Does Orientalism relate to Islamophobia, the way Anti-Semitism relates to Anti-Zionism? That would be an interesting question, one that the Anti-Germans would be well equipped to answer.
Orientalism (c. 1750- ) is the set of ideas, images, stereotypes, facts, projections, lies and half-truths that the West has about the East, particularly the Middle East, what used to be called the Orient in Britain and France. It is the representation the West has built for itself about the East as the Other. At American universities it goes under names like “Middle Eastern Studies”.
Although Orientalism stretches back to the ancient Greeks and can take in all Asian and Muslim lands as “the East”, in practice it mainly concerns Arab Muslims and is mostly the work of the French, British and Germans from 1800 to 1950 and the Americans since then.
Edward Said, who grew up in the Middle East as an object of Orientalism, took a particular interest in it and wrote a book about it: “Orientalism” (1978).
He studied Orientalism by looking not just at…
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