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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).



Naïve Orientalism


Scholars and art critics usually use this term in passing and in at least two different contexts. Neither scholars nor art critics use this term in a technical sense.  First, some scholars use it to describe superficial, unthinking ideological discourses and practices that simply (naïvely) assume that all "Orientals" exhibit certain characteristics and/or behaviors. "They" are "all alike." Asians are thus thought to be collectively strange, abnormal, or exotic on the (naïve) assumption that the West is the measure of what is normal and familiar. This "naïve" Orientalism is based on ignorance and on hidden, "common sense" Western cultural assumptions about Asians and, as such, can be the foundation of an infatuation with things Asian although more usually it reflects unthinking Western prejudices against Asians.  Second, this term seems to be used most frequently by art critics describing an aesthetic quality that is Asian-like in an unassuming, perhaps unintentional and even vague way. They use it to describe instances of this quality in music, operas, films, and photographs—sometimes describing these "naïve Orientalisms" as being intriguing or entertaining. [revised 12/18]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Blatant Orientalism, Common Sense Orientalism, Hidden Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Implicit Orientalism, Manifest Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: David Hakken, et al., Beyond Capital: Values, Commons, Computing, and the Search for a Viable Future (Routledge, 2016); Tim Page, “Opera: “‘Pecheurs’ Changes,” 1986. At The New York Times (, accessed12/18; Emmanuelle Saada, “The History of Lessons: Power and Rule in Imperial Formations.” Items & Issues: Social Science Research Council l4 (2003); Epifanio San Juan Jr., Racism and Cultural Studies: Critiques of Multiculturalist Ideology and the Politics of Difference (Duke, 2002); Hugo Shirley, “Weber: Complete Overtures,” n.d. At Gramophone (, accessed 12/18.

Nascent Orientalism. See Proto-Orientalism.

Nationalist Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually in one of two ways.  First and most frequently, they use it to describe a stage in the response of Asian nationalists to Western ideological Orientalism, which historically has stereotyped “Orientals” as having a collective, largely unchanging identity that is essentially alien and inferior to the West.  According to these scholars, Asian nationalists in India and Persia, for example, have appropriated elements of Orientalist thinking to rebrand their nations and cultures as being essentially superior to the West.  Scholars using this term often cite Peter Heehs (2003), who describes the work of late 19th-early 20th century Indian nationalists, particularly Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), who discovered a renewed interest in Indian traditions and learning and from that interest created a “nationalist style of Orientalism” that imagined an essentially superior Indian nation and culture.  Nationalist Orientalism in this first sense is, thus, a form of reverse Orientalism.  Second, a few scholars use this term to describe the ways in which Europeans often frame their European neighbors to the south and east as being essentially “less European” and “more ‘Oriental’-like” (i.e. inferior) than themselves.  The French will so imagine Italians.  Hungarians will so imagine Romanians. [revised 8/19]

See also: Ideological Orientalism, Native Orientalism (Modern Usage), Nesting (Nested) Orientalism, Occidentalism, Ontological Orientalism, Oriental Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Zen Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: First Usage: Hazim Ali, “Mythrophrenia: Constructions of Modernity in Contemporary Arab Discourse” (Honors thesis, Georgetown University, 2016); Peter Heehs, “Shades of Orientalism: Paradoxes and Problems in Indian Historiography.” History and Theory 42 (2003); Farid LaroussiPostcolonial Counterpoint: Orientalism, France, and the Maghreb (U. of Toronto, 2016); Geoffrey NashFrom Empire to Orient: Travellers to the Middle East 1830-1926 (I. B. Tauris, 2005).  Second Usage: Daniele Conversi, “Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism.” In Encyclopaedia of Nationalism (Transaction Books, 2000): Attila Melegh, “Floating East: Eastern Europe on the Map of Global Institutional Actors.” In After Communism: Critical Perspectives on Society and Sociology (Peter Lang, 2004).

Nationalistic Orientalism. See Nationalist Orientalism.

Native Orientalism (19th Century Usage)

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Orientalist scholars and other writers generally used this term to describe the supposedly exotic “Oriental” character of Eastern individuals or peoples living in Asia or somehow connected with Asia. They imagined these Asian "natives" to be inferior and defective, and use of the term was often associated with notions of heathenism and superstition. It tended to emphasize that native Orientalism was something inborn that resisted change.

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

Sources & Examples: W. Armitage Beardslee, “The Church in Russia.” Missionary Review of the World 15 (1892); F. Mary WilsonA Primer on Browning (Macmillan & Co., 1891).

