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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).



Hard Core Orientalism. See Hard Orientalism.


Hard Orientalism

Scholars use this infrequently used term to describe ideological Orientalism in its most blatant, prejudiced, rigid, uncompromising, dominating, and specifically anti-Islamic forms. It is generally compared with and contrasted to soft Orientalism. Annelies Moors has used the term hard core Orientalism similarly, although with an erotic subtext included as well.

See also: Anti-Islamic Orientalism, Blatant Orientalism, Common Sense Orientalism, Dogmatic Orientalism, Ethnocentric Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Imperial Orientalism, Pulp Orientalism, Racist Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Soft Orientalism, Vulgar Orientalism, Xenophobic Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Branwen G. JonesDecolonizing International Relations (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006); Ivan D. KalmarEarly Orientalism: Imagined Islam and the Notion of Sublime Power (Routledge, 2012); Mustapha K. Pasha, “Global Leadership and the Islamic World: Crisis, Contention and Challenge.” In Global Crises and the Crisis of Global Leadership (Cambridge, 2012).

Haunted Orientalism

Sage Goellner (2018) coined this term, drawing on Jacques Derrida’s concept of “hauntology” (hantologie), which Derrida uses to describe  imagined (“ghostly”) ideological beliefs people have about the past and/or visions of unrealized futures, which beliefs and visions influence their perception of reality. These beliefs and visions are fantasies that are not real in and of themselves. They are, rather, specters that are neither “there” nor “not there”, but they have real consequences for beliefs and behavior. Prior to Goellner, a few scholars applied this notion to the relationship of Orientalism to postcolonial French-Algerian relations—arguing that French colonial ideological Orientalisms continued to haunt those relations. Goellner shifts the focus from the postcolonial to the colonial era and from French-Algerian relations to French Orientalist literature itself and the ghosts that haunt that literature. He finds that it is especially haunted by unease and ambivalence concerning the violence of the colonial era. [1/19]

See also: Hidden Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Implicit Orientalism, Latent Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Orientalist Fantasy, Postcolonial Orientalism, Structural Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Sage Goellner, French Orientalist Literature in Algeria, 1845–1882: Colonial Hauntings (Lexington, 2018); Jane Hiddleston, Assia Djebar: Out of Algeria( Liverpool, 2006); Michael O’Riley, “Specters of Orientalism in France, Algeria, and Postcolonial Studies.” Mosaic: An Interdisciplinary Critical Journal 34 (2001).

Hebraic Orientalism. See Jewish Orientalism.

Hebrew Orientalism. See Jewish Orientalism.

Hegelian Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe the ways in which the German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), and philosophers influenced by him imagined and constructed "the Orient" through their philosophical writings. Drawing on the growing European interest in and body of knowledge concerning the Orient of his day, Hegel fit the various peoples of Asia into his philosophical idealism and historicism by which he described the progressive emergence of the world's Spirit (geist) from its universal, Oriental past into a present in which the Spirit was embodied more fully in particular European nations—making them superior in every way to "Orientals". History for Hegel was thus the unfolding of the Spirit in concrete forms, and while the process of this unfolding may have begun in the East, it was culminating in Europe. Hegel thus characterized India and China as being primitive, superstitious, stagnant, morally corrupt, effeminate, and devoid of reason; and he rejected the arguments of those Romantics who sought to elevate especially India as the source of European wisdom and knowledge, thus superior to Europe. He viewed Islam as a latter-day resurgence of Judaism that had a rich civilization while Europe was far less advanced. However, in the main, Islam in his view was as unprogressive as the rest of the Orient. The East, in sum, represented a lower level of human development while Europe was the locality in which the world Spirit was progressively emerging. All of this is to say that Hegel articulated a full-blown ideological Orientalism that constructed Orientals as having an essential, timeless nature inferior to that of the West; and his Orientalism is understood to have had a large impact on the history of Western Orientalism long after his own time. A very few scholars use the term idealist Orientalism to describe Hegel's Orientalism within a wider body of idealist philosophers such as Immanuel Kant (1724-1804).  [10/17]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Historicist Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Orientalist Epistemology, Orientalist Teleology, Philosophical Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Bilimoria Purushottama, “Philosophical Orientalism in Comparative Philosophy of Religion: Hegel to Habermas (& Zîzêk).”  Cultura Oriental 2 (2015); Oliver Crawford, “Hegel and the Orient,” n.d. At (, accessed 10/17; Fred R. DallmayrBeyond Orientalism: Essays on Cross-Cultural Encounter (State U. of New, 19960); 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); Ivan D. Kalmar, “Islam as Judaism Gone Mad: Reflections on Hegel” (Paper, 8th EAJS Congress, 2006); Ivan D. Kalmar, Early Orientalism: Imagined Islam and the Notion of Sublime Power (Routledge, 2012).

