps that place distant Others in sharply defined, knowable spaces, which are defined as much by the ideological, dualistic imagination of the mapmaker as by realities in the actual "place" their maps purport to describe.  [6/17]

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

Sources & Examples: Sarah MaitlandWhat is Cultural Translation? (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017); Kim Mattar, “Cartographies of Dissent...,” 2013.  At Call for Papers (, accessed 6/17 ; Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978).

Categorical Orientalism

David A. Kideckel (1996) coined this term to describe one way in which Western European Orientalists imagine and construct Eastern Europe. It is thus a form of European internal Orientalism, which Kideckel distinguishes from Saidian Orientalism. According to Edward W. Said (1978), Western Orientalism holds that "Orientals" are essentially and irredeemably inferior to the West. They cannot change, and in that sense their condition is hopeless. Kidecki argues that Western Europeans view Eastern Europe in the same way as if they are Orientals, but they place them in a different "category" of Orientalism. Eastern Europeans, that is, are not inherently and irredeemably inferior; rather, they have become inferior over time and, given the right circumstances, they can regain their equality with the West if they accept its political, economic, and values systems as their own. This term is not frequently used, and when scholars do use it, they usually cite Kideckel.  [revised 9/18]

See also: Ideological Orientalism, Internal Orientalism, Nesting [Nested] Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Temporal Orientalism.


Sources & Examples: Julie Hemment, "Colonization or Liberation: The Paradox of NGOs in Postsocialist States." Anthropology of East Europe Review 16 (1998); David A. Kideckel, "What’s in a Name? The Persistence of East Europe as Conceptual Category," 1996.  At Center for Culture & Communication Foundation (, accessed 9/18; Béla Rásky, “Publishing Diversities, Diverse Publishing Spaces in a New Europe,” 2003.  At Kakanien revisited (, accessed 9/18;

Celtic Orientalism

Scholars use this term generally in one of two ways, although it is not frequently used. First, some use it in place of or in tandem with the term, Irish Orientalism, particularly to describe Irish literary treatments that identify Ireland with the Orient. Second and more rarely, a few other scholars use this term to explore the extent to which the so-called, "Celtic Fringe" peoples, especially the Welsh, may be considered to have been de facto colonies and thus subjected to Orientalist attitudes and prejudices by their English colonizers.


See also: Celticism, Ideological Orientalism, Irish Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Jasmine DonahayeWhose People?: Wales, Israel, Palestine (U. of Wales, 2012);  Jarlath KilleenThe Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde (Ashgate, 2007); Joseph LennonIrish Orientalism: A Literary and Intellectual History (Syracuse, 200); Catherine Macmillan, “Orientalising the Occident? Portrayals of the Welsh in ‘The Indian Doctor’.” Romanian Journal of English Studies 10 (2103).


Scholars generally use this frequently used term to describe the ways in which the so-called Celtic peoples of Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man have been imagined and constructed as having a shared essential identity. Most scholars now consider that identity to be an artificial and a-historical ideological construct, and not a few of them see it as having parallels and connections with Edward W. Said's (1978) notion of Orientalism (i.e. Saidian Orientalism). Celticism in the 19th century, thus, was an academic field of study that grew out of the rise of archaeology and especially philology, but its rise was also connected with a series of writers including among others Ernest Renan, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Sir Walter Scott, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. In general, scholars point to the geographical and cultural position of the "Celts" on the periphery of both Europe and Britain as being an important factor in the rise of Celticism, which peripheral status recalls Western European Orientalist attitudes towards the larger world beyond its confines. In that sense, 19th and earlier 20th century Orientalists and Celticists shared a common ideological world, and a few scholars point to cross-fertilization between the two notions. Individual writers, for example, at times exhibited both Celticist and Orientalist attitudes. Celticism has been used both negatively and positively.  Negatively, English Celticists and others have constructed the imagined Celtic peoples as being essentially and irredeemably backward, feminine-like, superstitious, and even ape-like, which often meant that they needed to be subjugated "for their own good." Scholars debate the degree to which Celtic peoples, especially the Irish, were historically the victims of something approaching colonialism. Positively, in a way paralleling reverse Orientalism, other Celticists (who usually self-identify as Celts) have embraced the notion that "the Celts" have an essential, shared identity that they can use to bolster their national and cultural aspirations to address the oppression they have experienced particularly at the hands of England. In this usage, Celtic peoples are imagined to be spiritual, mystical, intuitive, creative, and "natural". Scholars usually link the rise of this positive Celticism to Romanticism, which particularly inspired "pan-Celticism," a widespread set of political and cultural movements embodying and expressing the aspirations of the Celtic peoples. By the same token, the "Celtic Revival" of the 19th and earlier 20th centuries represented an aesthetic and artistic embodiment of Celticism and included, most notably, the Irish Literary Revival.

See also: Academic Orientalism, Aesthetic Orientalism, Celtic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Irish Orientalism, Peripheral Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Quasi-Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism. 

Sources & Examples: Arthur Bradley, “Shelly, Ireland and Romantic Orientalism.” In English Romanticism and the Celtic World (Cambridge, 2003); Christine GallantKeats and Romantic Celticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); Eishiro Ito, “Awareness of Asianess of Irishness: Joyce among Irish Orientalists.” Journal of Policy Studies 15 (2014); Joep Leerssen, “Celticism.” In Celticism (Rodopi, 1996); Murray Pittock & Isla Jack, “Patrick Geddes and the Celtic Revival.”  In Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature: Enlightenment, Britain and Empire (1707-1918) (Edinburgh, 2007); Patrick Sims-Williams, “The Invention of Celtic Nature Poetry.” In Celticism (Rodopi, 1996); Eliška Vaníčková, “The Celtic Cross” (B.A. thesis, Masaryk U., 2012); George Watson, “Celticism and the Annulment of History” Irish Studies Review 3 (1994).

Chaucerian Orientalism. See Medieval Orientalism.

Chauvanistic Orientalism

David Ing has created this term to describe a form of Saidian Orientalism in which " group recasts the other as a lesser form of itself. Both traditions or individuals are described as part of the same family, but one becomes the younger sibling of the other." (p. 110).

See also: Ideological Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Michael D. K. Ing, “Future Prospects in the Comparison of Religions.”  Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 44 (2011).

Childish Orientalism. See Infantile Orientalism.

Chinese Orientalism

Scholars usually use this term and the much less frequently used term Sino-Orientalism in one of two distinct ways.  First and more often, they use these terms to describe the ways in which the majority Han Chinese imagine and construct other peoples, especially minority groups within China including notably the Tibetans, as being backward, inferior, corrupt, immoral, and in need of civilizing. Scholars note that Chinese Orientalism is particularly rigid in its attitudes toward the Other, is usually based entirely on prejudices that have little or nothing to do with the Other, and is aimed primarily at preserving Chinese status and power. Second and less often, scholars use these terms to describe Western stereotypes of the Chinese as being backward, immoral, exotic, and many other derogatory terms associated with Western Orientalist attitudes towards Asian peoples generally. This term is not widely used, but it is not rare either.  [5/19]

See also: Ideological Orientalism, Internal Orientalism, Oriental Orientalism, Oriental's Orientalism, Sinological Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Chinese Orientalism: Caleb Kelso-Marsh, "It's Chinatown: Orientalist discourse and the city in the noir tradition" (PhD diss., Murdoch, 2015); Kim-Ming Lee “Hong Kong Chinese “Orientalism”: An Exploratory Study of Hong Kong Ethnic Minorities.” (Paper, “The 4th International Conference on Public Management in the 21st Century,” 2010); John Powers, "Tibet and China’s Orientalists: Knowledge, Power, and the Construction of Minority Identity." Journal of Global Buddhism 19 (2018).  Sino-Orientalism: Arif Dirlik,  “Born in Translation: ‘China’ in the Making of ‘Zhongguo’,” 2015. At b2o: an online journal (, accessed 5/19; Yu Yui Ruth Hung, "What Melts in the “Melting Pot” of Hong Kong?" IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature 8 (2014); Isabel Santaulària i Capdevila, "‘This Is Getting a Little Too Chinese for Me’: The Representation of China in Crime Fiction Written in English." Coolabah 20 (2016).


Chinoiserie is an aesthetic, fashion, and literary style that originated in the 17th century in the wake of growing European fascination with China and East Asia more generally. It was closely linked with the importation of Chinese commercial goods and artistic and literary styles including such things as ornate gardens, ceramics, painting, architecture, tea-drinking, music, interior design, bric-à-brac, and textiles among many others. While a few scholars argue that chinoiserie has a separate tradition of its own and is not necessarily Orientalist in a negative sense, most scholars see a close link between it and the classical Orientalism described and critiqued by Edward W. Said (Orientalism, 1978). That is, chinoiserie in its variety of forms constructs an exotic, fanciful, and inferior China/Orient that imagines China as being the (Oriental) Other in ways that have little or nothing to do with the real-world East Asian nation. Aileen Kwun (2021), quoting Iris Moon, points to a 1755 porcelain work by Joseph Willems entitled “Chinese Musicians” as exemplifying the way in which chinoiserie mixes exquisite artistry with racialist images of slant-eyed, exotic, and submissive Chinese. Persia Liu (2020) concludes, “Chinoiserie was not a benign trend or fad. In fact, it is a subset of the much larger issue of Orientalism, the patronising colonialistic oversimplification and exotification of the East (the Orient) by the West (the Occident).” Scholars also use the term, Chinese taste to describe the periodic European (particularly British) fads for Chinese aesthetic styles.  [11/22]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Commercial Orientalism, Consumer Orientalism, Egyptomania, European Orientalism, Fashion Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Oriental Fad, Oriental Look, Orientalist Fad, Orientalist Imagination, Popular Orientalism, Racist Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Sinological Orientalism, Visual Orientalism.