Native Orientalism (Modern Usage)

Scholars today use this term usually in one of two ways.  First, the majority of scholars use it to describe the ways in which “Oriental” peoples (“natives”), especially social and political elites, self-identify themselves with the categories of Orientalism, usually ideological Orientalism. Native Orientalists imagine and construct themselves as having, that is, an essential, timeless identity in contrast with the West that may include such things as being essentially spiritual or inherently backward. At times native Orientalists will use these categories negatively to imagine and construct another “native” people, such as those of another ethnicity or social class, as being an essentially, irremediably inferior Other. The nesting Orientalisms of the Balkans and Kemalist Orientalism of Turkey are examples of native Orientalisms. Second, a few scholars use this term in a more positive way to describe how contemporary Westernized Asian elites, including academics, seek to reconnect imaginatively with and even produce an Eastern heritage for themselves, treating that "native" heritage as having an essential nature that needs to be recreated. This second usage is a form of self-orientalism. This term and the term indigenous Orientalism both apply to virtually the same phenomenon and are used largely in the same ways.

See also: Ideological Orientalism, Indigenous Orientalism, Internal Orientalism, Kemalist Orientalism, Nationalist Orientalism, Nesting Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Self-Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: M. Shahid Alam, “Native Orientalists at the Daily Times,” 2009. At Counterpunch (, accessed 6/16; Eyup S. Çarmikli, “'Caught Between Islam and the West': Secularism in the Kemalist Discourse” (Ph.D. diss., U. of Westminster, 2011); María C. da Silva, "Southern insights into Orient and Western Orientalisms." Revista de Estudios Internacionales Mediterráneos 21 (2016); Christopher HoustonIslam, Kurds and the Turkish Nation State (Berg, 2001); Jeop Leerssen, “Irish Studies and Orientalism: Ireland and the Orient.” In Oriental Prospects: Western Literature and the Lure of the East (Rodopi, 1998); Preym K. Po’dar & Tanks B. Subba, “Demystifying Some Ethnocentric Texts on the Himalayas.” Social Scientist 19 (1991); Dina Rezk, “Orientalism and Intelligence Analysis: Deconstructing Anglo-American Notions of the ‘Arab’.” Intelligence and National Security 31 (2016).

Natural Orientalism

This term originated in the 19th century and has been used since then, largely in passing, usually to describe certain traits, characteristics, or dispositions that are supposed to be inherently ("naturally") “Oriental”. These traits, real or imagined, are thought to be found in Oriental cultures or in individual "Orientals" who are said to inherently (naturally) exhibit them as a part of their personal natures. Orientals, for example, are said to be "naturally" passive, emotional, exotic, amoral, spiritual, and so forth—the idea being that real live Asians are born with these natural Orientalisms, which represent their essential, unchanging nature.  [revised 9/17]

See also: Ideological Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Tekla B. Babyak, “Nietzsche, Debussy, and the Shadow of Wagner” (Ph.D. diss., Cornell, 2014); Carlos  Baker, “Emerson and Jones Very.” New England Quarterly 7 (1934); David Miller, “Decolonization of Self: Interview with Travel Writer/Photographer Marcus F. Benigno,” 2010. At Matador Network (, accessed 9/17; John R. MorellAlgeria: the Topography and History, Political, Social and Natural of French Africa (Nathaniel Cooke, 1854); [Laure] PrusA Residence in Algiers (William Pickering, 1852); Kaikhushru D. SethnaThe Spirituality of the Future: A Search Apropos of R. C. Zaehner's Study in Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin (Fairleigh Dickinson, 1981).

Nazi Orientalism

Scholars use this term to describe the ways in which the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi) movement in Germany articulated a racist, anti-Semitic, and sexist ideological Orientalism, drawn partly from 19th century Romanticism, which it imposed on German Oriental studies when it came to power in 1934. Nazi Orientalists, on the one hand, were deeply interested in South Asian religions and spirituality, associating them with the supposed purity of the Aryan race; and, on the other hand, they imagined Arabs and other Asians in the same way as did European Orientalists more generally, that is as inferior, backward, and even dangerous. They especially constructed the Oriental Other as being feminine-like and thus supposedly passive, alluring, and decadent. A few scholars apply this term to Nazi sympathizers and collaborators in other nations during the 1930s and 1940s and to later neo-Nazi movements, and occasionally scholars use this term interchangeably with the term, fascist Orientalism.

