top of page

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).



Early Orientalism

Scholars use this term, in general, to describe the initial historical stages or periods of Orientalism itself, dated variously anywhere from the beginning of the late 15th century to the 17th or 18th centuries. There is, however, no standard periodisation for the study of Orientalism—different scholars using different schemes—meaning especially that the distinction between early Orientalism and early modern Orientalism as well as between early Orientalism and Renaissance Orientalism and Enlightenment Orientalism is not clear.  Some scholars argue that the period of early Orientalism was a period when Western Orientalist views of Asia were becoming more ideological and imaginative.  Early Orientalism, in any event, is usually seen as ending in the early 19th century, and it is linked to, again depending on the scholar, cultural changes such as the Enlightenment or the emergence of science. While sometimes this term is used similarly to the terms nascent Orientalism and proto-Orientalism, those terms focus more on that which anticipated or foreshadowed the emergence of Orientalism rather than being historical stages of Orientalism itself. The term incipient Orientalism is often used as a synonym for early Orientalism.

See also: Amateur Orientalism, Christian Orientalism, Early Modern Orientalism, Medieval Orientalism, Pre-Modern Orientalism, Pre-Orientalism, Proto-Orientalism, Renaissance Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Carol A. Breckenridge & Peter van der Veer, “Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament.” In Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament: Perspectives on South Asia (Pennsylvania, 1993); Adam Geczy, Fashion and Orientalism: Dress, Textiles and Culture from the 17th to the 21st Century (Bloomsbury, 2013); Edmund Robert Goode, “East of New England: Reorienting the Early Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau” (Ph.D. diss., Cornell, 2010); Ivan D. KalmarEarly Orientalism: Imagined Islam and the Notion of Sublime Power (Routledge, 2012); Baghdiantz McCabeOrientalism in Early Modern France: Eurasian Trade, Exoticism, and the Ancien Régime (Berg, 2008).

Early Modern Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe the ways in which European Orientalism from roughly the 15th/16th through the 17th/early 18th centuries laid the ground work for modern Orientalism and yet still differed from it in important ways—the degree of similarity and difference depending on the scholar and on the particular nation of Europe being considered (e.g. Spain or England). Scholars generally see it as being similar to modern Orientalism in that (Western) Europe considered the Orient, which had previously meant  the Ottoman Empire, to be essentially different from and inferior to Christian Europe; and in a carry over from medieval fear of and disdain for Islam, the "infidel Turk" was considered to be by their very nature crafty, cruel, immoral, and damned by God. However, scholars also argue that early modern Orientalism differed from modern Orientalism in several ways, including (depending on the scholar): in the early modern period (1) the geographical extent of "Orientalism" was limited primarily to the Ottoman Empire and the definition of what exactly was "Oriental" was less clear; (2) Christian thinking and the Bible were still more central to European attitudes; yet, (3) attitudes toward the Ottoman Empire were more ambivalent and the sense of it being a radically different "Other" was less intense; (4) the "Orient" was more powerful, and Europe did not dominate it nor was European colonialism or imperialism involved; and (5) the institutional academic establishment of scholars, schools, and publications that was a hall mark of the modern era was not yet in place. In sum, scholars argue that the Orientalisms of the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras were more ambivalent toward the Ottoman Empire than would later be the case and sometimes more willing to explore similarities with rather than absolute differences from the (Oriental) Other. Yet, the general consensus seems to be that early modern Orientalism laid the fundamental groundwork of modern Orientalism in its treatment of the Ottomans as being essentially Other and inherently inferior. It should be noted, however that there is no standard periodization for the study of Orientalism—different scholars using different schemes—meaning that the chronological distinction between early modern Orientalism and other terms for the  periodization of Orientalism, such as early Orientalism and pre-modern Orientalism as well as Renaissance Orientalism and Enlightenment Orientalism, is often unclear.

See also:Amateur Orientalism, Catholic Orientalism, Early Orientalism, Emergent Orientalism, Enlightenment Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Modern Orientalism, Pre-Modern Orientalism, Renaissance Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Soft Orientalism, Theological Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Michael Andrew Gonzales,“The Shaping of Empire: History Writing and Imperial Identity in Early Modern Spain” (Ph.D. diss., Berkeley, 2013); James Knowles, “’The Faction of the Flesh’: Orientalism and the Caroline Masque.” In The 1630s: Interdisciplinary Essays on Culture and Politics in the Caroline Era (Manchester, 2006); Michéle LonginoOrientalism in French Classical Drama (Cambridge, 2002); Heather Madar,"Between Saracen Princess and Odalisque: Renaissance Representations of Ottoman Women" (Paper, Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, 2011); Fahd Al-Olaqi, “The ‘Idol’ of Prophet Muhammad in Greene’s Alphonsus.” Journal of English Language and Literature 6 (2016); Daniel VitkusTurning Turk: English Theater and the Multicultural Mediterranean (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).

Eastern Orientalism

Scholars use this term, first used apparently by Sheldon Pollock (1993), in at least three different ways.  First and most often, they use it, as Pollock did, to describe Asian forms of ideological Orientalisms, which draw on both indigenous and Western sources and are used by Asians to construct identities both for themselves and for other Asians.  Rachel MagShambráin (2009), thus, uses this term to describe how the Ottoman Turks both encouraged Europeans to imagine the Turks in positive, idealistic ways useful to the Turks themselves and to stereotype Armenians in negative, demeaning ways also useful to the Turks.  This first usage is very similar to scholarly uses of the term Oriental OrientalismSecond and less often, other scholars use this term to refer to ways in which Edward W. Said (1978) and many other scholars of Orientalism understand the notion of Orientalism as being a Western colonialist and imperialistic ideology that imagines and constructs “Orientals” as having exotic, essential, virtually timeless identities inferior to the West.  In this usage, “Eastern Orientalism” is thus a synonym for classical Orientalism (i.e. Saidian Orientalism).  Third and least often, a few scholars use this term to describe artistic styles that are associated with “the Orient”.  It should be noted that scholars usually use this term in passing and, at times, it is difficult to discern which meaning is intended.  [9/19]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Oriental Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Example: First Usage: Hanan Hammad, "From Orientalism to Khomeinism: A Century of Persian Studies in Egypt." Alif 35 (2015); Ying-Wei Tiffany Sung, “Turandot’s Homecoming: Seeking the Authentic Princess of China in a New Contest of Riddles” (M.Mus. thesis, Bowling Green State, 2010); K. Kasiyan, “Questioning Western Character Hegemony in Indonesian Aesthetic Books.” In Character Education for 21st Century Global Citizens… (Routledge, 2018); Sheldon Pollock, “Deep Orientalism? Notes on Sanskrit and Power beyond the Raj.” In Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament: Perspectives on South Asia (U. of Pennsylvania, 1993); Rachel MagShambráin, “Displacing Orientalism: Ottoman Jihad, German Imperialism, and the Armenian Genocide.” In Encounters with Islam in German Literature and Culture (Camden House, 2009).  Second Usage: James Smalls, “Menace at the Portal: Masculine Desire and the Homoerotics of Orientalism.” In Orientalism, Eroticism and Modern Visuality in Global Cultures (Routledge, 2016); Tarek Ladjal & Mohd R. M. Nor, "Terrorism Accusation as a Phase in Conflict of Civilizations: A Reading of The Evolution of Islamic Violence in the Western Mind." World Journal of Islamic History and Civilization 4 (2014); Janusz Korek, “Central and Eastern Europe from a Postcolonial Perspective.” At Postcolonial Europe (, accessed 9/19.  Third Usage: Sengupta, “The Renaissance Man—Satyajit Ray,” 2013. At Finesse (, accessed 9/19; Lindsey Treweek, "The Legacy of Ballets Russes and Nijinsky’s Interpretation of Debussy and Stravinsky,” 2014. At Academia (, accessed 9/19.

