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).
This term (including the variations of "parallel Orientalist" and "Orientalist parallels") is not frequently used. When scholars do use it they generally use it in two broad ways. First, some scholars use it to describe similarities between one form or another of Orientalism and other concepts or phenomenon. Colonialism and Orientalism, for example, are different concepts and phenomena, but there are clear similarities (“parallels”) between them. While scholars more often use the term, quasi-Orientalism, to describe this first usage of this term, the fundamental idea of similarities remains the same. Second, scholars also use this term to describe close relationships between differing forms or uses of Orientalism in, for example, different cultural contexts or between two different historical periods. In this second usage, the similarities are between two forms of Orientalism rather than between something else and Orientalism. Thus, reverse Orientalisms may be considered to be Orientalisms that are closely associated with (“parallel to”) the Western Orientalisms on which they are modeled and from which they are drawn. Turkish and Indian nationalists, for example, have both articulated Orientalisms that “parallel” Western ideological Orientalism. In one special usage of this term, Malreddy Pavan Kumar (2012) has cryptically defined it as being the exhibition of the mirror image traits ("parallels") between “good” and “bad” individuals within a given community, his example being “good Muslims vs. bad Muslims.” In another special usage, Fatima Abbadi in a photographic exhibit that she held in London in 2015 used this term to point to the fundamental sameness of people through all human cultures and societies—arguing, that is, there are Orientalist “parallels” between all of us wherever and whoever we are. [revised 7/17]
See also: Quasi-Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Fatima Abbadi, “London Exhibition: ‘Parallel Orientalism’.” At Fatima Abbadi Photography (fatimaabbadi.blogspot.com), accessed 7/17; Joseph P. Cosco, Imagining Italians: The Clash of Romance and Race in American Perceptions, 1880-1910 (State U. of New York, 2003); Jarrod Hayes, Queer Nations: Marginal Sexualities in the Maghreb (U. of Chicago, 2000); Dunia El-Zobaidi, “Parallel Orientalism Challenges Stereotypes.” The Arab Weekly 1, 33 (27 Nov. 2015); Sophus Helle, "The Return of Mess O’Potamia: Time, Space, and Politics in Modern Uses of Ancient Mesopotamia." Postcolonial Studies 19 (2016); Malreddy P. Kumar, "Introduction: Orientalism(s) after 9/11." Journal of Postcolonial Writing 48 (2012); Herbert R. Swanson, “Said’s Orientalism and the Study of Christian Missions.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 28 (2004); Eliana V. Trenam, “Pseudo-feminism in Orientalist Romantic Ballet,” 2010. At Iowa Research Online (http://ir.uiowa.edu), accessed 7/17.
This term and its related term Orientalist paranoia are not frequently used; but when scholars do use them they use them to describe particularly extreme forms of ideological Orientalism grounded in irrational anxieties and fears that are frequently racially based. Some scholars thus equate paranoid Orientalism with “white paranoia.” In the United States, fear of communism previously and the trauma of 9/11 more recently have been causes of American Orientalist paranoia. In general, paranoid Orientalism is based on a deep distrust of the (Oriental) Other, which imagines and constructs the Other in ways that are not grounded in reality but, instead, are based on conspiracy theories that justify suppressing the Other. As a collective rather than individual form of psychological paranoia, paranoid Orientalism can and does have wide and sometimes powerful social, political, and economic impacts especially on its victims. [revised 7/17]
See also: Hard Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Modern Orientalism, New Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Jim Bowman, Narratives of Cyprus: Modern Travel Writing and Cultural Encounters since Lawrence Durrell (I. B. Tauris, 2015). Edward King, Virtual Orientalism in Brazilian Culture (Palgrave McMillan, 2015); Pourya A. Moussa, et al., “Mechanisms of Mobility in a Capitalist Culture: The Localisation of the Eye of (Global) Authority in the Novel and the Film of Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake.” KEMANUSIAAN: The Asian Journal of Humanities 23, Supp. 2 (2016.); Panopticonrus, “Confronting Crowds and Power: 12a. (A Summary for ‘The End of the Survivor’),” 2013. At Panopticonrus (https://panopticonsrus.wordpress.com), accessed 7/17; Sanjay S. A. Sharma, “White Paranoia: Orientalism in the Age of Empire.” Fashion Theory 7 (2003).
Paternal Orientalism. See Paternalistic Orientalism.
Scholars generally use this term to describe the ways in which a Self, usually Western, imagines and constructs an essentially inferior (Oriental) Other as being in need of assistance and oversight ostensibly for the Other's own sake. It is thus a somewhat more ambivalent, subtle, and less direct form of ideological Orientalism, which is able to see good qualities in the Other while still imagining the Other as essentially deficient. Paternalistic Orientalists can feel sentimental toward the Other, desiring to “protect” them and, often, their supposed "traditional "cultural heritage in the face of modernization. These protective (paternalistic) feelings, however, tend to be unstable and break down in times of tension and conflict. Scholars often describe paternalistic Orientalism as being mixed with or on a scale with other forms of ideological Orientalism and racism.
See also: Feminist Orientalism, Homoerotic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Liberal Orientalism, Neoliberal Orientalism, Patronizing Orientalism, Positive Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Zaheer Baber, “Orientalism, Occidentalism, Nativism: the Culturalist Quest for Indigenous Science and Knowledge.” The European Legacy 7 (2002); Phillip L. Hammack, Narrative and the Politics of Identity: The Cultural Psychology of Israeli Palestinian Youth (Oxford, 2011); Adia Mendelson-Maoz, Multiculturalism in Israel: Literary Perspectives (Purdue, 2014); Anna Triandafyllidou & Ruby Gropas, What is Europe? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
This term is generally associated with John Kuo Wei Tchen’s book, New York Before Chinatown (1999), which details how wealthy residents of New York City used the consumption of Chinese imported goods and the services of Chinese immigrants to confirm and sustain their elite status. Patrician Orientalism contributed to the formation of American identity and racial attitudes by helping to create Asians as the stereotypical, inferior Other.
See also: Commercial Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Tarek Cherkaoui, “Orientlaism, Pan-Arabism, and Military-media Warfare: A Comparison Between CNN and Aljazeera Coverage of the Iraq War” (Ph.D. diss., AUT U., 2010); Jane Chi Hyun Park, Yellow Future: Oriental Style in Hollywood Cinema (U. of Minnesota, 2010); John Kuo Wei Tchen, New York Before Chinatown: Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture 1776-1882 (Johns Hopkins, 1999).
Scholars use this term in a general, non-technical sense to describe a superficially affirming attitude toward an (Oriental) Other that is actually condescending and imagines and constructs that Other as being essentially inferior, backward, or otherwise deficient. Scholars also use this term in a more technical sense to refer specifically to Saidian Orientalism as described by Edward W. Said in his book, Orientalism (1978). It is, thus, a synonym for ideological Orientalism. [5/17]
See also: Ideological Orientalism, Paternalistic Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Edwin D. Aponte, “Theologizing Popular Protestantism.” In The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Latino/a Theology (Wiley Blackwell, 2015); Carleton S. Coon, Culture Wars and the Global Village: A Diplomat’s Perspective (Prometheus Books, 2000); Charles Davis, “The Iraq War Never Ended: An Interview with Anand Gopal,” 2016. At Informed Comment (https://www.juancole.com), accessed 5/17; Rahila Gupta, “Taking a Flawed Stand Against Orientalism.” At 50.50 Inclusive Democracy (www.opendemocracy.net), accessed 4/17; Peter Heehs, “Shades of Orientalism: Paradoxes and Problems in Indian Historiography.” History and Theory 42 (2003).
Pejorative Orientalism. See Negative Orientalism.
This term is not frequently used, and some scholars who do use it emphasize that the phenomenon of peripheral Orientalism remains little studied so that what can be said about it must be tentative. Still, they use this term to describe Orientalisms of nations or classes of people who live on the outer boundaries (the “periphery”) of Western society—such as the nations of Latin America or minorities in the United States. These peoples have been both objects of Orientalist-like stereotyping and have themselves engaged in such stereotyping; and while the consequences of their situations remain unclear, some scholars are convinced that living on the boundaries of the West does have an impact on how peripheral Orientalists imagine and construct Others. In some cases, at least, they appear to imagine and construct Others both as having essential, timeless natures and yet see those natures in a positive light. In other cases, Orientalist stereotyping appears to be less pervasive if still present in these nations and peoples. Wael Hallaq, meanwhile, has used this term in a different way to describe the less structured popular Orientalisms of common (“peripheral”) people who are not academic Orientalists or influential members of the media and, thus, are not core producers and purveyors of ideological Orientalisms. [7/17]
See also: Black Orientalism, Celticism, Frontier Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Nesting (Nested) Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Scottish Orientalism, Subaltern Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Quasi-Orientalism, Relational Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Hasan Azad, “Interview with Wael Hallaq,” 2014. At Tabsir (http://tabsir.net), accessed 7/17; Zoila Clark, “Enrique Gomez Carrillo's Japan and Latin American (Peripheral) Orientalism.” In Orientalism and Identity in Latin America: Fashioning Self and Other from the (Post)colonial Margin (U. of Arizona, 2013); María C. da Silva, "Southern insights into Orient and Western Orientalisms." Revista de Estudios Internacionales Mediterráneos 21 (2016); Sunaina Maira, “Belly Dancing: Arab-Face, Orientalist Feminism, and U.S. Empire.” American Quarterly 60 (2008); Sunaina Maira, “Indo-Chic: Late Capitalist Orientalism and Imperial Culture.” In Alien Encounters: Popular Culture in Asian America (Duke, 2007); Julián Vazeilles, “’Peripheral’ Orientalisms in the Contemporary Argentinean Narrative: Brief Notes on the Novel Mary Domecq (2007), by Juan Forn,” n.d. At Korean-Argentine Study Center (http://www.uba.ar). Accessed 15 July 2017.
Scholars today generally use this term in at least two ways. First, several scholars draw on the distinction Edward W. Said makes in his book, Orientalism (1978), between Orientalism of an individual nature vis-à-vis ones that are “official”. Said himself does not use this term as such, but he does argue that historically individual Orientalists have often held views that do not rise to the level of being widely accepted, especially in the academic community of their day. Their views are thus "personal" rather than "official" and in some sense distinct from and/or independent of official Orientalism. Second, other scholars use this term more specifically to describe the unique works of individual artists who draw on “Oriental” themes and styles in their work. Marjetica Potrč’s architectural design, Prishtina House (2006), is frequently cited as an example of an aesthetic “personal Orientalism.” This term is not frequently used in either of these usages. This term was also used in the 19th century, in at least one source ("The Marquis de Custine’s Russia,” 1844), to describe “personal” traits that were shared by and distinguished a particular Oriental people. Beards, for example, were thought to be a distinguishing personal trait of Russian peasant males that signified their “Oriental” identity. [7/18]
See also: Academic Orientalism, Aesthetic Orientalism, Official Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: José M. S. Álvarez, “Journalism and Literature in the Egyptian Revolution of 1882: Eça de Queirós and the News in the Plot of Intrigue.” SAGE Open 4 (2014); Daniel Birnbaum, “Air Portikus,” 2006. At domus (https://www.domusweb.it), accessed 7/18; Susanna M. Kuehl, “Henri Matisse, Textile Artist: Costumes Designed for the Ballets Russes Production of Chat du Rossignolm 1919-1920” (M. A. thesis, Smithsonian Associates & Corcoran College of Art & Design, 2011); “The Marquis de Custine’s Russia.” Edinburgh Review 50 (1844); Megan McDaniel, “Re-Presenting the Harem: Orientalist Female Artists and the 19th Century Ottoman Empire” (B.A. thesis, Florida State, 2014); Su Young Park, “Western Perception of Korea 1890-1930: Comparative Study on the Relationship between Reciprocity and Colonial Discourse” (M.A. thesis, 2008); Marjetica Potrč, “Contemporary Building Strategies,” n.d. At Marjetica Potrč (https://www.potrc.org), accessed 7/18.