Hellenic Orientalism. See Hellenistic Orientalism.

Hellenistic Orientalism

Scholars use this rarely used term and the still less frequently used term Hellenic Orientalism, both of which pre-date Edward W. Said (1978), to describe the ways in which ancient Greek Hellenism—beginning roughly with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE—integrated central Asian/Persian (“Oriental”) cultural, social, religious, and political elements with elements of Greek culture. A key example is the ways in which Hellenistic Greeks appropriated Persian forms of royal, absolute rule in place of their more democratic heritage. There is, however, some debate among scholars as to the degrees to which a Greek-Asian synthesis actually took place at given times and in given locales. There does seem to have been, generally speaking, more of a fusion of Greek with central Asian elements in religion and government than in the arts and in culture more broadly.  [revised 2/19]

See also: Ancient Orientalism, Greek Orientalism (Ancient), Roman Orientalism. 

Sources & Examples: John R. Devasahayam, “Human Dignity in Indian Secularism and Christianity: Christianity in Dialogue with Indian Secularism” (Thesis, Radhoud U. Nijmegen, 2007); Tomasz Polanski, “Two Persian Princesses: Pantheia and Rhodogoune.” ASOR Newsletter 50 (2000); Michael I. Rostovtzeff, “The Near East in the Hellenistic and Roman Times.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers, v.1, (Dumbarton Oaks Inaugural Lectures, 1941).