Eclectic Orientalism

The scholarly use of this term goes back to at least the earlier 20th century, and until roughly the 1990s it was used by scholars to describe Western schools of thought, such as Theosophy, that combine supposedly Eastern ideas with their thinking.  Stuart Hall (1969) thus describes the American hippie movement of the 1960s as representing an “eclectic Orientalism” that drew on Asian scriptures, mysticism, religion, and music.  Very rarely, a modern-day scholar still uses this term in this sense.  Since the 1990s, however, scholars have usually used both this term and the term Orientalist eclecticism to describe literary, artistic, and decorative styles (including architecture, interior design, fashion design, and painting among others) that combine elements of Asian and Western styles, into one work.  These combinations often include a number of different Asian styles.  The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, England, is frequently cited as an example of “eclectic Orientalism,” and Ottoman public architecture represents a particular form of “Orientalist eclecticism”.  Allyson McDermott (2015) argues that eclectic Orientalism in interior design began with London’s Crace family firm of interior decorators, including Frederick Crace (1779-1859) and John Gregory Crace (1809-1889).  [9/19]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Architectural Orientalism, Beat Orientalism, Fashion Orientalism, Philosophical Orientalism, Seaside Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Eclectic Orientalism: Sigal Davidi, “Dora Gad 1912-2003,” 2009. At Jewish Women’s Archive (, accessed 9/19; Rachel Fensham, “Designing for Movement: Dance Costumes, Arch Schools and Natural Movement in the Early Twentieth Century.” Journal of Design History 28 (2015); Stuart Hall, “The Hippies: An American ‘Moment’” (Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, 1968); Bilge Imamoglu, “Architectural Production in State Offices: An Inquiry into the Professionalization of Architecture in Early Republican Turkey” (M.A. thesis, Middle E. Technical U., 2010); Freddy Kahana, Neither Village Nor City (, 2015); John M. MacKenzie, Orientalism: History, Theory and the Arts (Manchester U., 1995); E. H. McCormick, An Absurd Ambition: Autobiographical Writings (Aukland U., 2013); Allyson McDermott, “Historic Wallpaper.” Journal of Building Survey, Appraisal & Valuation 4 (2015); Sheila Walsh, “Pragmatic Utopia and Romantic Science: Colonial Identities and Saint-Simonian Influences in the Writings of Thomas Ismaÿl Urbain (1812-1884) and Henri Duveyrier (1840-1892).” (Ph.D. diss., National U. of Ireland, Galway, 2013); Nicholas Wordsworth, “On the Edge of Africa,” 2008. At Financial Times (, accessed 9/19.  Orientalist Eclecticism:  Valerie Kennedy, “Orientalism in the Victorian Era,” 2017. At Oxford Research Encyclopedias (, accessed 9/19; Mary Roberts, “Artists, Amateurs, and the Pleated Time of Ottoman Modernity.” In Time in the History of Art: Temporality, Chronology and Anachrony (Routledge, 2018); Mehmet B. Tanman, “Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Funerary Architecture: From Innovation to Eclecticism.” In Islamic Art in the 19th Century: Tradition, Innovation, and Eclecticism (Brill, 2006).

Economic Orientalism

Scholars generally use this term and the term Orientalist economics to describe the ways in which “Oriental” economic activities, structures, and institutions are imagined and constructed to be essentially different from the West. Although scholars use both of these terms fairly frequently, the relationship of the notion of Orientalism to economic thought and behavior has received somewhat limited study; and that work which has been done has largely been carried out in the context of Edward W. Said’s claim (in Orientalism, 1978) that Western economic thought and behavior is rooted in the pervasive, fundamental impact of Western ideological Orientalism. In the 19th century, thus, it was believed that Asian economies were at once wealthy and decadent. They were imagined to be backward, stagnant, wasteful, and dominated by effeminate rulers, which meant that they were the very opposite of Western economies. They, in fact, supposedly required Western assistance to save them from their economic plight, which assistance often came in the form of European colonialism. More recently, Orientalist commentators stereotype Asian economies as being driven, in important part, by inherently Asian sociocultural factors such as client-patron relationships and family-centered businesses. Some believe that those economies are hampered by their archaic, “quaint” natures, and commentators usually assume (openly or more covertly) that Western economic practices are more disciplined, motivated, and effective in comparison. Other commentators, however, argue that Asian economies are by their very nature superior in some ways to those of the rest of the world. A very few scholars use the terms Market Orientalism and Financial Orientalism to describe this same phenomena of economic Orientalism.  [revised 1/19]

See also: Commercial Orientalism, Consumer Orientalism, Crony Capitalism, Franchised Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Marxist Orientalism, Neoliberal Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, Transorientalism, Wacky Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Gerard Cohen-VrignaudRadical Orientalism: Rights, Reform, and Romanticism( Cambridge, 2015); Stephen F. Dale, Indian Merchants and Eurasian Trade, 1600-1750 (Cambridge, 1994); John R. EperjesiThe Imperialist Imaginary: Visions of Asia and the Pacific in American Culture (Dartmouth, 2005); Susan Greenhaigh, “De-Orientalizing the Chinese Family Firm.” American Ethnologist 21 (1994); Pavan K. Malreddy, "Introduction: Orientalism(s) after 9/11." Journal of Postcolonial Writing 48 (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 U., 2015); Carina Ren & Can-Seng Ooi, "Auto-Communicating Micro-Orientalism: Articulating ‘Denmark’ in China at the Shanghai Expo." Asia Europe Journal 11 (2013); Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Benjamin SmithMarket Orientalism: Cultural Economy and the Arab Gulf States (Syracuse, 2015); Gordon White & Roger Goodman, “Welfare Orientalism and the Search for an East Asian Welfare Model.” In The East Asian Welfare Model: Welfare Orientalism and the State (Routledge, 1998); Abdallah Zouache, "Islam, Institutions, Development, and the Mistakes of Orientalist Economics," 2016. At CRESPPA (, accessed 1/19.

