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).



Idealist Orientalism. See Hegelian Orientalism.


Ideological Orientalism

Most scholars today use the term "Orientalism" as a short hand way of referring to this term, which, defined more narrowly, describes the ways in which large, influential numbers of Western scholars, artists, political leaders, opinion makers, and the public at large systematically imagine and construct the peoples and cultures of "the Orient" (including Arabs, Muslims, and Asians in general) as having essentially different and unchanging natures. Defined more broadly, ideological Orientalism encompasses the attitudes directed toward any supposedly exotic, unchanging Other who is taken to be essentially different from one's own Self and culture, whether "Oriental" or otherwise. The modern-day study of ideological Orientalism begins with Edward W. Said (Orientalism, 1978) who argues that especially academic Orientalism historically perpetuated a set of prejudices concerning "Orientals" that frames them, among other things, as being exotic, inferior, incapable of rational thought, emotional, incapable of change, despotic, sensual, and in all these ways the opposite of the West. Said described Orientalism as being imperialistic, colonialist, racist, and sexist. It was thus a way of defining, controlling, and exercising power over alien Others. Said's work was immediately controversial and precipitated an ongoing debate concerning the nature of ideological Orientalism, which has resulted in a more complex, nuanced understanding of it. There are forms of ideological Orientalism that are positive in which the Other is seen as being superior. In other cases, Orientalist attitudes are relatively benign, partial, or insignificant. They also change over time. Or again, these (Oriental) Others themselves often internalize the prejudices directed at them, embrace those attitudes, and rework them into positive qualities. Those who are subjected to Orientalist "othering" sometimes redirect those prejudice toward their own Others, who they see as being essentially, irredeemably inferior. As scholars have grown to understand the utility and the complexity of the notion of ideological Orientalism, they have also expanded its use to describe situations in which non-Asian Others are also often treated as having essential, unchanging, and absolutely different identities. In these ways, the concept of ideological Orientalism differs from Saidian Orientalism, which is almost entirely negative and focuses on prejudices directed toward Arabs, Muslims, and Asian peoples generally. This term itself is neither rare nor common since, as noted, most scholars simply use the short-hand term, "Orientalism" to mean "ideological Orientalism."  [revised 11/17]

See also: Abstract Orientalism, Academic Orientalism, Accidental Orientalism, Administrative Orientalism, Aesthetic Orientalism, Affirmative Orientalism, Aggressive Orientalism, Amateur Orientalism, Ambivalent Orientalism, American Orientalism, Ancient Orientalism (Contemporary), Ancient Orientalism (Traditional), Anti-Islamic Orientalism, Anti-Semitic Orientalism, Arab Orientalism, Arabic Orientalism, Arch Orientalism, Architectural Orientalism, Asian Orientalism, Authentic Orientalism, Avant-garde Orientalism, Barbaric Orientalism, Banal Orientalism, Belated Orientalism, Binary Orientalism, Blatant Orientalism, Bloomsbury Orientalism, Bourgeois Orientalism, Brown Orientalism, Canadian Orientalism, Canonical Orientalism, Caribbean Orientalism, Cartographical Orientalism, Categorical Orientalism, Catholic Orientalism, Celticism, Chinese Orientalism, Chauvinistic Orientalism, Christian Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Comic Orientalism, Comic Book Orientalism, Comparative Orientalism, Comparativist Orientalism, Consumer Orientalism, Contemporary Orientalism, Conventional Orientalism, Cooperative Orientalism, Creeping Orientalism, Critical Orientalism, Crude Orientalism, Cybernetic Orientalism, Dialectical Orientalism, Double Orientalism, Dogmatic Orientalism, Early Modern Orientalism, Eastern Orientalism, Economic Orientalism, Educational Orientalism, Electronic Orientalism, Emergent Orientalism, Ethnocentric Orientalism, Ethnographic Orientalism, Eurocentric Orientalism, Euro-Orientalism, European Orientalism, Evangelical Orientalism, Fashion Orientalism, Flexible Orientalism, Gendered (Gender) Orientalism, Global Orientalism, Greek Orientalism (Ancient), Greek Orientalism (Modern), Green Orientalism, Hard Orientalism, Haunted Orientalism, Hegelian Orientalism, High-tech Orientalism, Historical Orientalism, Homoerotic Orientalism, Humanistic Orientalism, Imperial (Imperialist) Orientalism, Infantile Orientalism, Indirect Orientalism, Inner City Orientalism, Intellectual Orientalism, International Congress of Orientalists, International Orientalism, Institutional Orientalism, Irish Orientalism, Islamic Orientalism, Jewish Orientalism, Journalistic Orientalism, Kemalist Orientalism, Late Orientalism, Legal Orientalism, Liberal Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Local Orientalism, Mainstream Orientalism, Male Orientalism, Maritime Orientalism, Mediated Orientalism, Methodological Orientalism, Micro-Orientalism, Military Orientalism, Muslim Orientalism, Mythic Orientalism, Native Orientalism, Negative Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism, Nesting Orientalism, Nuclear Orientalism, Occidentalism, Official Orientalism, Old Orientalism, Oriental Enthusiasm, Oriental Fad, Oriental Fiction, Oriental Look, Oriental Orientalism, Oriental Poetry, Oriental Rage, Oriental's Orientalism, Orientalese, Orientalism in Reverse, Orientalism Theory, Orientalist Anthropology, Orientalist Archive, Orientalist Common Sense, Orientalist Epistemology, Orientalist Ethnography, Orientalist Fad, Orientalist Fantasy, Orientalist Fiction, Orientalist Gaze, Orientalist Idealism, Orientalist Imagination, Orientalist Literature, Orientalist Myth, Orientalist Nostalgia, Orientalist Parasite, Orientalist Projection, Orientalist Satire, Orientalist Science, Orientalist Teleology, Orientalist Tourism, Orthodox Orientalism, Orientology, Ottoman Orientalism, Overt Orientalism, Paradoxical Orientalism, Paranoid Orientalism, Paternalistic [Paternal] Orientalism, Patronizing Orientalism, Peripheral Orientalism, Philological Orientalism, Philosophical Orientalism, Pictorial Orientalism, Poetic Orientalism, Pop Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Postcolonial Orientalism, Postmodern Orientalism, Pre-Modern Orientalism, Pre-Saidian Orientalism, Primary Orientalism, Professional Orientalism, Protestant Orientalism, Proto-Orientalism, Practical Orientalism (Post-Said), Pragmatic Orientalism, Psychological Orientalism, Pulp Orientalism, Quasi-Orientalism, Racist Orientalism, Relational Orientalism, Republican Orientalism, Resurgent Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Russian Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Science Fiction Orientalism, Scientific Orientalism, Scottish Orientalism, Seaside Orientalism, Second-hand Orientalism, Sexist Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism, Social Orientalism, Sociological Orientalism, Soft Orientalism, Soviet Orientalism, Structural Orientalism, Subversive Orientalism, Systemic Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, Temporal Orientalism, Tertiary Orientalism, Theological Orientalism, Theoretical Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism, Transcendental Orientalism, Transorientalism, Transplanted Orientalism, Turkish Orientalism, Victorientalism, Visual Orientalism, Vulgar Orientalism, Wacky Orientalism, Weberian Orientalism, Xenophobic Orientalism, Zionist Orientalism.