Hidden Orientalism

This term is used here to represent a set of Orientalist terms that includes: Concealed Orientalism, Covert Orientalism, Disguised Orientalism, Invisible Orientalism, and Veiled Orientalism.  Scholars use these terms to describe the ways in which ideological Orientalisms go unrecognized as such by Orientalists themselves and others.  In most cases, however, scholars use them to describe their sense that Western Orientalists are usually unaware of their own deep-seated prejudices against Asians because of an unspecified blockage that stands between their conscious behavior and thinking and the actual ideological sources of that behavior and thinking.  This hidden quality reinforces the influence of Orientalist thinking because in most cases it is not recognized as being ideological and taken to be simple common sense instead.  For example, Western-dominated movements such as neoliberalism and feminism overtly seek to benefit Asians by introducing Westernizing “reforms” that covertly promote Western agendas and the continued domination of Asians “for their own good.”  Well-intentioned neoliberals and feminists themselves are often oblivious of the hidden implications of their agendas.  These terms are part of a larger family of terms associated with Edward W. Said’s notion of latent Orientalism that also includes terms related to the notions of unconscious Orientalism and implicit Orientalism. Scholars describe such hidden Orientalisms as being unacknowledged ideologies, biases, stereotypes, beliefs, or tropes as well as processes of reification and “Othering”.  In the great majority of cases, they use these terms to describe Western Orientalists (including particularly scholars, writers, and artists as well as the general public) as being the ones who harbor hidden Orientalisms, which may well go unrecognized by Asian victims of Orientalism themselves although in other cases Asians are aware of the Orientalisms in Westerns who fail to see them in themselves.  Theoretically, these hidden Orientalisms can imagine and construct the Other in positive ways, for example as having a superior, more spiritual culture; but for the most part hidden Orientalist prejudices imagine and construct the Other as being in some way essentially and irredeemably inferior—e.g. backward, amoral, weak, or ignorant.  These ideological stereotypes are passed on, again usually without awareness, from generation to generation and manifest themselves in the myriad of ways as manifest Orientalisms.  These terms, thus, function as metaphors for Orientalists’ lack of awareness of the sources of their ideologies and as such usually introduce a subtly negative can subtly advance the idea that Western Orientalists themselves are self-ignorant and their ignorance is inimical to the (Oriental) Other.  Of these terms, “covert Orientalism” seems to be the most frequently used by scholars while “invisible Orientalism” is rarely used.  It should be noted, finally, that 19th century scholars used “concealed Orientalism” to describe an inherent quality in Orientals that cannot be obliterated even by Europeanization, and it also should be noted that the term “covert Orientalism” is often paired with overt Orientalism [revised 4/21]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Accidental Orientalism, Aesthetic Orientalism, Banal Orientalism, Contemporary Orientalism, Cosmopolitan Orientalism, Creeping Orientalism, Feminist Orientalism, Gendered (Gender) Orientalism, Haunted Orientalism, Humanistic Orientalism, Implicit Orientalism, Indirect Orientalism, Internalized Orientalism, Latent Orientalism, Liberal Orientalism, Meta-Orientalism, Naïve Orientalism, Neoliberal Orientalism, New Age Orientalism, Orientalist Common Sense, Orientalist Nostalgia, Overt Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Postcolonial Orientalism, Practical Orientalism, Second-degree Orientalism, Second-hand Orientalism, Second Order Orientalism, Self-Orientalism, Sinological Orientalism, Structural Orientalism, Transorientalism, Unconscious Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Hidden Orientalism: Marke Kivijärvi, “Orientalism in Finnish Strategy Discourse: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Business Opportunities in China” (Ph.D. diss., U. of Eastern Finland, 2013; Tse Hing Min, “Understanding American Muslims.”  At USAonRACE (, accessed 2/19; Alireza M. Nejad, “Post-colonial Reading of Othello’s Play.” National Academy of Managerial Staff of Culture and Arts Herald 3 (2018); Nigar Pösteki & Mehmet Arslantepe, “Turkish Identity in Fatih Akin and Ferzan Ozpetek Cinema,” n.d.  At Akademik Personel Bilgi Bankasi (, accessed 2/19; Alistair Shaw, “Telling the Truth About People’s China” (Ph.d. diss., Victoria U. of Wellington, 2010).  Concealed Orientalism: Sabrina D. MisirHIralall, “De-Orientalized Pedagogy: Educating Non-Hindus about Hinduism with Postcolonial Realities in Mind” (D.Ed. diss., Montclair State U., 2015); Lionel Obadia, “Are Himalayan Peaks Sacred?: The Paradoxical and Polylogical Construction of Mountains.” In Space, Place and Religious Landscapes: Living Mountains (Bloomsbury, 2020); Latika Vasbist, "Martha Nussbaum's Capabilities Approach: Perils and Promises." Journal of the Indian Law Institute 52 (2010).  Covert Orientalism: Nathan E. Dickman, “A Zhuangzian Tangle: Corroborating (Orientalism in?) Posthumanist Approaches to Subjectivities and Flourishings.” Religions 10 (2019); Leen al-Hadban, “Let the Real Scheherazade Stand:
Literary Representations of Middle Eastern Women.” (Ph.d. diss., U. of Waikato, 2016); Clifton Long, Jr., “Breaking Asian American Stereotypes,” 2018. At Clifton Long Jr. (, accessed 2/21; Ruvani Ranasinha, South Asian Writers in Twentieth-Century Britain: Culture in Translation (Oxford, 2007); Kaori Yoshida, “Animation and ‘Otherness’: The Politics of Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Identity in the World of Japanese Anime (Ph.D., U. of British Columbia, 2008).  Disguised Orientalism: Marie H. Andersen, et. al., “Crosseyed and Painful? A Dialogue on Yoga, Exoticism, Appropriation and Abuse,” 2018. At Yoga Med Marie Hallager Andersen (, accessed 6/19; Angela Aujla, “Barbar as a Colonial Subject,” 1997. At (, accessed 6/19; Greg Bailey, “Indian Religions.” Australian Religion Studies Review 2 (1989); Keta Miranda, "’The East Side Revue, 40 Hits by East Los Angeles Most Popular Groups!’ The Boys in the Band and the Girls Who Were Their Fans." In Beyond the Frame: Women of Color and Visual Representation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); Ismail Serageldin, “Mirrors and Windows: Redefining the Boundaries of the Mind.” American Journal of Islamic Social Studies 2 (1994); Mehmet Yilmaz &  İsmail Göktürk, “New Definitions Of Identity And The Reality Of Europe,” 2018.  At DirgiPark Akademik (, accessed 6/19.  Invisible Orientalism: J. Lorenzo Perillo, In Color: Filipinos, Hip-Hop, and the Cultural Politics of Euphemism (Oxford, 2020); Yutian Wong, Choreographic Asian America (Wesleyan U, 2010).  Veiled Orientalism: Eleanor Bell, “Fantasy, Fashion and the Far East: Veiled Orientalism in China: Through the Looking Glass (B.A. diss., U. of Otago, 2017); Sukla Chatterjee, “Contested Virtue: Imperial Women’s Crisis with Colonized Womanhood.” (Paper, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata, 2010); Rachel Norman, “Arts: Fiction and Fiction Writers: The Americas,” 2016. At Linfield University Digital Commons (, accessed 2/21; Susan Talburt, Subject to Identity: Knowledge, Sexuality, and Academic Practices in Higher Education (State U. of New York, 2000); Scott Trafton, Egypt Land: Race and Nineteenth-Century American Egyptomania (Duke U., 2004); Lia Wang, “China: Through the Looking Glass”: An Embrace of Fantasy,” 2016. At Generasians (, accessed 2/21; Els Woudstra, "You Live in the West Now." Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies 17 (2014). See Also: Herbert R. Swanson, "Almost Unconscious: Towards a History of Said’s Notion of Latent Orientalism," 18 July 2021.  On this website.