Educational Orientalism

A very few scholars have used this very rarely-used term to describe the use of school and university curricula to impose one language on native-language speakers of other languages.  Citing the example of the Baltic nations both in the Soviet era and since, for example, David Coulby (1997) describes the way in which the Soviet government and Baltic national governments since have used their educational systems to create what he terms “asymmetrical bilingualism” (pp. 15-16).  [1/20]

See also: Ideological Orientalism, Linguistic Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesChristopher N. Candlin, “General Editor’s Preface.”  In Language and Development: Teachers in a Changing World (Routledge, 1997); David Coulby, “Educational Responses to Diversity Within the State.”  In World Yearbook of Education 1997: Intercultural Education (Kogan Page, 1997).

Egyptian Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually in one of two ways: first, they use it to describe the ways in which Western Orientalists have imagined and constructed ancient Egypt as having had an essential, unchanging identity, which is most often understood to be inferior to the West. Going back to the 19th century (see, Margaret J. Prestin, 1886), scholars and critics especially use it to describe the style of 19th century Orientalist paintings which imagines a sensuous, exotic Egypt. They also use it to describe cinematic, musical, and occult representations of ancient Egypt down to the present. A seductive, scantily-clad Cleopatra is a favorite theme as are hieroglyphics, the Sphinx, the pyramids, and other monumental constructions. Joseph A. Boone (2014) uses this term to describe Western homoerotic fantasies of a “hypermasculine” Egyptian manhood. This first usage is the one most frequently used by scholars. Second, a few scholars and critics use this term to describe a style used by some modern Egyptian artists who draw on ancient Egyptian images. More rarely still, this term is used to describe a form of Oriental Orientalism, by which Egyptians hold negative attitudes towards their Arab neighbors (see Ahmed Wael, 2014). This term is distinguished from the notion of Egyptomania. Scholars use the notion of “Egyptian Orientalism” in the context of Edward W. Said (1978) and his pejorative understanding of Western Orientalism while scholars using the term “Egyptomania” tend to be less certain about, reject, or ignore the applicability of Said to Western usages and images of ancient Egypt.  [10/22]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Cinematic Orientalism, Egyptomania, Homoerotic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Musical Orientalism, Oriental Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesFirst Usage: Doris Behrens-Abouseif, “Orientalist Aesthetics and National Identity in 19th-century Egypt,” 2019. At Building Object (, accessed 9/22;Brittany Barbieri, et. al., “Egyptian Orientalism: A Cultural Movement of the Harlem Renaissance,” 2011.” At High Yellow (, accessed 10/22; Elizabeth J. Bellamy, Affective Genealogies (U. of Nebraska, 1997); Joseph A. Boone, The Homoerotics of Orientalism (Columbia U., 2014); David Huckvale, Ancient Egypt in the Popular Imagination (McFarland & Co., 2012); Angela Nasr, “Egypt Oriental: A Mural,” 2019. At Behance (, accessed 10/22; Lori Lee Oates, “Secrecy Redefined: Print Culture and the Globalization of the Occult in the Long Nineteenth Century (Ph.D. diss., U. of Exeter, 2016); Jane K. Pettegree, “Foreign and Native on the English Stage, 1588-1611: Metaphor and National Identity:” (Ph.D. diss., U. of St. Andrews, 2009); Deborah Philips, Fairground Attractions (Bloomsbury, 2012); Margaret J. Prestin, A Handful of Monographs (Anson D. F. Randolph & Co., 1886). Second Usage: Nadania Idriss, “Architecture as an Expression of Identity: Abbas Hilmi and the Neo-Mamluk Style,” 2010. At Scholarsmine (, accessed 3/10; Anna Sulkin, “On the Cover: June 2019,” 2019. At (, accessed 10/22; Ahmed Wael, “Egypt’s Brand of Orientalism,” 2014. At (, accessed 3/10; Jessica Winegar, Creative Reckonings: The Politics of Art and Culture in Contemporary Egypt (Sanford U., 2006). Other Sources: Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Jon Stewart, “Hegel and the Egyptian Religion as a Mystery or Enigma: The Inner and the Outer.” Filozofia 72 (2017).