See also: Anti-Semitic, Deep Orientalism, Fascist Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Racist Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Clinton Bennett, “Empires and Religions: Colonialism, Postcolonialism, and Orientalism.” In Controversies in Contemporary Religion: Education, Law, Politics, Society, and Spirituality, v. 1 (Praeger, 2014); Tobais Hübinette, “Asia as a Topos of Fear and Desire for Nazis and Extreme Rightists: The Case of Asian Studies in Sweden.” Positions 15 (2007); Eric Kurlander, “The Orientalist Roots of National Socialism? Nazism, Occultism, and South Asian Spirituality, 1919-1945.” In Transcultural Encounters between Germany and India: Kindred Spirits in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2014); Suzanne Marchand, “Nazism, ‘Orientalism,’ and Humanism.” In Nazi Germany and The Humanities: How German Academics Embraced Nazism (Oneworld, 2007).

Negative Orientalism

Scholars use this term, usually in a non-technical sense, to summarize Edward W. Said’s notion of ideological Orientalism, which is that Western Orientalists imagine and construct Asians as having essentially and irredeemably inferior natures.  Orientalism is, thus, a Western ideology that stereotypes Asians negatively.  Sinan Akilli (2013), however, flips this common usage by defining negative Orientalisms as ideologies that dialectically “essentialize” the West, not Asians, in negative ways.  By-and-large, scholars pair this term with positive Orientalism, seeing the two as mirror-image opposites of each other.  [revised 6/19]

See also: Occidentalism, Positive Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Sinan Akilli, “Re-constructing the Western Self in the Ottoman Mirror: A Study of ‘Negative Auto-Occidentalism’ in the Contexts of American-Ottoman and Anglo-Ottoman Encounters.” Edebiyat Fakültesi Dergisi 30 (2013); Michael Dusche, “Friedrich Schlegal’s Writings on India: Reimagining Germany as Europe’s True Oriental Self.” In Deploying Orientalism in Culture and History: From Germany to Central and Eastern Europe (Camden House, 2013); Emma Kowal, “The Politics of the Gap: Indigenous Australians, Liberal Multiculturalism, and the End
 of the Self-Determination Era.” American Anthropologist 110 (2008); L. H. M. Ling, “Orientalism Refashioned: ‘Eastern Moon’ in ‘Western Waters’ Reflecting Back on the East China Sea.” At researchgate (, accessed 6/19.

Neoliberal Orientalism

A few scholars use this term (and, very rarely, the term, “Orientalist neoliberalism”) to describe the impact of Western neoliberalism on the peoples of the “global South”.  They argue that neoliberal Orientalism has, since roughly the 1970s, become the successor of colonial Orientalism.  Its goal is to maintain the international dominance of the West, particularly the United States.  Unlike colonialism, however, neoliberalism tends to work in more subtle ways, including by relying primarily on international agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to obtain its ends.  It is also subtler in that in theory neoliberalism promotes economic, political, social freedom, the rights of the individual, and limited government; and it claims that it seeks to liberate the brown and black nations and peoples of the global South, who supposedly lag behind the West in social, political, and economic development.  Often, well-meaning neoliberal Orientalists do not themselves realize that the principles they espouse actually are designed to promote Western domination.  Sophie Ellman-Golan (2014) observes that especially the United States uses the supposed oppression of women to justify its intervention in nations like Afghanistan.  She and other scholars thus see neoliberal Orientalism to be a somewhat disguised form of both racist Orientalism and sexist Orientalism.  Furthermore, there are individuals and agencies in the global South itself that also advocate and practice neoliberal principles for their own supposed benefit. A few scholars argue that because neoliberalism has become a dominant global ideology, it also affects the way in which the arts (e.g. music and painting) are structured by treating them as being primarily opportunities for profit and ways to achieve popularity.  They are dominated by groups, associations, and organizations that tend to see the arts as economic enterprises.  It should be noted that this term is not widely or frequently used, and it has received relatively little scholarly attention.  [revised 8/19]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Canadian Orientalism, Colonial Orientalism, Cosmopolitan Orientalism, Economic Orientalism, Feminist Orientalism (2nd Usage), French Orientalism, Governmental Orientalism, Hidden Orientalism, Homoerotic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Implicit Orientalism, Inner City Orientalism, Liberal Orientalism, New Orientalism, Paternalistic Orientalism, Racist Orientalism, Resurgent Orientalism, Self-Orientalism, Sexist Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, Urban Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Sophie Ellman-Golan, “Deconstructing Discourse: Gender and Neoliberal Orientalism in the Egyptian Revolution” (B.A. thesis, Barnard, 2014); Rayya El Zein, From ‘Hip Hop Revolutionaries’ to ‘Terrorist- Thugs’: ‘Blackwashing’ between the Arab Spring and the War on Terror.” Lateral 5 (2016); Rayya Sunayma El Zein, “Neoliberal Orientalism,” Oct. 11. At Rayya Sunayma (, accessed 8/19; Mark Findlay, "Masking Neo-liberal Development: Polanyi, Rule of Law and Dis-embedding Dynamics." International Journal of Development Issues 16 (2017); Jinah Kim, “U.S. Racial Imaginaries” (Ph.D. diss., U. of California, San Diego, 2006).


