ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Root of Orientalism

Updated on July 4, 2017

This hub focuses on analyzing the term Orientalism, including its meaning and origin within historical contexts. Accordingly, this term has employed by various scholars, particularly those from the West, within the discipline of history, geography, literature and culture as way of depicting “Oriental” or Eastern cultures. These cultures consist of people living south East Culture, South Asia, Middle East, and North Africa. Since Said’s publication of his book “Orientalism” in 1978, the term Orientalism, received a new academic discourse by being chiefly used in reference to the perceived negative attitude towards Eastern Societies as a means of justifying Western imperialism. Said espouses that the term Orient was generated from the West and exists according to the wishes of the West (51).

According to Turner, Orientalism legacy has its roots from the West including educational institutions, intellectual traditions, political systems and social sciences that seem to be value free (78). The creation of the Orient paradigm is a depiction of colonial intentions, dominance and politics. As a discourse, Orientalism consists of a network of concepts, categories, tables of which the Orient is controlled and defined simultaneously. It represents an imagined world by the West alongside its joined universalistic ideas. Further, these represented European understanding of themselves as being superior socially and culturally to “others”.

In fact, the constant use of the term Orient, made the Europeans to have a negative attitude towards the subjects of their colonies. A good example is the French colonies especially within the Vietnamese and other parts of the tropics. Despite the geography in the Tropic of Capricorn and Cancer being characterized with spiders, insects, rodents and other creatures, the French considered the presence of these aspects as signs of primitiveness among the subjects of their colonies. These insects and rats were associated with the spread of plagues which according to the French colonists was a result of the Vietnamese backwardness (Vann 204).

Cooper and Stoler (points out that the colonists viewed those they colonized as “lesser beings” or “others”. Further, the “otherness” of the colonized person had to be defined and maintained. This included even in the social boundaries. Owing to this perception, the colonists focused themselves on civilizing the locals so that they can be modernized. Among the ways in which they did this was to train the locals in matters of agriculture, becoming obedient citizens in a bureaucratic nation as well as acquisition of various skills and professionals to modernize them. However, they did not want them to become at par with them. In other words, the colonists had the notion that their subjects were quite primitive and hence, they had to civilize them into becoming better workers, subjects and farmers. Further, this perception made the Europeans to be very consideration on how to interact with the subjects in the colonies, how to relate with them sexually, how and with whom to stay with and for how they could stay in the specific colonies (607-620).

Despite the negative connation of the word “Orientation” as a depiction of people from primitive backgrounds, the word has been commonly employed by many citizens in U.S either in reference to Asian Americans or as a reference to the Asians themselves. What many are however not aware is that the word is racist in nature and depicts a certain culture negatively (Wang 1). With the realization of the sensitivity of this term Orientalism among others, members of Asian American Caucus have been advocating for removal of this word, among others such as Eskimo, Negro, Spanish et cetera from American laws. This campaign has been successful since, on May, 2016, President Obama signed into law a bill that outlawed the use of racially offensive words from federal laws (Helm 1).

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)