Sources & Examples: Madeline Hsu, “Unwrapping Orientalist Constraints: Restoring Homosocial Normativity to Chinese American History.” Amerasia Journal 29 (2003); Aaron HughesSituating Islam: the Past and Future of an Academic Discipline (Equinox, 2007); Tea Jansson, “Challenging the Orientalist Reading of Mary Wortley Montagu´s Turkish Letters with Feminist Approaches” (Thesis, U. of Tampere, 2003); Nicholas OwenThe British Left and India: Metropolitan Anti-Imperialism, 1855-1947 (Oxford, 2007); Yahya Sadowski, "Political Islam: Asking the Wrong Questions." Annual Review of Political Science 9 (2006); Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Edward W. Said, "Orientalism Reconsidered." Cultural Critique 1 (1985); Herbert R. Swanson,“Orientalism as an Ideology: the Utility of Said's Notion of Ideology for the Study of Orientalist Ideologies," 19 June 2020.  At (

Imaginative Orientalism. See Orientalist Imagination.

Imitation Orientalism. See False Orientalism.

Imperial (Imperialist) Orientalism

Scholars use this term as a synonym for ideological Orientalism. It is used most frequently to refer to British or French ideological Orientalisms in the colonial era, but it may also refer to the Orientalist discourses, institutions, and practices of other imperial nations such as Russia and Japan.

See also: Ideological Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Daniele Conversi, “Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism.” In Encyclopaedia of Nationalism (Transaction Books, 2000); Rajesh Kochhar, “Denationalised Middle Class: Global Escape from Mandal.” Economic and Political Weekly 39 (2004); Seyyed M. Marandi, "'Imaginative Geography': Orientalist Discourse in Paradise Lost." Pazhuhesh-e Zabanha-ye Khareji 56, Special Issue (2010); Edward W. Said, "Orientalism Reconsidered." Cultural Critique 1 (1985); Sachi Sekimoto, “The Materiality of the Self: A Multimodal, Communicative Approach to Identity” (Ph. D. diss., New Mexico, 2011); Jennifer YeeExotic Subversions in Nineteenth-Century French Fiction (Legenda, 2008).

Inadvertent Orientalism. See Accidental Orientalism.

Incipient Orientalism. See Early Orientalism.

Indigenous Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually to describe a form of reverse Orientalism or self-Orientalism employed especially by non-European educated elites including scholars, which draws on Western ideological Orientalist discourses, institutions, and practices to imagine their own non-European Self in relationship to a Western Other, e.g. a European colonial power. There are two large classes of indigenous Orientalisms. First, indigenous Orientalist discourses, institutions, and practices may be used to treat one's own non-Western culture, especially traditional culture, as an inferior Other. Legal scholars in post-1948 China, for example, often look on traditional Chinese law as being essentially inferior to modern, Western-style law. In this usage, indigenous Orientalism is a form of internal Orientalism that is usually directed at one's own people as a form of self-Orientalism. Poddar and Subba have coined the otherwise fairly rarely used term, home-grown Orientalism, to describe this same first form of indigenous Orientalism.  Second, some scholars use this term to describe the ways in which "indigenous," non-Western Orientalist discourses, institutions, and practices are employed to define an exterior, alien Other that is deemed to be essentially inferior—such as views sometimes held in Turkey regarding Arabs. Additionally, this term is also sometimes used to differentiate American Orientalism from European Orientalism; Americans, that is, have their own "indigenous" Orientalisms. This term and the term Native Orientalism (Contemporary Usage) both describe virtually the same phenomenon and are used largely in the same ways.  [6/16]