High Orientalism. See Classical Orientalism.

High-Tech (High Tech) Orientalism

This term was first used by Wendy Hui Kyong Chun (2003) to describe what is more widely termed techno-Orientalism, and other scholars generally, although not always, cite her when using it. Chun uses this term to describe the ways in which cyberpunk fiction and films have been used to imagine and construct a technological world apparently dominated by Japan and/or other Asians including Asian-Americans, which domination threatens the identity of especially white American males who feel vulnerable and powerless as a result. According to Chun, high-tech Orientalists thus imagine and create cyberspace as a form of frontier "territory" in which "console cowboys" are able to conquer this Asia-like digital space, which is often imagined as both exotic and erotic.

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

Sources & Examples: Wendy H. K. Chun, “Orienting Orientalism, or How to Map Cyberspace.” In Asian America.Net: Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Cyberspace (Routledge, 2003); Wendy H. K. ChunControl and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics (MIT, 2008); Chris Goto-Jones,“Playing with Being in Digital Asia: Gamic Orientalism and the Virtual Dōjō.” Asiascape: Digital Asia 2 (2015); Jane C. H. ParkYellow Future: Oriental Style in Hollywood Cinema (U. of Minnesota, 2010).

Hippie Orientalism. See Beat Orientalism.

Historical Orientalism

Scholars generally and widely use this term to encompass the whole past of the phenomenon of Orientalism in all of its aspects and manifestations from its inception (dated variously) through roughly the mid-twentieth century. Within this most general meaning, however, most scholars add a second layer of meaning basically understanding "historical" Orientalism to be all of Orientalism prior to the publication of Edward W. Said's book, Orientalism, in 1978. As a result, they also understand this term very differently depending on their take on the relationship between Orientalism as understood by Said, which imagines and constructs an essentially exotic and inferior Orient, and historical Orientalism. Some scholars hold that Said's description of Orientalism as an ideology reflects its historical reality while others disagree, arguing that Said misrepresents the "truth" of historical Orientalism. And still other scholars see a mixed picture in which Said is correct in some ways and misleading in others. Only rarely does a scholar use this term apart from this debate over the veracity and usefulness of Said's critique of the historical phenomenon of Orientalism.