The scholarly use of this frequently and widely used term divides roughly into two periods, namely before and after the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center (“9/11”).  Prior to 9/11: online searches on this term found just one 19th century usage (Brajendra Nath Seal, 1860) and then none until the 1970s when a relatively small number of scholars began to use it to describe what they took to be a new era in academic Orientalism and popular Orientalism, which began at some point after World War II as Orientalist academics and others began to reconfigure classical Orientalism in new ways.  There was, however, no one clear, predominant sense of what actually constituted this “neo-Orientalism”.  An article by Yahya Sadowski (1993), however, anticipated its later usage. He argued that after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the First Gulf War (1991) a group of so-called “neo-Orientalist” academics (e.g. Daniel Pipes) opened a new chapter in Orientalist thinking when they began to imagine and construct Middle Eastern Islam as a powerful ideological force that promotes terrorism, undermines the integrity of Islamic states, and is antithetical to their becoming liberal democracies.  Post-9/11: A decade later, Edward W. Said (2003) used this term in passing to describe one possible reaction to 9/11 as being, “a belligerent neo-Orientalism," and scholars have since increasingly used it to describe what they consider to be a distinctive phase of classical Orientalism.  There is a widely shared sense, however, that it is not a new form of Orientalism because it shows substantial continuity with classical Orientalism.  It remains, that is, a Western dualistic ideology that imagines and constructs Asians as having a single, shared essential, unchanging, and inferior identity.  Like classical Orientalism, it focuses on Islam as an important contributing factor to that inferiority, and it also articulates a “gendered” view of “Islamicized” Arabs by which Muslim men are stereotyped as tending to be violent and “their” women characterized as being downtrodden.  Neo-Orientalism, again like classical Orientalism, is also articulated and promoted by an academic establishment.  In both phases, furthermore, Orientalist stereotypes and ideologies permeate Western popular culture.  Still, neo-Orientalism is a distinctive phase of classical Orientalism usually distinguished, depending on the scholar, by the following traits: (1) neo-Orientalism is a contemporary rather than historical phenomenon; (2) it focuses almost exclusively on the Muslim Middle East rather than all of Asia; (3) where classical Orientalism emphasized the exotic nature of “Orientals,” neo-Orientalists focus on Arab (and Iranian) supposed violence and brutality in the context of a “clash of civilizations” between the Muslim Middle East and the West, which is mirrored in Western “Islamophobia” and the American “War on Terror”; (4) the neo-Orientalist view of Arab women focuses not on their sensuous, mysterious, exotic nature so much as on their supposedly degraded social and political situation; (5) where classical Orientalists tended to see Islam as a false religion, neo-Orientalists emphasize its ideological nature, including its political and economic—rather than cultural—ramifications; (6) scholars also emphasize the ways in which neo-Orientalist academics and others justify especially American attitudes, behaviors, and policies toward the Middle East including the use of military intervention in the region; (7) scholars at times observe that Middle Eastern scholars, writers, journalists, and other so-called “experts” living both in the Middle East and in the West use their expertize to affirm the “truth” of Western stereotypes, thus playing an important role in reinforcing and legitimizing them; and (8) neo-Orientalism tends to be driven by modern media and thus is more widely and intensely disbursed than classical Orientalism.  The community of scholars who regularly use this term for the most part accept Said’s views on classical Orientalism (i.e. Saidian Orientalism) and, thus, do not debate whether he was “right” or not.  And because they largely focus on economic and political issues, there is little attention given to the study of the relationship of aesthetic and artistic expressions to neo-Orientalism  [2/20]

See also: Academic Orientalism, American Orientalism, Binary Orientalism, Conventional Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Indigenous Orientalism, Internal Orientalism, Neo-Victorian Orientalism, New Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Postmodern Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Self-Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism, Xenophobic Orientalism.