See also: Reverse Orientalism, Self-Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Internal Orientalism, Legal Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Philip C. HuangChinese Civil Justice, Past and Present ( Rowman & Littlefield, 2010); Marcia C. InhornThe New Arab Man: Emergent Masculinities, Technologies, and Islam in the Middle East (Princeton, 2012); Seyed M. Marandi, “EurocentricismandAcademic Imperialism,” 2014. At ZarCom Media (, accessed 6/16; S. Habib Mousavi & Fateme Ghafoori, “Masked Orientalism Exhibited in Local Movies: An Orientalist Reading of Livre de la Loi.” International Journal of Social Science and Humanity 2 (2012); Prem K. Poddar & T. B. Subba, “Unpacking Home-grown Orientalism and Area Studies in India.” Journal of the Indian Anthropological Society 27 (1992); Öykö Potuoǧlu-Cook,”Night Shifts: Moral, Economic, and Cultural Politics of Turkish Belly Dance Across the Fins-de-Siécle” (Ph.D. diss., Northwestern, 2008); Fionnghuala Sweeny, Frederick Douglass and the Atlantic World (U. of Liverpool, 2007); Mercedes Volait, “Appropriating Orientalism? Saber Sabri’s Mamluk Revivals in Late-Nineteenth-Century Cairo.” In Islamic Art in the 19th Century: Tradition, Innovation, and Eclecticism (Brill, 2006); Francis Zimmerman, “A Hindu to His Body: The Reinscription of Traditional Representations.” In Images of the Body in India: South Asian and European Perspectives on Ritual and Performativity (Routledge, 2011).

Indirect Orientalism

This term is not frequently used. When scholars do use it, they most often use it to describe forms of what is more often termed covert Orientalism by which Orientalist images and constructions of the Other are expressed ("indirectly") in less open, less obvious, and more round about ways. A few other scholars have used the first meaning of the term second-hand Orientalism (i.e. cases in which somewhat innocuous Orientalist influences seep into the ways in which Orientalists imagine and construct “the Orient”) in the same way. Scholars have also used this term in other ways as well. Jülide Karakoç has used it to describe the ways in which American Orientalist foreign policy in the Middle East relies ("indirectly") upon local actors such as Turkey or Israel for its conduct. And C. Stuart Johnson has used it in passing to describe the ways in which Vienna Orientalists historically drew on the Orientalism of Venice ("indirectly") to imagine and construct "the Orient." In sum, there does not seem to be a settled, general way in which scholars use this term. [6/17]

See also: Covert Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Second-hand Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: “Comparing the two seminal 9/11 films: Oliver Stone's World Trade Center and Paul Greengrass' United 93,” 2009.  At Entertaining Americanism (, accessed 6/17; William Henry FosterGender, Mastery and Slavery: From European to Atlantic World Frontier (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010); Jülide Karakoç, “Challenges to US Middle East Policy in the Post-Arab Uprisings Period.” In New Actors and Issues in the Post-Arab Uprisings Period (Cambridge Scholars, 2016); Brian J. O’Neill, “Displaced Identities Among the Malacca Portuguese.” In Recasting Culture and Space in Iberian Contexts (State U. of New York, 2008); Douglas ReynoldsTurkey, Greece, and the “Borders” of Europe: Images of Nations in the West German Press, 1950-1975 (Frank & Timme GmbH, 2013).

Indo-Orientalism. See Indological Orientalism.

Indo-chic Orientalism. See Popular Orientalism.

Indological Orientalism

This term refers to Indology, which, historically, was the study of Indian languages, literature, history, and culture that was considered to be an important branch of the field of study of academic Orientalism. Scholars generally use this term to describe the ways in which Indology, especially in the 19th century, was a vessel for and even an expression of Saidian Orientalism and was used as such to imagine and construct an India that was taken to be essentially different from the West. Many European Indologists, although not all by any means, constructed India as an essentially and irredeemably inferior, backward, and uncivilized nation especially in contrast to the West. However, others in the West and among Indian thinkers drew on Indology to imagine India as being essentially more spiritual than and thus superior to the materialistic West. And within India, Orientalist Indology has been used as a cultural and political tool to promote certain forms of nationalism; a small number of scholars, notably Jukka Jouhki, term this "indigenous" Indian version of Orientalism, Indo-Orientalism.

See also: Academic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Sinological Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Robert E. Frykenberg, “Hindutva as a Political Religion: An Historical Perspective.” In The Sacred in Twentieth-Century Politics: Essays in Honour of Professor Stanley G. Payne (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008); David N. Geraghty, “Old Stories, New Authors: Orientalism, Compolitanism and India” (Ph.D. disss., Monash, 2014); Norman J. GirardotThe Victorian Translation of China: James Legge’s Oriental Pilgrimage (U. of California, 2002); Jukka Jouhki, “Imagining the Other: Orientalism and Occidentalism in Tamil-European Relations in South Indi.” (diss., U. of Jyväskylä, 2006); Jukka Jouhki,  "Orientalism and India." J@rgonia 4 (2006); Richard KingOrientalism and Religion: Postcolonial Theory, India and "the Mystic East" (Routledge, 1999); Santosh C. Saha, “Hindu Revivalist Cultural Policies and Programs in India: A Critique.” In Religious Fundamentalism in the Contemporary World: Critical Social and Political Issues (Lexington Books, 2004).

Infantile Orientalism

This term and its synonym childish Orientalism are used more often in the blogosphere than they are by scholars. Both are very rare even there but do show something of the ways in which the notion of ideological Orientalism has been used beyond the pale of scholarship. These terms are generally used to point to what their users take to be immature, blatant, heedless, and unthinking Western prejudices against Arab/Muslim peoples and point to the socialization of ideological Orientalism in Western cultures.  [8/16]

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

Sources & Examples: Infantile Orientalism: Hani Shukrallah, “Western Media and the Brotherhood: Secrets Behind the Love Affair,” 2012. At Ahramonline (, accessed 8/16.  Childish Orientalism: Mehron Abdollmohammadi, “Infant Phenomenology,” 2013. At OP: Original Plumbing (, accessed 8/16.