See also: Ideological Orientalism, Old-fashioned Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Elzain Elgarmi, “Islam in the British Broadsheets: How Historically-conditioned Orientalist Discourses Inform Representations of Islam as a Militant Monolithic Entity” (Ph.D. diss., Westminster, 2005); Adolrahim Gavahi, “A Critique of Orientalism and the Christian Western View of Islam” (Lecture, Zagreb U., 2011); Claire Malibat, “British Orientalism and Representations of Music in the Long Nineteenth Century: Ideas of Music, Otherness, Sexuality and Gender in the Popular Arts” (Thesis, Durham, 2006); David ScottFormations of Ritual: Colonial and Anthropological Discourses on the Sinhala Yaktovil (U. of Minnesota, 1994); Tangea Tansley, “Writing From the Shadowlands: How Cross-Cultural Literature Negotiates the Legacy of Edward Said” (Ph.D. diss., Murdoch, 2004).

Historicist Orientalism

While not rare, this term and its synonym, Orientalist historicism, are not frequently used. When they are used, scholars use them generally to describe the notion that 18th and 19th century European, especially German, ideological Orientalism was grounded in a historical scheme, which held that the cultural and religious (spiritual) origins of Western civilization are found in the ancient Orient. In the intervening centuries, however, the West has progressively transcended its Oriental roots while the East has devolved so that the two are supposed to have become mirror-image opposites, Western civilization being based on reason and social order while the East has become intellectually irrational and socially chaotic. Scholars often describe this Orientalist historical schema as being, "teleological," that is the East served the purpose and function of setting Western civilization on its future course. Critics and commentators of Edward W. Said's writings on the subject of Orientalism, additionally, at times argue that he himself reflects the ideas and attitudes of historicism. The term, Orientalist historicism, is also used to describe nationalist movements in Asian art, notably the early 20th century Bengal School of Indian art, which draw on images and themes from their "Oriental" past to promote a supposedly more indigenous Indian art.  [revised 1/18]

See also: Hegelian Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Orientalist Teleology, Philosophical Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Aziz Al-AzmehArabic Thought and Islamic Societies (Croom Helm, 1986); Tim Fulford, “Coleridge and the Oriental Tale.”  In The Arabian Nights in Historical Context: Between East and West (Oxford, 2008); Jeffery S. LibrettOrientalism and the Figure of the Jew (Fordham, 2015); Jeffery S. Librett, “Historicist Orientalism as a Public Absolute: on Herder's Typo-teleology,” 2012. At Telos (, accessed 1/18; Partha MitterThe Triumph of Modernism: India's Artists and the Avant-garde, 1922-1947 (Reaktion Books, 2007); Edward W. Said, "Orientalism Reconsidered." Cultural Critique 1 (1985); Stephen Teo, “The Martial Arts Film in Chinese Cinema: Historicism and the National.” In Art, Politics, and Commerce in Chinese Cinema (Hong Kong U., 2010); Bryan S. TurnerMarx and the End of Orientalism (George Allen & Unwin, 1978).

Hollywood Orientalism. See Cinematic Orientalism.

Homegrown (Home-Grown) Orientalism. See Indigenous Orientalism.