The term “Egyptomania” was first introduced into both French and English in the very early 19th century, and is now widely and frequently used by scholars, critics, and commentators to describe a cultural and aesthetic phenomenon that is most broadly defined as a “fascination with ancient Egypt.” While some scholars object to the term because of its association with “mania,” which implies Egyptomania is irrational and even pathological, most scholars simply ignore that implication. Carole Jarsaillon (2018) suggests that this term might better be called “Egyptophilia” while Jean-Marcel Humbert (see Humbert, Jean-Marcel, et. al., L'Egyptomanie dans l'art occidental. ACR éd., 1989) refines the notion to mean specifically the use of ancient Egyptian forms adapted to other contexts so that their meanings are transformed (see Renata Tatomir, 2015). Scholars document periods of Egyptomania going as far back as ancient Greece and Rome as well as in the Middle Ages and almost continuously since the late 18th century. (See the Britannica entry, “Egyptomania: Sphinxes, Obelisks, and Scarabs”). Such periods frequently involve both popular and high culture in literature, the arts including especially architecture, cinema, the mass media, beliefs and ideas, and wide varieties of commodities that replicate ancient Egyptian styles. Periods of Western Egyptomania have been sparked by such events as Antoine Galland’s publication of The Thousand and One Nights (1704-1717), Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt and Syria (1798-1801), and Howard Carter's rediscovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922. One of the issues concerning the notion of “Egyptomania” is its relationship to the notion of Orientalism especially as understood by Edward W. Said (1978) who considers Orientalism to be a Western-bred ideology that creates “Orientals” as having a single, essential, unchanging, and negative identity. Some scholars consider Egyptomania to be an important form of Saidian Orientalism, others see it as overlapping with Orientalism to one degree or another, and still others treat it as a separate, distinct, and more benign notion. Claudia Gyss (2010) argues that Orientalism gave birth to modern-day Egyptomania, including particularly the treatment of ancient Egypt as being essentially exotic. Egyptomania’s fixation with Cleopatra is a form of sexual Orientalism. Other notions closely related to Egyptomania include Tutmania and Pharaonism. Scholars see archaeology and museums as being key modern-day agents promoting Egyptomania, which has become a global phenomenon including Asian nations such as Japan.  [10/22]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Architectural Orientalism, Cinematic Orientalism, Egyptian Orientalism, French Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Oriental Enthusiasm, Oriental Fad, Saidian Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesJan Assmann & Florian Ebeling, “The Mnemohistory of Egypt: Approaches Towards an Understanding of Egypt in Intellectual History.” In Beyond Egyptomania: Objects, Style and Agency (De Gruyter, 2020); Alexandra Boender, “Egyptomania in Hellenistic Greece: A Study based on Water in the Cult of Isis” (B.A. thesis, Uppsala U., 2019); Mel Buchanan, “Egyptomania: Looking Back at Ancient Egyptian Culture,” 2022. At MOMA: New Orleans Museum of Art (, accessed 9/22; Matthew Coniam, Egyptomania Goes to the Movies (McFarland & Co., 2017); Dahesh Museum of Art, “Egyptomania: 19th Century Depictions of Ancient Egypt,” n.d. At Dahesh Museum of Art (, accessed 9/22; Ali Abu Dashish, “Egyptomania in Japan!,” 2019. At Sada ElBalad English (, accessed 9/22; Lonneke Delpeut & Hylke Hettema, “Ancient Arabian Horses? Revisiting Ancient Egyptian Equine Imagery.” Proceedings of the Current Research in Egyptology (2019); Ronald H. Fritze, Egyptomania (Reaktion Books, 2016); Allegra Fryxell, “Tutankhamen, Egyptomania, and Temporal Enchantment in Interwar Britain.” 20th Century British History 28 (2017); Claudia Gyss, “The Roots of Egyptomania and Orientalism: From the Renaissance to the Nineteenth Century.” In French Orientalism: Culture, Politics, and the Imagined Other (Cambridge Scholars, 2010); Ľubica Hudáková & Jozef Hudec, “Foreword.” In Egypt and Austria IX (Aigyptos Foundation, 2016); Carole Jarsaillon, “Modern Egyptomania and Early Egyptology: The Case of Mariette’s 1867 Egyptian Temple.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts 40 (2018); Amr T. Kamal, “Empires and Emporia: Fictions of the Department Store in the Modern Mediterranean” (Ph.D. diss., U. of Michigan, 2013); Chelsey Lewington, “Orientalism, Exoticism and Cultural Exchange in 19th Century Western Dress (Part 1),” n.d. At The Costume Society (, accessed 9/22; Maya Muratov, review of “Ronald H. Fritze, Egyptomania: A History of Fascination, Obsession and Fantasy,” 2017. At Bryn Mawr Classical Review (, accessed 9/22; Jennifer D. Patterson, “Beyond Orientalism: Nineteenth Century Egyptomania and Frederick Arthur Bridgman’s The Funeral of a Mummy” (M.A. thesis, U. of Louisville, 1992); Christopher W. Puder, “Egyptomania: American Cultural Representations of Egypt During the Cold War:” (M.A. Thesis, 2012); Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Iris Schmeisser, “’Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands’: Ethiopianism, Egyptomania, and the Arts of the Harlem Renaissance.” In African Diasporas in the New and Old Worlds (Brill, 2004); Renata Tatomir, “Egyptomania in Antiquity and in Modern World Literature.” Discourse as a Form of Multiculturalism in Literature and Communication 3 (2015); Scott Trafton, Egypt Land (Duke U., 2004); Marjorie S. Venit, “Ancient Egyptomania: The Uses of Egypt in Graeco-Roman Alexandria.” In Leaving No Stones Unturned (Pennsylvania State U., 2002); Miguel J. Versluys, “Haunted by Egypt: A Long-Term Perspective on History, Mnemohistory, and Material Culture.” In Beyond Egyptomania: Objects, Style and Agency (De Gruyter, 2020).

Electronic Orientalism

Scholars use this relatively infrequently used term usually in one of at least two ways.  First and more generally, they use it to describe the ways in which modern computerized communications media continue to convey ideological images and constructions of Asians as having an essential nature that is assumed to be inferior to the West.  Second and less frequently, a few scholars use this term to describe computer-related music that draws on supposedly Oriental elements.  [4/18]

See also: Cybernetic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Musical Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, Virtual Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesKoushik Banerjea & Jatinder Barn, “Versioning Terror: Jallianwala Bagh and the Jungle.”  In Inventing Rhythms: The Politics of the New Asian Dance Music (Zed Books, 1996); Arndt Graf, “Electronic Orientalism? The Afterlife of Syed Hussein Alatas’ ‘The Myth of the Lazy Native’ in Electronic Databases.” New Media and Society 12 (2010); Les Levidov, “The Paranoid Rationality of the Gulf Massacre,” n.d. At Ars Electronica Archives (, accessed 4/18.

Elite Orientalism. See Classical Orientalism.

Emergent Orientalism

Scholars use this infrequently used term usually in passing.  They sometimes use it to describe the ways in which individual thinkers such as Emerson, Thoreau, or Hegel explore and develop their own personal understanding of Asia in the earliest stages of their thinking (see Goode, 2010; Bhadra, 1986).  At other times, they use it to describe the earliest stages of classical European Orientalist thinking beginning in the 18th century by which thinkers and others developed an increasingly organized body of ideas about “the Orient”.  They usually seem to have Edward W. Said’s (1978) notion of Western Orientalism (i.e. Saidian Orientalism) in mind.  Marandi and Pirnajmuddin (2010) particularly observe that this emergent Orientalism can be understood as being similar to Said’s concept of latent Orientalism, which is to say that it tended to be more subterranean and somewhat subconscious than overt and intentional.  Berglund (n.d.) seems to describe all of 19th century American Orientalism as being “emergent”.  [revised 1/20]

See also: Classical Orientalism, Early Orientalism, Early Modern Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Intellectual Orientalism, Proto-Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism..