Sources & ExamplesPre-9/11: Susan M. Akram, “Orientalism Revisted in Asylum and Refugee Claims.” International Journal of Refugee Law 12 (2000); Tessa Bartholomeusz, “Spiritual Wealth and Neo-Orientalism.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 35 (1998); Ira Bhaskar, “Postmodernism and Neo-Orientalism: Peter Brook’s Mahabharata—Producing India Through a Body of Multicultural Images.” In Imag(in)ing Otherness: Filmic Visions of Living Together (Scholars Press, 1999); Zelia Gregoriou, “Does Speaking of Others Involve Receiving the ‘Other’?” In Derrida & Education (Routledge, 2001); Elizabeth G. Kirk, “Neo-Orientalism: Ugly Women and the Parisian Avant-Garde, 1905-1908” (M.A. thesis, U. of British Columbia, 1988); Monique Manopoulos, “De-centering Language Structure in Akli Tadjer’s Les A.N. I. du Tassili.” In Maghrebian Mosaic: A Literature in Transition (Lynne Rienner, 2001); Yahya Sadowski, “The New Orientalism and the Democracy Debate.” Middle East Report 183 (1983); Ruba Salih, "The Backward and the New: National, Transnational and Post‐national Islam in Europe." Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies 30 (2004); Brajendra Nath Seal, “The Neo-Romantic Movement in Literature: A Paper on the Philosophy and History of Art.” The Calcutta Review 182, 91 (October 1890): 306-333; Thomas York, The Emerging Network: A Sociology of the New Age and Neo-pagan Movements (Rowman & Littlefield, 1995).  Post-9/11: Khalid M. Alrasheed, “Invisible Humans, Visible Terrorists: U.S. Neo- Orientalism Post 9/11 and Representations of the Muslim World” (Ph.D. diss., Purdue U., 2015); Mubarak Altwaiji, “Neo-Orientalism and the Neo-Imperialism Thesis: Post-9/11 US and Arab World Relationship.” Arab Studies Quarterly 36 (2014)
; Ali Behdad & Juliet Williams, “Neo-Orientalism.” In Globalizing American Studies (U. of Chicago, 2010); Ali Behdad & Juliet A. Williams, “On Neo-Orientalism Today,” 2012. At Shahram Entekhabi (, accessed 1/20; Elizabeth A. Bovair, “Journeys to Shangri-La: The Neo-Orientalism of Tibetan Culture.”  In Asian Tourism: Growth and Change (Routledge, 2008); Aziz Douai & Sharon Lauricella, “The ‘Terrorism’ Frame in ‘neo-Orientalism’: Western News and the Sunni-Shia Muslim Sectarian Relations after 9/11.”  International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics 10 (2014); Tamta Gelashvili, “Neo-Orientalism Framing of the 2011 and 2013 Egyptian Uprisings: A Case Study of The New York Times and The Washington Post” (M.A. thesis, U. of Amsterdam, 2014); Caron E. Gentry, "The Mysterious Case of Aafia Siddiqui: Gothic Intertextual Analysis of Neo-Orientalist Narratives." Millennium 45 (2016); Ayla Gol, "The War on Terror and the Rise of Neo-Orientalism in the 21st Century." Critical Studies on Terrorism 3 (2010); Reema A. Hassan, “Neo-Orientalism and the Search for Identity,” n.d. At ACSA (, accessed 1/20; Johan Höglund, “Electronic Empire: Orientalism Revisited in the Military Shooter.” International Journal of Computer Game Research 8 (2008); Salim Kerboua, “From Orientalism to Neo-Orientalism: Early and Contemporary Constructions of Islam and the Muslim World.” Intellectual Discourse 24 (2016); Daniel Monterescu, “The Bridled Bride of Palestine: Orientalism, Zionism, and the Troubled Urban Imagination.” Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 16 (2009); Avril Powell & Jeffrey M. Diamond, “The Orientalist-Literati Relationship in the Northwest: G.W. Leitner, Muhammad Hussain Azad and the Rhetoric of Neo-orientalism in Colonial Lahore.” South Asia Research 31 (2011); Edward W. Said, "Orientalism Once More." In Orientalism (Penguin, 2003); Haydar Zaki, “The Rise of Neo-Orientalism: Working With Extremists for ‘Social Justice – Haydar Zaki,” 2016. At Quilliam (, accessed 1/20; Nan Zhang, “Neo-Orientalism in the Operas of Tan Dun” (M.A. thesis, Dalhousie U., 2015); Mazhar Al-Zo’by, “Representing Islam in the Age of Neo-Orientalism: Media, Politics and Identity.” Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research 8 (2015).

Neo-Orientalist Imperialism. See Imperial Orientalism.


Neoromantic (Neo-Romantic) Orientalism

Scholars use this term generally to describe a resurgence of classical Orientalist interest in the Orient, especially its supposed wisdom and spirituality, which took place beginning in the late 19th century in parts of Europe and flourished particularly in Germany after World War I. Neoromantic Orientalists viewed the Orient generally favorably, even seeing it as a source of hope for a drifting, spiritually deficient Europe. Even so, the Orient was still imagined as being essentially Other.