Homoerotic Orientalism

Frequently drawing on Edward W. Said (1978) and his understanding of Orientalism, scholars generally use this term and the terms gay Orientalismhomo-Orientalism, and queer Orientalism to describe the ways in which homosexuals, usually males, imagine and construct Asian and other non-Western homosexuals as being the inferior (Oriental) Other. While homoerotic Orientalism is a form of ideological Western Orientalism, it is made more complex by the fact that Western homosexuals are themselves subject to an "othering process" that treats them as an inferior and despised Other. In one sense, then, they can be sensitive to the status of their gay Asian partners. Yet, in another sense, they share the same set of stereotypes of Asians as do other Western Orientalists and tend to impose their values, attitudes, and expectations on gay Asians in much the same way. They tend thus to see Asian peoples as being "exotic," oppressive of homosexuals, decadent, and more "sensuous" than Western societies; and usually they are the more privileged, dominant partner in their relationships with "Oriental" homosexuals. Historically, Western homosexuals, particularly men, have long turned their Orientalist Gaze on Asian men as objects of exotic sensual desire, as seen in the painting, "The Barber of Suez" (1876) by Léon Bonnat (1833-1922). International Gay bodies and agencies have been accused of imposing Western ideas of justice on other nations especially in assuming that global homosexuality is a single, universal phenomenon, which they understand best. Homoerotic Orientalist attitudes are also seen as affecting scholars of homosexuality so that their research is based on Western assumptions and approaches that have long marked academic Orientalism. One of the most important venues for expressions of homoerotic Orientalist behavior has been the international tourist industry, which plays on the fantasy that "Oriental" gays are particularly sexually attractive and desirable. Of these four terms, homoerotic Orientalism and homo-Orientalism are more commonly used, and homoerotic Orientalism seems to be the preferred academic term.  [revised 10/18]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Decadent Orientalism, Egyptian Orientalism, Feminist Orientalism (2nd Usage), Ideological Orientalism, Musical Orientalism, Neoliberal Orientalism, Orientalist Fantasy, Orientalist Gaze, Orientalist Tourism, Paternalistic Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Homoerotic Orientalism: Robert AldrichColonialism and Homosexuality (Routledge, 2003); Joseph A. Boone, "Vacation Cruises; Or, the Homoerotics of Orientalism." PMLA 110 (1995); Robert Richmond Ellis, “A Passage to the Self: Homoerotic Orientalism and Hispanic Life-Writing.” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 30 (2005); Zarah Sophia Ersoff, “Musical Dandysme: Aestheticism and Orientalism in fin-de-siècle France” (Ph.D. diss., UCLA, 2013); Natalie N. Newton, “A Queer Political Economy of ‘Community’: Gender, Space, and the Transnational Politics of Community for Vietnamese Lesbians (les) in Saigon” (Ph.D. diss., U. of California, Irvine, 2012).  Homo-Orientalism: Dana Collins, “’We’re There and Queer’: Homonormative Mobility and Lived Experience among Gay Expatriates in Manila.” Gender & Society 23 (2009); Eng-Beng Lim, “Joseph A. Boone, The Homoerotics of Orientalism,” n.d. At Edinburgh University Press: Journals (, accessed 10/18; Newton, op. cit. Gay Orientalism: Jacks Cheng, “Gay Orientalism.” In The Psychic Life of Racism in Gay Men's Communities (Lexington Books, 2018); Steven Pierce, “’Nigeria Can Do without Such Perverts’: Sexual Anxiety and Political Crisis in Postcolonial Nigeria.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 36 (2016); Gordon Waitt & Kevin MarkwellGay Tourism: Culture and Context (Routledge, 2006).  Queer Orientalism: Sam Baltimore, “Ashman’s Aladdin Archive: Queer Orientalism in the Disney Renaissance.” In The Disney Musical on Stage and Screen: Critical Approaches from ‘Snow White’ to ‘Frozen (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2017); John Potvin, “At the Edge of Propriety: Rolf de Maré and Nils Dardel at the Hildesborg Estate.” In Oriental Interiors: Design, Identity, Space (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).

Homo-Orientalism. See Homoerotic Orientalism.

Humanistic Orientalism

Scholars use this term and the term Orientalist humanism in at least four different ways.  First, some scholars use them to describe the ways in which historical humanist movements have imagined and constructed (Oriental) Others in stereotypical ways, taking the notions and understandings of the West as the standards by which the Other is measured and understood. The implication is that those movements, 15th century European humanism for example, manifested elements of a covert ideological Orientalism in spite of their overt attempts to move away from traditional, religious thinking.  Second, other scholars use these terms, also historically, to describe humanists, for example among British colonial officials or 19th century German Orientalists, who imagined and constructed the essential nature of the Orient more positively, less critically, and saw "Oriental civilizations" as being equal to European civilization. In colonial settings, these Orientalists are understood to have advocated a form of positive Orientalism that came into conflict with traditional ideological Orientalism, particularly evangelical Orientalism.  Third, still other scholars use these terms to describe a modern-day tension in non-Western nations among indigenous scholars, artists, and others between the requirements of nation-building and movements to preserve cultural diversity within the nation. "Orientalist humanists" thus both support and resist the needs of the nation-state to create an essential central (Orientalist) identity. Fourth and very rarely, a very few scholars use this term to describe Edward W. Said's approach to the study of Orientalism. Said apparently never used this term himself, but he did describe himself as a humanist and sought to examine Orientalism with the tools of what he took to be critical humanist reflection liberated from constricting, oppressive ideologies and theologies. [8/17]