Inner City (Inner-City) Orientalism

Use of this term is identified with the work of Stephen Graham (2009, 2011, 2012), who draws on Michel Foucault’s notion of “boomerang effects,” which argues that Western colonial powers used on their own citizens techniques of repression developed in their colonies.  Graham thus argues that since World War II European colonial powers have often drawn on overseas colonial Orientalist stereotypes to imagine and construct certain domestic urban enclaves, especially those populated by immigrants, as being similar to their overseas colonies.  Those enclaves, that is, are stereotyped as being poor, backward, racially and culturally alien, and frequently imagined to be prone to terrorism and thus dangerous to national security.  Scholars particularly identify inner city Orientalisms with right wing and white supremacist movements as well as neoliberal attitudes towards the poor.  Scholarly use of this term has mostly focused on European cities, especially in France.  Inner city Orientalism may be considered to be a form of urban Orientalism, but it is distinctive in that it focuses specifically on Western cities in the post-World War II era and is framed by scholars as being a reflexive offshoot of Western colonialism.  This term is used only infrequently and those who use it almost always cite Graham.  [12/20]

See also: Ideological Orientalism, Neoliberal Orientalism, Racist Orientalism, Urban Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Charlotte Chadderton, "The Militarisation of English Schools: Troops to Teaching and the Implications for Initial Teacher Education and Race Equality." Race Ethnicity and Education 17 (2014); Stephen Graham, “Cities as Battlespace The New Military Urbanism.” City 13 (2009); Stephen GrahamCities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism (Verso Books, 2011); Stephen Graham, “Foucault’s Boomerang—The New Military Urbanism.” development dialogue 58 (2012); Nicole Nguyen, "Chokepoint: Regulating US Student Mobility Through Biometrics." Political Geography 46 (2015); Diana Norton, “Immigration and Spanish Subjectivity in No habrá paz para los malvados.” In Toward a Multicultural Configuration of Spain: Local Cities, Global Spaces (Fairleigh Dickinson U., 2015).

Institutional Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually in two ways both found in Edward W. Said’s foundational book, Orientalism (1978), although Said does not use this term as such.  First, they use it more broadly to describe the place and role of ideological Orientalism as a sociocultural agency (institution) that imagines, creates, legitimizes, represents, stereotypes, rationalizes, and creates perceptions of an (Oriental) Other as having an essential, fundamentally unchanging nature that more often than not is held to be inferior to the (Western) Self.  Or, again, it is the set of cultural, intellectual, social, political, and economic doctrines, beliefs, images, and literature that embody Orientalist ideologies.  In all of these ways, Orientalism is an organized (institutionalized) Western way of thinking about those who are always different from and usually inferior to the West a la Said.  This suggests that Orientalism itself is an institution that has a certain cultural “solidity” that is a significant, deep rooted, and persistent presence that influences every aspect of Western life.  It is instituted in Western culture and society.  Second, scholars more narrowly use this term and the term Orientalist institutions to refer specifically to the various college and university faculties, museums and libraries, scholarly societies, learned literature, conferences and congresses, and other agencies that made up academic Orientalism from the late 18th century into the 20th century—and, some would argue, down to the present.  Said in Orientalism consistently points to the significant role that Orientalist institutions played historically in embodying and giving powerful voice to ideological Orientalism.  Those institutions provided the context within which individual Orientalist scholars labored, developed their ideas, and produced their learned works.  They developed the vocabulary of Oriental studies and gained such prestige and authority over individual scholars that the institutions of Orientalism actually came to determine the nature of “the Orient “itself, whatever the realities of Asia.  It should be noted that while the term “Orientalist institutions” is usually used specifically to describe these scholarly institutions, occasionally it is used in the broader sense, above—or seems to be, depending on how one reads its use in context.  [revised 6/19]


See also: Academic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Intellectual Orientalism, International Congress of Orientalists, Islamic Orientalism, Orientalist Literature, Structural Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Institutional Orientalism: Ammiel Alcalay, After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture (U. of Minnesota, 1993); Sadik Jalal al-‘Azm, “Orientalism in Reverse.” In Orientalism: A Reader (New York U., 2000); Luiz E. V. de Souza, et al., “'Postcolonial Theories Meet Energy Studies:' Institutional Orientalism” as a Barrier for Renewable Electricity Trade in the Mediterranean Region.” Energy Research & Social Science 40 (2018); Ahmed T. Hussein, “The Representation of the Arab World by Twentieth Century English Writers: Lawrence Durrell, Edna O’Brien & Jonathan Raban” (Ph.D. diss., Glasgow, 1989); Fatima Khan, “Negotiating British-Muslim Identity: Hybridity, Exclusion and Resistance” (Ph.D. diss., Liverpool, 2015); Zachary Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism (Cambridge, 2004); Joshua A. Sabih, "Under the Gaze of Double Critique: De-colonisation, De-sacralisation and the Orphan Book." Tidsskrift for Islamforskning 9 (2015); Edward W. SaidOrientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978).  Orientalist Institutions: Ali Behdad, Camera Orientalis: Reflections on Photography of the Middle East (U. of Chicago, 2016); Abdelmajid Hannoum “'Faut-Il Brûler L'Orientalisme?': On French Scholarship of North Africa.” Cultural Dynamics 16 (2004); Birayt Kolluoglu-Kiri, “From Orientalism to Area Studies” CR: The New Centennial Review 3 (2003); Kim Ming Lee & Kam Yee Law, "Hong Kong Chinese ‘Orientalism’: Discourse Reflections on Studying Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong." In Ethnic Minorities: Perceptions, Cultural Barriers and Health Inequalities (Nova, 2016); Lhoussain Simour, “The White Lady Travels: Narrating Fez and Spacing Colonial Authority in Edith Wharton’s In Morocco.” Journal of Women of the Middle East
and the Islamic World 7 (2009).