Some scholars use this term to describe a generally milder form of ideological Orientalist discourse that displays a fondness for and willingness to draw on the Arab East especially in literature and the arts while still seeing the Orient as essentially exotic. Philo-Orientalism is most often linked to the periods of the Enlightenment and Romanticism. [5/17]
See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Enlightenment Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Srinivas Aravamudan, Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel (U. of Chicago, 2012); Aida Imangulieva, Gibran, Rihani & Naimy: East–West Interactions in Early Twentieth-century Arab Literature (Inner Farne, 2009); Ivan D. Kalmar, Early Orientalism: Imagined Islam and the Notion of Sublime Power (Routledge, 2012); Ivan Kalmar, “The Israelite Temple of Florence.” In Religious Architecture: Anthropological Perspectives (Amsterdam U., 2013).
Scholars use this term and the term Orientalist philology to describe the crucial historical role that the academic field of philology played in the development of the notion of Orientalism beginning at the end of the 18th century through roughly the post-World War II period. They disagree, however, as to the precise nature of that role depending on their appraisal of Edward W. Said’s critique of it (1978). Although Said recognized that there were different branches and approaches to philology, he characterizes the field as being the crucial academic vessel of classical Orientalism, which imposed European notions of language and culture on non-Western languages, virtually inventing the supposed linguistic development of those languages from philologists' own suppositions and prejudices. Orientalist philologists, that is, shoehorned the “Oriental” texts they studied into their own European framework. According to Said, they imagined and constructed other languages as essentially different from and inferior to European languages, and many of them adhered to a dualistic division between backward “Semitic” and advanced “Aryan” languages. Other scholars have argued that Said selected a narrow range of Orientalist philologists who fit his paradigm, ignored many others, and did not give sufficient attention to other developments in philology that were more empirical and less prejudiced, especially later in the 19th century. Supporters of Said respond that even within these counter-movements, they still detect the main contours of Orientalist stereotypes; and some go so far as to argue that Orientalist philology was essentially racist. They contend that it was not a scientific field of study and depended largely on what was believed and imagined about other languages. Among those scholars who largely agree with Said, philological Orientalism is generally seen as a tool of European colonialism. However, it is also understood that scholars in Asian nations, particularly India, accepted philological Orientalism’s notion of national languages and used that notion to promote the development of their own “national” literature. It should also be noted that studies of early modern Catholic Orientalism show that European Orientalists were engaged in the study of Asian languages going back to the 16th century and made significant contributions to the Europe's growing knowledge of those languages. [12/17]
See also: Academic Orientalism, American Orientalism, Catholic Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Comparative Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Linguistic Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Oriental Literature, Orientalist Literature, Orientalist Science, Protestant Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Scientific Orientalism, Scottish Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Manisha Basu, The Rhetoric of Hindutva (Cambridge, 2017); Norman J. Girardot, “The Victorian Translation of China: James Legge’s Oriental Pilgrimage" (U. of California, 2002); Maryam W. Khan, “Translated Orientalisms: The Eighteenth-century Oriental Tale, Colonial Pedagogies, and Muslim Reform.” (Ph.D. diss., U. of California, Los Angeles, 2013); Zachary Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism (Cambridge, 2004); David Moshfegh, “Ignaz Goldziher and the Rise of Islamwissenschaft as a ‘Science of Religion’” (Ph.D. diss., U. of California at Berkeley, 2012); Aamir R. Mufti, "Orientalism and the Institution of World Literatures." Critical Inquiry 36 (2010); Marc Nichanian, Mourning Philology: Art and Religion at the Margins of the Ottoman Empire (Fordham, 2014); Stephen Quirke, “Creation Stories in Ancient Egypt.” In Imagining Creation (Brill, 2008); Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Emel Tastekin, “Another Look at Orientalism: Western Literature in the Face of Islam” (Ph.D. diss., British Columbia, 2011); Richard G. Thomas, “Philology in Vietnam and its Impact on Southeast Asian Cultural History” Modern Asian Studies 40 (2006); Daniel M. Varisco, Reading Orientalism: Said and the Unsaid (U. of Washington, 2007).
Scholars frequently use this term and the term Orientalist philosophy to describe the ways in which Western philosophers, their schools, and traditions have used reasoned discourse to imagine and construct the “Orient” as having an essential, unchanging, and mystical/spiritual nature. Western Orientalist philosophers have directed their attention, in particular, toward Asian philosophies and religions. In the main, they share in all of the notions, prejudices, and justifications of ideological Orientalism and have, in fact, both drawn on and significantly contributed to Western cultural Orientalism. While Orientalist thinking is found throughout the history of Western philosophy from ancient times onward, it emerged as a significant element of philosophical discourse in the 19th century, particularly in Germany, France, and Great Britain. Those discourses, because they are philosophical, tend to be nuanced, closely reasoned, and subtle in their rendering of Orientalist notions. They can also seem self-contradictory depending on the context and stage of thinking in which individual philosophers are writing. When evaluating historical Eastern philosophies, they generally imagine and construct those philosophies as being imitative, in decline, incapable of high reason, and consisting mostly of disguised Greek thinking. Western Orientalist philosophers have frequently focused on the supposedly essential spirituality and mysticism of the Orient, some seeing in these qualities a key defect of the East while others, notably those influenced by Romanticism, have seen these qualities as being superior to Western materialism. Some scholars note that philosophical Orientalism came into prominence at a time when European colonialism was rapidly expanding and was implicated in supporting that expansion. This was especially the case because many philosophers held a progressive view of history that saw Western Christian civilization as the culmination of history while the Orient was important only at the beginning of history and had not progressed since then. [revised 11/17]
See also: Academic Orientalism, Cognitive Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Eclectic Orientalism, Enlightenment Orientalism, Hegelian Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Intellectual Orientalism, Kantian Orientalism, Oriental Renaissance, Orientalist Epistemology, Orientalist Teleology, Platonic Orientalism, Positivist Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Scottish Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Transcendental Orientalism, Weberian Orientalism, Utilitarian Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Srinivas Aravamudan, Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel (U. of Chicago, 2012); Mohammad Azadpur, “Is ‘Islamic’ Philosophy Islamic?” Voice of Islam, v. 1, Voice of Tradition (Praeger, 2007); Asef Bayat, “Neo-Orientalism,” 2015. At ISA The Futures We Want (http://futureswewant.net), accessed 11/17; Purushottama Bilimoria, “Comparative Philosophy of Religion: Hegel to Habermas (& Zîzêk).” Cultura Oriental 2 (2015); Sujit Bose, Essays on Anglo-Indian Literature (Northern Book Centre, 2004); Lev Kreft, “Lost in Translation: Heidegger and Ski Jumping in Slovenia.” Physical Culture and Sports Studies and Research 49 (2010); Arvind-Pal S. Mandair, Religion and the Specter of the West: Sikhism, India, Postcoloniality, and the Politics of Translation (Columbia, 2016); 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).
Phony (Phoney) Orientalism. See False Orientalism.
This term is fairly frequently used. Scholars generally use it to describe a form of visual “Oriental” representation limited primarily to painting and photography (including postcards) which was popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This term is especially used to refer to Orientalist paintings, particularly those of a school of French painters that included artists such as Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863). Pictorial Orientalists imagined and represented “Orientals” as being essentially and identifiably exotic, colorful, and picturesque. Scholars especially emphasize the ways in which pictorial Orientalists represented Eastern women as being sexual, sensuous, and lewd; and it is generally understood that these Orientalists were complicit in European colonialism and gave expression to concerns for power as much as for aesthetics. This term is to be distinguished from the more general term, visual Orientalism, which refers to a broader range of visual media. [6/17]
See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Avant-garde Orientalism, Exotic Orientalism, Fashion Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Orientalist Archive, Political Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism, Visual Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Ibrahim Alaoui, “A Selection of Tunsian Contemporary Artists at Gallery 3,14,” n.d. At Stimftelsen 3,14 (http://www.stiftelsen314.com), accessed 6/17; Inge E. Boer, “Introduction: Imaginative Geographies and the Discourse of Orientalism.” In After Orientalism: Critical Entanglements, Productive Looks (Rodopi, 2003); Catrin Gersdorf, The Poetics and Politics of the Desert: Landscape and the Construction of America (Rodopi, 2009); Jill L. Matus, Unstable Bodies: Victorian Representations of Sexuality and Maternity (Manchester U., 1995); Aimillia M. Ramli, “’Licentious Barbarians’: Representations of North African Muslims in Britain.” Intellectual Discourse 17 (2009); Brian Singleton, Oscar Asche, Orientalism, and British Musical Comedy (Praeger, 2004).
Pictorialist Orientalism. See Pictorial Orientalism.
This term is attributed to John Walbridge, The Wisdom of the Mystic East (2001). Scholars normally use it to describe an ancient philosophical-religious tradition held to originate with Plato, which was revived in Europe in the 15th century and today is associated with Western esoteric and occultist literature. Scholars argue that Platonic Orientalists in Roman times and in Renaissance Europe imagined a primordial, pure wisdom that originates in the East (variously Egypt, Mesopotamia, and as far east as India) and defined themselves in terms of this imaginary Eastern Other. This wisdom is held to reveal the divine Mind and the path of personal salvation. Zlatko Plese’s notion of Platonist Orientalism is similar to Platonic Orientalism but focuses on a small number of Roman philosophers who held that the wisdom traditions of Plato and of the “barbarians” were compatible and shared a common source.
See also: Ancient Orientalism, Philosophical Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Renaissance Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Dylan M. Burns, Apocalypse of the Alien God: Platonism and the Exile of Sethian Gnosticism (U. of Pennsylvania, 2014); Wouter J. Hanegraaff, “Gnosis.” In The Cambridge Handbook of Western Mysticism and Esotericism (Cambridge, 2016); Wouter J. Hanegraaff, “The Pagan Who Came from the East: George Gemistos Plethon and Platonic Orientalism.” In Hermes in the Academy: Ten Years’ Study of Western Esotericism at the University of Amsterdam (Amsterdam U., 2009); Zlatko Plese, “Platonist Orientalism.” In Historical and Biographical Values of Plutarch’s Works: Studies Devoted to Professor Philip Stadter by the International Plutarch Society (Utah State, 2005); John Walbridge, The Wisdom of the Mystic East: Suhrawardi and Platonic Orientalism (State U. of New York, 2001).
Platonist Orientalism. See Platonic Orientalism.
Pleasure-Pier Orientalism. See Seaside Orientalism.