Sources & Examples: Barbara Berglund, “Chinatown’s 19th Century Tourist Terrain,” n.d.  At Found (, accessed 1/20; Bula Bhadra, “Marx’s Views on India: A Sociological Appraisal of the ‘Asiatic’ Mode of Production” (Ph.D. diss., McMaster U., 1986); Edmund R. Goode, “East of New England: Reorienting the Early Writings of Ralph Walso Emerson and Henry David Thoreau” (Ph.d. diss, Cornell, 2010); Gerrie ter Haaar, Strangers and Sojourners Religious Communities in the Diaspora (Peeters Publishers, 1998); Seyyed M. Marandi & Hossein Pirnajmuddin, "Imaginative Geography": Orientalist Discourse in Paradise Lost  Assistant Professor University of Tehran, I.R. Iran.”  Pazhuhesh-e Zabanha-ye Kharej 56 (2010); Harry Oldmeadow, Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions (World Wisdom, 2004).

Empathetic Orientalism. See Sympathetic Orientalism.

Enlightened Orientalism

For the most part, scholars use this term to refer to Enlightenment Orientalism, but a few use it in passing simply to mean an Orientalism that is insightful, knowledgeable, and open-minded. This general usage goes back to the 19th and early 20th centuries when this term was used by writers who reflected the worldview of traditional Orientalism. They used it to describe what were taken to be "enlightened" forms of Oriental thinking and behavior that stood in contrast to the more common view of a supposedly backward, uneducated, and morally impoverished Orient.  [5/17]

See also: Enlightenment Orientalism, Orientalist Enlightenment, Traditional Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Ali M. Aliabadi, “Anti-Islamic book,” 2004. Letter, at Narkive (, accessed 5/ 2017; [Franz] Bopp, “A Comparative Grammar…” Translated by “Professor Wilson”. The Calcutta Review 11-12 (1849); Deepa Kumar, “"Framing Islam: Media Constructions of the Middle East Post-9/11 (Top Paper),"  2008. At allacademic research (, accessed 5/17; Anthony PagdenWorlds at War: The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West (Random House, 2008).

Enlightenment Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe the ways in which 18th century Enlightenment Era Europeans imagined and constructed the Orient. While the term itself is fairly frequently used, there has been relatively little attention devoted to Enlightenment Orientalism and much of what has been written tends to look at the subject through the lens of 19th century Orientalism and the work of Edward W. Said. This relatively small field, in fact, is dominated by Srivivas Aravamudan's book, Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel (2012), and the majority of the scholarly references to Enlightenment Orientalism are to this book, which looks at its subject through the prism of 18th century Orientalist fiction. Aravamudan concludes that Enlightenment Orientalism was a complex phenomenon that differed from the Orientalism of the 19th century in that it was less ideological, not tied to European colonialism nor invested in world domination, more ambivalent in its attitudes about the East, and less ideologically dualistic. He argues that one cannot read from Said's notion of 19th century Orientalism back to the Enlightenment. Other scholars, however, find that Enlightenment era Orientalists did frequently imagine and construct the Orient, including especially the Ottoman Empire, as being essentially and irredeemably exotic, inferior, cruel, erotic, and degenerate. They thus see clearer connections between later Orientalisms and those of the Enlightenment. Infrequently, a few scholars use the terms Enlightened Orientalism or Orientalist Enlightenment similarly to this term.  [revised 4/18]

See also: Critical Orientalism, Early Orientalism, Early Modern Orientalism, Enlightened Orientalism, Kantian Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Philo-Orientalism, Philosophical Orientalism, Pre-modern Orientalism, Proto-Orientalism, Scottish Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Srinivas AravamudanEnlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel (U. of Chicago, 2012); Katherine Binhammer, et al., “Srinivas Aravamudan’s Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel: A Roundtable Discussion."Lumen 33 (2014); Edmund Burke III, “Collective Action, Discursive Shifts: A Comparative Historical Perspective.” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 24 (1998); Matthew William HeadOrientalism, Masquerade and Mozart’s Turkish Music (Royal Musical Association, 2000).

Environmental Orientalism

Scholars use this term to identify Orientalist discourses, institutions, and practices that treat the natural environment, or particular elements of nature such as water, as an Other that has a fixed and immutable essence to be exploited. Nature is thus sometimes described in gender terms as passive, feminine, and ripe for conquest and exploitation. This term is also applied to Orientalist discourses directed specifically against indigenous peoples living in rural or wilderness environments as a backward Other that is imagined to be dangerous to the environment they live in. Environmental Orientalists thus promote a form of colonialism vis-á-vis natural environments and indigenous peoples.

See also: Alpine Orientalism, Arcticality, Climatic Orientalism, Desert Orientalism, Gendered (Gender) Orientalism, Green Orientalism, Tropicality.

Sources & Examples: Mohammad H. Basri, “Feminine Dimension in Islam and the Era of Masculinization Toward Nature.” Egalita Jurnal Kesetaraan dan Keadilan Gender 6 (2011); Bruce BraunThe Intemperate Rainforest: Nature, Culture, and Power on Canada's West Coast (U. of Minnesota, 2002); Eleanor R. Hayman, “Shaped by the Imagination: Myths of Water, Women, and Purity.” In On Water: Perceptions, Politics, Perils (Rachel Carson Center, 2012); Nemer E. Narchi & Beatriz C. Cristiani, “Subtle Tyranny Divergent Constructions of Nature and the Erosion of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Xochimilco.” Latin American Perspectives 42 (2015); Gísli Pálsson, “Human-Environmental Relations: Orientalism, Paternalism and Communalism.” In Nature and Society: Anthropological Perspectives (Routledge, 1996); Suzana Sawyer & Arun Agrawal, “Environmental Orientalisms.” Cultural Critique 45 (2000).

Epistemological Orientalism. See Orientalist Epistemology.

Erotic Orientalism. See Sexual Orientalism.

Ersatz Orientalism. See False Orientalism.

Eskimo Orientalism. See Arctic Orientalism.

Esoteric Orientalism. See Cult Orientalism.

Establishment Orientalism. See Official Orientalism.

Ethnocentric Orientalism

Scholars most often use this term as another term for ideological Orientalism usually in its more blatant and prejudicial forms, and some associate it directly with Edward W. Said's book, Orientalism (1978). It is generally used in passing and is neither frequently nor rarely used.  [10/17]

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

Sources & Examples: Sohaimi A. Aziz, "Contesting and Rejoicing the Colonial Discourse: As Reflected in a Malay Postcolonial Novel Written during the British Colonialization," 2016. At SHS Web of Conferences 23 (, accessed 10/17; Mikhail Oshukov, "Representation of Otherness In Literary Avant-Garde of Early Twentieth Century: David Burliuk’s and Ezra Pound’s Japan" (Thesis, U. of Turku, 2017); Henna-Riikka Pennanen, “Material, Mental, and Moral Progress: American Conceptions of Civilization in Late 19th Century Studies on “things Chinese and Japanese” (Diss., U. of Jyväskylä, 2015; J. Albert Rorabacher, Bihar and Mithila: The Historical Roots of Backwardness (Routledge, 2017).

