Orientalism and Religion offers us a timely discussion of the implications of contemporary post-colonial theory for the study of religion. Drawing on a variety of post-structuralist and post-colonial thinkers, including Foucault, Gadamer, Said, and Spivak, Richard King examines the way in which notions such as mysticism, religion, Hinduism and Buddhism are taken for granted, and shows us how religion needs to be redescribed along the lines of cultural studies.
Legal orientalism -- Making legal and unlegal subjects in history -- Telling stories about corporations and kinship -- Canton is not Boston -- The District of China is not the District of Columbia -- Colonialism without colonies.
Orientalism in Louis XIV's France presents a history of Oriental studies in seventeenth-century France, mapping the place within the intellectual culture of the period that was given to studies of Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Chinese texts, as well as writings on Mughal India.
This paper examines the long-term development of Orientalism as an intellectual field, with the European learning of China between ca.1600 and ca.1900 as an exemplary case. My analysis will be aided by a theoretical framework based on a synthesis of the world-system and network perspectives on long-run intellectual change. Analyzing recurrent debates on China within European intellectual circles, I demonstrate that the Western conception of the East has been oscillating between universalism and particularism, and between naive idealization and racist (...) bias. This oscillation is a function as much of the changing political economy of the capitalist world-system as of the endogenous politics of the intellectual field. Despite their contrasting views, both admirers and despisers of the East viewed non-Western civilizations as uniform wholes that had never changed. I argue that the fundamental fallacy of Orientalism lay, not in its presumptions about the ontological differences between East and West and the former's inferiority, as previous critics of Orientalism have supposed, but in its reductionism. Understanding non-Western civilizations in their full dynamism and heterogeneity is a critical step toward the renewal of the twentieth-century social theories that were built upon and impaired by the Orientalist knowledge accumulated in the previous centuries. (shrink)
In addition to being characterised as a ‘regime of truth’, Orientalist discourses also display the general properties of confessional discourses outlined in Foucault’s Will to Knowledge. The article argues that there is a similarity in the ‘effects of power’ made possible within these frameworks, particular regarding the legitimisation and application of discipline. Finally, the paper draws out a few implications for the analysis of power and resistance in confessional economies of power. The perspective this paper provides an insight into the (...) internal structure of Orientalist discourse; connects this structure with Orientalism’s ‘effects of power’; affords purchase on both Orientalism’s organisational and ontogenetic properties; helps explain the persistence of Orientalism – both overt and covert – despite three decades of post-Orientalist scholarship. In this sense, a confessional perspective on Orientalism affords a broad view of the contemporary politics of truth in which Orientalism plays such as an important part. Finally, a confessional perspective affords purchase on the nature of power, the formation of subjectivities, and the possibilities of resistance within Orientalist discursive contexts, which Said’s own analysis is often said to lack. (shrink)
The concept of Orientalism has been widely dealt with in the humanities and social sciences. It helps explain a peculiar construction of the Arab-Muslim world. Orientalism has operated in various historical paradigms but has always emphasised specific Western constructions of the Orient. Nowadays, the concept has metamorphosed to refer to new constructions of the Orient. New representations of Islam and the Muslim world are dominating the Western public space. The aim of this paper is twofold. It explores the (...) historical development and paradigmatic shifts that have affected the concept of Orientalism. It then suggests that a neo-Orientalism has recently emerged, is less territorialised and operating within a new paradigm. It holds a new ideologically motivated agenda, constructs new objects, and feeds the social phenomenon called Islamophobia. (shrink)
Authoritarianism and democracy as forms of power are based not only on political and economic practices, but also on various forms of cultural management. Orientalism has been one of them for a long time. However, as authoritarian and democratic forms of government evolved, a request arose for the creation of a new form of cultural governance, namely, neo-capitalism. The purpose of the study to analyze the features of the practice of culture management as an element of political power. Scientific (...) novelty: an attempt is made to conceptualize the new concept of neo-orientalism, to reveal its main features and differences from classical orientalism. (shrink)
This article reflects on the convergence of revolutionary anti-capitalism and moral fundamentalism in the contemporary Islamic revival. It is concerned more generally with the recurrent appeal to fundamental value — of a sexual, genealogical or economic kind — in the history of anti-imperial and anti-capitalist movements. Exploring the tradition of Islamist philosophies of finance, the article suggests that Islamic political theology is unique in its ability to separate absolute law from territory. Transgressing the boundaries of nation-state postcolonialism, it thereby relocates (...) absolute value, and hence absolute prohibition, in the realm of the sexual and the divine. (shrink)
Discourses of race, gender and religion have scripted the terms of engagement in the war on terror. As a result, Muslim feminists and activists must engage with the dual oppressions of Islamophobia that relies on re-vitalized Orientalist tropes and representations of backward, oppressed and politically immature Muslim women as well as religious extremism and puritan discourses that authorize equally limiting narratives of Islamic womanhood and compromise their human rights and liberty. The purpose of this discussion is to examine the way (...) Muslim women have been discursively scripted from these opposing and contradictory spaces, and to explore the negotiations and contestations made by both secular and faith-centred Muslim feminists in combating these oppressive arrangements. In the first part of the discussion, I will draw on post-colonial and anti-racist feminist analyses to map out the complex interactions of race, gender, sexuality and religion in earlier imperial practices of conquest and colonization and examine how the continuing legacies of these encounters implicate the current "war on terror". In the second part of the discussion, I will examine Muslim women's feminist political engagement with and resistance to the concomitant factors of imperial and fundamentalist domination and will craft a better understanding of how these factors variously shape and are shaped by Muslim women's responses to them. (shrink)