See also: Positive Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Boaz Huss, “Forward, to the East: Napthali Herz Imper’s Perception of Kabbahah.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 12 (2013); Suzanne Marchand, “Eastern Wisdom in an Era of Western Despair: Orientalism in 1920 Central Europe.” In Weimar Thought: A Contested Legacy (Princeton, 2013); Suzanne Marchand,“Nazism, ‘Orientalism,’ and Humanism.” In Nazi Germany and The Humanities: How German Academics Embraced Nazism (Oneworld Publications, 2014); Martin Rosenstock & Qinna Shen, “Re-investigating a Transnational Connection: Asian German Studies in the New Millennium.” In Beyond Alterity: German Encounters with Modern East Asia (Berghahn Books, 2014).

Neo-Techno-Orientalism. See Techno-Orientalism.

Neo-Victorian Orientalism

Daný van Dam (2017) describes neo-Victorian Orientalism as being a double Orientalism that revives Victorian Orientalisms and reconstructs them as “renewed” 21st century Orientalisms, sometimes associated by other scholars with either postmodern Orientalism or neo-Orientalism.  Most scholars of neo-Victorian Orientalism focus on modern-day uses of Victorian literature in modern literature and to a lesser extent entertainment, primarily in the cinema—citing John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969), as an important example.  Neo-Victorian Orientalist writers often fix on the underside of or the bizarre in Victorian times and literature, emphasizing and building on themes deemed pertinent to modern readers and audiences.  Sexual themes, pornography, and erotic fantasies and relationships are a predominate theme in much of neo-Victorian Orientalist discourses.  Scholars differ on the actual relationship of neo-Victorian Orientalism to the Victorian era, some arguing that neo-Victorians Orientalism—in typical Orientalist fashion—imagine and construct fanciful renderings of that era, while some contend that neo-Victorian Orientalisms also reveals actual historical realities of the Victorian era.  Scholars use a variety of terms to describe the relationship between the two, seeing neo-Victorian Orientalisms as rediscovering, reinterpreting, re-visioning, representing, redrafting, romanticizing, appropriating, recycling, illuminating, correcting, idealizing, and even playing with Victorian era realities and themes.  This term is not rare but also not widely used. [revised 2/21]

See also: Cinematic Orientalism, Double Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism, Orientalist Literature, Orientalist Nostalgia, Postmodern Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism, Temporal Orientalism, Victorian Orientalism, Victorientalism.

Sources & Examples: Elizabeth HoNeo-Victorianism and the Memory of Empire (Continuum, 2012); Marie-Luise Kohlke, “The Neo-Victorian Sexsation: Literary Excursions into the Nineteenth Century Erotic.”  In Probing the Problematics: Sex and Sexuality  (Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2008); Marie-Luise Kohlke, “Sexsation and the Neo-Victorian Novel: Orientalising the Nineteenth Century in Contemporary Fiction.” In Negotiating Sexual Idioms: Image, Text, Performance (Rodopi, 2008); Danijela Petković, “Problematizing Leniency and Panopticism: Victorian Prison in neo-Victorian Fiction and Discipline and Punish.” Primerjalna književnost (Ljubljana) 41 (2018); Fadia Soyoufi, et. al., “The Metamorphoses of the Femme Fatale in H. Rider Haggard’s She and John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman.” Jordan Journal of Modern Languages and Literatures 12, (2020); Daný van Dam, “A Conscious Failure to Pass: Dressing across Sexual and Racial Borders in Neo-Victorian Fiction.” Neo-Victorian Studies 9 (2017).

Nesting (Nested) Orientalism

This term was originally introduced by Milica Bakić-Hayden in 1992 and has been frequently used by other scholars, mostly writing about Eastern Europe and especially the Balkans, to describe a form of ideological Orientalism that is also a form of both European internal Orientalism and reverse Orientalism. Nesting orientalisms occur when Eastern Europeans imagine and construct neighboring peoples and nations, who often live further east (i.e. closer to Asia), as being essentially alien, inferior, backward, and even violent (Oriental-like) Others while at the same time seeing themselves as being essentially civilized "like" Western Europe. This process of self- and other-identification is duplicated regionally moving eastward so that Orientalisms are embedded, or "nested," within other Orientalisms. Thus, modern Greek Orientalism involves imagining and constructing Greece's Balkan neighbors as being essentially inferior while imagining Greece itself to be a part of European civilization at the same time that Western Europeans consider Greece to be just another essentially inferior, Oriental-like Balkan nation. In this paradigm, Asia stands as the ultimate Oriental Other. This term is also very infrequently applied to the relationships between other groups within a nation or culture outside of Eastern Europe, such as seeing urban peoples as being “more civilized” than rural people.  [revised 9/18]