Scholars use this term usually in one of two ways. First, they frequently use it and the terms Orientalist poetry and Orientalist poetics to describe the works of Western as well as some Asian poets that draw on Orientalist images and themes. Second, scholars far less frequently use this term to describe poetry that either originates or has been at some point believed to originate in Asia—that is Oriental poetry. It is the first usage that we focus on here. The English-language scholarly literature concerning poetic Orientalism tends to focus primarily on 19th century British Romantic poets such as Lord Byron (1788-1824) and Robert Southey (1744-1843) among many others; and it credits the influence of Sir William Jones (1746-1794) as being a key figure in the discovery and increasing popularity of Orientalist poetry, which in turn is held to have been instrumental in the emergence of British Romanticism. Poetic Orientalism was an important element in the broader movement of literary Orientalism, and scholars sometimes treat it as one form of fictional Orientalism. Most of them see this genre of poetry as emerging in the 18th century with Sir Thomas Moore (1779-1852) being an influential early example. Poetic Orientalism has had an impact on other artistic fields, including especially music where it has provided lyrics for musical Orientalist songs. Orientalist poetry is widely seen as playing a major role in British poetry generally in the 19th century. The English-language literature on poetic Orientalism has also, secondarily, given attention to American modernist poetic Orientalism, which is generally held to begin with Ezra Pound (1885-1972) and credits Gary Snyder (1930- ) as being its leading 20th century practitioner. The central issue that scholars debate concerning Orientalist poetry and poetics is the relation of poetic Orientalism to Edward W. Said’s notion of ideological Orientalism, that is Saidian Orientalism. While Said (1978) says little about Orientalist poetry directly, he does consider it to be simply another form of colonialist/imperialist discourse that historically participated in imagining and constructing “Orientals” as being essentially and irredeemably inferior. Scholars acknowledge that many Romantic era poets were Orientalists in this sense, sometimes naming Southey as an important example. Other scholars argue, however, that Said failed to engage with this poetry, which in fact is more complex than he allows and often uses Asian themes and images in positive ways. Moore and Byron are often cited as key examples of poets who more carefully studied Asian literature and culture, had a positive appreciation for them, and used “Oriental” poetics to reinvigorate Western poetry. Their imaginative representations of the Orient enriched British poetry generally in positive ways that at times challenged British colonialism and imperialism. Women’s Orientalist poetry, by the same token, provided a venue that allowed women to re-imagine their role in their own society. Other scholars make similar arguments for American modernist poetic Orientalism, which particularly emphasized Asian spirituality as a resource for American renewal. [3/19]
See also: Byronic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Literary Orientalisms, Musical Orientalism, Oriental Literature, Orientalist Literature, Oriental Poetry, Positive Orientalism, Pre-Orientalism, Romantic Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Self-Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Poetic Orientalism: William E. Curtis, Children of the Sun (Inter-Ocean, 1883); Roger Pao, “Kubla Kahn and Orientalism,” 2005. At Asian-American Poetry and Other Artistic Meanderings (asianamericanpoetry.blogspot.com), accessed 4/16; Benedict S. Robinson, “England, the ‘Orient,’ and the Ocean.” In A Companion to British Literature, v. 2, Early Modern Literature, 1450-1660 (Wiley Blackwell, 2014); J. E. Terblanche, “Cummings’ ‘1(a’: Solitude, Solidarity, Wholeness,”  At Grand Valley State University (faculty.gvsu.edu), accessed 4/16; Leonardo R. Tobar, “The Spanish Literary System in the Nineteenth Century.” In A Comparative History of Literatures in the Iberian Peninsula, v. 1 (John Benjamins, 2010). Orientalist Poetry: Pyeaam Abbasi & Alireza Anushiravani, "Coleridge’s Colonial Interest in Abyssinian Christianity." k@ta 12, (2011); Rosinka Chaudhuri, “Orientalist Themes and English Verse in Nineteenth-century India” (Ph.D. Diss., Oxford, 1996); Adeline Johns-Putra, “Home and the Harem: Early Nineteenth-Century Orientalist Representations of Women by Women.” Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 2 (2006); Valerie Kennedy, “Orientalism in the Victorian Era,” n.d. At Oxford Index (http://oxfordindex.oup.com), accessed 5/17; Christian Kloeckner & Sabine Sielke, “From “Drops – of India” to “Floors / Descending”: Orient and Orientalisms in US-American Poetry and Poetics.” In Orient and Orientalisms in US-American Poetry and Poetics (Peter Lang, 2009); Sarga Moussa, “Imaginary Hybridities: Geographic, Religious and Poetic Crossovers in Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Orientales’,” 2013. At HAL archives-ouvertes.fr (https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr), accessed 2/19; Andrew Rudd, "‘Oriental’ and ‘Orientalist’ Poetry: The Debate in Literary Criticism in the Romantic Period." Romanticism: The Journal of Romantic Culture and Criticism 13 (2007); J. E.Terblanche & F. F. Terblanche, “Ezra Pound’s Orientalist poetry, Natural Rootedness, and Lepidoptera.” Literator 23 (2002). Orientalist Poetics: Emily A. Haddad, Orientalist Poetics: The Islamic East in Nineteenth-Century English and French Poetry (Routledge, 2002); Monirul Islam, “A Tale of Three Journeys: Orientalist Poetics/Politics of Landor’s Gebir.” Impressions: A Bi-Annual Refereed e-Journal of English Studies 11 (2017); Josephine Park, Apparitions of Asia: Modernist Form and Asian American Poetics (Oxford 2008).
Scholars use this term and its synonym Orientalist politics to describe one of the key aspects of the notion of ideological Orientalism, namely the ways in which ideological Orientalisms were used to justify European colonialism and continue to be used down to the present to justify Western imperialisms by holding that Orientals lack the capacity for just and effective self-governance and thus are supposedly a danger to the West. Orientals are, that is, imagined and constructed as being incapable of exercising true citizenship. In all of this, scholars use these two terms to encompass the usual set of Orientalist prejudices, which stereotype Orientals as being essentially and irredeemably inferior, irrational, exotic, backward, lacking in civilization, sensuous, and so forth. Scholars, more generally, apply them to many different “political” situations, such as especially cases of sexual politics, where Orientalist prejudices are used to gain and exercise power over others. They also point to the ways in which Orientalist politics employs the arts, literature, and other cultural forms to further Orientalist agendas. Thus, for example, Eugène Delacroix’s painting The Fanatics of Tangier (1837-1838) represents something of the supposedly chaotic, backward nature of Arab politics. Although scholars occasionally use both of these terms, especially “Orientalist politics,” to describe Asians more generally and even more rarely non-Asians, they most frequently use them in reference to the Arab-Muslim Middle East, which is not only seen to be politically incompetent and dangerous but also deemed to suffer under the political dominance of Islam. More generally, scholars also point out the significant impact the notion of political Orientalism has had on world history since the 19th century, as a factor in the redrawing of the world’s political maps. They also note that, as is usually the case with various forms of Orientalism, Asians themselves have often appropriated Orientalist categories to describe their own political systems as being essentially different from and often superior to those of the West. [revised 2/18]
See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Gender Orientalism. Governmental Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Racial Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Political Orientalism: Fred Dallmayr, Dialogue Among Civilizations: Some Exemplary Voices (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002); Khalid El Farouj, “Edward Said & Orientalism,” 2000. At MURAL (http://mural.uv.es/kelfa/), accessed 2/18; Jack Harrington, “Orientalism, Political Subjectivity and the Birth of Citizenship Between 1780 and 1830.” In Citizenship After Orientalism: An Unfinished Project (Routledge, 2014); Engin F. Isin, “Citizenship after Orientalism: Ottoman Citizenship.“ In Citizenship in a Global World: European Questions and Turkish Experiences (Routledge, 2005); Valerie Kennedy, “Orientalism in the Victorian Era,” n.d. At Oxford Research Encyclopedias: Literature (http://literature.oxfordre.com), accessed 2/18; Federico Luisetti, “Nietzsche’s Orientalist Biopolitics”, 2010. At BioPolítica (biopolitica.unsw.edu.au), accessed 4/16; Ian A. Morrison, “Orientalism and the Construction of the Apolitical Buddhist Subject.” In Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies (Routledge, 2014); Zaki Nahaboo, “Subverting Orientalism: Political Subjectivity in Edmund Burke’s India and Liberal Multiculturalism.” In Citizenship After Orientalism: An Unfinished Project (Routledge, 2014); Jennifer Rich, An Introduction to Critical Theory (Humanities-Ebooks, 2007); Zafer Şafak, “An Outlook on Postcolonialism Through the Ethos of Orientalism by Edward Said.” Trakya Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi 16 (2014); John K. W. Tchen, New York before Chinatown: Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture, 1776-1882 (Johns Hopkins, 1999). Orientalist Politics: Debjani Ganguly, Caste, Colonialism and Counter-Modernity: Notes on a Postcolonial Hermeneutics of Caste (Routledge, 2005); Marta Kollárová, “Good or Bad Agents? Western Fascination with Women and the Construction of Female Objects during the ISIS/ISIL Crisis.” In Gendering War and Peace Reporting: Some Insights – Some Missing Links (Nordicom, 2016); Gordon White & Roger Goodman, “Welfare Orientalism and the Search for an East Asian Welfare Model.” In The East Asian Welfare Model: Welfare Orientalism and the State (Routledge, 1998); Jasmin Zine, "Anti-Islamophobia Education as Transformative Pedagogy: Reflections from the Educational Front Lines." American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 21 (2004).
Scholars use this term and the very rarely used terms, “pop culture Orientalism” and “pop music Orientalism,” to describe a form of popular Orientalism, which is particularly associated with modern, media driven popular culture going as far back as the music of Tin Pan Alley in the late 19th and earlier 20th centuries. It has also been identified with the Beat Orientalism of the New Age hippie culture especially with its interest in idealized Asian-like spiritualties. Pop Orientalism more recently encompasses an international cultural movement in the mass entertainment industry (e.g. the cinema, video games, comic books, television, Broadway musicals) that also involves other cultural elements including art, literature, and fashion. It is especially identified with a pseudo-Asian pop music. Pop Orientalism in all these forms imagines and constructs Asia and Asians as having an essential, timeless “being,” which can be either negative or positive. “Positively,” it represents something of a naïve, superficial glorification of a supposedly alluring, exotic, sensual, aesthetic, and wise Asia. Pop Orientalism, however, more frequently draws on classical Orientalism’s traditional negative Western racist and sexist stereotypes of “the Orient” and often treats Asian-ness as being comical. Adelaide Haynes (2015), although she does not use this term as such, cites Katy Perry’s video clip “Dark Horse” as an over the top, almost mocking pop Orientalist construction of ancient Egypt that imagines it to be uncivilized, backward, but also exotically spiritual. The pop Orientalist movement also draws on a number of Asian genres and styles (e.g. manga, anime) as well as popular Asian entertainers. Since it is an international movement enabled by mass global consumerism and distributed through modern mass media, Asian young people are also influenced by pop Orientalist images of an essentially exotic Asia. Asian performers and genre, that is, play a role both in creating pop Orientalism and importing it into Asia. Nikki J. Y. Lee (2014) cites the Korean pop singer, Rain (Jung Ji-hoon), as an example. This term is not rare, but it is also not frequently used. [7/20]
See also: Beat Orientalism, Cinematic Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Comic Orientalism, Commercial Orientalism, Consumer Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Musical Orientalism, Oriental Fad, Orientalist Fad, Popular Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Postmodern Orientalism, Pulp Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism..
Sources & Examples: Pop Orientalism: Adelaide Haynes, “The Dark Side of Orientalism,” 2015. At A Worldly Addiction (https://aworldlyaddiction.com), accessed 7/20; Nikki J. Y. Lee, “Pop-orientalism and the Asian Star Body: Rain and the Transnational Hollywood Action Movie.” In East Asian Film Starts (Springer, 2014); Thanos Moutsopoulos, “Critique of Critique of Exotica,” 2001. At Mute (www.metamute.org), accessed 7/20; Maurizio Peleggi, “Refashioning Civilisation: Dress and Bodily Practice in Thai Nation Building.” In IIAS Newsleter 46 (2008); W. Anthony Sheppard, “Pop Orientalism—Tin Pan Alley to Taiwan Today,” 2014. At YouTube (www.youtube.com), accessed 7/20. Pop Culture Orientalism: Antoinette Burton, The Postcolonial Careers of Santha Rama Rau (Duke U., 2007); David Weir, “Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century American Orientalism.” In Orientalism and Literature (Cambridge, 2019). Pop Music Orientalism: Michael Bourdaghs, Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical Prehistory of J-Pop (Columbia U., 2012).
