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How does political policy shape conception of the other? How can literature revise misconceptions?

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Presentation on theme: "How does political policy shape conception of the other? How can literature revise misconceptions?"— Presentation transcript:

1 How does political policy shape conception of the other? How can literature revise misconceptions?

2 Edward Said1978 One of the most important theories tied to Post-Colonialism

3 Write down your thoughts for each of the following topics: Facts about the Oriental world Stereotypes about the Oriental world Things you want to know about the Oriental Now, discuss with your small group and create one master list for submission.

4 The Orient: The Orient: Signifies a system of representations framed by political forces that brought the Orient into Western learning, consciousness, and empire. The Orient exists for the West, and is constructed by and in relation to the West. It is a mirror image of what is inferior and alien (Other) to the West. Orientalism: Orientalism: A manner of regularized writing, vision, and study, dominated by imperatives, perspectives, and ideological biases ostensibly suited to the Orient. It is the image of the Orient expressed as an entire system of thought and scholarship. Latent Orientalism: Latent Orientalism: The unconscious, untouchable certainty about what the Orient is. Its basic content is static and unanimous. The Orient is seen as separate, eccentric, backward, silently different, sensual, and passive. It has a tendency towards despotism and away from progress. It displays feminine penetrability and supine malleability. Its progress and value are judged in terms of, and in comparison to, the West, so it is always the Other, the conquerable, and the inferior. Manifest Orientalism: Manifest Orientalism: What is spoken and acted upon. It includes information and changes in knowledge about the Orient as well as policy decisions founded in Orientalist thinking. It is the expression in words and actions of Latent Orientalism.

5 The person represented by Orientalist thinking. A single image, a sweeping generalization, a stereotype that crosses countless cultural and national boundaries. The man is depicted as feminine, weak, yet strangely dangerous because he poses a threat to white, Western women. The woman is eager to be dominated and strikingly exotic.

6 Idea was formulated originally to facilitate Western conquestscolonialism!!! First Orientalists: 19 th century scholars translated Oriental writings into English to aid in conquests. By knowing the Orient, the West came to OWN it. Orient=object/passive; West=scholars/active One vast, multi-faceted region becomes a single Orient that is a complete social construct of the West. It exists solely for and its identity is defined entirely by Orientalist scholars. Depicted in sexual terms: the weak, feminine Orient awaits the dominance of the West. How does such a discourse facilitate and perpetuate colonialism?

7 Focuses on the Arab Jot down what you think of when you first hear the following words: Arab Muslim Historian Through contemporary Orientalism, Arab is now widely constructed as irrational, menacing, untrustworthy, anti-Western, dishonest, and prototypical. Our contemporary crisis is that such ideas are backed by political policy and powerful Western institutions, and thus they are unquestionably accepted as truth and thereby remain unchallenged by the masses.

8 One would find this kind of procedure less objectionable as political propagandawhich is what it is, of coursewere it not accompanied by sermons on the objectivity, the fairness, the impartiality of a real historian, the implication always being that Muslims and Arabs cannot be objective but that Orientalists…writing about Muslims are, by definition, by training, by the mere fact of their Westernness. This is the culmination of Orientalism as a dogma that not only degrades its subject matter but also blinds its practitioners.Edward Said

9 A rejection of Orientalism… Equals a rejection of racial and religious prejudices. Eliminates greed as a primary motivating factor in intellectual pursuit. Erases the line between the West and The Other. How do we fix this? Narrative instead of Vision Complex history allows for dynamic human experience Does not deny differences, but evaluates them in a critical, objective manner Focus on smaller, more culturally consistent regions Give the Oriental a voice rather than studying from afar

10 Compose a personal response to what you have just learned about Orientalism. Your response must be one page handwritten OR at least 250 words typed. You can discuss any of the following: General thoughts Identification of your own personal Orientalist beliefs Observations of Orientalism in popular culture What we can do to reverse Orientalist ideology How you see Orientalism in the novel

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