See also: Categorical Orientalism, Double Orientalism, Euro-Orientalism, Greek Orientalism (Modern), Frontier Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Indigenous Orientalism, Internal Orientalism, Nationalist Orientalism, Native Oriental (Contemporary Usage), Ottoman Orientalism, Paradoxical Orientalism, Peripheral Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Self-Orientalism, Turkish Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Milica Bakić-Hayden, "Nesting Orientalisms: The Case of Former Yugoslavia." Slavic Review 54 (1995); David Henig, “The Embers of Allah: Cosmologies, Knowledge, and Relations in the Mountains of Central Bosnia” (Thesis, Durham, 2011); Merje Kuus, “Europe’s Eastern Expansion and the Reinscription of Otherness in East-Central Europe.” Progress in Human Geography 28 (2004); Enis Sulstarova, “Rilindja’s Place in the Orientalism of Intellectuals in Post-Communist Albania.” Historia et Sociologia 22 (2012); Natalija Waldhuber, “Shifting Discourses of Nesting Orientalisms: The Case of Western Balkan Fragmentation” (Paper, Central European U., 2013).

Neural Orientalism

Greg Downey (2009) uses this otherwise extremely rare term to describe a bias found among neuroscience researchers studying the comparative influence of Asian and Western cultures on behavior, a bias based on the assumption that those cultures are each in and of themselves objective, unified realities that provide a framework in which to conduct research.  Dylan T. Lott (2016) uses the equally rare term "Neuro-Orientalism" to describe the same neuroscientific research phenomenon.  Both Downey and Lott argue that this assumption of cultural uniformity within the West and within Asia skews research results by treating both as having essential and timeless identities that are in significant opposition to each other in the face of the actual reality of vast social and cultural heterogeneity in the West and in Asia.  Neural Orientalist researchers also tend to exclude research subjects and concerns that don't accord with their assumptions about culture, and they tend to force their data to fit those assumptions.  Both Downey and Lott use Edward W. Said’s notion of Orientalism as the starting point of their arguments.  [6/19]

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

Sources & Examples: Greg Downey, “Escaping Orientalism in Cultural Psychology,” 2009. At Neuroanthropology (, accessed 6/19; Greg Downey and Daniel H. Lende, “Neuroanthropology and the Encultured Brain,” In The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology (MIT, 2012); Dylan T. Lott, “From Interiority to Inner Territory Tibetan Buddhism, Neuroscience, and the Politics of Representation” (Ph.D. diss., U. of Illinois at Chicago, 2016).

New Age Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually to describe American ideological Orientalist discourses dating from the 1970s, which overtly imagine and construct Asian nations in glowing terms while covertly retaining attitudes of Orientalist prejudice. Nations such as Tibet and India are idealized as deeply spiritual, holy, and timeless, but also as being powerless and in need of American/Western rescue. These discourses are found in films, literature, New Age sciences, psychologies, and medical practices. They are generally dualistic and attribute essences to Asia and to the West that have little to do with the reality of Asian or Western peoples’ lives. New Age discourses also continue to portray Asia as exotic.  [3/16]

See also: Hidden Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Medical Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Pulp Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, Virtual Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: David J. HessScience in the New Age: The Paranormal, Its Defenders and Debunkers, and American Culture (Wisconsin, 1993); Donald S. Lopez Jr., "New Age Orientalism: the Case of Tibet." Tibetan Review 28 (1994); Eve L. Mullen, “Buddhism, Children, and the Childlike in American Buddhist Films.” In Buddhism and American Cinema (State U. of New York, 2014); Eve L. Mullen, “Orientalist Commercializations: Tibetan Buddhism in American Popular Films.” Journal of Religion and Film 2 (1998); Vijay PrashadThe Karma of Brown Folk (U. of Minnesota, 2000).