Although Edward W. Said seems to have been the first scholar to use this term, he chose not to investigate popular Orientalisms in his groundbreaking book, Orientalism (1978), which has meant that scholars who study it often see their work as a corrective to and/or an expansion of Said’s more highbrow assessment of Western Orientalism. They have used this term in two distinct ways depending on their definition of “popular”: first, some scholars understand “popular” to describe that which is widely accepted and valued across a culture or society irrespective of social class or cultural differences so that Orientalist ideologies are “popular” because they are found throughout a culture or society, highbrow as well as middle and lowbrow. When used in this way, this term is largely synonymous with such other terms as classical Orientalism, ideological Orientalism, and traditional Orientalism. Second, other scholars define “popular” more restrictively as referring to common, ordinary people and their more lowbrow (and, presumably, middlebrow) cultures. The term pop Orientalism is closely associated with this second usage. One of the problems this usage poses is the difficulty of defining what is common and ordinary and what is not. A few, like Said himself, contrast popular Orientalism with academic Orientalism, but most scholars are less clear as to what separates popular Orientalisms from more elite forms of Orientalism. In both usages, popular Orientalisms imagine “Orientals” as having a single, essential, and unchanging nature or “being” and more often construct them as being uncivilized, unprogressive, immoral, passive, emotional, sensual, and otherwise unsavory. Not infrequently, however, popular Orientalisms frame Orientals in a more positive light as being wise, spiritual, artistic, and “exotic” in an alluring sense. Scholars, thus, note that popular Orientalisms are often markedly ambivalent about things Oriental, finding them at once alluring and off-putting. They also highlight the relationship of Orientalist ideologies to popular, mass communications and entertainment media, particularly the cinema but also such other media as video games, pulp publications, advertising, and “popular culture” in general. Western public interest in Eastern spiritualties and the occult is also often mentioned as a form of popular Orientalism. Scholars also link popular Orientalism to the rise of the consumer culture and the popularity of (supposedly) Oriental fashions, arts, crafts, and designs, meaning that for ideological Orientalisms to be “popular” they must be commercially and/or culturally highly visible and widely available. Scholars also note that because popular Orientalisms are popular they tend to be taken for granted as ordinary and thus aren’t recognized as growing out of ideologically grounded Orientalist stereotypes, which means that popular Orientalisms often manifest themselves more covertly as hidden Orientalisms. This term is used relatively frequently in the scholarly literature on Orientalism, and very rarely it is also called “entertainment Orientalism”. [revised 7/20]
See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, American Orientalism, Art Deco Orientalism, Comic Orientalism, Comic Book Orientalism, Commercial Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Demotic Orientalism, Exotic Orientalism, Faddish Orientalism, Feminist Orientalism, Folk Orientalism, Latent Orientalism, Linguistic Orientalism, Local Orientalism, Mediated Orientalism, Military Orientalism, Mythic Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism, Oriental Enthusiasm, Oriental Fad, Oriental Fiction, Oriental Look, Orientalese, Orientalist Archive, Orientalist Exotica, Orientalist Exoticism, Orientalist Fad, Orientalist Fantasy, Orientalist Imagination, Orientalist Myth, Overt Orientalism, Peripheral Orientalism, Pop Orientalism, Postmodern Orientalism, Pulp Orientalism, Seaside Orientalism, Sartorial Orientalism, Science Fiction Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, Vernacular Orientalism, Vulgar Orientalism, Wacky Orientalism, Xenophobic Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Popular Orientalism: Mark Bevir, "The West Turns Eastward: Madame Blavatsky and the Transformation of the Occult Tradition." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 62 (1994); Mary Ann Doane, Femmes Fatale (Routledge, 2008); Christine Doran, “Popular Orientalism: Somerset Maugham in Mainland Southeast Asia.” Humanities 5 (2016); Tobias Hübinette, “Orientalism Past and Present : An Introduction to a Postcolonial Critique.” Stockholm Journal of East Asian Studies 13 (2003); Robert Irwin, “A Thousand and One Nights at the Movies.” In New Perspectives on Arabian Nights (Routledge, 2005); Jukka Jouhki, Imagining the Other: Orientalism and Occidentalism in Tamil-European Relations in South India (U. of Jyväskylä, 2006); Pavan K. Malreddy, Orientalism, Terrorism, Indigenism: South Asian Readings in Postcolonialism (SAGE, 2013); Suzanne Marchand, “Orientalistik and Popular Orientalism in Fin de Siécle Germany.” In After One Hundred Years: The 1910 Exhibition ‘Meisterwerke Muhammedanischer Kunst’ Reconsidered (Brill, 2010); Bridget Orr, “Galland, Georgian Theatre, and the Creation of Popular Orientalism.” In The Arabian Nights in Historical Context: Between East and West (Oxford, 2008); Jonas Otterbeck, “The Depiction of Islam in Sweden.” Muslim World 92 (2002); Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Mina Shin, “Review Essay: New American Orientalism.” Journal of Asian American Studies 9 (2006); Yasuko Suga, “’Artistic and Commercial’ Japan: Modernity, Authenticity and Japanese Leather Paper.” In Buying for the Home: Shopping for the Domestic from the Seventeenth Century to the Present (Ashgate, 2008); Hsu-Ming Teo, “American Popular Culture Through the Lens of Saidian and Post-Saidian Orientalist Critiques.” Critical Race and Whiteness Studies 10 (2014); M. S. Veena & P. V. Ramanathan, “New Orientalism in Literature: A Critical Overview.” The Criterion 4 (2013); Mari Yoshihara, Embracing the East: White Women and American Orientalism (Oxford, 2003). Entertainment Orientalism: Jessica Bomarito, Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism (Cengage Gale, 2005).
Scholars of Orientalism use this term usually to describe forms of ideological Orientalism that are the opposite of Edward W. Said’s description of negative Orientalism in his book, Orientalism (1978). Said there portrays Western Orientalism as being an ideology that stereotypes Asians as being essentially inferior to the West. In negative Orientalism, the (Western) Self denigrates the (Oriental) Other. Positive Orientalism is the opposite: the Western Self respects, admires, and values the Oriental Other. Scholars of positive Orientalism thus often contend that Said’s analysis is one-sided and almost entirely overlooks the fact that historically people in the West have often admired the Orient. They point to, for example: (1) 19th century American Transcendentalism’s admiration for ancient Indian spirituality and philosophy; (2) 19th and earlier 20th century German scholarly and popular admiration for the ancient Aryan race; and (3) the post-World War II admiration in the West for East and Southeast Asian economic success. More largely, scholars, argue that European and American Romanticism has often evinced a positive attitude toward things Oriental; and Western artists, critics, and scholars often have a high regard for what they take to be the aesthetics and the beauty of Asia. In general, then, positive Orientalisms to varying degrees display admiration for Oriental religions, cultures, philosophies, learning, and arts. They respect the East, seek to be open to its influences, and at times see in it a model for the West itself. They find the East exciting, fascinating, and many Westerners believe that Asian religions are highly spiritual and teach harmony and well-being. Students of aesthetic Orientalism at times argue that the Western engagement with Asian arts can be creative, exciting, and enrich the West in many ways. Some scholars have concluded in the face of all of this that positive Orientalism represents a significant alternative Orientalism to negative Saidian Orientalism.
Scholars have increasingly, however, become aware of the fact that the notion of positive Orientalism is more complicated than the simple equation that negative Orientalists denigrate Asia while positive Orientalists admire it. The key point is that positive Orientalisms are still Orientalisms—that is, they still imagine and construct “the Orient” as having an essential, timeless identity, which has little to do with actual Asian realities. Thus, for example, Western scholars and others imagine that Asian Buddhism is essentially a meditative religion that teaches wisdom, harmony, and tranquility—a fanciful recreation of Buddhism that is ignorant of the many different ways real-life Buddhists actually practice their religion. Positive Orientalists, that is, still engage in stereotyping Asians as “Orientals” by seeing in them what they want to see and ignoring what they do not want to see. They still act as if they themselves are the ones who decide what Orientals “are really like” and in a real sense consume them as a kind of commodity to the extent that some scholars have noted that the Asian tourist industry represents an important and lucrative form of positive Orientalism. It trades on the fact that Western tourists imagine Asia to be exotic, fascinating, and alluring (and, more darkly, populated by sexy, willing maidens). Furthermore, scholars also note that positive Orientalism has an almost yin-and-yang relationship with negative Orientalism. First, positive Orientalists often see only certain aspects of the Orient as being positive while Asians overall continue to be seen as ignorant, backward, passive, and so forth. Second, as indicated above, positive Orientalists still stereotype Asians as Orientals, an inherently negative treatment of them even if the stereotypes appear to be positive. Third, positive Orientalisms by their very nature imply deficiencies in the West. Asians are seen as being highly spiritual in light of a Western lack of spirituality. East Asia is admired for its economic prowess in light of a less dynamic Western economy. Scholars thus contend that positive Orientalisms are also negative Occidentalisms. It should be noted, finally, that use of this term dates back at least to the early 20th century when a "positive Orientalism" was a sense that some aesthetic quality—architecture or San Francisco’s Chinatown, for example—communicates a good (positive) feeling or sense of the exotic Orient. [revised 6/19]
See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Affirmative Orientalism, Bloomsbury Orientalism, Buddhist Orientalism, Celticism, Commercial Orientalism, Comparative Orientalism, Cosmopolitan Orientalism, Counter-Orientalism, Dissident Orientalism, Flexible Orientalism, Green Orientalism, Humanistic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Irish Orientalism, Jewish Orientalism, Liberal Orientalism, Marxist Orientalism, Negative Orientalism, New Ages Orientalism, Occidentalism, Oriental Enthusiasm, Orientalism in Reverse, Orientalist Tourism, Paternalistic Orientalism, Peripheral Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Pre-Orientalism, Protean Orientalism, Renaissance Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Science Fiction Orientalism, Scottish Orientalism, Sinological Orientalism, Strategic Orientalism, Subversive Orientalism, Sympathetic Orientalism, Transcendental Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Jørn Borup, “Branding Buddha – Mediatized and Commodified Buddhism as Cultural Narrative.” Journal of Global Buddhism 17 (2016); Kennet Granholm, “Locating the West: Problematizing the Western in Western Esotericism and Occultism.” In Occultism in a Global Perspective (Routledge, 2013); Thomas G. Jackson, Gothic Architecture in France, England, and Italy, v. 2 (Cambridge, 1915); Emma Kowal, Trapped in the Gap: Doing Good in Indigenous Australia (Berghahn Books, 2015); L. H. M. Ling, "Orientalism ReFashioned: 'Eastern Moon' Reflecting on 'Western Waters' Reflecting Back on the East China Sea," 2016. At ResearchGate (www.researchgate.net), accessed 6/19; Herbert R.Swanson,“Orientalism as an Ideology: the Utility of Said's Notion of Ideology for the Study of OrientalismIdeologies," 19 June 2020. At Orientalismstudies.com (www.orientalismstudies.com); David L. Sweet, Avant-garde Orientalism: The Eastern 'Other' in Twentieth-Century Travel Narrative and Poetry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017); Arthur Versluis, American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions (Oxford, 1993); Gordon White & Roger Goodman, “Welfare Orientalism and the Search for an East Asian Welfare Model.” In The East Asian Welfare Model: Welfare Orientalism and the State (Routledge, 1998); Thomas B. Wilson, “Old Chinatown.” Overland Monthly 58 (1911); Ouyang Yu, "Lawson, Gunn and the ‘White Chinaman’: A Look at How Chinese are Made White in Henry Lawson and Mrs. Aeneas Gunn's Writings." LiNQ 30 (2016).