Sources & Examples:  Chinoiserie: Cole Chang, “Chop-suey: Asian Bodies Consumed in the Harlem Renaissance” (Paper, Macalester College, 2017); Grace Po-ting Fang, “’Chinoiserie’ in Pound’s Cathy and Chinese Poetry Translation.” International Journal of Language and Literature 9 (2021); Adam Geczy, Fashion and Orientalism (Bloomsbury, 2013); Ulrike Hillemann, Asian Empire and British Knowledge (Springer, 2009); Raven Hudson, "Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Imperialism: The Role of Aesthetics and Chinoiserie in Britain’s Objectification and Extortion of Asia in the 18th and 19th Centuries," [2019]. At Davidson History Journal (, accessed 2/22; Aileen Kwun, “It’s Time to Rethink Chinoiserie,” 2021. AT Elle Décor (, accessed 2/2022; Persia Liu, "Chinoiserie at the Royal Pavilion." Bowdoin Journal of Art (2020); Sheng-mei Ma, The Deathly Embrace (U. of Minnesota, 1999); Tyler Phan, “Chinoiserie Medicine: Biopower and Orientalism.” (Paper, Conference on “Footprints and Futures," Durham U., 2016); Daniel L. Purdy, “Chinoiserie in Fashion: Material Images Circulating between China and Europe.” In Fashion and Materiality (Bloomsbury, 2019); Anne Witchard, “Introduction: ‘the lucid atmosphere of fine Cathay.” In British Modernism and Chinoiserie (Edinburgh U., 2015); Chi-ming Yang, Performing China (Johns Hopkins U., 2011); Tak Yan Yeung, “Chinoiserie or Chinese? Chinese-Inspired Works From the Late Nineteenth to the Mid-Twentieth Century” (DMA diss., Texas Christian U., 2020); Eugenia Zuroski, A Taste for China: English Subjectivity and the Prehistory of Orientalism (Oxford, 2013). Chinese Taste: Elizabeth Chang, “The Chinese Taste in Eighteenth-Century England (review).” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 25 (2012); Stephen McDowall, “Cultivating Orientalism” International Institute for Asian Studies Newsletter 73 (2016); Eugenia Zuroski-Jenkins, "Tea and the Limits of Orientalism in De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater." Essays and Studies 69 (2016).

Christian Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe the ways in which Christians, primarily Western Christians, from ancient times down to the present have imagined and constructed Asians and others as "the Other." For all practical purposes, early Orientalism was Christian Orientalism in its own earlier forms, which go back to biblical times. In the Roman era, Christians saw "the Orient" vaguely as being a source of wisdom and spirituality embodied especially in its Jewish roots including the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The Western churches, however, came to believe that they best represented that wisdom and spirituality, which had been lost to Judaism and the East; and it imagined and constructed Judaism as essentially inferior. From its beginnings, thus, the Western Christian churches generally believed that truth resided in them alone and they had a responsibility to convert others to that truth. This exclusive and dualistic ideology lies close to the heart of Christian Orientalism and Missionary Orientalism has generally been a constitutive element of Christian Orientalism. The rise of Islam reinforced and solidified Western Christian views of the Orient, which were now dominated by the existence of a rival religious power, the "infidel". Christian Orientalists thus saw the Oriental Other as being essentially backward heathens. By the 18th century, Christian Orientalism became less of an influence on European Orientalisms and was itself influenced by the Enlightenment and Romanticism. As Western Christian Orientalism has developed since then, it has exemplified many of the traits of ideological Orientalism generally, such as imagining the Other as being essentially different, inferior, static, backward, and immoral. At the same time, it has differed from classical Orientalism because its central focus has remained religious and in the fact that Christian Orientalists generally believe in the fundamental value of the Other as being part of divine creation and worthy of salvation. Many Christian Orientalists, furthermore, have dedicated their lives in service to improving the lives of the Other. And while they have imagined and constructed other Christian sects and groups, such as Eastern rite churches, as being essentially inferior, Christian Orientalists also still acknowledge them as being essentially Christian as well. Some forms of Christian Orientalism, furthermore, fall into the category of positive Orientalisms that construct the Other, Buddhism for example, as being essentially more spiritual and having a depth of wisdom that Christians would do well to emulate. Some scholars use the term, theological Orientalism, to refer to Christian Orientalism usually in its more ideological form.  [7/17]

See also: Biblical Orientalism, Binary Orientalism, Catholic Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Early Orientalism, Evangelical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Learned Orientalism, Medieval Orientalism, Missionary Orientalism, Old Testament Orientalism, Oriental Fad, Orientalist Fad, Protestant Orientalism, Religious Orientalism, Theological Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Hamid Dabashi, Persophilia: Persian Culture on the Global Scene (Harvard, 2015); Anna Jacob, "Missionary Scholarship in Colonial India." In Engaging the University and Nation: A Christian Perspective (Primalogue, 2016); Christopher D. L. Johnson, “’He Has Made the Dry Bones Live’: Orientalism’s Attempted Resuscitation of Eastern Christianity.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 82 (2014); Ivan KalmarEarly Orientalism: Imagined Islam and the Notion of Sublime Power (Routledge, 2012); Ivan Kalmar, “Jews in Turbans: Orientalism, Christianity, and Western Art," n.d. At Computing in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto (, accessed 7/17; Prakash Shah, “Re: Conference on Caste—Out of the Shadows,” 2015. At Dharmic Ideas & Policy Foundation (, accessed 7/17; Sujit Sivasundaram, “’A Christian Benares’: Orientalism, Science and the Serampore Mission of Bengal.” Indian Economic and Social History Review 44 (2007); Amy Slagle, “Nostalgia Without Memory”: A Case Study of American Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania” (Ph.D. Diss., Pittsburgh, 2008); R. S. Sugiratharajah, "Orientalism, Ethnonationalism and Transnationalism: Shifting Identities and Biblical Interpretation." In Ethnicity and the Bible (Brill, 2002); Bryan S. Turner, Orientalism, Postmodernism, and Globalism (Routledge, 1994); Giuseppe Veltri, “’The East’ in the Story of the Lost Tribes: Creation of Geographical and Political Utopias.” In Creation and Re-Creation in Jewish Thought: Festschrift in Honor of Joseph Dan on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday (Mohr Siebeck, 2005).

Cinematic Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually to describe the many ways in which ideological Orientalism is portrayed and commercialized through films. From the beginnings of the international film industry, popular movies have portrayed the Oriental Other stereotypically as exotic, frequently threatening and dangerous, often erotic and seductive, sometimes enticing, and generally garishly splendid. More often than not, these portrayals have reflected Orientalist prejudices that see the "Oriental" as inferior to and/or as an enemy of the West. Less often, cinematic Orientalist films have constructed Asians in a more positive if still stereotypical manner; and some scholars note that Asian film makers make use of their own brands of ideological Orientalism to imagine their own and other "Oriental" cultural or national identities. Scholars use the term Hollywood Orientalism in the same way as cinematic Orientalism to refer specifically to the American film industry's significant place and influence in the larger story of cinematic Orientalism; and far more rarely they use the term Bollywood Orientalism to describe the Indian film industry's treatment of stereotypical, "exotic" Indian themes. Some scholars use the term screen Orientalism (or, very rarely, silver screen Orientalism) in place of this term.  [7/16]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Art Deco Orientalism, Asiatic Orientalism, Commercial Orientalism, Cooperative Orientalism, Creeping Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Decadent Orientalism, Egyptian Orientalism, Egyptomania, Fashion Orientalism, Military Orientalism, Neo-Victorian Orientalism, Oriental Enthusiasm, Oriental Fad, Oriental's Orientalism, Orientalist Fad, Orientalist Fantasy, Orientalist Fiction, Pop Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Postmodern Orientalism, Pulp Orientalism, Science Fiction Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, Virtual Orientalism, Xenophobic Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesSulaiman Arti, “The Evolution of Hollywood’s Representation of Arabs before 9/11: The Relationship between Events and the Notion of ‘Otherness’.” Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network 1 (2007). M. T. KatoFrom Kung Fu to Hip Hop: Globalization, Revolution, and Popular Culture (State U. Press of New York, 2007); Homay King, Lost in Translation: Orientalism, Cinema, and the Enigmatic Signifier (Duke, 2010); H. Hale Künüçen & Senem Güngör, “’300’ and the Other.” 2008. At Andalu Úniversitesi (, accessed 7/16; Aaron Nyerges, “Orienting the Coppolas: A New Approach to U. S. Film Imperialism.” Sydney Studies in English 40 (2014); Ravi S. Vasudevan, “Geographies of the Cinematic Public: Notes on Regional, National and Global Histories of Indian Cinema.” Journal of the Moving Image 9 (2010); Cynthia Walk, “Anna May Wong and Weimar Cinema: Orientalism in Postcolonial Germany.” In Beyond Alterity: German Encounters with Modern East Asia (Berghahn, 2014); Drid Williams, “In the Shadow of Hollywood Orientalism: Authentic East-Indian Dancing.” Journal for the Anthropological Study of Human Movement 12 (2003).

Classic Orientalism. See Classical Orientalism.

