Essays

It is a truism that research creates knowledge, and the thing that I have found in the process of researching and writing entries for the Glossary of Orientalisms is that the project itself generates new perspectives and important insights.  The glossary is particularly about connections between the various notions contained in it.  The “See also” sections of the entries are thus an integral part of the total project, demonstrating as they do that individual scholarly notions of Orientalism stand in a wider context of scholarly research and insights.  The essays below represent my own personal reflections arising from the “connective tissue” of the body of entries.  They are intended in part to augment various entries and in part to allow me to articulate some of the lessons I am learning from the process of research and writing itself.  I trust that these essays will be useful to others, as well.  Enjoy! 

 

Herb Swanson

April 2021

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Essay Number One [pdf]

 

"Breakout: COVID-19 and Orientalism," uploaded 3 April 2020.

This essay, under the rubric of "outbreak Orientalism," offers preliminary thoughts on the ways in which Western Orientalist prejudices against the Chinese impacts attitudes and behaviors toward the Great Pandemic of 2020.

Essay Number Two [pdf]

 

"Orientalism as an Ideology: the Utility of Said's Notion of Ideology for the Study of Orientalism," uploaded 19 June 2020.

This essay explores the utility of Edward Said's notion of ideology for the study of Orientalist ideologies and finds that his negative understanding of ideologies as being hurtful, false, and pernicious misrepresentations of reality actually functions as a useful and provocative guide for studying Orientalism.

Essay Number Three [pdf]

 

"Faddish Orientalisms: A Study of Hidden Assumptions in the Study of Orientalism," uploaded 25 January 2021.

This essay examines the scholarly use of a family of terms used to describe historical enthusiasms for the Orient, arguing that modern-day scholars use these terms in ways surprisingly reminiscent of their Orientalist predecessors of earlier generations.

Essay Number Four [pdf]

 

"Almost Unconscious: Towards a History of Said’s Notion of Latent Orientalism," uploaded 18 July 2021.

This essay explores Edward Said's notion of latent Orientalism both as he uses it and reactions to it by later scholars and argues that later scholars frequently seek to magnify and simplify Said's usage and claim their restatements come from Said himself.