Intellectual Orientalism

Scholarly use of this term is neither frequent nor rare, and scholars generally use it in one of two ways: first, they use this term and the terms cognitive Orientalism and (rarely) contemplative Orientalism to describe the set of ideas that Western Orientalists, particularly scholars and intellectuals, have long used to imagine and construct the essential, unchanging, and more often than not inferior nature of an (Oriental) Other.  Edward W. Said (1978) set the tone for this first usage although he does not himself use the term as such. He does, however, compare Orientalism to a library or an archive of information bound together by a family of ideas as well as a set of values (pp. 40-41), and he argues that Orientalist scholars and intellectuals, as well as others, have used this durable body of ideas to explain how Orientals behave as well as who they are essentially.  Scholars since Said have continued to use this term in much the same way, seeing “intellectual Orientalism” as giving structure, form, context, and authority to the Orientalists’ collection of ideas—their thinking—concerning Orientals.  It must be said that scholars using this term usually use it in light of Said’s description of Orientalism as a set of largely negative stereotypes of Asians useful to exercising power over them.  Second, scholars also use this term more narrowly, usually in passing, as a synonym for academic Orientalism, that is the Orientalist family of ideas that the scholarly apparatus of academics, universities, scholarly literature, and other agencies of academic institutions that emerged in the 18th century and reached its zenith in the 19th century when Asian studies was called “Orientalism,” the study of Orientals.  It should be noted that these two uses of this term shade into each other under the assumption that the province of academics is the intellect.  [1/20]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Emergent Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Institutional Orientalism (2nd meaning), Orientalist Archive, Orientalist Epistemology, Philosophical Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: FIRST USAGE: Mark Lipovetsky, “Extreme Science: Towards Global Slavic Humanities,” 2015.  At Humanities Futures (https://humanities, accessed 12/19; Ilyse R. Morgenstein Fuerst, “Religions of Empire: Islamic Texts. Imperial Taxonomies, and South Asian Definitions of Religion” (Ph.D. diss., U. of North Carolina, 2012); Joanna Neilly, “Who is the Subaltern? A Consideration of the ‘Oriental Woman’ in the Work of E. T. A. Hoffmann.” In Bonds and Borders: Identity, Imagination and Transformation in Literature (Cambridge Scholars, 2011); Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Caroline M. Wolf, “Migrant Monuments, Monumental Migrants: São Paulo’s Sculptural Homage to Syrian-Lebanese Friendship and the Crafting of Transnational Identity in Centennial Brazil.” TAREA 4 (2017); Mari Yoshihara, Embracing the East: White Women and American Orientalism (Oxford, 2003).  Cognitive Orientalism:  Nilendra Bardiar, “Politics and Debate on Hindu Code Bill and Uniform Civil Code and the Forces of ‘Hindu Right Reaction’.” International Journal of Historical Insight and Research 1 (2015); “'Samson and Delilah’ Resists Death,” n.d.  At Spain’s News (, accessed 12/19; Albert Tzeng, “Framing Sociology in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore: Geopolitics, States and Practitioners” (Ph.D. diss., U. of Warwick, 2012). Contemplative Orientalism: Judith Surkis, Sex, Law, and Sovereignty in French Algeria, 1830–1930 (Cornell U., 2019); Rebecca A. Wilcox, “Cultures of Conquest: Romancing the East in Medieval England and France.” (Ph.D. diss, U. of Texas at Austin, 2009).  SECOND USAGE: Geoffrey C. Gunn, First Globalization: The Eurasian Exchange, 1500 to 1800 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003); Shah M. Hanifi, “A Genealogy of Orientalism in Afghanistan: The Colonial Image Lineage.”  In Middle East Studies after September 11: Neo-Orientalism, American Hegemony, and Academia (Brill, 2018).

Inter-Arab Orientalism. See Arab Orientalism.

Inter-Asian Orientalism. See Oriental Orientalism.

Internal Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually to describe the use of ideological Orientalist discourses, institutions, and practices directed at peoples who live in the same nation, territory, or society as the Orientalists, treating these Others as essentially alien or exotic and ideologically distant even though they are geographically close. These internal Others may be a region, a racial or ethnic minority, another sect within the same religious tradition, or a social class. Scholars also use other terms to describe internal Orientalism, including: deep Orientalism (Pollock), domestic Orientalism (Piterberg), nesting (nested) Orientalism (Bakic ́-Hayden), and more frequently and by many scholars, the first meaning of local Orientalism (e.g. Erdoğan).