Ethnographic Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually in one of two ways.  First, they sometimes use it to describe the field of study more commonly known as Orientalist ethnography, which is supposed by most scholars to have imagined and constructed Orientals as being essentially primitive and inferior.  Second, scholars use this term to describe a significant style of 19th century Orientalist painting, sculpture, and photography—primarily French and British. Ethnographic Orientalist artists sought to include in their works as many details of the "real" Orient as possible, thus supposedly portraying for their audiences authentic images of the Orient as it really was—hence the sense that their works were in effect ethnographic discourses that were academically accurate studies of Oriental peoples and cultures. Most scholars today, however, argue that their works still portrayed Orientals as having essential natures, which European artists can capture for their audiences. They still constructed an Orient that existed in their imaginations however seemingly realistic the details they included, and their art was still part of the larger Western "gaze" directed at the Orient. Many of the works of this movement, furthermore, portrayed nude or semi-nude Oriental women as being sensuous, mysterious, and sexually alluring. While some scholars trace the beginnings of ethnographic Orientalism as far back as the 14th century, this movement reached its apex in the middle decades of the 19th century when French artists took the lead in its development. Among the numerous artists who employed this style, the painter Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) and the sculptor Charles Cordier (1827-1905) are considered particularly notable. Cordier's sculpture, Nègre du Soudan (1856-1857), is considered to be one of the most exemplary works of ethnographic Orientalism. Rarely, a few scholars use the term anthropological Orientalism to describe ethnographic Orientalist art. [revised 8/18]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Genuine Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Imaginative Orientalism, Orientalist Ethnography, Orientalist Gaze, Realist Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Adrienne L. Childs, “The Black Exotic: Tradition and Ethnography in Nineteenth-Century Orientalist Art” (Ph.D. diss., Maryland, 2005); Berna Gueneli, “Orientalist Fashion, Photography, and Fantasies: Baron Max von Oppenheim's Arabian Nights in Context.” The German Quarterly 90 (2017); Alicia Walker,“The Power of Things and the Flow of Cultural Transformations / Islamic Artefacts in the Mediterranean World,” 2013. At West 86th (, accessed 8/18; Agata Wójcik, “Jean-Léon Gérôme and Stanisław Chlebowski: The Story of a Friendship,” 2010. At RIHA Journal (, accessed 8/18.

Ethno-Orientalism. See Self-Orientalism.

Etymological Orientalism. See Comparative Orientalism.

Eurocentric Orientalism

Scholars use this fairly frequently used term, usually in passing, to refer to the form of ideological Orientalism described and critiqued in Edward W. Said’s, Orientalism (1978)—that is Saidian Orientalism, also frequently termed classical Orientalism or traditional Orientalism.  It is “Eurocentric” because scholars see it as being invented in Europe, particularly Britain and France, beginning in the 18th century and exported from there to the rest of the world.  Eurocentric Orientalism is a racist, sexist, and ethnocentric ideology that imagines that “Orientals” have an essential identity (a “being”) that is exotic, changes little over time, and is the mirror image opposite of Europeans.  Eurocentric Orientalism holds that all Orientals are basically the same and fundamentally inferior to Europe, and it is closely identified with European colonialism.  Some scholars particularly emphasize its links to European academic Orientalism[7/20]

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

Sources & Examples:  Nahia Abdo, “Eurocentrism, Orientalism, and Essentialism: Some reflections on September 11 and Beyond." In September 11, 2001: Feminist Perspectives (Spinifex Press, 2002); Fazel A. Amjad, “Ontological and Epistemological” Discourse of Cultural Identity: Making an Orientalist in V. S. Naipaul's Half a Life.” Theory and Practice in Language Studies 6 (2016); Arif Dirlik, "Culture Against History? The Politics of East Asian Identity." Development and Society 28 (1999); Gloria Emegwali, “The Study of Ancient Nubia: Approaches and Methodologies.” Africa Update Newsletter 3 (2006); Ulrich T. Kragh, “Spiegelungen in Daṇḍin’s Mirror...”  Parergon 35 (2018); Abu S. Nurullah, Portrayal of Muslims in the Media: '24' and the ‘Othering’ Process." International Journal of Human Sciences 7 (2010).


In a 2001 article, Csaba Dupcsik (2001) claims responsibility for first using this term, but it is Ezqueil Adamovsky (2006) who has popularized the term to a degree. According to both, Euro-Orientalism is a form of European internal Orientalism by which Western European Orientalists ("Euro-Orientalists") imagine and construct Central and Eastern Europe as well as Russia as having Oriental-like qualities. The peoples and nations of these regions, that is, are imagined to be essentially less civilized and less modern than Western Europe and supposedly are given to despotism and marred by their Communist heritages. Euro-Orientalists thus construct their Western European Self as being superior in the ways that matter. Scholars note that many people in Central and Eastern Europe and in Russia accept this Euro-Orientalist paradigm, seeing themselves and their cultures as inferior to Western Europe.

See also: European Orientalism, Greek Orientalism (Modern), Ideological Orientalism, Internal Orientalism, Nesting (Nested) Orientalism, Russian Orientalism, Self-Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Ezqueil AdamovskyEuro-Orientalism: Liberal Ideology and the Image of Russia in France (c. 1740-1880) (Peter Lang, 2006); Csaba Dupcsik, “The West, the East, and the Border-lining.” Social Science in Eastern Europe Newsletter (2001); Yakov Zinberg, "Jews, the Asian Refugees: Otto Weininger’s Hatred of Himself, Women, Asians and Africans. Anticipating Melanie Klein’s Phantasy and Splitting." 21st Century Asian Studies Research 12 (2014).