See also: Constructive Orientalism, Hidden Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism; Positive Orientalism; Saidian Orientalism, Scottish Orientalism, Sympathetic Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Gish Amit, “’This Heritage must be Saved from Oblivion’: The Hebrew University, the National Library of Israel, and the Manuscripts of the Jews of Yemen,” n.d. At Docplayer (, accessed 8/17; Suzanne L. MarchandGerman Orientalism in the Age of Empire: Religion, Race, and Scholarship (Cambridge, 2013); Hans Opschoor, “The Poverty of Essentialism: Development and Culture in International Education,” 2004. At iBarian (, accessed 8/17; Regula B. Qureshi, “Other Musicologies: Exploring Issues and Confronting Practice in India.” In Rethinking Music (Oxford, 2010); Amit RayNegotiating the Modern: Orientalism and Indianness in the Anglophone World (Routledge, 2007); Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Edward W. Said, “A Window on the World,” 2003. At The Guardian (, accessed 8/17; Pier M. Tommasino, "Otranto and the Self." I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance 18 (2015); Takayuki Yokota-Murakami, Don Juan East/West: On the Problematics of Comparative Literature (State U. of New York, 1998); Richard F. Young, “Empire and Misinformation: Christianity and Colonial Knowledge from a South Indian Hindu Perspective (ca. 1804).” In India and the Indianness of Christianity: Essays on Understanding—Historical, Theological, and Bibliographical—in Honor of Robert Eric Frykenberg (Eerdmans, 2009).

Hybrid Orientalism

This term was first used in the 19th century to describe the ways in which European and Oriental cultures were supposed to have combined with each other. Scholars today generally use it in much the same way to describe the ways in which exotic "Oriental" aesthetic or cultural forms or elements (e.g. jewelry, music, interior décor, clothing, paintings) are blended with familiar European ones. The influence and elements of Romanticism are often involved, and generally the hybridization of Oriental and Western forms involves networks of cultural institutions. Other scholars use this term to describe the ways in which ideological Orientalisms are combined with other ideologies. In all cases, hybrid Orientalisms stand at the blurred, often uncertain boundaries between Orientalism and the larger world, thus raising questions about how best to define and conceptualize the meaning and content of the notion of Orientalism. Scholars also note that in hybrid Orientalisms Asians often imagine and construct the West as much as the West creates them.  [revised 5/17]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Fashion Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Transorientalism.

Sources & Examples: Tamara C. Emerson, “Relating Transcendentally: New England Transcendentalism, U. S. Envagleicalism, and the Antebellum Orientalization of China” (Ph.D. diss., Wayne State, 2008); “A Glimpse of Asia Minor,” The Cornhill Magazine NS 17 (1891); Mary Manning, “Dega’s Portrait of Mademoiselle Fiocre and the Orientalism of Modern Life.” Rutgers Art Review 30 [2014]; Chi Hyun Park, “Orientalism in U. S. Cyberpunk Cinema from Blade Runner to The Matrix” (Ph.D. diss., U. of Texas at Austin, 2004); John PotvinGiorgio Armani: Empire of the Senses (Ashgate, 2013); Mimi B. ShellerConsuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies (Routledge, 2008); Greg M. Thomas, “Review of Orientalist Aesthetics: Art, Colonialism, and French North Africa 1880-1930.” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 3 (2004); Ananya VajpeyiRighteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India (Harvard, 2012); David  WilliamsThe Philosophy of Japanese Wartime Resistance: A Reading, with Commentary (Routledge, 2014); Kate Youde, “Brooch that Sealed a Royal Love Affair—and Other Treasures,” 2015. At Financial Times ( Accessed 5/17.

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