See also: Banal Orientalism, Categorical Orientalism, Chinese Orientalism, Deep Orientalism, Euro-Orientalism, External Orientalism, Indigenous Orientalism, Internalized Orientalism, Jewish Orientalism, Native Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism, Nesting Orientalism, Oriental Orientalism, Orientology, Ottoman Orientalism,, Regional OrientalismRepublican Orientalism, Scandinavian Orientalism, Social Orientalism, Sub-Orientalism, Turksih Orientalism, Zionist Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Milica Bakić-Hayden, "Nesting Orientalisms: The Case of Former Yugoslavia." Slavic Review 54 (1995); Wilhelm Halbfass, Beyond Orientalism: The Work of Wilhelm Halbfass and Its Impact on Indian and Cross-Cultural Studies (Editions Rodopi, 1997); David R. Jansson, "‘A Geography of Racism’: Internal Orientalism and the Construction of American National Identity in the Film Mississippi Burning." National Identities 7 (2005); David R. Jansson, "Internal Orientalism in America: W.J. Cash’s The Mind of the South and the Spatial Construction of American National Identity." Political Geography 22 (2003); Malreddy P. Kumar, "Introduction: Orientalism(s) after 9/11." Journal of Postcolonial Writing 48 (2012); David Mazel, "American Literary Environmentalist as Domestic Orientalism." In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology (Georgia, 1996); Gabriel Piterberg, “Domestic Orientalism: The Representation of ‘Oriental’ Jews in Zionist/Israeli Historiography.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 23 (1996); Sheldon Pollock, “Deep Orientalism?” In Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament (U. of Pennsylvania, 1993); Louisa Schein, "Barbarians Beautified: The Ambivalences of Chinese Nationalism" (Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association, 1990); Bill Yousman, “Blackophilia and Blackophobia: White Youth, the Consumption of Rap Music, and White Supremacy.” Communication Theory 13 (2003).

Internalized Orientalism

Coined by Geraldine Heng and Jandas Devan, this term is frequently used by scholars to describe situations in which Orientalized Others accept the ways that ideological Orientalists portray them as being the true, essential description of themselves—i.e. they internalize Orientalist stereotypes within themselves. There is some difference among scholars as to how powerful this internalization of "the Orientalist gaze" actually is, some arguing that it is not as potent as it is often represented to be. As used by some scholars, the meaning of internalized Orientalism shades into or overlaps with internal Orientalism in situations where a governing elite uses it to determine the normative essence of what it means to be an acceptable member of its society. The social and political elite, that is, uses an internalized Orientalism to exercise internal political and social control by defining the social, cultural, and political identity of their society, especially in societies undergoing modernization.  [6/16]

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

Sources & Examples: Fahrettin Altun, “Orientalization Practices in Mainstream Turkish Foreign News Coverage.” Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs 16 (2011); Erdağ GöknarOrhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel (Routledge, 2013); Geraldine Heng, & Jandas Devan, “State Fatherhood: The Politics of Nationalism, Sexuality, and Race in Singapore.” In The Gender/Sexuality Reader: Culture, History, Political Economy (Routledge, 1997); Jung In KangWestern-Centrism and Contemporary Korean Political Thought (Lexington Books, 2015); Michiel Leezenberg, “Soviet Kurdology and Kurdism Orientalism.” In The Heritage of Soviet Oriental Studies (Routledge, 2011); Necla Mora, “Orientalist Discourse in Media Texts.” International Journal of Human Sciences 6 (2009); Ahlam Muhtaseb, “U.S. Media Darlings: Arab and Muslim Women Activists, Exceptionalism, and the ‘Rescue Narrative’,” [2015].  At (, accessed 6/16; Chunyan Shu, “Pride and Loathing in History: the National Character Discourse and the Chinese Search for a Cultural Identity” (Diss., Leiden, 2004); Emmanuel Szurek, “’Go West’: Variations on Kemalist Orientalism.” In After Orientalism: Critical Perspectives on Western Agency and Eastern Re-appropriations (Brill, 2015); Daniel F. VukovichChina and Orientalism: Western Knowledge Production and the P. R. C. (Routledge, 2012).

International Congress of Orientalists

Scholars describe the series of International Congresses of Orientalists that began in Paris in 1873 as playing a significant role in the development of academic Orientalism as a field of study (see the list of congresses, below). The goals of the congresses were to promote the spread of knowledge about the Orient by creating opportunities for scholarly interaction, promoting the sharing of research findings, stimulating discussions, building an international community of scholars, and advertising the findings and value of Orientalist studies more broadly. Earlier congresses focused primarily on philology and archaeology, but in later years both the scope of subjects included and peoples and cultures studied greatly expanded.  The congresses also included exhibits and panoramas that sought to allow participants and visitors to experience "the Orient" directly, almost as tourists. They thus became quite elaborate, commercialized affairs that were closely allied with the European political establishment and received the patronage of European royalty. The political and the public/commercial nature of the congresses sparked controversy in the 1890s as Orientalist scholars sought to reduce non-academic influences and activities. This controversy led to separate congresses being held in 1892 and again in 1894. There was later a long break caused by World War I, and by the 1930s the congresses were beginning to wan in their significance, a development that accelerated after World War II. At the centennial congress held in Paris in 1973, participants debated the dissolution of the congress movement but finally decided to continue under a new name: the International Congress of Human Sciences in Asia and North Africa, which in 1986 was changed to the International Congress for Asian and North African Studies. Scholars note that until after World War II the congresses were markedly Eurocentric and played a part in imagining and constructing Orientals as exotic, inferior colonial peoples. They were, that is, an important element in the history of Western ideological Orientalism as well as being closely identified with the expansion and maintenance of European colonialism.