Classical Orientalism

Scholars use this frequently used term in one of two ways.  First, they use it and the less often used synonym, classic Orientalism, to describe that period in the history of Orientalism, which is widely considered to be its fullest and most significant era.  The time frame they have in mind varies according to various scholars but always includes the 19th century and may extend into the 20th century, as late as the 1950s.  Some scholars specify the last half of the nineteenth century as being the era when classic/classical Orientalism was in full bloom.  Scholars frequently use both of these terms to refer specifically to “Orientalism” as the academic study of the Orient (i.e. academic Orientalism), and they generally cite Edward W. Said’s (1978) description of it as their key source, which makes these two terms important synonyms for Saidian Orientalism.  Classical Orientalism, thus, is a Western dualistic ideology that imagines and constructs Asians (“Orientals”) as having an essential, shared, and all but timeless identity that Western academics, literary figures, public figures, and the public at large find to be both alluring and off-putting. This shared identity is usually taken to be inferior to the West, that is degenerate, backward, effeminate, a-moral, exotic, dictatorial, and tending towards violence and oppression. It is also the mirror-image opposite of Western civilization. Scholars, furthermore, very often use these two terms as benchmarks for their study of later developments in the notion of Orientalism, seeing classical/classic orientalism as the precursor to and a source of later Orientalisms such as modern Orientalism (First Meaning), neo-Orientalism, post-Orientalism, re-Orientalism, or techno-Orientalism, again depending on the scholar. Infrequently, the notion of “classical Orientalism” is called elite OrientalismSecond and very rarely, scholars use the term “classical Orientalism” to describe ancient Greek Orientalisms.  [revised 1/20, 12/21]

See also: Aboriginal Orientalism, Academic Orientalism, Administrative Orientalism, American Orientalism, Anglo-French Orientalism, Asiatic Orientalism, Banal Orientalism, Barbaric Orientalism, Byronic Orientalism, Canonical Orientalism (2nd Usage), Catholic Orientalism, Chinoiserie, Christian Orientalism, Climatic Orientalism, Colonial Orientalism, Conventional Orientalism, Decadent Orientalism, Deep Orientalism, Eastern Orientalism (2nd Usage), Eurocentric Orientalism, European Orientalism, French Orientalism, Genuine Orientalism, Good & Bad Orientalism(s), Greek Orientalism (Ancient), Ideological Orientalism, Imperial Orientalism, Islamic Orientalism (First Usage), Mature Orientalism, Modern Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism, New Orientalism, Oriental Enthusiasm, Orientalism Proper, Orientalist Dogma, Orientalist Epistemology, Oriental Fad, Orientalist Fad, Oriental Rage, Orientalist Science, Orientalist Teleology, Philological Orientalism, Pop Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Postcolonial Orientalism, Pre-Orientalism, Racist Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Scientific Orientalism, Secular Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, Textual Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism, Virtual Orientalism, Western Orientalism, White Orientalism.  Note: virtually all of the cross-references in the entry for Saidian Orientalism are also cross-references for "classical Orientalism."

Sources & Examples: First Usage:  CLASSICAL ORIENTALISM: Hanan Alaklook, et al. “Exploitation and New Orientalism in Sam Kadi’s The Citizen.”  Jurnal Kommuinkasi 32 (2016); Ali Behdad & Juliette Williams, “Neo-Orientalism.” In Globalizing American Studies (U. of Chicago, 2010); Hamid Dabashi, “Edward Said’s Orientalism: Forty Years Later, 2018.”  At Aljazeera (, accessed 1/20; Cathlene E. Dollar, “Identity Formation in the Novel: Orientalism, Modernity, and Orhan Pamuk” (M.A. thesis, U. of Cape Town, 2015); Tobias Hübinette, "Orientalism Past and Present: An Introduction to a Postcolonial Critique." Stockholm Journal of East Asian Studies 13 (2003); Hannu Juusola, “Notes on the Orientalism Debate and Orientalism in Finland.”  In Travelling Through Time: Essays in Honour of Kaj Öhrnberg (Finnish Oriental Society, 2013); Ieva Kalnača & Benedikts Kalnačs, “Early Encounters With the World of Islam in Latvian Literary Culture.”  World Literature Studies 1 (2018); Lotte B. Sørensen, et al., “A Literature Review: Understanding the Capabilities and Limitations of Orientalism.” (Unpublished paper, Roskilde U., 2017); Andrea Teti, “Orientalism as a Form of Confession.” Foucault Studies 17 (2014); Bryan S. Turner, “Outline of a Theory of Orientalism.”  In Readings in Orientalism, v. 1 (Taylor & Francis, 2000.  CLASSIC ORIENTALISM: Mubarak Altwaiji, “Discourse Analysis: New Language and New Attitude towards Yemen in Contemporary British Novel.” International Journal of English Linguistics  9 (2019); Jeanne Dubino, “Teaching the Quintessential Turkish Tale: Montagu’s Turkish Embassy Letters.”  In Interrogating Orientalism: Contextual Approaches and Pedogogical Practices (Ohio State, 2006); Jagvinder Gill, “Reverse Orientalism in the Texts of Sake Dean Mahomed” (Paper, CTCCS Doctoral Conference, U. of Warwick, 2008); Ivan Kalmar, “The Jew and the Odalisque: Two Tropes Lost on the Way from Classic Orientalism to Islamophobia.”  ReOrient 4 (2019); Armando Salvatore, “Beyond Orientalism? Max Weber and the Displacements of "Essentialism" in the Study of Islam” Arabica 43 (1996).  BOTH USAGES: Mubarak Altwaiji, “Neo-Orientalism and the Neo-Imperialism Thesis: Post-9/11 US and Arab World.” Arab Studies Quarterly 36 ( 2014);  Jagvinder Gill, “Reverse Orientalism in the Texts of Sake Dean Mahomed” (Paper, CTCCS Doctoral Conference, U. of Warwick, 2008). Second Usage:  Eashwar Swamy, “Redefining Orientalism in the Modern World: An Analysis of Classical Examples of Orientalism in Greek Antiquity and its Evolution in the Modern-day period. Honors Research Thesis” (Honors thesis, Ohio State, 2013)..

Climate Orientalism. See Climatic Orientalism.


Climatic Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe a form of environmental Orientalism that asserts the superiority of Western nations in the management of their climates in comparison to Asian nations. Fabien Locher & Jean-Baptiste Fressoz (2012) seem to be the first to use this term. They argue since the 19th century era of European colonialism, Western European nations have claimed that their colonization of Asian nations has reversed the climatic deterioration caused by backward, racially inferior Oriental peoples and in fact promoted a cleaner environment—thus legitimizing European colonialism. More recently, a few scholars have been using the term climate Orientalism to broaden this argument to include the United States as well as the European Union in continuing Western critiques of the supposed deficiencies of Asian climatic practices (see Ibrahim Al-Marashi, 2017). The twin notions of climatic and climate Orientalism are also contemporary forms of classical Orientalism. Both  "climatic Orientalism" and "climate Orientalism" are used infrequently.  [2/22]

See also: American Orientalism, Arcticality, Classical Orientalism, Green Orientalism, Environmental Orientalism, European Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Tropicality.

Sources & Examples: Climatic Orientalism: Jean-Baptiste Fressoz & Fabien Locher, “The Fragile Climate of Modernity: A Short History of Environmental Reflexivity,” 2014. At books & ideas (, accessed 2/22; Razmig Keucheyan, Nature is a Battlefield (John Wiley & Sons, 2017); Fabien Locher & Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, “Modernity’s Frail Climate: a Climate History of Environmental Reflexivity.” Critical Inquiry 38 (2012); Martin Mahony & Georgina Endfield, “Climate and Colonialism.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 9 (2018). Climate Orientalism: Ashley Dawson, “Climate.” In Keywords for American Cultural Studies, 3d. ed. (New York U., 2020); Ibrahim Al-Marashi, “Climate Orientalism and the Middle East,” 2019. At TRTWorld (, accessed 2/22; Samir Saran, “Trumps’ Stand on the Paris Deal May Help India,” 2017. At ORF: Observer Research Foundation (, accessed 2/22; Flora Trouilloud, “History of Human Concern for the Climate,” 2021. At World News Today (, accessed 2/22.

Cluniac Orientalism. See Medieval Orientalism.

Cognitive Orientalism.  See Intellectual Orientalism.

Cold War Orientalism

Scholars use this term, in general, to describe American ideological Orientalist discourses, institutions, and practices during the Cold War, which represented Asians positively and sought to integrate both Asian Americans and overseas Asians living in non-communist nations into mainstream American culture. These works and practices imagined supposedly inferior, poorer Asians as the objects of American benevolence and altruism. Black Americans, well-to-do white women, as well as white males articulated these discourses although their concerns and means of expression were not always the same. Scholars observe that these discourses were directed toward imagining and recreating American culture itself in a more inclusive way as much they were directed toward Asians and Asian Americans.

See also: Black Orientalism, Middlebrow Orientalism, Sentimental Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Prasenjit Duara, “The Cold War as a Historical Period: An Interpretive Essay.” Journal of Global History 6 (2011); Christina KleinCold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961 (California, 2003); Yasuhiro Okada, “‘Cold War Black Orientalism’: Race, Gender, and African American Representations of Japanese Women during the Early 1950s.” Journal of American and Canadian Studies (Tokyo) 27 (2009); Scott Trafton,“Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Orientals.” American Quarterly 56 (2004).