New Orientalism

Scholars use this term usually in one of three different ways.  First and most often, many use it and its widely used synonym, neo-Orientalism, to describe what they understand to be recent ideological Orientalist discourses, institutions, and practices that focus particularly on Islam and the Muslim Middle East. They are “new” in that they vilify Islam while no longer seeing it as “exotic” or alluring. Some date these changes from the 1980s, others to the aftermath of 9/11. New Orientalist arguments are used to justify military, diplomatic, economic, and other actions against Islamic nations again especially in the Middle East and North Africa. They assert the superiority of the West and often promote the idea that Islam and the West are engaged in a “clash of civilizations” between the civilized West and barbaric East. According to a number of scholars, however, new Orientalism theory tries to disguise its continued antipathy to Middle Eastern Islam and Arabs by overtly portraying “good Arabs” and “good Muslims”—especially in films and literature—in a supposedly tolerant, positive light that, in fact, only reinforces the fundamental dualism of Orientalist stereotyping. It does this by using “indigenous” figures and voices to highlight the differences between “acceptable” Muslims and Arabs and all the rest of Them.  Second and much less often, some scholars use this term to describe certain literary developments in the later 18th century.  Third, in the art world, Tim Yip (Timmy Yip Kamtim), the Chinese art fashion designer, uses this term to describe the ways in which he seeks to undermine Saidian Orientalism by melding and blending Asian and Western artistic themes in ways that undermine Orientalism’s otherwise rigid dualistic boundaries between them. The result is his “new” Orientalism (cf. Transorientalism).  [revised 3/18]

See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Liberal Orientalism, Modern Orientalism, Neoliberal Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism, Old Orientalism, Resurgent Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Transorientalism, Xenophobic Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: First UsageMohammad S. AlamChallenging the New Orientalism: Dissenting Essays on the ‘War Against Islam’ (Islamic Publications International, 2006); Tariq Amin-Khan, “New Orientalism, Securitisation and the Western Media's Incendiary Racism.” Third World Quarterly 33 (2012); Edmund Burke III, “Orientalism and World History: Representing Middle Eastern Nationalism and Islamism in the Twentieth Century.” Theory & Society 27 (1998); Alastair Crooke, “The ‘New Orientalism.” At Conflicts Forum (, accessed 3/16; Malreddy P. Kumar, “Introduction: Orientalism(s) after 9/11.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 48 (2012); Yahya Sadowski, "The New Orientalism and the Democracy Debate." Middle East Report 183 (1993); Anis Shivani, “Indo-Anglian Fiction: the New Orientalism.” Race & Class 47 (2006); Gayatri C. Spivak, Outside in the Teaching Machine (Routledge, 1993); Dag Taustad, “Neo-Orientalism and the New Barbarism Thesis: Aspects of Symbolic Violence in the Middle East Conflict(s).” Third World Quarterly 2 (2003). Second Usage: Katherine Binhammer, et al., “Srinivas Aravamudan’s Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel: A Roundtable Discussion." Lumen 33 (2014); Amir R. Mufti, “ Orientalism and the Institution of World Literatures.” Critical Inquiry 36 (2010).  Third Usage: Angela Yang, “New Orientalism—New Language of Modern Art?  A Story of Tim Yip,” 12 January 2015.  At Wesleyan Word (, accessed 3/18; Zhang Yuchen, “Academy Award-winning Designer Tim Yip Talks About His ‘New Orientalism’ Concept of Design,” 2016. At Global Times (, accessed 3/18.

New Orientalism Theory. See New Orientalism.

Nordic Orientalism. See Scandinavian Orientalism.

North African Orientalism. See French Orientalism.

Nostalgic Orientalism. See Orientalist Nostalgia.

Norientalism. See Borealism.

Nuclear Orientalism

This fairly frequently used term was coined by Hugh Gusterson (2004), and he and other scholars use it to describe the ways in which American and Western European policymakers, as well the American and European public, fear and seek to obstruct the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Islamic and Asian nations, which they imagine and construct as being irresponsible, irrational, impulsive, and treacherous. They cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. Nuclear Orientalists, on the other hand, view the Western nuclear powers as being the mirror image of these supposed Asian traits and, therefore, can be entrusted with nuclear weapons. Scholars argue that the goal of nuclear Orientalists is to preserve the military domination of the United States and its Western allies and, thus, reflects the Western colonialism of the past.

See also: Binary Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Military Orientalism, Xenophobic Orientalism.

Sources & Examples: Runa Das, “United States–India Nuclear Relations Post-9/11: Neo-Liberal Discourses, Masculinities, and Orientalism in International Politics.” Journal of Asian and African Studies 49 (2014); Hugh GustersonPeople of the Bomb: Portraits of America's Nuclear Complex (Minnesota, 2004); Nick Ritchie, “Legitimizing and Delegitimizing Nuclear Weapons.” In Viewing Nuclear Weapons through a Humanitarian Lens (United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, 2013); Jessica A. Urwin, “More Bang for your Buck: Nuclear Weapons and Their Enactment of Colonial and Gendered Power.”  ANU Undergraduate Research Journal 8 (2016).

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