Scholars use this term and the term Orientalist positivism to describe a particular approach to the study of the Arab Middle East and Islam based on the philosophical theory of positivism, which holds that all of reality, human as well as natural, can be codified in absolutely reliable laws and requires that all knowledge be empirical and secular. The roots of this theory are found in the French Enlightenment. European scholars have thus used positivistic Orientalism to imagine and construct “Orientals” as having an essential, timeless nature, which these scholars believed could be known to them scientifically. Orientals, meanwhile, supposedly lacked the tools of positivist, empirical science and thus could not know themselves. Positivistic Orientalism is thought to have begun in the earlier 19th century and remained influential even after World War II. Although scholars generally do not specifically link positivistic Orientalism to the work of Edward W. Said, it is this kind of academic approach that Said criticized in Orientalism (1978). These terms, though not rare, are not frequently used.
See also: Academic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Philosophical Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Pavan K. Malreddy, Orientalism, Terrorism, Indigenism: South Asian Readings in Postcolonialism (SAGE, 2015); Chase F. Robinson, “Introduction.” In The Formation of the Islamic World Sixth to Eleventh Centuries (Cambridge, 2011); Wendy M. K. Shaw, “The Islam in Islamic Art History: Secularism and Public Discourse.” Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
Postcolonial (Post-Colonial) Orientalism
Scholars generally use this term usually in one of two ways: broadly speaking and somewhat less often, some use it to describe ways in which Orientalisms of the postcolonial era reflect similarities to and continuities with the classical Orientalism of the colonial era. They, that is, imagine and construct Asians collectively in dualistic terms as being essentially and irredeemably different from the West. Thus, for example, the French academic study of Asia (Hannoum, 2004) or, again, those in the arts articulate and portray representations of “the Orient” that recall similar representations in the colonial era. More narrowly and somewhat more often, other scholars use this term to describe the ways in which postcolonial scholars and thinkers critical of colonialism unwittingly continue to frame their critiques of colonialism in covert Orientalist categories. Lisa Lowe (1991) is generally credited with having first developed this line of argument and is often cited by other scholars who use it. She argues that while postcolonial figures such as Julia Kristeva (1941- ) and Roland Barthes (1915-1980) criticized European Orientalist nationalist ideologies, “…their figurations of the Orient utilized some of the very same terms, postures, and rhetorics employed in the earlier texts.” (p. 138). Classical Orientalist categories and constructs, that is, continue to “haunt” the thinking of its postcolonial critics. In particular, these postcolonial scholars and thinkers continue to rely on the dualistic Orientalist image of a world divided between the East and West, each having an essential identity irrevocably opposed to the other. Some scholars include Edward W. Said (1978), the putative godfather of postcolonial studies, in this category. Use of this term is not rare but also not frequent enough to consider it a significant one for the study of Orientalism. [revised 8/20]
See also: Academic Orientalism, Aesthetic Orientalism, Binary Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Colonial Orientalism, Covert Orientalism, Haunted Orientalism, Hidden Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Self-Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: First Usage: Joseph S. Alter, “Shri Yodendra: Magic, Modernity, and the Burden of the Middle-Class Yogi.” In Gurus of Modern Yoga (Oxford, 2014); Théry Béord & Achim A. Merlo, "Orientalism in celluloid: the Production of the Crazy Year’." Social and Management Research Journal 14 (2017): 110-124; Abdelmajid Hannoum, "‘Faut-Il Brûler L’Orientalisme?’ On French Scholarship of North Africa." Cultural Dynamics 16 (2004); Marke Kivijärvi, “Orientalism in Finnish Strategy Discourse: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Business Opportunities in China” (Diss., U. of Eastern Finland, 2013). Second Usage: Mahmoud Arghavan, “The Dilemma of Postcolonial and/or Orientalist Feminism in Iranian Diasporic Advocacy of Women’s Right in the Homeland.” In Middle East Studies after September 11: Neo-Orientalism, American Hegemony and Academia (Brill, 2008); Kathleen Biddick, “Coming Out of Exile: Dante on the Orient(alism) Express.” American Historical Review 105 (2000); Carol A. Breckenridge and Peter van der Veer, “Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament.” In Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament: Perspectives on South Asia (U. of Pennsylvania, 1993); Peter Heehs, "Shades of Orientalism: Paradoxes and Problems in Indian Historiography." History and Theory 42 (2003); Pranav Jani, “A Marxist Challenge to Postmodernist Orientalism.” International Socialist Review 104 (2017); Vasant Kaiwar, The Postcolonial Orient: The Politics of Difference and the Project of Provincialising Europe (Brill, 2014); Lisa Lowe, Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalisms (Cornell U., 1991). Other: Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978).
Scholars use of this term to describe the same family of Orientalist phenomena that includes neo-Orientalism, contemporary Orientalism, and techno-Orientalism, sharing with these forms of Orientalism the same set of cybernetic, popular and highly commercialized mass media global platforms including the science fiction genre, cyberpunk, and the visual arts including especially films and even architecture. The term postmodern Orientalism, in fact, is less often used than these other terms. More broadly speaking, it is also a form of popular Orientalism with affinities to pop Orientalism as well as the poetry of beat Orientalism. Within these contexts, however, scholars use this term to describe the peculiar way in which Orientalist authors, producers, and designers in recent decades often embrace postmodern perspectives and agendas while covertly still imagining and constructing Asians as having essentially unchanging, stereotypical identities. Postmodern Orientalists can, for example, acknowledge that there is no such thing as a single Iranian identity while still describing Iranians with the same set of stereotypes used for Arab terrorists. (Pirnajmuddin & Borhan, 2011). Masamichi Inoue (2014) observes that postmodern Orientalisms embrace the particularity of Japan but then treat it as being essentially a land of traditions, mystery, and sensuality—a Japan that is open to anybody but still has a single, essential, and unique culture. Postmodern Orientalisms, thus, deny and reframe Orientalist stereotypes in ways that both restrain and enable them, that both affirm the randomness of reality and yet treat Asians as if they are known quantities. Postmodern Orientalisms are overtly fluid and even self-contradictory, but covertly they are little changed from the ideological Orientalisms of the past, just less blatant, subtler. The way in which scholars use this term, then, generally affirms Edward W. Said’s (1978) analysis of Orientalist ideologies (Saidian Orientalism) as being unjust, false, and pernicious, and it affirms their persistence into the postmodern era. [revised 7/20]
See also: Beat Orientalism, Cinematic Orientalism, Contemporary Orientalism, Covert Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism, Pop Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Jeffrey Cass, “Egypt on Steroids: Luxor Las Vegas and Postmodern Orientalism.” In Architecture and Tourism: Perception, Performance and Place (Berg, 2004); Robbie B. H. Goh, “Supernatural Interactions, Eastern Ghosts, and Postmodern Narrative: Angela Carter’s ‘Fireworks’.” ARIEL 30 (1999); Masamichi Inoue, “‘Japan’ as a Sanctuary: Transformation and Dissolution of Orientalism on a University Campus in the United States.” Japanese Journal of Cultural Anthropology 79 (2014); Joe L. Kincheloe, “Introduction.” In The Miseducation of the West: How Schools and the Media Distort Our Understanding of the Islamic World (Praeger, 2004); H. Pirnajmuddin & A. Borhan, “Postmodern Orientalized Terrorism: Don DeLillo’s The Names.” Journal of Teaching Language Skills 3 (2011); Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Leonard P. Sanders, “Postmodern Orientalism: William Gibson, Cyberpunk and Japan” (Ph.D. diss. Massey U., 2008); Herbert R. Swanson, “Orientalism as an Ideology: The Utility of Said’s Notion of Ideology for the Study of Orientalism,” 2020. At Orientalismstudies.com; Sabrina Q. Yu, Jet Li: Chinese Masculinity and Transnational Film Stardom (Edinburgh U., 2012); Timothy Yu, “Oriental Cities, Postmodern Futures: Naked Lunch, Blade Runner, and Necromancer.” MELIUS 33 (2008); Timothy Yu, Race and the Avant-garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry Since 1965 (Stanford, 2009).
Scholars use this term usually in one of three distinct ways. First and most often, they use it to refer to the ongoing study of ideological Orientalist discourses, institutions, and practices after the publication of Edward W. Said’s Orientalism in 1978. Post-Orientalism, thus, is the continuation and expansion of Said’s critique of classical Orientalism in all of its forms. Second, some scholars argue that more recent, critical scholarly discourses concerning ideological Orientalism continue to fall into the same traps as ideological Orientalism itself as a form of hidden Orientalism. In this usage, thus, Post-Orientalism represents a largely covert continuity with ideological Orientalism where in the first usage it represents a break from ideological Orientalism. Third and rarely, this term is used to describe the application of ideological Orientalist categories by the Other (the “Orientals”) against Western ideological Orientalism as a form of reverse Orientalism.
See also: Classical Orientalism, Critical Orientalism, Hidden Orientalism, Old Orientalism, Post-Saidian Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Katherine Binhammer, et al., “Srinivas Aravamudan’s Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel: A Roundtable Discussion.” Lumen 33 (2014); Philippe Calia, “’Representing the Other’ Today: Contemporary Photography in the Light of the Postcolonial Debate (With a Special Focus on India).” Revista Forma 4 (2011); Hamid Dabashi, Post-Orientalism: Knowledge and Power in a Time of Terror (Transaction, 2009); Christina Klein, Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961 (U. of California, 2003); Malreddy P. Kumar, "Introduction: Orientalism(s) after 9/11." Journal of Postcolonial Writing 48 (2012); Mutapha K. Pasha, “Civilizations, Postorientalism, and Islam.” In Civilizational Identity: The Production and Reproduction of "Civilizations” in International Relations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); Douglas Peers, “Orientalism.” In Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing, v. 2 (Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999); Gyan Prakash, "Writing Post-Orientalist Histories of the Third World: Indian Historiography Is Good To Think." In Colonialism and Culture (U. of Michigan, 1992).