Colonial Orientalism

Scholars generally use this term to describe the ways in which the Western European colonial powers, from the 17th century onward, imagined and constructed “the Orient” and “Orientals” in light of the their colonization of Asia. Colonies, notably British India, were thus framed as being essentially and irredeemably exotic, passive, unprogressive, and decidedly inferior to European civilization.  Colonial Orientalists argued that, as a consequence, Orientals experienced great human suffering and also endangered others with their barbarity, which in European eyes justified seizing them as colonies.  They ruled their Asian subjects, that is, "for their own good."  This is the Orient of “the white man’s burden” and is the classical Orientalism described by Edward W. Said (1978).  Scholars have also noted that in practice this notion was more complicated in the colonies than in the homelands. In the colonies, European colonial agents had to make concessions to indigenous practices and cultures in order to rule effectively, thus also having to moderate to one degree or another their Orientalist stereotypes in the face of indigenous Asian realities. At least some colonial subjects, furthermore, appropriated the stereotypes employed by their colonial masters and reshaped them for their own purposes in a process of reverse Orientalism.  Indian nationalists proved particularly adept at reimagining and reconstructing their own civilization as being superior to the violent, greedy West.  In their hands, colonial orientalism was an ideology of resistance to European rule.  In all cases, in sum, this notion was used to promote power and control in Asian colonial settings, be it the power and control of the colonizer or of the colonized. [revised 9/17, 4/20]

See also: Administrative Orientalism, Canonical Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Constructive Orientalism, European Orientalism, Hard Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Imperial Orientalism, Neoliberal Orientalism, Postcolonial Orientalism, Practical Orientalism (19th Century), Reverse Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Second Order Orientalism, Sociological Orientalism, Theoretical Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism, Urban Orientalism, Western Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Kurniawan,et,al., “The Influence of 19th Century Dutch Colonial Orientalism in Spreading Kubah (Islamic Dome) and Middle-Eastern Architectural Styles for Mosques in Sumatra.” Journal of Design and Built Environment 11 (2012); Stephen Legg, “Ambivalent Improvements: Biography, Biopolitics, and Colonial Delhi.” Environment and Planning A 40 (2008); Roman Loimeier, “Germanophone Orientalism Revisited: A Polemic.” In European Traditions in the Study of Religion in Africa (Harrassowitz Verlag, 2004); Douglas T. McGetchin, Indology, Indomania, and Orientalism: Ancient India's Rebirth in Modern Germany (Fairleigh Dickinson, 2009); Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Girogio Shani, “Sikh Nationalism.”  (Oxford, 2014); Aileen Twiggs, “Cultural Representation and Stereotypes: An Analysis of Submission: Part One” (Paper, Roskilde Universitetscenter, 2006).

Comic Book Orientalism. See Comic Orientalism.

Comic Orientalism

Scholars use this term and the terms Orientalist ComedyComic Book OrientalismOrientalist Humor, and extremely rarely, “comedic Orientalism,” to describe the ways in which Western entertainers use popular literature, particularly pulp and comic books, as well as popular media including films, plays, stand up comedy, video, and radio & television to imagine and construct the (Oriental) Other through humor. This humor usually trades in negative stereotypes that portray Asians as being essentially backward, violent, ignorant, sensuous, weak, strange, weird, and exotic, which makes them objects of ridicule and targets for patronizing humor. Orientalist humor and comedy is often risqué, trading on sexist stereotypes of rapacious Oriental tyrants and compliant, sensuous Oriental maidens. Scholars, however, also observe that at times Orientalist comedy is used in less blatant ways to poke fun not only at Asians but also at Western values and attitudes—especially in the case of Orientalist satire. Even then, comic Orientalism generally serves to reinforce the sense that Asians are so alien, so exotic as to be hilarious in the ways they talk, dress, and behave. Dominic Garzonio (2014) points to the standup comedian and ventriloquist, Jeff Dunham, and his puppet, “Achmed the Dead Terrorist,” as an example of contemporary comic Orientalism.  [revised 4/19]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Blatant Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Orientalese, Orientalist Satire, Pop Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Pulp Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Comic Orientalism: Essam Fawzi, “Comic Orientalism,” 2009. At Egypt Independent (, accessed 3/18; Ragnell, “Too Long for Comment,” 2006. At Written World (, accessed 3/18; George Simmers, “Alf’s Button,” 2007. At Great War Fiction (, accessed 3/18; Huei-ju Wang, “Foreclosing Others in Cultural Representation” (Ph.D. diss., Florida, 2006); Marina Warner, “Report to the Memoir Club: Scenes from a Colonial Childhood.” In Contradictory Woolf: Selected Papers from the Twenty-First Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf (Clemson, 2012).  Orientalist Comedy: Dominic Garzonio, “Achmed the Dead Terrorist: The Orientalist Stand-Up Comedy of Jeff Dunham,” 2014. At allacademic convention (, accessed 4/19; Michael L. RossRace Riots: Comedy and Ethnicity in Modern British Fiction (McGill-Queen’s U., 2006). Comic Book Orientalism: Sheng-mei MaSinophone-Anglophone Cultural Duet (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017); Wen-Chin Ouyang, “Whose Story is It?  Sinbad the Sailor in Literature and Film.” In New Perspectives on Arabian Nights (Routledge, 2005); Den Valdron, “Otis Albert Kline’s Venus,” n.d. At Bill & Sue-On Hillman’s ERBzine (, accessed 3/18.  Orientalist Humor: Frank J. Korom, “Click Here for Enlightenment: On Tibet, Hollywood, Virtual Communities, Cyberspace Discourse, and Other Matters of Representational Practice.” In Tibetan Subjectivities on the Global Stage: Negotiating Dispossession (Lexington Books, 2018).

Commercial Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe the consumption of exotic cultural goods, services, and images by Westerners (notably in Britain and the United States) for the purpose of self-expression as well as pleasure. These consumables are most usually but not necessarily "Oriental" in origin; and in addition to the sale of goods and wares, they include especially the entertainment and fashion industries—again, with an emphasis on the exotic. Scholars have also described the ways in which such fields as commercial photography, dance, and music have been channels for commercial Orientalism. John Kuo-wei Tchen (1999) describes commercial Orientalism as emerging in mid-19th century New York City and as being an expression of popular, especially middle class, interest in things Chinese. Mica Nava (2007) describes urban English commercial Orientalism prior to World War II as being popular, cosmopolitan, and especially important as a form of women's self-expression, which could in some instances be liberating. Commercial Orientalism is thus generally understood to be less associated with ideological Orientalism or not related to it at all. As this term has generally been used by scholars, that is, it has to do more with the self-fulfillment and self-gratification of the Western consumer than Western self-aggrandizement at the expense of an Other, Asian or otherwise.  [revised 1/18]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Authentic Orientalism, Chinoiserie, Consumer Orientalism, Corporate Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Economic Orientalism, Exotic Orientalism, Fashion Orientalism, Franchised Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Linguistic Orientalism, Material Orientalism, Oriental Enthusiasm, Oriental Look, Orientalist Nostalgia, Orientalist Tourism, Patrician Orientalism, Pop Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Seaside Orientalism, Transorientalism, Virtual Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Carmen P. GonzálezLocal Portraiture: Through the Lens of the 19th-Century Iranian Photographers (Leiden, 2012); Nancy M. Mason, "The Ideology of American Home Economists in China between the 1920s and the 1940s: Interactions between Orientalism and Ideals of Domestic Science." Proceedings of the National Conference of Undergraduate Research 2015 (Eastern Washington, 2015); Mica Nava, “The Cosmopolitanism of Commerce and the Allure of Difference: Selfridges, the Russian Ballet and the Tango 1911-14,” 2012. At UEL: University of East London (, accessed 1/18; Mica NavaVisceral Cosmopolitanism: Gender, Culture, and the Normalisation of Difference (Oxford, 2007); Ljerka V. RasmussenNewly Composed Folk Music of Yugoslavia (Taylor & Francis, 2013); John Kuo Wei TchenNew York before Chinatown: Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture, 1776-1882 (Johns Hopkins, 1999); Timothy Tseng, “Beyond Orientalism and Assimilation: The Asian American as Historical Subject.” In Realizing the America of our Hearts: Theological Voices of Asian Americans (Chalice Press, 2003); Mari YoshiharaEmbracing the East: White Women and American Orientalism (Oxford, 2003).

Commodity Orientalism. See Commercial Orientalism.

Common Sense OrientalismSee Orientalist Common Sense.

Comparative Orientalism

This term is not frequently used, but when scholars do use it they generally do so in one of two closely related ways.  First and more broadly, they use this term to point to the fact that Orientalist analysis is based on making comparisons between the (Western) Self and the (Oriental) Other in ways that often (although not always) imagine and construct the Orient as being superior to the West and thus a source of instruction for it. Timothy Marr, for example, points out that Antebellum American abolitionists romanticized Turkish slavery as being relatively benign and more humane than American slavery. Very rarely, scholars use this term to describe Orientalist comparisons between two facets or elements of the Orient with each other, such as Hinduism and Buddhism.  Second and more narrowly, other scholars use this term to describe a key 19th century movement in Oriental scholarship that reached is zenith in the later 19th century and is associated with the German Orientalist, Max Müller (1823-1900). This movement based its research methodology on comparing facets and elements of Oriental cultures with Western cultures in order to discern the relationships between them; and it is this movement, relying on comparative philology, that discerned the relationship between Sanskrit and European languages. Very rarely, Müller's Orientalist views are termed etymological Orientalism [revised 2/18]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Comparativist Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Philological Orientalism, Positive Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Catrin Gersdorf, The Poetics and Politics of the Desert: Landscape and the Construction of America (Rodopi, 2009); Norman J. Girardot, “The Victorian Text of Chinese Religion: With Special Reference to the Protestant Paradigm of James Legge's Religions of China.” Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie 12 (2001); Anouar Majid, “Only Connect,” 2007. At Tingis (, accessed 2/18; Timothy MarrThe Cultural Roots of American Islamicism (Cambridge, 2006); Megan C. Thomas, “Orientalism and Comparative Political Theory.” The Review of Politics 72 (2010).