European Orientalism

Scholars use this very frequently used term to describe the ways in which Europeans imagine and construct “Orientals” as having an essential, shared identity that is usually seen to be the opposite of and inferior to Europe.  By-and-large, they agree with Edward W. Said’s statement that, “The Orient was almost a European invention…” (Said, 1978, p. 1) and equate European Orientalism specifically with the groundbreaking Orientalisms of Britain, France, and sometimes Germany, which emerged in the 18th century.  Most often, scholars use this term with little or no specificity and frequently in passing, thus leaving the erroneous impression of a monolithic, continent-wide Orientalist ideology.  Studies of those ideologies in various European nations do suggest, however, that they have been found widely across the continent and that French, British, and/or German Orientalisms have influenced many of them, often heavily.   Most scholars who use this term do not connect it to ancient or medieval European Orientalisms, although Paul Servas (2014) traces the origins of European Orientalism to Marco Polo (1254-1324) as well as European concerns for the Holy Land.  Still, Servas sees its more immediate emergence as being in the 18th century when the popularity of Chinese fashions, study of China, and commerce with Asia began to grow.  It is less clear, however, precisely what constitutes this shared Orientalism as various scholars point to a number of elements, which include the idea that Oriental civilizations were great once but in modern times have declined and are inferior in all ways to Europe itself.  European Orientalism is often closely linked to European colonialism, particularly as a justification for “helping” the supposedly needy, oppressed, a-moral, superstitious, and impoverished peoples of the Orient.  It is also often equated with the growth of academic Orientalism, which originated especially in 18th century France and Britain and produced great amounts of scholarly literature read and absorbed in many parts of the continent.  Scholars also use this term to describe the influence European Orientalisms had in other parts of the world, and they especially use it to account for the origins of American Orientalisms as well as to describe the differences between American and European Orientalisms.  There is a sense, finally, that European Orientalism has become less important and that Europe no longer plays a central role in the global production and dissemination of Orientalism.  Much more rarely, scholars use the terms, “Eastern European Orientalism,” “Central European Orientalism,” and “Western European Orientalism” to describe distinctive commonalities in the Orientalisms of those regions of Europe. [7/20]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Administrative Orientalism, American Orientalism, Anglo-French Orientalism, Banal Orientalism, Bourgeois Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Climatic Orientalism, Colonial Orientalism, Conventional Orientalism, Decadent Orientalism, Eurocentric Orientalism, Euro-Orientalism, Fascist Orientalism, French Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Imperial Orientalism, Orientalism Proper, Orientalist Teleology, Ottoman Orientalism, Paradoxical Orientalism, Pre-Modern Orientalism, Pre-Orientalism, Religious Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Secular Orientalism, Textual Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism, Turkish Orientalism, Victorian Orientalism, Western Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: David Biale, “Shabbtai Zvi and the Seductions of Jewish Orientalism.” Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought 16-17 (2001); Michał Buchowski, "Social Thought & Commentary: The Specter of Orientalism in Europe: From Exotic Other to Stigmatized Brother." Anthropological Quarterly 79 (2006); Moritz Deutschmann, Edward Said and the Cutlural History of British Colonialism in India (GRIN Verlag, 2009); Peter Drucker, “Byron and Ottoman
Love: Orientalism, Europeanization and Same- sex Sexualities in the Early Nineteenth-century Levant.” Journal of European Studies 42 (2012); Barbara Fuchs, Exotic Nation: Maurophilia and the Construction of Early Modern Spain (U. of Pennsylvania, 2009); Mercedes Garcia-Arenal & Fernando R. Mediano, The Orient in Spain: Converted Muslims, the Forged Lead Books of Granada, and the Rise of Orientalism (Brill, 2013); Jukka Jouhki, 
”Imagining the Other: Orientalism and Occidentalism in Tamil-European Relations in South India" (
Ph.D. diss., U. of Jyväskylä, 2005); Noorah F. Jukaku, “Postcolonial Theory and Orientalism: Orientalist Perspectives of the Arab People,” 2019.  At International Center for Cultural Studies (, accessed 7/20; Darya Koltsova, “Maximilian Voloshin’s Japanese Print Collection in the Context of European Orientalism.” Journal of Education Culture & Society 2 (2013); Todd Kontje, “Germany’s Local Orientalisms.” In Deploying Orientalism in Culture and History: From Germany to Central and Eastern Europe (Camden House, 2013); Robert Lemon, Imperial Messages: Orientalism as Self-critique in the Habsburg Fin de Siècle (Camden House, 2011); Reina Lewis, Gendering Orientalism: Race, Femininity and Representation (Routledge, 1996); Ussama Makdisi, “Ottoman Orientalism.”  American Historical Review 107 (2002); V. Ravindiran, “Discourses of Empowerment: Missionary Orientalism in the Development of Dravidian Nationalism.”  In Nation Work: Asian Elites and National Identities (U. of Michigan, 2000); Andrew J. Rotter, “Saidism without Said: Orientalism and U.S. Diplomatic History.” American Historical Review 105 (2000); Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Paul Servas, “Scholarly Networks and International Congresses: The Orientalists Before the First World War.” In Information Beyond Borders: International Cultural and Intellectual Exchange in the Belle Époque (Ashgate, 2014); Will Sweetman “The Prehistory of Orientalism: Colonialism and the Textual Basis for Bartholomäus Zeogemgalg’s Account of Hinduism.” New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 6 (2004); Vera Tolz, “Orientalism, Nationalism, and Ethnic Diversity in Late Imperial Russia.” The Historical Journal 48 (2005).