Broadly, scholars generally use this term to describe developments in the academic study of Orientalism since Edward W. Said published his groundbreaking work, Orientalism, in 1978. More specifically, most scholars use it to describe developments since 1978 that take the study of Orientalism in new directions in reaction to Said’s approach (i.e. Saidian Orientalism), which is seen as being pejorative, dualistic (West vs. East), essentializing, and tending to reduce Orientalism to its complicity in European colonialism and Western imperialism. Post-Saidian approaches and analysis seek, thus, to treat historical Orientalisms with greater balance and see them as being more complex, diverse, pluralistic, and interactive. They often focus on similarities rather than differences. Edhem Eldem (2007) goes so far as to argue that post-Saidian Orientalism can itself be a form of Orientalism that expresses an almost naïve, innocent enthusiasm for Asia, which eschews both arrogance and political correctness. Jean-Gabríel Leturcq (2016), however, makes the point that post-Saidian approaches must still deal with Said and take a stand concerning him, arguing that the study of Orientalism after Said necessarily lacks "serenity" even as it seeks to move beyond dualistic confrontation. This term is not rare but also not frequently used. [revised 7/20]
See also: Critical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Post-Orientalism, Pre-Saidian Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Post-Saidian Orientalism: Subrata Dasgupta, The Bengal Renaissance: Identity and Creativity from Rammohun Roy to Rabindranath Tagore (Permanent Black, 2007); Edhem Eldem, Consuming the Orient (Ottoman Bank Archive & Research Centre, 2007); Jean-Gabríel Leturcq, “Orientalism After Edward Said,” 2016. At Jean-Gabríel Leturcq (https://leturcq.wordpress.com), accessed 7/20; Silke Schmidt, (Re-)Framing the Arab/Muslim Mediating Orientalism in Contemporary Arab American Life Writing (Transcript Verlag, 2015); Claire Scobie, “The Representation of the Figure of the Devadasi in European Travel Writing and Art from 1770 to 1820…” (Doctorate of Creative Arts diss., U. of Western Sydney, 2013); Nitin Sinha, Communication and Colonialism in Eastern India: Bihar, 1760s-1880s (Anthem Press, 2012). Uses Term Post-Saidian Analysis: Michael J. Franklin, “Representing India in Drawing-Room and Classroom; or, Miss Owenson and ‘Those Gay Gentlemen, Brahma, Vishnu, and Co.’” In Interrogating Orientalism: Contextual Approaches and Pedagogical Practices (Ohio State U., 2006); Hsu-Ming Teo, “American Popular Culture Through the Lens of Saidian and Post-Saidian Orientalist Critiques.” Critical Race and Whiteness Studies 10 (2014). Uses Term Post-Saidian Approach: Jeffrey Cass, “Interrogating Orientalism: Theories and Practices.” In Interrogating Orientalism: Contextual Approaches and Pedagogical Practices (Ohio State U., 2006).
Post-Victorian Orientalism. See Neo-Victorian Orientalism.
Post-Zionist Orientalism. See Zionist Orientalism.
Practical Orientalism (19th Century)
The Scottish Orientalist, John B. Gilchrist (1759-1841), and others used this term in the earlier 19th century to describe what they took to be an alternative approach to that of Sir William Jones (1746-1794) for the study of indigenous languages in colonial India, particularly Hindustani. In contrast to Jones and other academic specialists, Gilchrist devised “practical Orientalism” as a simplified, less scholarly, and easier course of study aimed at giving colonial officials and others a functional (“practical”) knowledge of Indian languages. His goal was to aid British colonial governmental oversight and control as well as commercial development, and his approach facilitated British efforts to fabricate supposedly indigenous systems of law and administration by relying on obscure, often forgotten Indian texts. [8/20]
See also: Colonial Orientalism, Constructive Orientalism, Utilitarian Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Solomon I. Baevskii, Early Persian Lexicography: Farhangs of the Eleventh to the Fifteenth Centuries (Global Oriental, 2007); C. A. Bayly, “British Orientalism and the Indian ‘Rational Tradition’ c. 1780-1820,” South Asia Research 14 (1994); James H. Bennet, Winter and Spring on the Shores of the Mediterranean (J. & A. Churchill, 1875); John B. Gilchrist, Dialogues, English and Hindoostanee; for Illustrating the Grammatical Principles of the Strangers’ East Indian Guide… ((Kingsbury, Parbury, & Allen, 1826); John B. Gilchrist, The General East India Guide and Vade Mecum… (Kingsbury, Parbury, & Allen, 1825); John B. Gilchrist, The Orienti-Occidental Tuitionary Pioneer to Literary Pursuits… (U. of St. Andrews, Library, 1816); Rita Raley, “A Teleology of Letters; or, From a ‘Common Source’ to a Common Language,” 2000. At Romantic Circles (https://romantic-circles.org), accessed 8/20.
Practical Orientalism (Post-Said)
Since Edward W. Said’s groundbreaking book, Orientalism (1978), which focused primarily on academic and literary texts, scholars have used this term to explore the ramifications of his critique of the notion of Orientalism for everyday (“practical”) life. Michael Herzfeld (1991) seems to have been the first to use it and, along with Michael Haldrup, Lasse Koefoed, & Kirsten Simonsen (2006), remains a key source for its usage. Herzfeld states that, “Practical orientalism is the translation of hegemonic ideology into everyday practice so that it infiltrates the habitual spaces of ordinary experience.” (2005, p. 134) He focuses in particular on how ordinary people interpret things that they see, experience, and feel in their daily lives through the lens of ideological Orientalism, transforming abstract stereotypes into personal attitudes and behavior. Haldrup, et. al. similarly argue that practical Orientalisms are “…articulated through processes of ‘othering‘ developed in the concrete bodily encounters in everyday life.” (2006, p. 5) Thus things such as personal encounters, foods, music, clothing, hearing foreign languages, and television programming can all trigger cultural stereotypes and prejudices, including the sexual objectification of women, which discern what is alien (Other) and what is familiar (Self). They emphasize the banal, everyday nature of practical Orientalism, which can be especially triggered in encounters between tourists and local people where the tourists see local people with an invasive, stereotypical Orientalist gaze. Practical Orientalisms are one means of exercising power over those who are seen, experienced, or felt to be different, alien. Scholars use this term fairly frequently and most often cite either Herzfeld or Haldrup et. al. when using it. [revised from Practical Orientalism, 8/20]
See also: Banal Orientalism, Culinary Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Orientalist Gaze, Orientalist Tourism, Saidian Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Nikos Bozatzis, "Cultural Othering, Banal Occidentalism and the Discursive Construction of the ‘Greek Crisis’ in Global Media: A Case Study.” Suomen Antropologi 4 (2016); Michael Haldrup, “Banal Tourism? Between Cosmopolitanism and Orientalism.” In Cultures of Mass Tourism: Doing the Mediterranean in the Age of Banal Mobilities (Ashgate, 2009); Michael Haldrup, Lasse Koefoed, & Kirsten Simonsen, "Practical Orientalism: Bodies, Everyday Life and the Construction of Otherness." Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography 88 (2006); Michael Herzfeld, Cultural Intimacy: Social Poetics in the Nation-State, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2005); Michael Herzfeld, A Place in History: Social and Monumental Time in a Cretan Town (Princeton U., 1991); Michael Herzfeld, "Spatial Cleansing: Monumental Vacuity and the Idea of the West." Journal of Material Culture 11 (2006); Jana Mauthner, “‘Othering’ in the Postcolonial World: The Reproduction of Colonial Structures in African Societies (Malawi).” In The Political Geography of Religious Radicalism (Universität Tübingen, 2013); Vives Riera, et. al., “Festive Traditions and Tourism in Mallorca: Ludic Transgressions and the Disruption of Otherness.” Tourist Studies 20 (2020); Silke Schmidt, (Re-)Framing the Arab/Muslim: Mediating Orientalism in Contemporary Arab American Life Writing (Transcript Verlag, 2012); Kirsten Simonsen, "Practice, Narrative and the Multicultural City' A Copenhagen Case." European Urban and Regional Studies 15 (2008).
Although not rare, scholarly use of this term is largely limited to the work of three scholars and others who cite them: first, Alistair Pennycook (1998) uses it to describe a dispute between “classicists” and “vernacularists” regarding the teaching of English in 19th century colonial India, which he argues impacted English-language instruction in other British colonies. The vernacularists argued for a “pragmatic” approach that favored English but accommodated the use of Indian languages, particularly Hindustani. Second, Leonard Binder (1988) uses this term to describe the views of the American Islamist, Marshall Hodgson (1922-1968). According to Binder, Hodgson articulated a “pragmatic” approach that sought to balance emphases on the ideals of Islam on the one hand and its practical realities on the other. Other scholars cite Binder as arguing that Hodgson used “pragmatic Orientalism” to establish a middle ground between “good” and “bad” Orientalisms. Third, Gregory P. Grieve (2006) uses this term to describe the way in which Nepali local governments “pragmatically” manipulate Western Orientalist stereotypes of the exotic Orient to promote their communities as tourist destinations. Use of this term is otherwise rare. [8/20]
See also: Constructive Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Micro-Orientalism, Orientalist Tourism, Practical Orientalism (19th Century), Reverse Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Leonard Binder, Islamic Liberalism: A Critique of Development Ideologies (U. of Chicago, 1988); Gregory P. Grieve, Retheorizing Religion in Nepal (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006); Delia M. C. Konzett, Hollywood's Hawaii: Race, Nation, and War (Rutgers U., 2017); Joe Lockard, “Review: Alastair Pennycook, English and the Discourses of Colonialism,” 1999. At academia.edu (www.academia.edu), accessed 8/20; Alistair Pennycook, English and the Discourses of Colonialism (Routledge, 1998); Michael E. Salla, “Political Islam and the West: A New Cold War or Convergence?” Third World Quarterly 18 (1997); Bryan S. Turner & Habibul H. Khondker, Globalization East and West (SAGE, 2010).
Pre-Colonial (Precolonial) Orientalism
Although rare, this term is used by a few scholars to refer to the origins of ideological Orientalism among Europeans stationed in India prior to the colonial era. Ganesh Ramarishanan sees those origins in developments in Britain, and Sheldon Pollock, who also uses the term pre-Orientalist Orientalism, observes them in Germany.
See also: Early Orientalism, Nascent Orientalism, Pre-Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Siraj Ahmed, “Orientalism and the Permanent Fix of War.” In The Postcolonial Enlightenment: Eighteenth-Century Colonialism and Postcolonial Theory (Oxford, 2009); Rajiv Malhotra, The Battle for Sanskrit: Is Sanskrit Political or Sacred, Oppressive or Liberation, Dead or Alive? (HarperCollins, 2016); Ganesh Ramakrishanan, “The Shallowness of Pollock’s ‘Deep Orientalism,’” 2016. At Indian People’s Congress (https://indianpeoplescongress.wordpress.com), accessed 6/16.
Pre-Critical Orientalism. See Critical Orientalism.
Although not used in a technical way, scholars have used this term to describe the ways in which ideological Orientalism creates mental barriers and preconceived stereotypes that prevent those who hold Orientalist prejudices from seeing the realties of the actual Orient. As scholars use it, this term reflects Edward W. Said’s understanding of Orientalism.
See also: Ideological Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Jim Mac Laughlin, Location and Dislocation in Contemporary Irish Society: Perspectives on Irish Emigration and Irish Identities in a Global (Cork U., 1997.); Anna Piela, Muslim Women Online: Faith and Identity in Virtual Space (Routledge, 2012); Zacharias P. Thundy, Buddha & Christ: Nativity Stories & Indian Traditions (E. J. Brill, 1993).
Scholars use this infrequently used term generally in two distinct ways to describe how Europeans imagined and constructed “the East” before the modern era in European history. First, some scholars use this term to refer to the period just prior to the emergence of modern Orientalism (that is, prior to the middle to later 18th century), and they usually see it as foreshadowing the rise of modern Orientalism. In this usage, they sometimes conflate pre-modern Orientalism with early modern Orientalism, and the characteristics they assign to each tend to be quite similar. This first usage may be somewhat more frequent. Second, other scholars use this term more broadly to refer to still earlier periods in the history of European Orientalism, particularly Medieval Orientalism, but even going as far back as the ancient world. Although the distinguishing characteristics of pre-modern Orientalism for this second usage vary, they usually include a sense that the East, however understood, is more barbaric than Europe, although Medieval Orientalisms were ambivalent about the East, both admiring its advanced civilization and loathing its religion, Islam. This term is not particularly frequently used, although it is not rare. [revised 7/20]
See also: Ancient Orientalism, Early Orientalism, Early Modern Orientalism, Enlightenment Orientalism, Orientalism, European Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Medieval Orientalism, Modern Orientalism, Nascent Orientalism, Pre-Orientalism, Proto-Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Suzanne C. Akbari, Idols in the East: European Representations of Islam and the Orient, 1100–1450 (Cornell, 2009); Suzanne C. Akbari, “Making Substantial Connections: A Critical Appreciation of Sheila Delany.” Florilegium 23 (2006); David Hammerbeck, “Voltaire’s Mahomet, the Persistence of Cultural Memory and Pre-Modern Orientalism.” Agora: An Online Graduate Journal 2 (2003); Maryam Jahanmardi, “British-Persian Relations in the Sherley Dossier (1598-1626)” (M.A. thesis, U. of British Columbia, 2014); Ian D. Newman, “Tavern Talk: Literature, Politics & Conviviality” (ph.D. diss., U. of California, Los Angeles, 2013); Ziauddin Sardar, Orientalism (Open University, 1999).