Comparativist Orientalism

A very few scholars use this term and the term Orientalist comparativism to propose an alternative, dialogical method for the study of Orientalism.  Their approach begins with the notion that ideological Orientalisms of all stripes are inherently based on dualistic comparisons (esp. East vs. West), most of which are based on ideologies that hold “Orientals” in disdain.  They reframe such comparisons into opportunities for new, mutual understandings of an “Other”.  Karim Mattar (2013), for example, proposes to bring English-language Middle Eastern novels (translated and original) into such a dialogue with the larger body of world literature.  By a comparativist approach, thus, the dualistic nature of Orientalism is transformed from being an obstacle to understanding into being an opportunity for reconciliation.  [2/21]

See also: Binary Orientalism, Comparative Orientalism, Dialectical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Comparativist Orientalism: Akbar Rasulov, “Central Asia and the Globalisation of the Contemporary Legal Consciousness.” Law & Critique 25 (2014);  Silke Schmidt, (Re-)Framing the Arab/Muslim: Mediating Orientalism in Contemporary Arab American Life Writing (Transcript Verlag, 2017).  Orientalist Comparativism: Magadalena Horodecka, “Traavel Book as a Form of Intercultural Dialogue: Imperium by Ryszard Kapuściński” In Metamorphoses of Travel Writing: Across Theories, Genres, Centuries and Literary Tradition (Cambridge Scholars, 2010); Karim Mattar, “The Middle Eastern Novel in English: Literary Transnationalism after Orientalism.” (D.Phil. thesis, U. of Oxford, 2013)..

Complicit Orientalism. See Self-Orientalism.

Concealed OrientalismSee Hidden Orientalism.

Constructive Orientalism

Christopher A. Bayly is credited with having originated this term, which scholars use to describe an Orientalist movement and program in 19th century colonial India that involved certain British educators, officials, and missionaries who sought to communicate Western science and the Christian religion through an inter-cultural dialogue carried out in colonial educational institutions, such as the Benares Sanskrit College and Serampore College. In particular, they advocated the use of Indian languages in instruction and promoted major translation projects of European scientific and other texts into those languages. While these "constructive Orientalists" believed in the essential superiority of European learning and the Christian religion, they sought to communicate that superiority in positive, non-combative ("constructive") ways that would, they hoped, lead Indian scholars to re-align ("re-construct") their indigenous knowledge along Western scientific and Christian lines. They were opposed by the Anglicists who argued for the exclusive use of English in all Indian education. Scholars observe that the constructive Orientalist program influenced Indian nationalist movements and that Hindu and Moslem scholars sought to advance their own Orientalist-like agendas in their dialogues with British governmental and missionary educators. Mark Singleton (2008) traces the origins of the continued interest in yoga in the West to its fabrication by Indian pandit as part of the 19th century constructive Orientalist project.

See also: Administrative Orientalism, Affirmative Orientalism, Colonial Orientalism, Flexible Orientalism, Humanistic Orientalism (second meaning), Learned Orientalism, Missionary Orientalism, Liberal Orientalism, Orientalist Education, Practical Orientalism (19th Century), Pragmatic Orientalism (1st Scholar), Reverse Orientalism, Sympathetic Orientalism, Textual Orientalism, Utilitarian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Christopher Alan BaylyEmpire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780-1870 (Cambridge, 1996); Hayden J. A. Bellenoit, Missionary Education and Empire in Late Colonial India, 1860-1920 (Routledge, 2007); Michael S. DodsonOrientalism, Empire, and National Culture: India, 1770-1880 (Foundation Books, 2011); Halim Ikhleft, “Constructive Orientalism: Debates on Languages and Educational Policies in Colonial India, 1830-1880.” In Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-Cultural Exchanges in (Post-) Colonial Education (Berghahn Books, 2014); Joydeep Sen, Astronomy in India, 1784–1876 (Routledge, 2014); Mark Singleton, "The Classical Reveries of Modern Yoga: Patanjali and Constructive Orientalism." In Yoga in the Modern World: Contemporary Perspectives (Routledge, 2008); Sujit Sivasundaram, "‘A Christian Benares’: Orientalism, Science and the Serampore Mission of Bengal." The Indian Economic & Social History Review 44 (2007).

Consumer Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe the intimate historical relationship between the Western notions of consumerism and Orientalism, by which the West has long consumed a great variety of “Oriental” material and immaterial goods and services including such things as literature, art, architecture, fashion, spiritualties, photography, cuisine, the cinema and other performing arts, music, video games, animation, pornography, furnishings, interior decorations, and even tableware, among many, many other things.  Scholars argue that the consumption of these Oriental goods and services and the rise of modern consumerism from at least the 17th century have mutually reinforced each other.  Gwendolyn Collaco (2011), for example, describes how later 17th century Europeans developed a taste for Turkish coffee and coffee houses out of a romantic desire to experience the exotic.  She argues, however, that these European consumers of the Orient continued to imagine the Turks as being essentially and irredeemably barbaric as well, a heathen people to be feared.  Consumer Orientalism, thus, expresses the ways in which Western consumers imagine the Orient to be, at once, dangerous and alluring—violent, mysterious, sensual, decadent, immoral, exotic, and romantic.  There has long been something desirable about consuming things of the exotic East and scholars report that among these desirable “commodities” are Asian women who have been imagined and constructed as being alluring, sensual, desirable, and downtrodden.  In more recent decades, “exotic” Asian singing groups, often composed of sexy young women performers, and music from nations such as Japan and Korea have been “objects” of Western consumption.  The Western academic study of the Orient has also both spurred and benefitted from the rise of consumer capitalism, as it provided information and ideas about the East that were turned into commodities for consumption.  While scholars use this term and the term commercial Orientalism in very similar ways, they use this term generally in more negative ways, associating it with crass “consumerism” and concomitant, dehumanizing forms of ideological Orientalism. [8/19]


See also: Academic Orientalism, Chinoiserie, Commercial Orientalism, Economic Orientalism, Exotic Orientalism, Fashion Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Material Orientalism, Oriental Fad, Orientalist Fad, Orientalist Tourism, Pop Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Sexist Orientalism, Zen Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Sophia R. Arjana, Muslims in the Western Imagination (Oxford, 2015); Gwedolyn Collaco, "The Ottoman Coffeehouse: all the Charms and Dangers of Cmmonality in the 16th-17th century." Lights: The MESSA Journal 1 (2011); Dave, “True Grit and Rough Justice: Wild West as Arcades Project,” 2011.  At Madame Pickwick Art Blog (, accessed 8/19; Billi Mirella, “Oriental Fantasies in Beckford and Byron: The Language(s) of Romance,” [2002]. At Centro Interuniversitario Perso Studio del Romanticismo (, accessed 8/19; Jane Park, "Cibo Matto's Stereotype A: Articulating Asian American Hip Pop." In East Main Street: Asian American Popular Culture (New York U., 2005); Umar Shahid, “Consumer Orientalism in the Corporate Media,” [2016]. At Crescent International (, accessed 8/19; Nat Zappiah, "Coffeehouses and Culture." Huntington Library Quarterly 70 (2007).

Contemplative Orientalism. See Intellectual Orientalism.

Contemporary Orientalism

This term is very frequently used by scholars and others to describe the Orientalisms of a particular era that are either: (a) chronologically simultaneous with a subject or period under study (such as "contemporary Orientalisms of the 19th century"): or, (b) found in the present world today. The latter focus on the present very much predominates and most scholars use this term to describe the Orientalisms of our own time. While they differ as to when "our own time" begins, most often they point to the publication of Edward W. Said's book, Orientalism (1978), as the beginning point of contemporary Orientalism. Others see it as beginning with the events of 9/11 and the War on Terror. At times, scholars contrast contemporary Orientalism with past eras, most commonly dividing the history of ideological Orientalism into two periods: classical and contemporary.  Like Said himself, many scholars see contemporary Orientalism as being heavily influenced by the past and in most ways a continuation of it. Said claims that classical Orientalism remains concealed (latent) within contemporary Orientalisms, which means that there was little chance for them to change. Contemporary Orientalism thus continues to be an ideology by which Orientalists imagine and construct the (Oriental) Other as having an essential, timeless nature that is irredeemably exotic, backward, sensuous, violent, ignorant, and so forth. Still, most scholars acknowledge that contemporary Orientalisms differ in some ways from those of the past—the differences depending on the particular scholar. Some, for example, argue that today Orientalism is dominated by the United States rather than Western Europe. Or again, some contend that contemporary Orientalisms often tend to be less obvious and more disguised or hidden than in the past. Today, for example, Orientalists sometimes avow that there are "good" Arabs and "good things" about their culture(s) while still seeing all Arabs as sharing an essential nature that is absolutely different from and inferior to the West. Orientalists are, furthermore, thought to be responding to a new global context marked by rapid communications that is bringing East and West into closer and more intense proximity, which requires more agile and subtle Orientalist strategies of response. While in the main, then, Orientalism remains Orientalism, Said and others have voiced the hope that contemporary scholarship is learning how to identify, critique, and counter even the most subtle of Orientalisms so that there is hope for the future. In art, finally, scholars and others often use this term in a more positive sense arguing that contemporary Western Orientalist artists, especially painters, frequently portray Asian realities as they are, rather than ideologically. They point, for example, to the work of the Spanish Orientalist artist, José González Bueno (1957- ) including his painting, "Grand Mosque of Damascus." Other scholars and critics, however, note that many Orientalist artists still treat their subjects in more negative and stereotypical ways.  [4/18]