International Congresses of Orientalists: Paris, 1873 (1st); London, 1874 (2nd); St. Petersburg, 1876 (3rd); Florence, 1878 (4th); Berlin, 1881 (5th); Leiden, 1883 (6th); Vienna, 1886 (7th); Stockholm & Christiania, 1889 (8th); London [Statutory], 1891 and London, 1892 (9th); Madrid [Statutory], 1892 and Geneva, 1894 (10th); Paris, 1897 (11th); Rome, 1899 (12th); Hamburg, 1902 (13th); Algiers, 1905 (14th); Copenhagen, 1908 (15th); Athens, 1912 (16th); Oxford, 1928 (17th); Leiden, 1931 (18th); Rome, 1935 (19th); Brussels, 1938 (20th); Paris, 1948 (21st); Istanbul, 1951 (22nd); Cambridge, 1954 (23rd); Munich, 1957 (24th); Moscow, 1960 (25th); New Delhi, 1964 (26th); Ann Arbor, 1967 (27th); Canberra, 1971 (28th); Paris, 1973 (29th).

See also: Academic Orientalism, International Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Institutional Orientalism, Professional Orientalism, Scientific Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Eckardt Fuchs, “The Politics of the Republic of Learning: International Scientific Congresses in Europe, the Pacific Rim, and Latin America.” In Across Cultural Borders: Historiography in Global Perspective (Rowman & Littlefields, 2002); Richard E. Lee, Jr. & Immanuel WallersteinOvercoming the Two Cultures: Science Vs. the Humanities in the Modern World-System (Routledge, 2004); Bernard Lewis, "The Question of Orientalism." New York Review of Books 29 (1982); Paul Servais, “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 (Routledge, 2014); Vera Tolz, “European, National, and (Anti-)Imperial: The Formation of Academic Oriental Studies in Late Tsarist and Early Soviet Russia.” Kritika 9 (2008).

International Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually in one of at least three distinct but interrelated ways all of which point to the global nature of Orientalism in all of its manifestations, as distinguished from the Orientalisms of individual cultures or nations. First, some scholars use this term to refer to the multi-national academic movement dedicated to the study of Orientalism, which emerged in the 19th century, including particularly the series of international Orientalist congresses, which began in Paris in 1873.  Second, other scholars use this term to describe the multi-national nature of Orientalist aesthetic styles in various branches of the arts, such as painting and architecture, which again emerged in the 19th century. With respect to these first two usages, some scholars note that Edward W. Said's book, Orientalism (1978), initiated an "international Orientalism debate" regarding the actual nature and content of academic Orientalism and aesthetic Orientalism. Third, other scholars use this term still more broadly and usually in passing to describe the global scope and influence of ideological Orientalism.

See also: Cosmopolitan Orientalism, Academic Orientalism, Aesthetic Orientalism, Global Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, International Congress of Orientalists, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Debashish BanerjiThe Alternative Nation of Abanindrath Tagore (SAGE, 2009); Norman J. Girardot, The Victorian Translation of China: James Legge's Oriental Pilgrimage (U. of California, 2002); Catherina Hinz & Isolde Kurz, “From Orientalism to Post-Orientalism: Middle Eastern and South Asian Perspectives.” Thamyris 3 (1996); Rosie Thomas, “Thieves of the Orient: The Arabian Nights in Early Indian Cinema.” In Scheherazade's Children: Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights (New York U., 2013).

Inverse Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually in one of two ways.  First, the large majority of scholars use it to describe Orientalist discourses, institutions, and practices in which those who are the objects of Orientalist prejudices transform those prejudices into positive characteristics or values. This first usage is similar to particular usages of reverse Orientalism.  Second, a few scholars use this term to describe discourses that unconsciously mimic Western Orientalist thinking while consciously rejecting things Western in favor of a positively valued, essential, and imagined East. Both of these usages transform the negative valuation of the Orient into a positive valuation of it. Other scholars use the term Inverted Orientalism instead of inverse Orientalism. The meaning of both terms is the same.  [4/16]


See also: Positive Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Secondary Orientalism, Self-Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Inverse Orientalism: Jørn Borup, "Zen and the Art of Inverting Orientalism: Religious Studies and Genealogical Networks." In New Approaches to the Study of Religion, vol. 1, Regional, Critical, and Historical Approaches (Verlag de Gruyter, 2004); Micahel Dusche, “German Romantics Imagining India: Friedrich Schlegel in Paris and Roots of Ethnic Nationalism in Europe,” [2011]. At CORE (www., accessed 4/16; Rupert Hodder, “The Study of the Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia: Some Comments on its Political Meanings with Particular Reference to the Philippines.” Philippine Studies 53 (2005); Brian MoeranLanguage and Popular Culture in Japan (Manchester, 1989); Natalie E. Quli, "Western Self, Asian Other: Modernity, Authenticity, and Nostalgia for 'Tradition' in Buddhist Studies." Journal of Buddhist Ethics 16 (2009).  Inverted Orientalism: Amita Baviskar, “The Politics of Being ’Indigenous’.” In Indigeneity in India (Kegan Paul, 2006); Anri Morimoto, “Contextualized and Cumulative: Tradition, Orthodoxy and Identity from the Perspective of Asian Theology.” In Asian and Oceanic Christianities in Conversation: Exploring Theological Identities at Home and in Diaspora (Rodopi, 2011); Benjamin E. Zeller, “Inverted Orientalism, Vedic Science, and the Modern World: Bhaktivedanta and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.” In Handbook of Religion and the Authority of Science (Brill, 2011).

Inverted Orientalism. See Inverse Orientalism.