Scholars generally use this fairly frequently used term in one of three ways. First they use it to describe the period in European arts, literature, and fashion from roughly the 16th century into the 18th century, which was the era prior to the emergence of the Orientalist period in European aesthetics. Edward W. Said (1976) seems to have been the first to use this term in this way, categorizing the English poets John Milton (1608-1674) and John Dryden (1631-1700) as examples of “pre-Orientalism” in contrast to later, 19th century literary figures. Scholars describe this pre-Orientalist era as being spurred on by increasing contacts with the Asia beyond the Ottoman Empire but was limited primarily to the ruling classes. It was marked by a fanciful taste for the exotic that often portrayed the East as being picturesque and charming. Pre-Orientalists were less intensely anti-Islamic than Orientalists of later times and at times displayed somewhat more positive, appreciative attitudes towards Islam and the East. Luigi Mayer (1755-1803) and Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-1789) are often cited as important pre-Orientalist artists. Second, scholars use this term more broadly to describe the period in European Orientalism prior to the rise of classical Orientalism in the late 18th century, sometimes going as far back as the Middle Ages to describe medieval Orientalism as being pre-Orientalist. Scholars are often critical of this term, arguing that those who use it generally fail to offer clear distinctions between what was “pre-Orientalist” and what was fully Orientalist, fail to root the notion of pre-Orientalism in actual historical events, and are narrowly selective in their characterization of its nature. Third and written, “pre-Orientalism,” scholars use this term simply to refer to the study of the notion of Orientalism prior to the publication of Said’s groundbreaking book, Orientalism, in 1978. Use of this term reinforces the significance of his critical analysis of the ways in which European classical Orientalism imagined “Orientals” as having an essential, similar, and largely unchanging identity, which constructions of the East were an important element in European colonialism and Western imperialism (see Saidian Orientalism). [revised 8/20]
See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Classical Orientalism, Early Orientalism, Enlightenment Orientalism, European Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Medieval Orientalism, Orientalist Literature, Poetic Orientalism, Positive Orientalism, Pre-Colonial Orientalism, Pre-Modern Orientalism, Proto-Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: First Usage: Giuseppe Capriotti & Borja Franco, "Changing the Enemy, Visualizing the Other: the State of Art in Italian and Spanish Art Historiography." IL CAPITALE CULTURALE Supplementi 06 (2017); Keum Hee Lee, "Pre-Orientalism in Costume and Textiles.” Journal of Fashion Business 22 (2018); Edward W. Said, “Raymond Schwab and the Romance of Ideas .” Daedalus 105, 1 (1976): 151-167; Anda-Lucia Spânu, “Luigi Mayer, a European Painter-Traveller at the End of the Eighteenth Century.” Eikonocity, 4 (2019). Second Usage: Derek Bryce, “The Absence of Ottoman, Islamic Europe in Edward W. Said’s Orientalism.” Theory, Culture & Society 30 (2013); Eugenia Z. Jenkins, A Taste for China: English Subjectivity and the Prehistory of Orientalism (Oxford, 2013); Erin Maglaque, Book Review. “Before Orientalism: Asian Peoples and Cultures in European Travel Writing, 1245–1510, by K.M. Phillips.” English Historical Review 130 (2015); Nabil Matar, "Review: Richmond Barbour. Before Orientalism: London’s Theatre of the East, 1576-1626.” Seventeenth-Century News 62 (2004); Matthew H. Pangborn, Enlightenment Orientalism in the American Mind, 1770-1807 (Routledge, 2019). Third Usage: Rubén Chuaqui, “Notes on Edward Said’s View of Michel Foucault.” In Edward Said and Critical Decolonization (American U. in Cairo, 2007); Mercedes A. Galan, “Erotics of the Exotic: Orientalism and Fictionalization of the Mooress in the Early Modern Mediterranean.” Journal of Levantine Studies 2 (2012); Jane Newman, “Faculty Mentor,” 2013. At UCI Undergraduate Research Journal (https://static1.squarespace.com), accessed 8/20; Fatima Rajina, "Orientalism: Have Recent Developments in the Study of Islam Gone Beyond Said’s Seminal Critique of ‘Orientalism’?," 2018. At Preprints (www.preprints.org), accessed 8/20; Johann Wolfgang, “Orientalism in Contemporary Asian American Literature: Mounting Madame Butterfly on the Asian American Needle” (M.A. thesis, Goethe U., 2009).
Pre-Orientalist Orientalism. See Pre-Colonial Orientalism.
A very few scholars use this very rarely used term to describe the work of 19th century British Orientalist scholars in colonial India, such as Sir William Jones (1746-94), with a sense of appreciation that pre-dates the publication of Edward W. Said’s groundbreaking, pejorative treatment of ideological Orientalism (i.e. Saidian Orientalism), entitled Orientalism (1978). [7/20]
See also: Ideological Orientalism, Post-Saidian Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Jim Mac Laughlin, Location and Dislocation in Contemporary Irish Society: Perspectives on Irish Emigration and Irish Identities in a Global (Cork U., 1997.); Anna Piela, Muslim Women Online: Faith and Identity in Virtual Space (Routledge, 2012); Zacharias P. Thundy, Buddha & Christ: Nativity Stories & Indian Traditions (E. J. Brill, 1993).
Bernard Faure (2004) defines this extremely rarely used term as meaning a Western discourse that is, “…a reductionist view of Eastern ‘otherness’.” (p. 5). In context, it seems that he is suggesting that primary Orientalisms are forms of ideological Orientalism, which reduce the complexities of Asia to simple ideological propositions and stereotypes. Scholars do more frequently use the term Secondary Orientalism, but almost never in relation to a named “primary” Orientalism. However, a set of flashcards (“Religious Studies 71”) used in a university course offers the following description of primary Orientalism along with the terms “secondary Orientalism” and tertiary Orientalism: “[Primary] Orientalism: Western construction of what we think is Eastern. Secondary Orientalism: when Asians present ‘authentic’ Asian traditions; these traditions they learned were heavily influenced by the west; Asians teaching Orientalism thinking it is authentic. Tertiary Orientalism: when Asians assume that ethnically Asian teachers are better than non-Asian teachers about Asian traditions, even though the Asian teachers could be Secondary Orientalists.” By inference from Faure, scholarly uses of the notion of secondary Orientalism, and these flash cards, “primary Orientalism” simply means Western ideological Orientalism. [revised 7/20].
See also: Ideological Orientalism, Secondary Orientalism, Tertiary Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Eric Bain-Selbo, “Double Exposure.” Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 6 (2005); Frank T. Boyle, Swift as Nemesis: Modernity and its Satirist (Stanford W., 2000); Bernard Faure, Double Exposure: Cutting Across Buddhist and Western Discourses (Stanford U., 2004); “Religious Studies 71: Intro to Asian American Religions,” 2012. At Flashcard Machine (https://www.flashcardmachine.com/religious-studies-71.html), accessed 7/20. Example of Secondary Orientalism: Madina Tlostanova, “The South of the Poor North: Caucasus Subjectivity and the Complex of Secondary ‘Australism’.” The Global South 5 (2011).
Scholars usually use this term in one of three distinct ways. First, in the 19th century, biblical scholars and others used it in a religious sense to describe historical periods when religious sensibilities were supposedly “Oriental,” that is child-like, undeveloped, and backward. This usage occasionally appears in more recent studies about the 19th century. Second, some scholars use this term as a synonym for ideological Orientalism to describe Western prejudices against Islam and Muslims. Third, some scholars of the history of Judaism use this term to describe the perception either by Jews from Western Europe or by non-Jewish Westerners that Eastern and Asiatic Jews were historically primitively “Oriental,” that is backward socially, economically, culturally, and religiously. [8/16]
See also: Biblical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Zionist Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Modern Usage: Jerold S. Auerbach, Are We One?; Jewish Identity in the United States and Israel (Rutgers, 2001); James Cockayne, “Islam and International Humanitarian Law: From a Clash to a Conversation between Civilizations.” International Review of the Red Cross 84 (2002); Gudren Krämer, “On Difference and Understanding: The Use and Abuse of the Study of Islam.” ISIM Newsletter 5 (2000); Amy Shevitz, Jewish Communities on the Ohio River: A History (U. of Kentucky, 2007); Brian Stableford, “Isoline and the Serpent-Flower,” n.d. At The Brian Stableford Website (www.philsp.com), accessed 8/16. 19th Century Usage: Herder, “Ecclesiastes.” Western Monthly Magazine 3 (1834); James Macgregor, The Churches of Galatia (T. & T. Clark, 1879); Goldwin Smith, Lectures and Essays (Macmillan Co., 1881); David Wykes, Evelyn Waugh: A Literary Life (St. Martin's Press, 1999).
This term and the term Orientalist profession are fairly frequently used usually in one of two historical contexts. First, beginning in the 19th century, scholars have used these terms to describe the development of the field of Oriental studies (as part of a more general European and American academic revolution) from one dominated by amateurs to an academic field that developed the rigor, standards, institutions, and publications of a more “scientific” field of study based on trained, knowledgeable, and objective research. It was no longer seen as a matter of personal tastes and interests but rather as a fully academic field of study. Second, by the 1960s, however, a few Arab scholars began to challenge the premise that the Orientalist profession was indeed truly professional, which challenge culminated in the publication of Orientalism by Edward W. Said in 1978. Accepting the traditional meaning of professional Orientalism, he claimed that in fact professional Orientalists imagined and constructed an essentially and irredeemably inferior fairy-tale Orient of their own making. Said provoked a sometimes strident debate as a number scholars rose to defend the Orientalists’ profession from his attacks while many others joined him in his challenge. The debate over Orientalism can thus be seen as originally in important part a debate about whether or not its practitioners adhered to the standards of professional academics. Were they objective, and did they produce knowledge that had anything to do with the realities of Asia? Scholars of Orientalism now use these terms most frequently in the context of this debate and often cite Said’s comments on professional Orientalism; and it is widely understood that the Saidians have “won” the debate at least to the extent that today few Asian studies scholars would describe themselves as “professional Orientalists.” The debate itself continues, although most scholars have come to the conclusion that Said’s challenge of the profession was both correct in many ways but also too sweeping and too selective in its treatment of the actual field of professional Orientalism. [9/18]
See also: Academic Orientalism, Amateur Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, International Congress of Orientalists, Personal Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Scientific Orientalism, Traditional Orientalism (First Usage).