See also: Hidden Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Late Orientalism, Latent Orientalism, Mainstream Orientalism, Modern Orientalism, Modernist Orientalism, New Orientalism, Postmodern Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, Virtual Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Selda Dagistanli & Kiran Grewal, “Perverse Muslim Masculinities in Contemporary Orientalist Discourse: The Vagaries of Muslim Immigration in the West.” In Global Islamophobia: Muslims and Moral Panic in the West (Taylor & Francis, 2016); Till Dehrmann, “A Critical Look at Said’s Theses on Orientalism in Fine Arts and Their Impact on the Evaluation of Orientalist Paintings, 2012.” At ArtsCad (, accessed 4/18; Daniel P. S. Goh, “Oriental Purity: Postcolonial Discomfort and Asian Values.” positions 20 (2012); Mahmmoud M. Al-Jbarat, “The Contemporary Orientalism Crisis.”  Journal of Literature, Language & Culture 1 (2015); Mojgan Khosravi, “Shirin Neshat: A Contemporary Orientalist” (M.A. thesis, Georgia State, 2011); Nigel Lendon, “A Tournament of Shadows: Alighiero Boetti, the Myth of Influence, and a Contemporary Orientalism,” 2011-2012. At emaj (, accessed 4/18; Mayuko Maekawa, “Reconsidering Orientalism/Occidentalism: Representations of a Japanese Martial Art in Melbourne” (Ph.D. diss,, Melbourne, 2013); Stephen Morton, “The Unhappy Marriage of ‘Third World’ Women’s Movements and Orientalism.” In After Orientalism: Critical Entanglements, Productive Looks (Rodopi, 2003); Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Sanjay Sharma & Ashwani Sharma, “White Paranoia: Orientalism in the Age of Empire.” Fashion Theory 7 (2003); Lynn Spigel, “Entertainment Wars: Television Culture after 9/11.” American Quarterly 56 (2004); Bryan S. Turner, Orientalism, Postmodernism, and Globalism (Routledge, 1994).

Conventional Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe Orientalisms that are taken to be generally and widely accepted as representative of the notion of “Orientalism”.  Going back into the 19th century, scholars and critics used it to describe a particular “Oriental” aesthetic style of music, art, and literature that was exotic, sensuous, and mysterious in supposedly typically Oriental ways.  Critics, at times, continue to use this term in this way down to the present.  Since the publication of Edward W. Said’s Orientalism (1978), scholars by-and-large use this term to refer to his pejorative description of Orientalism as being a long-held set of Western ideological stereotypes that imagine and create Asians, especially Arabs and Muslims, as being culturally, intellectually, socially, politically, economically, and morally inferior to the West.  Peoples of European descent thus have feared “Orientals” as being dangerous to Western civilization and pitied them for their degraded condition—their fear and pity as well as economic greed fueling European colonialism and Western imperialism.  Such conventional Orientalisms evolve somewhat over time so that some scholars, for example, consider modern Orientalism to be a latter-day form of conventional Orientalism.  Conventional Orientalisms are also by definition sexist and racist in their portrayals of Asian women, men, and peoples more generally.  This term is, thus, a cognate for such widely used terms as classical Orientalism, ideological Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, and traditional Orientalism; and scholars also use other synonyms of this term, including ordinary Orientalism, regular Orientalism, standard Orientalism, typical Orientalism, and usual Orientalism.  “Conventional Orientalism” seems to be the most commonly used of this family of terms, although “typical Orientalism” is also somewhat frequently used. [2/21]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, European Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Modern Orientalism, Musical Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism, Victorian Orientalism.   Note: virtually all of the cross-references in the entry for Saidian Orientalism are also cross-references for "conventional Orientalism."

Sources & Examples: Conventional Orientalism:  Michael Bourdaghs, The Dawn that Never Comes: Shimazaki Tōson and Japanese Nationalism (Columbia U., 2003); Lovett F. Edwards, “Fitting the Film: Some Points of Criticism.” Music News and Herald 62 (1922); Ruben Flores, Backroads Pragmatists: Mexico's Melting Pot and Civil Rights in the United States (U. of Pennsylvania, 2014); Laura Frost, The Problem with Pleasure: Modernism and Its Discontents (Columbia U., 2013); Jagvinder Gill, “Re-Oriented Britain – How British Asian Travellers and Settlers have Utilised and Reversed Orientalist Discourse 1770-2010.” (Ph.D. diss., U. of Warwick, 2010); Oumaimah A. G. Joholee, “Representations of Bearded Muslim Men and Hijab-wearing Muslim Women in Post-9/11 Fiction.” (MHS, International Islamic U. of Malaysia, 2016); M. Kufferath, “Rhythm, Melody and Harmony (Concluded).” Music: A Monthly Magazine 17 (1899);  Duncan Lien, “Tearing Down the Bridge between East and West:  The (Re-)Writing of Albanian Identity in the Millosh Kopiliq Epic and Ismail Kadare’s The Siege.” Journal of Literature, Culture and Literary Translation 6 (2016); Daniel Milne, “
Discourses on Japan in Anglophone Tourist Guidebooks: Lonely Planet in the 1980s.” Tourism Studies Review 1 (2013); Eva Piatek, “Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit,” 2012. At title (, accessed 2/21; Paul Richard, “In Baltimore, Faulty Impressionism: Disjointed Timeline Nearly Masks Portrait Exhibit's Finest Faces,” 14 November 1999. At The Washington Post (, accessed 2/21; Jules Siran, “The Paradox of the Exotic Avant-Garde Theater in the 1920s: Archaism and Modernity in the Baty-Lenormand Collaboration.” In Sociétés & Représentations 31 (2011); Mark Swed, “Review: Ballet Preljocaj’s ‘Les Nuits’ Seduces but is Problematic,” 2014. At Los Angeles Times (, accessed 2/21; Huei-Ju Wang, “Foreclosing Others in Cultural Representation.” (Ph.D.  diss., U. of Florida, 2006); Xing Wang, “Rethinking Material Religion in the East: Orientalism and Religious Material Culture in Contemporary Western Academia.” Religions 9 (2018).  Other: Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978).

Cooperative Orientalism

A handful of scholars use this term to describe a form of self-Orientalism most often associated with Chinese cinematic developments dating from roughly 1990 by which Chinese directors have drawn on Western Orientalist themes, particularly erotic fantasies, to attract both international and local Chinese audiences. The films of Zhang Yimou (1951- ), such as Raise the Red Lantern (1991), are cited as a notable example of this trend.  This usage of Western ideological Orientalisms is “cooperative” in the sense that “Oriental” scenes, stories, and personalities are re-imagined and constructed to appeal to both Western and Asian audiences.  Valesi (2010) argues that cooperative Orientalism is, thus, a form of Asian Occidentalism by which Chinese directors imagine what will capture the Orientalist gaze of Western viewers as well as Chinese audiences, who purportedly see themselves through what they take to be a Western lens.  [2/21]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Cinematic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Occidentalism, Oriental Orientalism, Orientalist Gaze, Self-Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism..

Sources & Examples: Ashley Counts, “Raise the Red Lantern: The Cinematic Orient and Female Conflict,” 2019. At It’s 3 a.m. Again (, accessed 2/21; Shuqin Cui, “The Return of the Repressed: Masculinity and Sexuality Reconsidered.” In A Companion to Chinese Cinema (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012); Shuqin Cui, Women Through the Lens: Gender and Nation in a Century of Chinese Cinema (U. of Hawai’I, 2003); Patrick D. McGuire, "Unveiling Identities: A Cultural Study of the Portrayal of Leading Women in Zhang Yimou Films.” (Ph.D. diss., U. of Southern Mississippi, 2019); Marco Valesi, “The Western Exoticism of Twelve Girls Band.” In One World Periphery Reads the Other: Knowing the “Oriental” in the Americas and the Iberian Peninsula (Cambridge Scholars, 2010).

Corporate Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually in at least two distinct ways.  First and most commonly, the use of this term originates with Edward W. Said (1978) although he does not use it as such himself. Rather, he summarizes three basic meanings of the term Orientalism, the third of which is its "corporate meaning" (see Orientalism, p. 3), which encompasses all of the ways that Western Orientalists institutionalize their stereotypes of "Orientals". Said also argues that Orientalism has a "corporate identity" embodied in scholarly fields of study, academic societies and institutions, political and governmental institutions, commercial enterprises, and various forms of literature (p. 202). Said, that is, uses the idea of a corporate meaning and identity for Orientalism to describe Orientalism as one corporate body that employs a wide variety of activities using a wide range of institutions to impose its stereotypes of the Orient on Orientals. When other scholars use this term, they most often use it in this Saidian sense and usually cite him as their reference. Scholars use this term only infrequently.  Second, very rarely a few scholars use this term to describe business corporations as agents of Orientalist ideologies.  [revised 9/18]

See also: Commercial Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Manifest Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Tarek Cherkaoui, “Orientalism, Pan-Arabism, and Military-Media Warfare: a Comparison between CNN and Aljazeera Coverage of the Iraq War” (Ph.D. diss., Auckland U. of Technology, 2010); Jukka Jouhki, "Orientalism and India." J@rgonia 4 (2006); Roberta E. Pearson, Reading Lost: Perspectives on a Hit Television Show (I. B. Tauris, 2009); Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978).