Irish Orientalism

Scholars use this term and the closely related term, Celtic Orientalism, to describe the ways in which Irish writers, composers, artists, academics, and others have drawn on and imagined the Orient as a resource for Irish culture and self-understanding especially since the 19th century. These uses of the Orient reflect Catholic Ireland's unique historical situation as a European colony of a European colonial power, Britain. On the one hand, Irish Orientalists participated in the British colonial enterprise and shared in the usual ways in which British ideological Orientalists imagined and constructed an essentially, timelessly, irredeemably exotic, and inferior Orient. On the other hand, other Irish figures, such as James Cousins (1873-1956), James Joyce (1882-1941) and W. B. Yeats (1865-1939) reflected a centuries old Irish tradition of drawing on the Orient in positive ways to imagine and understand Ireland's own condition and identity as a subject nation under the rule of Britain. Among other things, Irish Orientalists have imagined Celtic Ireland as having its cultural and national origins in the East, for example as having a Phoenician heritage. Orientalism in this sense has been closely tied to Irish nationalism and the search for a unique, essential Irish national identity; Irish Orientalists, that is, see something of themselves in the Oriental colonial experience. Some scholars have noted that Irish Orientalists felt a particular affinity with India, which was also a British colony and one where many Irish served. Even in these cases, however, Irish Orientalists still have imagined and constructed an essential, timeless, unchanging Orient while identifying their national experience and identity to one degree or another with that Orient. Scholars, in sum, see Irish Orientalism as being a complex phenomenon marked historically by antipathy to the East (as being inferior), ambivalence toward it (as being like Us but still inferior), and enthusiasm for it as being an element in the essence of what it means to be Irish—yet still often tending to feel themselves ultimately superior to the Orient.

See also: Celtic Orientalism, Celticism, Ideological Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Lynne A. Bongiovanni,"’Turbaned Faces Going By’: James Joyce and Irish Orientalism.” ARIEL 38 (2007); Vincent J. Cheng, "Catching the Conscience of a Race: Joyce and Celticism."
 In Joyce in the Hibernian Metropolis: Essays (Ohio State, 1996); Laurence Cox, “Rethinking Early Western Buddhists: Beachcombers, ‘Going Native’ and Dissident Orientalism.” Contemporary Buddhism 14 (2013); Aileen Dillane & Matthew Noone, “Irish Music Orientalism.” New Hibernia Review 20 (2016); Eishiro Ito, “Awareness of Asianess of Irishness: Joyce among Irish Orientalists.” Journal of Policy Studies 15 (2014); Joseph Lennon, “The Celt and the Oriental: The Narratives of Irish Orientalism” (Ph.D. diss., Connecticut, 2000); Joseph LennonIrish Orientalism: A Literary and Intellectual History (Syracuse, 2004); Sean Ryder, “Ireland, India and Popular Nationalism in the Early Nineteenth Century.” In Ireland and India: Colonies, Culture and Empire (Irish Academic Press, 2006); Umme Salma, “Orientalism in James Joyce’s ‘Araby’.” Research on Humanities and Social Sciences 2 (2012).

Islamic Orientalism

Scholars use this term in one of at least three ways.  First, Edward W. Said (1978) uses it to describe the scholarly field of academic Orientalism that came into prominence in the later 19th and earlier 20th centuries, which he argues was devoted to imagining and constructing Islam as an inherently inferior, alien, and dangerous religion.  According to Said, this Islamic Orientalism as an academic field failed to make the transition to a social science. Instead, it long continued to rely on a set of unthinking, anachronistic, essentializing, and dualistic myths about Islam.  It failed to treat Islam critically. For Said, Bernard W. Lewis serves as the prototypical example of an Islamic Orientalist. Many other scholars follow Said in this usage, which is the most common and significant use of this term.  Second, other scholars use this term more broadly to mean Saidian Orientalism (that is, negative ideological Orientalisms), and they link it to the first usage, above, by arguing that this broader usage reflects the influence Islamic Orientalism as an academic field of study exerted over writers, artists, politicians, social commentators, and Western societies generally. Influential segments of the Western world, that is, took their understanding of Islam from the academic Islamic Orientalists.  Third and rarely, a few scholars use this term to describe Orientalist-like, essentializing Islamic thinking about other peoples and religions. It should be noted that scholars use this term exclusively to refer to Arab Muslims, and the terms Arab OrientalismArabic Orientalism, and Semitic Orientalism are often used as synonyms of this term.  [12/17]

See also: Academic Orientalism, Arab Orientalism, Arabic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Institutional Orientalism, Muslim Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Semitic Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Cemil  Aydýn, “Orientalism by the Orientals? The Japanese Empire and Islamic Studies (1931-1945).” Ýslâm Araþtýrmalarý Dergisi 14 (2005); Geeky Muslimah, “Understanding Orientalism and its Genesis,” 2017. At Troublesome Thirities: The Trials and Tribulations of a Geeky Muslimah (, accessed 12/17; Subhash Jaireth, “Tracing Orientalism in Cricket: A Reading of Some Recent Australian Cricket Writing on Pakistani Cricket.” Sporting Traditions 12 (1995); Timothy Worthington Marr, “Imagining Ishmael: Studies of Islamic Orientalism in America from the Puritans to Melville” (Ph.D. diss., Yale, 1997); Edward Said & Oleg Grabar, "Orientalism: an Exchange." The New York Review of Books (12 August 1982); Prakash Shah, “Hindu Objections to Reza Aslan’s Documentary are Missing a Crucial Point,” 2017. At daily O (, accessed 12/17; Jay Spaulding & Lidwien Kapteijns, “The Orientalist Paradigm in the Historiography of the Late Precolonial Sudan.” In Golden Ages, Dark Ages: Imagining the Past in Anthropology and History (U. of California, 1991); Marcus L. Stephenson & Nazi Ali, “Tourism and Islamophobia: Muslims in Non-Muslim States.” In Tourism in the Muslim World (Emerald Group, 2010).