Sources & Examples: Professional Orientalism: Asiya Chowdhury, “The Persistent Metaphor: Gender in the Representations of the Cairene House by Edward W. Lane and Hassan Fathy” (M.A. thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1993); Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Daniel M.Varisco, Reading Orientalism: Said and the Unsaid (U. of Washington, 2007); Fatih Varol, "Edward Said vs Michel Foucault: The Divergence of Perspectives on Knowledge, Truth and Power." Ankara Üniversitesi SBF Dergisi 72 (2017). Orientalist Profession: Christopher Berg & Melanie Shaw, “Debating Controversial History: A Twenty-First Century Re-Appraisal of the Orientalist Debate, its Key Actors, and its Future.” International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities 20 (2014); Magnus Forseth, “Representations of Chinese Rock: An Analysis of Contemporary Reviews of Chinese Rock- Groups” (M.A. thesis, U. of Oslo, 2011); A. L. Macfie, Orientalism (Longman, 2002); François Pouillon, “On Edward Said.” At Academia.edu (www.academia.edu), accessed 9/18; Zahia S. Salhi, “The Maghreb and the Occident: Towards the Construction of an Occidentalist Discourse.” In Orientalism Revisited: Art, Land and Voyage (Routlege, 2013).
Progressive Orientalism. See Liberal Orientalism.
Projective Orientalism. See Orientalist Projection.
While scholars very rarely use this term as such, they do much more frequently describe the many and various forms and manifestations of ideological Orientalism as being “protean," that is readily, easily changeable. Orientalisms, thus, can take many different shapes, can be highly adaptable, and can be seen as both laudable and objectionable. The point scholars often make is that part of the power of such Orientalisms lies in their “protean nature,” which also allows them to appropriate other movements and cultural themes, such as European Romanticism as but one example. [3/18]
See also: Covert Orientalism, Hidden Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Positive Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Kristan Tetens, “Sir Thomas Henry Hall Caine, Dramatist, with a Special Study of Mahomet (1890) and Its Contexts” (Ph.D. diss., Leicester, 2015); Deborah Wyrick, “Unknown Unknowns, Unknown Knowns, and the Repetitions of History,” 2014. At Debblog 2.0 (http://debsbookblog2194.blogspot.com), accessed 3/18.
Scholars use this term primarily to describe the relationship of Protestantism to the notion of ideological Orientalism and have largely focused on British and American Protestantism in the era of European colonialism beginning in the 18th century, giving especial attention to Evangelical Protestants (see Evangelical Orientalism). European Protestantism in its early stages in the 16th century drew on both Catholic Orientalism and Medieval Orientalism to shape its own largely negative understanding of “Orientals,” mostly the Turks and Arabs. Protestant academic Orientalism originated in the Netherlands, but Britain soon became the center of the Protestant study of the East, which was based in British universities including Cambridge and Oxford. In the first half of the 19th century many leading academic Orientalists were clergymen. They and their lay colleagues devoted a great deal of study to Near Eastern languages to gain insights they could use to defend the Bible from its critics, and their studies also served to reinforce Western stereotypes of the East. Their primary concern, however, was to empower and promote the international Protestant missionary movement and its agencies in Asia. Their goal was the conversion of Asia to Christianity, and it is to this movement that modern-day scholars of Protestant Orientalism have directed most of their attention. In general, European Protestants, and later those in the United States and elsewhere, imagined and constructed Orientals as being essentially barbarous, pagan, superstitious, idolatrous, uncivilized, ignorant, irrational, impoverished, and trapped in conditions of fundamental suffering and oppression. They were especially oppressed by their “superstitious” religions, which Protestants believed blinded Orientals (including Asian Jews and Eastern rite Christians) to the truths of the (Protestant) Christian faith. To “save” the peoples of the Orient, Protestants sent missionaries to Asia both to evangelize and civilize its peoples. Within this general picture, there were many variations as some Protestants over time changed their views concerning Asia, even coming to show respect for Asian religions and cultures. In the United States, a liberal Protestant Orientalism emerged in the 19th century, which toned down attacks on other religions while still maintaining that, ultimately, Christianity is most suited to be a universal faith. While scholars have given surprisingly little attention to popular Protestant Orientalism in general, some study has been done on the popular Protestant fixation with the Holy Land as an almost sacred place that offers its own special revelations into basic Christian truths. This fixation has continued down into the present, especially among Evangelical Protestants. Some other subjects, including the role of women as well as Protestant Orientalism’s differences from Saidian Orientalism, are somewhat more fully covered in the study of Evangelical Orientalism. [4/20]
See also: Academic Orientalism, Biblical Orientalism (Contemporary), Catholic Orientalism, Christian Orientalism, Evangelical Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Learned Orientalism, Missionary Orientalism, Philological Orientalism, Religious Orientalism, Saidian Orientalism, Theological Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Mark T. Edwards, The Right of the Protestant Left: God’s Totalitarianism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); P. M. Holt, Studies in the History of the Near East (Frank Cass, 1973); Samir Khalaf, Protestant Missionaries in the Levant: Ungodly Puritans, 1820-1860 (Routledge, 2012); Alex MacLeod, "Can Any Good Thing Come Out Of Palestine? Orientalism and Eastern Christianity in Protestant Writings about the Holy Land, 1839-1908." Historical Papers 2006: Canadian Society of Church History (2006); Sk. Nijamatulla, “Synopsis of the Proposed Thesis ‘Protestant Orientalism and Theoretical Practices in India.’,” . At ShodhGangotri (https://shodhgangotri.inflibnet.ac.in), accessed 4/20; Swati Rana, “Brownness: Mixed Identifications in Minority Immigrant Literature, 1900-1960” (Ph.D. diss., U. of California, Berkeley, 2012); Stephanie S. Rogers, Inventing the Holy Land: American Protestant Pilgrimage to Palestine, 1865–1941 (Lexington Books, 2011); John K. W. Tchen, “Believing is Seeing: Transforming Orientalism and the Occidental Gaze.” In Asia/America: Identities in Contemporary Asian American Art (New Press, 1994); Todd Thompson, "Albert Hourani, Arab Christian Minorities and the Spiritual Dimension of Britain’s Problem in Palestine, 1938–1947." In Christians and the Middle East Conflict (Routledge, 2014).
Scholars use both this term and the term nascent Orientalism to describe the origins, roots, and pre-history of Orientalism as well as to describe the actual historical emergence of Orientalist discourses, institutions, and practices. As such, the study of proto-Orientalism or nascent Orientalism involves discerning the definition, scope, and boundaries of ideological Orientalism. While scholars sometimes use these terms similarly to the term early Orientalism, technically these terms focus more on that which anticipates and foreshadows the emergence of Orientalism rather than on the earliest stages in the development of Orientalism itself. [revised 12/18]
See also: Early Orientalism, Medieval Orientalism, Nascent Orientalism, Pre-Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Richmond Barbour, Before Orientalism: London's Theatre of the East, 1576-1626 (Cambridge, 2003); Ivan D. Kalmar, Early Orientalism: Imagined Islam and the Notion of Sublime Power (Routledge, 2012); Ivan D. Kalmar & Derek J. Penslar, Orientalism and the Jews (Brandeis, 2005); Sharon Kinoshita, “Deprovincializing the Middle Ages.” In The Worlding Project: Doing Cultural Studies in the Era of Globalization (New Pacific Press, 2007); Markus Vink, Encounters on the Opposite Coast: The Dutch East India Company and the Nayak State of Madurai in the Seventeenth Century (Brill, 2016).
Pseudo-Orientalism. See False Orientalism.
Psychiatric Orientalism. See Medical Orientalism.
Scholars generally use this term and, less frequently, the term Orientalist psychology to describe a set of stereotypical attitudes with which Western Orientalists, including trained psychologists, imagine and construct (Oriental) Others as having essential characteristics that are clearly different from and in at least some ways inferior to the West. In particular, scholars argue that Western (and many Asian) psychologists believe that Asians are defined by a group mentality or “group self” that overrides their individual identities. Asians supposedly live to please society at the denial of their personal individuality. Brinda J. Metha (2004) applies the term "psychological Orientalism" particularly to the experience of Asian women, arguing that the male psyche sees women as a threat and deals with that threat by creating and imagining an idealized, essential “true womanhood,” which dehumanizes Asian women and seeks to control them. While they seldom use these terms, scholars who write about the impact of Orientalism on the academic field of psychology generally note that the field shares in the larger history of academic Orientalism, which means that historically it has (usually unwittingly) transformed Orientalist stereotypes and prejudices into psychological “principles” that imagine and construct Asians as having essential, largely unchanging identities dictated by their cultures. Asian psychologists frequently accept these principles as their own because of the international dominance of Western psychology. This term is not frequently used.
See also: Academic Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Orientalist Projection, Saidian Orientalism, Self-Orientalism, Sexual Orientalism, Wacky Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: C. Fred Alford, Think No Evil: Korean Values in the Age of Globalization (Cornell, 1999); Sunil Bahtia, “Orientalism in Euro-American and Indian Psychology: Historical Representations of "Natives" in Colonial and Postcolonial Contexts.” History of Psychology 5 (2002); Brinda J. Mehta, “(De-) Orientalizing the Female Self: Selected Feminine Characterizations in Wole Soyinka’s The Interpreters, Season of Anomy and Beyond the Horizon by the Ghananian Author Amma Darko.” OKIKE 35 (1997); Brinda J. Mehta, Diasporic (Dis)locations: Indo-Caribbean Women Writers Negotiate the Kala Pani (U. of the West Indies, 2004); Patrick O’Dougherty, The Stockholm Syndrome Project (Irish Catholic Revolution Publishing Co., 2004).
Scholars generally use this term and the term Orientalist pulp to describe the ways in which Western popular, sensational publications and media imagine and construct (Oriental) Others. They include books, magazines, comics, movies, and other publications commonly known as “pulp” (i.e publications that are cheap, low quality, popular, and sensational ). Because of the popular nature of the genre, Orientalist pulp is a superficial, blatant, and even crude form of literary Orientalism and cinematic Orientalism. Its stereotypes are often racist and/or sexist, portraying Asians (especially Arabs but also East Asians) as erotic, sly, immoral, dangerous, violent, and utterly alien among other traits. Scholars note that Orientalist pulp print publications are particularly known for their exotic, sometimes lurid art work including especially magazine covers in the 1930s. Historically, this genre first appeared in the earlier 19th century. The use of these terms is not rare. [revised 9/18]
See also: Aesthetic Orientalism, Blatant Orientalism, Comic Orientalism, Comic Book Orientalism, Cinematic Orientalism, Cultural Orientalism, Hard Orientalism, Ideological Orientalism, Literary Orientalism, New Age Orientalism, Oriental Fiction, Orientalist Fiction, Pop Orientalism, Popular Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Jumana Bayeh & Sahar Amer, “Community Activism and Creative Practice in Australia: An Interview with Paula Abood.” Mashriq & Mahjar 4 (2017); Pavan K. Malreddy, Orientalism, Terrorism, Indigenism: South Asian Readings in Postcolonialism (SAGE, 2015); Laetitia Nanquette, Orientalism Versus Occidentalism: Literary and Cultural Imaging Between France and Iran Since the Islamic Revolution (I.B. Tauris, 2013); David Scott, "Rohmer's' Orient'-Pulp Orientalism?." Archiv Orientalni 80 (2012).
Benjamin Daniel Fisler coined this very rarely used term to describe the use of blackface puppets as a medium for racialized Orientalism in the American theatre.
See also: Cultural Orientalism, Racial Orientalism, Theatrical Orientalism.
Sources & Examples: Benjamin D. Fisler, "The Phenomenology of Racialism: Blackface Puppetry in American Theatre, 1872-1939” (Ph.D. diss., Maryland, 2005).