Cosmopolitan Orientalism

Scholars use of this term and the term Orientalist cosmopolitanism to examine the relationship between two notions that appear to be contradictory.  “Cosmopolitanism” suggests an open, receptive attitude toward other cultures and peoples, seeing them as being part of a larger, universal whole, while “Orientalism,” as explicated by Edward W. Said (1978), imagines and constructs (Oriental) Others as having essential, unchanging, and inferior identities.  Scholars have collectively come to two key conclusions concerning the relationship between the two: first, there is some consensus that Orientalist stereotypes often undermine cosmopolitanism because of the widely held, unspoken assumption that the West is the measure of that which is universal and thus of all that is good.  In this sense, scholars see Orientalist cosmopolitanism as being similar to Said’s notion of a semi-conscious latent Orientalism that uses (supposedly universal) ideological stereotypes to categorize the Other, and they cite neoliberal Orientalism as an example of a corrupted cosmopolitanism.  Second, some scholars argue, however, that cosmopolitan attitudes can transform Said’s version of Orientalism into positive Orientalisms that are receptive to the essential goodness and value of the Other.  Drawing on their studies of Orientalist tourism, for example, Haldrup (2009) and Peelen & Smallegoor (2018-2019) suggest that there can be a dialogical interaction between Orientalist and cosmopolitan values tending toward a more inclusive attitude toward other peoples and cultures.  In sum, the relationship between Orientalism and cosmopolitanism is complex and very much a matter of individual experience and inclination—although scholars seem to feel that the subterranean, corruptive power of Saidian Orientalisms must always be taken into account.  It should be noted that very occasionally scholars and critics use the term, “cosmopolitan Orientalism,” to describe an eclectic infusion of “exotic” Oriental styles into such things as ballet performances. [revised 2/21]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Alternative Orientalism, Global Orientalism, Hidden Orientalism, International Orientalism, Levantine Orientalism, Neoliberal Orientalism, Orientalist Tourism, Positive Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Sarmatian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Cosmopolitan Orientalism: Giuditta Cianfanelli, “Arabism and Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism in the Writer Valle-Inclán.” Quaderns de la Mediterrània 18-19 (2013); Ewa Domanska, “The Orientalization of a European Orient: Turkquerie and Chinoiserie in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Poland.” Twaiwan Journal of East Asian Studies 1 (2004); David Neil Geraghty, “Old Stories, New Authors: Orientalism, Cosmopolitanism and India” (Ph.D. diss., Monash U., 2014); Paul Hayes, “Asian Restaurant/Bar,” 2001. At Men’s Folio (, accessed 2/21; Joanna Neilly, “The Image of the Orient in E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Writing” (Ph.D. diss., Edinburgh, 2013); Shazia Rahman, “Rachna Mara’s Cosmopolitan (Yet Partial) Feminisms.”  Ariel 38 (2007); Roxana Verona, "A Cosmopolitan Orientalism: Paul Morand Goes East." Sites 51 (2001); James Watt, British Orientalisms, 1759–1835 (Cambridge, 2019); Takayuki Yokota-Murakami, “The Future in the Margin: The National and the International in the Russian Émigré Poetry from the Far East.”Primerjalna književnost 2 (2009).  Orientalist Cosmopolitanism: Michael Haldrup, “Banal Tourism? Between Cosmopolitanism and Orientalism.” In Cultures of Mass Tourism: Doing the Mediterranean in the Age of Banal Mobilities (Ashgate, 2009); Bijender Kumar. “Cosmopolitanism in Bharati Mukherjee's Fiction.” The Criterion 8 (2017); Sujata Moorti & Lisa Cuklanz, All-American TV Crime Drama: Feminism and Identity Politics in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” (I.B. Tauris, 2017); Melanie Peelen & Joanne Smallegoor, “Mutual Imaginaries: Perceptions of Otherness and the Performance of a Cosmopolitan Identity in Arambol.” (Bachelor Project, Utrecht U., 2018-2019);  Shazia Rahman, "Cosmopolitanism, Internationalization and Orientalism: Bharati Mukherjee’s Peritexts." Journal of Postcolonial Writing 49 (2013).  Other: Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978).


Scholars use this term usually in one of two ways.  First, they use it to describe those discourses and practices that seek to resist Orientalist prejudices. Most generally, counter-Orientalists attempt to question and undermine Orientalist ideologies, institutions, and behaviors by seeking to understand the Other in ways that do not duplicate Orientalist thinking. Counter-strategies include discovering new interpretations, listening to a variety of voices, avoiding dualistic categories, and engaging in intercultural dialogue. The goal of counter-Orientalism is to restore the humanity of Orientalized subjects. Edward W. Said is sometimes considered to be an example of a counter-Orientalist voice. A possibility inherent in counter-Orientalisms is that counter-Orientalist discourses may themselves covertly rely on Orientalist ways of thinking and acting. Second, in a few instances scholars use this term to describe a class of scholars, such as Bernard Lewis, who reject Said's analysis of the notion of Orientalism or want to revise it to one degree or another.

See also: Affirmative Orientalism, Dissident Orientalism, Jewish Orientalism, Orientalist Projection, Radical Orientalism (2nd Usage), Reverse Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Reed W. Dasenbrock, "Saladin, Confucius, and the Status of the Other in Dante and Pound.” In Dante e Pound: Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi «Dante e Pound», Ravenna, 8–10 Settembre 1995 (Longo Editore, 1998); Mariana Ferrarelli, “Children’s Literature and Gender: A Critical Approach.” Critical Literacy 1 (2007); Malreddy P. Kumar, "Introduction: Orientalism(s) after 9/11." Journal of Postcolonial Writing 48 (2012); Karla Mallette, European Modernity and the Arab Mediterranean: Toward a New Philology and a Counter-Orientalism (U. of Pennsylvania, 2010); Stefano Rapisarda, “Orientalism, Counter-Orientlaisms and the History of Philology.” Archivio Storico per la Scilia Orientale 105 (2009).

Covert OrientalismSee Hidden Orientalism.

Creeping Orientalism

Scholars generally use this term in one of two ways: first, most scholars who use this term, as well as some motion picture and literary critics, use it to describe the slow, cumulative infiltration of the type of Western Orientalist stereotypes and prejudices described in Edward W. Said’s seminal text, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978)—stereotypes that brand Asians as having an essentially unchanging and inferior identity.  Thus, Thomas Angotti (2013) argues that post-Revolutionary China has pursued urban planning and other policies severed from its original emphasis on rural and peasant life, which policies have over time amounted to a Westernizing “creeping Orientalism”.   Second, much less frequently a few scholars use this term to describe Western Orientalists fears of the subterranean spread of “Oriental” thinking or themes.  While not rare, this term is also not widely used, esp. in its second usage.  [2/21]

See also: Cinematic Orientalism, Hidden Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Implicit Orientalism, Latent Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Self-Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Thomas Angotti, The New Century of the Metropolis: Urban Enclaves and Orientalism (Routledge, 2013); Morgan Baxter, “Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson,” 2014. At Somorgasbok (, accessed 2/21; Antoinette Burton, The Postcolonial Careers of Santha Rama Rau (Duke U., 2007); Joshua Foust, “Spilling Over in Central Asia,” 2010. At Intellibriefs (, accessed 2/21; Devyani Gupta, Book Review: “The Testimonies of Indian Soldiers and the Two World Wars: Gajendra Singh
.” In The Round Table 2015 (Routledge, 2015);  Ellen E. Jones, “’There are No Black People on Game of Thrones’: Why is Fantasy TV so White?,” 2019. At The Guardian (, accessed 2/21; Kathryn Lasky, “To Stingo with Love: An Author’s Perpsective on Writing outside One’s Culture.” New Advocate 9 (1996); James Najarian, “The ‘Problem’ of Buddhism for Western Literature.” In The Routledge Companion to Literature and Religion (Routledge, 2016).

Critical Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe analytical, scholarly (i.e. "critical") treatments of the subject of Orientalism and Orientalist discourses, which treatments fall into two large categories. First, scholars more often apply this term to Edward W. Said's analysis of Saidian Orientalism in his book, Orientalism (1978) and other writings as well as all of the critical, analytical scholarly work that has been done on Saidian Orientalism and ideological Orientalism, since 1978. Said in this case is credited with founding critical Orientalism. A very few scholars have called Saidian and ideological Orientalism unself-critical Orientalism or pre-critical Orientalism. More broadly, the term critical Orientalism is used occasionally to refer to scholarly, analytical evaluations of Orientalism without any reference to Said.  Second, a few scholars have used this term more precisely to describe European Orientalist intellectual currents that imagined the "Orient" as having an essential, verifiable reality but were self-critically aware of the limitations of the knowledge of its reality including specifically certain Enlightenment writers and a larger number of nineteenth-century European scholars who were both Orientalists and critical of ideological Orientalism.