Evangelical Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe the relationship of Protestant Evangelicalism to the notion of Orientalism, emphasizing it as a form of missionary Orientalism and focusing primarily on the 19th and earlier 20th centuries.  They have devoted little attention to the modern-day relationship of Evangelical Orientalism to popular Western Orientalisms and largely ignored, among other things, the role of Asian Evangelicals in Evangelical Orientalism.  Evangelicalism, seldom defined, is understood to be more of a “heart” religion vaguely linked to Romanticism.  Evangelicals have shared in Protestant Orientalism’s construction of “Orientals” as being essentially uncivilized, irrational, ignorant, and so forth through a long list of negative qualities.  Scholars argue that Evangelical Orientalism was particularly important in England during the later 18th century and the first half of the 19th century as Britain was expanding its power in India.  It dominated the academic study of the East in British universities, which became key centers for collecting and disseminating knowledge of the Orient.  Evangelicals in Britain, Continental Europe, and in other parts of the world, notably North America, believed that Asia is desperately in need of conversion to Christianity, and they became and remain a singularly important element in the Protestant drive to convert Asians.  Lisa J. Pruitt (2005) points to the significant role that women played in the Evangelical missionary movement especially in seeking to “save” the supposedly degraded women of the Orient.  Evangelicals joined with other Protestants in placing special importance on the Holy Land as a semi-sacred space that provides special insights into the Bible and inspiration to the Christian faith.  Scholars note that there has been a good deal of variation among Evangelicals in evangelistic strategies and particular attitudes to given Asian cultures and customs; however, the central drive to evangelize the continent has remained absolutely central for the great majority of Evangelicals.  Scholars, thus, argue that Evangelical Orientalism represents a colonial and imperial Orientalist mentality, which seeks to destroy Asian religions and replace them with Evangelical Christianity.  They also argue, however, that it represents a different form of Orientalism from the one described by Edward W. Said in his seminal study, Orientalism (1978).  It is not secular.  Its concern is not primarily material or global power politics, that is Evangelicals have wanted to convert Asians religiously not exploit them otherwise.  Evangelicals generally also do not believe that Orientals are irredeemably and essentially inferior as a race.  Indeed, the Evangelical religious agenda, often mixed in with more humanitarian concerns, at times brought them into conflict with colonial officials and policies, especially when those policies seemed to limit missionary activity and evangelism.  This term is not rare, but it also is not as frequently used as one might expect.  [revised 4/20]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Biblical Orientalism, Catholic Orientalism, Christian Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Learned Orientalism, Missionary Orientalism, Protestant Orientalism, Religious Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Theological Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Katherine Cienkus, “The ‘Woking Gang’: Political Activities
of British Muslims 1905-1920.” The Light & Islamic Review 95 (2018); Nile Green, “Parnassus of the Evangelical Empire: Orientalism and the English Universities, 1800-50.”  Journal of Imperial & Commonwealth History 40 (2012); Nile GreenTerrains of Exchange: Religious Economies of Global Islam (Oxford, 2015); Charles W. Hayford, “The Storm over the Peasant: Orientalism and Rhetoric in Construing China.”  In Contesting the Master Narrative: Essays in Social History (U. of Iowa, 1997); Gary Kelly, "Social Conflict, Nation and Empire: From Gothicism to Romantic Orientalism." ARIEL 20 (1989); Avril A. Powell, Muslims and Missionaries in Pre-Mutiny India (Routledge, 2003); Avril A. Powell, “Reciprocities and Divergences Concerning Religious Traditions in Two Families of Scholars in North India.”  In Perspectives of Mutual Encounters in South Asian History: 1760-1860 (Brill, 21000); Lisa J. Pruitt, A Looking-Glass for Ladies”: American Protestant Women and the Orient in the Nineteenth Century (Mercer U., 2005)..

Exotic Orientalism

Scholars use this frequently used term in at least four distinct ways.  First and most often, scholars and others use it to describe a broadly aesthetic style that creates what is taken to be the haunting, sensual, mystical, romantic, and rhythmic ethos of the Orient.  Second, scholars use this term as a synonym for ideological Orientalism, that is the imagining and constructing of the Oriental Other as having an essential, unchanging nature that is distinct from the West (i.e. "exotic").  Third, scholars use this term in ways similar to the term, Orientalist exotica, to describe all of the "paraphernalia" used to promote an ethos of the Orient as distant, strange, mystical, sensuous, and alien. However, where scholars almost never treat Orientalist exotica as an ideological notion, their use of the term "exotic Orientalism" can suggest ideologies of Orientalism or hints of such ideologies even if not specified. Fourth, scholars also sometimes use this term and the term Orientalist exoticism in similar ways to the point of being synonymous although this term, again, tends to be somewhat more ideological in tone. In all of these uses, Asian/Oriental women are particularly objectified as exemplifying the very essence of exotic Asian-ness in their dress, their demeanour, and their supposedly alluring sensuousness.  [revised 3/18]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Belated Orientalism, Commercial Orientalism, Consumer Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Fashion Orientalism, Jewish Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Musical Orientalism, Oriental Orientalism, Oriental's Orientalism, Orientalist Exotica, Orientalist Exoticism, Orientalist Imagination, Pictorial Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Seaside Orientalism, Self-Orientalism, Theatrical Orientalism, Wacky Orientalism, Women's Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: TejuAdisa-Farrar, In-Between Things: A Book of Poetry, Stories of Identity, and Interpreting Society (Xilbris Corp., 2012); Michael Billington, “Chu Chin Chow,” 2008. At The Guardian (, accessed 2/18; Kitty Scoular Datta, “Iskandar Alexander: Oriental Geography and Romantic Poetry.” In Reorienting Orientalism (SAGE, 2006); Kathleen M. Drowne & Patrick HuberThe 1920s (Greenwood, 2004); Michael D. K. Ing, “Future Prospects in the Comparison of Religions.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Though t44 (2011); Keep on the Grass, “Part 3: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Cultural Purity,” 2016. At Keep On The Grass (, accessed 2/18; Maxwell E Loos, "Comparative Medinas: Complexity and Contradiction in Tourist Spaces in Tunisia" (Study Project, Independent (ISP) Collection, 2009); Roberta MockJewish Women on Stage, Film, and Television (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); Yaron PelegOrientalism and the Hebrew Imagination (Cornell, 2005); Emiko Okayama & Francesco Ricatti, “Tokidoki, Cute and Sexy Fantasies between East and West: Contemporary Aesthetics for the Global Market.” PORTAL 5 (2008); Yaron PelegOrientalism and the Hebrew Imagination (Cornell, 2005).

External Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually to describe Orientalisms that are directed against (inflicted on) foreign peoples and nations, that is Others who live outside of the political and sociocultural boundaries of the Self’s nation and people. As is often the case with Orientalisms generally, external Orientalisms can construct the foreign Other as being either essentially and irredeemably inferior or superior—but most often the foreign Other is considered to be inferior, for example uncivilized, immoral, or even a dangerous threat.  Scholars frequently pair the notion of external Orientalisms with that of internal Orientalisms, which are Orientalisms directed against peoples who live within those boundaries—for example, ethnic minorities. Unlike scholarly treatments of the notion of “internal Orientalism,” which usually described those Orientalisms in terms of its own merits, however, scholars as a rule treat the notion of external Orientalism in its relationship to internal Orientalism.  They often make the point that external and internal Orientalisms are not opposites but reflect similar ideological strategies and attitudes.  They simply imagine and construct differently targeted Others.   [revised 6/19]

See also: Ideological Orientalism, Internal Orientalism, Self-Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Tamara Hundorova, “’Internal Colonization—Re-Colonization,” 2011. At Krytyka: Thinking Ukraine (, accessed 4/17; Christina Lombardi-Diop, “Orientalism.” In Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures – Continental Europe and Its Empires (Edinburgh, 2011); Enis Sulstarova, “Rilindja’s Place in the Orientalism of Intellectuals in Post-Communist Albania.” Annales Series Historia et Sociologia 22 (2012); Bryan S. Turner,“Orientalism, or the Politics of the Text.” In Interpreting Islam (SAGE, 2002).

bottom of page