See also: Academic Orientalism, Conformist Orientalism, Enlightenment Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Post-Orientalism, Post-Saidian Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Hasan Baktir, “Representation of the Ottoman Orient in Eighteenth Century English Literature” (Ph.D. diss., Middle East Technical U., 2007); William I. CohenReflections on Orientalism: Edward Said, Roger Besnahan, Surjit Dulai, Edward Graham, and Donald Lammers (Michigan State, [1983]); Peter Heehs, “Shades of Orientalism: Paradoxes and Problems in Indian Historiography.” History and Theory 42 (2003); Jeffrey S. Librett, Orientalism and the Figure of the Jew (Fordham, 2015); Sherry Vint, “Joanna Russ’s The Two of Them in an Age of Third-wave Feminism.” In On Joanna Russ (Wesleyan, 2009); Jennifer Yee, The Colonial Comedy: Imperialism in the French Realist Novel (Oxford, 2016).

Crony Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe an economic system, supposedly prevalent in parts of Asia, in which politically connected family members and/or friends and associates receive preferential financial treatment from those in power. In the wake of the Asian financial crisis of 1997, a number of economists and other commentators used this notion to argue that the crisis was caused by deficiencies and instabilities associated with crony capitalism and that Asian, especially Southeast Asian, nations are culturally susceptible to crony capitalism because they are patron-client societies. Scholars also sought to prove their point by showing that Asian nations predominated in “indexes of crony capitalism.” While Andrew Latham (1999) considers these arguments to be a resurrection of 19th century economic Orientalism, scholars generally have not framed the debate over crony capitalism in terms of Orientalism. They have, however, argued that blaming the 1997 crisis on Asian crony capitalism: (1) inserts irrelevant ideological concerns into that debate; (2) ignores the fact that cronyism is a worldwide phenomenon and is not intrinsically tied to patron-client societies; (3) introduces a moralistic, demeaning attitude concerning Asian values and cultural forms; (4) ignores the fact that the 1997 crisis had differing causes in different nations; and, (5) says more about those who make this claim than about Asian economies themselves. Several of these points recall scholarly critiques of the idea of Orientalism; and the notion of crony capitalism as it is applied to Asian nations is, in fact, a covert form of ideological Orientalism.  [1/19]

See also: Covert Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Economic Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Andrew Latham, "Response to Woo-Cumings," Macalester International 7 (1999); Eddy Lee, "The Debate on the Causes of the Asian Crisis: Crony Capitalism Versus International System Failure." Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft (1999); Andrew MacIntyre, “Crony Capitalism in East Asia: Has Anything Changed?,” 2006.  At (, accessed 1/19; Pia Muzaffar, “To What Extent is ‘Crony Capitalism’ a Reasonable Explanation for Recent Experiences of the East Asian ‘Developmental State’?,” 2008. At E-International Relations Students (, accessed 1/19; Robert Wade,“From ‘Miracle’ to ‘Cronyism’: Explaining the Great Asian Slump.” In Financial Liberalization and the Asian Crisis (Palgrave, 2001).

Crude Orientalism

Scholars use this term, almost invariably in passing and without defining it, to refer directly or by implication to Saidian Orientalism. In usage, it is similar to hard Orientalism. To the degree that there is a distinction, it would be that hard Orientalism is more intentional, a choice, and could be well thought out; crude Orientalism is ideological Orientalism in its most basic, raw, and unrefined state. Rarely, there is an implication that crude Orientalism is an earlier stage in the development of Orientalism.

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

Sources & Examples: Heribert Adam & Kogila MoodleySeeking Mandela: Peacemaking Between Israelis and Palestinians (UCL Press, 2005); Ron Geaves, Islam Today: An Introduction (Continuum International, 2010); John Maier, Desert Songs: Western Images of Morocco and Moroccan Images of the Wes t(State U. of New York, 1996); Arne J. Vetlesen, Evil and Human Agency: Understanding Collective Evildoing (Cambridge, 2005).

Crypto Orientalism. See Hidden Orientalism.

Culinary Orientalism

Scholars use this infrequently used term usually to describe situations where an (Oriental) Other is imagined and defined by the supposedly "exotic" foods they eat and the ways in which they eat. In some cases, these eating habits are seen to be crude and repulsive; in other cases, they may be enticing and even promote spiritual healing. A very few scholars use the term Gastronomical Orientalism to describe a form of culinary Orientalism in which Western consumers of "exotic Oriental" cuisine imagine, control, and thus determine what they consider to be authentic Asian cuisine, which removes Asian food from its own context.  [8/16]

See also: Economic Orientalism, Practical Orientalism (Post-Said), Cultural Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Jon Fasman, “Culinary Orientalism,” 2007. At New York Times (, accessed 8/16; Jeremy Strong, “A Short Poetics of Cruel Food.” In Educated Tastes: Food, Drink, and Connoisseur Culture (U. of Nebraska, 2011); Merrianne Timko, “Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet:A Culinary Perspective.” In Durrell and the City: Collected Essays on Place  (Fairleigh Dickinson, 2012).

Cultural Orientalism

Scholars use this widely-used term usually in one of two ways, both of which reflect the two basic meanings of the word "culture" itself.  First, they use it broadly to describe all of the many ways in which Orientalists imagine and construct an (Oriental) Other's social behavior and relationships, ways of life, values, beliefs, customs and practices, ideas, language, and anything else that is generally and broadly considered to be "cultural". In this sense, it can be argued that Orientalism in its many forms is first-and-foremost about culture. Orientalists invent imaginary pseudo-cultures, which they impose on the Other.  Second, scholars more narrowly use this term to describe "culture" as one medium of Orientalist expression, which includes such things as literature, the arts, and music—what collectively is often termed "high" culture. In this usage, scholars sometimes include it in lists of types of Orientalism, which might also include, for example, academic Orientalism or ideological Orientalism. Only occasionally do scholars consciously include popular culture in the use of this particular term although some do observe that the Asian tourist industry imagines and constructs its own "Oriental" cultures (including merchandise and attractions) to sell to tourists. While Edward W. Said (1978) does not use this term as such, he does treat the relationship of Orientalism to culture in both these ways and argues that Western Orientalists have long used their ideological constructions of the East to dominate it culturally by constructing the East as being essentially inferior to the West. Most scholars follow Said's usage and argue that Western Orientalists have long stereotyped the cultures of "the Orient" as being degenerate, more or less corrupt, decadent, sensual, and effeminate. Historically, the notion of cultural Orientalism is linked to European colonialism, and some scholars argue that in effect classical academic Orientalism as a field of study focused on Asian cultures.  Oriental cultures, in this case, are specifically the object of the Western Orientalist gaze.  [revised 9/18]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Aesthetic Orientalism, Bloomsbury Orientalism, Cinematic Orientalism, Commercial Orientalism, Culinary Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism (Post-Said), Exotic Orientalism, False Orientalism, Fashion Orientalism, Governmental Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Linguistic Orientalism, Orientalese, Orientalist Gaze, Orientalist Tourism, Philosophical Orientalism, Pop Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Practical Orientalism (Post-Said), Pulp Orientalism, Postmodern Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Sartorial Orientalism, Social Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, Transorientalism, Vernacular Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Fouad Bougetta & Sally Bould, “Oil Revenues and Problematic Development: The Case of Algeria.” Discourse of Sociological Practice 7 (2005); Madeleine DobieForeign Bodies: Gender, Language, and Culture in French Orientalism (Stanford, 2001); Allen Douglas & Fedwa Malti-Douglas, “Orientalism – Bibliography,” n.d. At Science Encyclopedia (, accessed 8/18; Vasant Kaiwar & Sucheta Mazumdar, “The Coordinates of Orientalism: Reflections on the Universal and the Particular.” In From Orientalism to Postcolonialism: Asia, Europe and the Lineages of Difference (Routledge, 2009); Kim M. PhillipsBefore Orientalism: Asian Peoples and Cultures in European Travel Writing, 1245-1510 (U. of Pennsylvania, 2014); David Prochaska, “Art of Colonialism, Colonialism of Art: The Description de l’Égypte (1809–1828). L'Esprit Créateur 34 (1994); Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Adel Samara, “Terrorist Orientalism in a State Form: Using Marxism, Christianity and Islam to Dismantle Arab Homeland (Part 1),” 2015.  At Kanaanonline (, accessed 8/18; Joshua Teitelbaum & Meir Litvak, “Students, Teachers, and Edward Said: Taking Stock of Orientalism.” Middle East Review of International Affairs 10 (2006).

Cybernetic Orientalism

This term is seldom used and frequently used in passing in various contexts. There does not seem to be a clear, concise meaning that is generally agreed upon. It appears to be still less used after roughly 2000. The scholars who use this term seem to be making at least two assertions about the nature of ideological Orientalism and its relationship to information and decision-making systems.  First, Orientalism itself may be viewed as a closed informational system designed by Orientalists over time to manage their perceptions of "Oriental" Others.  Second, scholars also use this term to suggest that designers and users of cybernetic informational problem solving systems tend to introduce, perhaps unwittingly, Orientalist stereotypes and prejudices into those systems.  [7/17]

See also: Electronic Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Kathleen Biddick, The Shock of Medievalism (Duke, 1998); Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, “Sexuality in the Age of Fiber Optics” (Ph. D. diss., Princeton, 1999); C. Greig Crysler, “Introduction: Time’s Arrows: Spaces of the Past.” In The SAGE Handbook of Architectural Theory (SAGE, 2013); Ashley Dawson, “The Visual Economy of Urban Empire,” 2011; At Ashley Dawson (, accessed 7/17.


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