Recent work in philosophy of race involves Native American, Africana, and Latin American critiques of the sociohistorical specificity underlying allegedly universalist moral and political philosophy in the U.S. and the West generally. Joining the discussion, this essay explores American orientalism in terms of the imperialist expansion of the U.S. across the Pacific since the late 19th century. Toward this end, Hawai'i, Guam, and thereby the U.S. itself are conceptualized as geopolitical gestalts. No full story of the Rawlsian basic structure (...) of 20th-century America will be complete without attention to the dynamics of U.S. imperialism in the Asia-Pacific. (shrink)
This article deals with various responses to the phenomenon of Orientalism. Since the publication of Edward Said s book _Orientalism_, there has been an ongoing discussion about the influence of Orientalism on contemporary social sciences in the East. In the West, Orientalism was an original theory, but in the East its acceptance was tantamount to an assimilation of foreign point of view on social reality. I argue that it is a symptom of provincialism among scientists from the (...) East. Even though most of them tried to overcome Orientalism, they used the same categories and methodology. In this sense they repeated its mistakes and misunderstandings. This article analyzes different attempts of overcoming Orientalism and shows why they are provincial. (shrink)
In the period of decolonisation that followed the end of the Second World War a number of scholars, mainly Middle Eastern, launched a sustained assault on Orientalism - the theory and practice of representing 'the Orient' in Western thought -accusing its practitioners of misrepresentation, prejudice and bias. As a result an intense debate occurred regarding the validity of the charges made, involving not only Orientalists but students of history, anthropology, sociology, women's studies and the media. Orientalism: A Reader (...) provides the student with a selection of key readings from this debate, covering a range of areas including myth, imperialism, the cultural perspective, Marxist interpretation and feminist attitudes.The origins and character of the debate on Orientalism are introduced, as well as the intellectual foundations of the assault made and the nature of the debate which ensued. Coverage begins with nineteenth-century material from thinkers such as Hegel and Marx, and moves through extracts from Nietzsche, Gramsci and Foucault to contemporary work from, for example, Bryan Turner, John MacKenzie and Edward Said. As well as a general introduction, each section is introduced and the extracts are placed in context to guide the student carefully through this complex debate. (shrink)
In Orientalism, Edward Said attempts to show that all European discourse about the Orient is the same, and all European scholars of the Orient complicit in the aims of European imperialism. There may be “manifest” differences in discourse, but the underlying “latent” orientalism is “more or less constant.” This does not do justice to the marked differences in approach, attitude, presentation, and conclusions found in the works of various orientalists. I distinguish six different styles of colonial and postcolonial (...) discourse about India , and note the existence of numerous precolonial discourses. I then examine the multiple ways exponents of these styles interact with one another by focusing on the early-twentieth-century nationalist orientalist, Sri Aurobindo. Aurobindo’s thought took form in a colonial framework and has been used in various ways by postcolonial writers. An anti-British nationalist, he was by no means complicit in British imperialism. Neither can it be said, as some Saidians do, that the nationalist style of orientalism was just an imitative indigenous reversal of European discourse, using terms like “Hinduism” that had been invented by Europeans. Five problems that Aurobindo dealt with are still of interest to historians: the significance of the Vedas, the date of the vedic texts, the Aryan invasion theory, the Aryan-Dravidian distinction, and the idea that spirituality is the essence of India. His views on these topics have been criticized by Leftist and Saidian orientalists, and appropriated by reactionary “Hindutva” writers. Such critics concentrate on that portion of Aurobindo’s work which stands in opposition to or supports their own views. A more balanced approach to the nationalist orientalism of Aurobindo and others would take account of their religious and political assumptions, but view their project as an attempt to create an alternative language of discourse. Although in need of criticism in the light of modern scholarship, their work offers a way to recognize cultural particularity while keeping the channels of intercultural dialogue open. (shrink)
Focusing on the ‘problem’ of pleasure _Law, Orientalism and Postcolonialism_ uncovers the organizing principles by which the legal subject was colonized. That occidental law was complicit in colonial expansion is obvious. What remains to be addressed, however, is the manner in which law and legal discourse sought to colonize individual subjects as subjects of law. It was through the permission of pleasure that modern Western subjects were refined and domesticated. Legally sanctioned outlets for private and social enjoyment instilled and (...) continue to instil within the individual tight self-control over behaviour. There are, however, states of behaviour considered to be repugnant to, and in excess of, modern codes of civility. Drawing on a broad range of literature,, yet concentrating on the experience of British India, the argument here is that such excesses were deemed to be an Oriental phenomenon. Through the encounter with the Orient and with the fantasy of its excess, Piyel Haldar concludes, the relationship between the subject and the law was transformed, and must therefore be re-assessed. (shrink)
The sordid research process behind the Lallā-Vākyāni, the first major English translation of poetry attributed to the fourteenth-century saint Lal Ded, reveals strategies employed by George Grierson, Lionel Barnett, and Mukund Ram Shastri to recast Lal Ded and the cultural heritage of Kashmir as exclusively Hindu. Contradicting the earliest depictions of Lal Ded in sixteenth-century Persian hagiographies, the Lallā-Vākyāni was instrumental to the modern invention of Kashmiri Śaiva Hinduism as the true religion and culture of Kashmir completely devoid of any (...) connection—religious, historical, or social—with Islam, simultaneously serving Orientalist agendas and politics of the Ḍogrā court. (shrink)
Christian Wolff's 1721 "Discourse on the Practical Philosophy of the Chinese" is generally read as championing the autonomy of ethics from religion. This is too simple: Wolff's ethics was an antivoluntarist "religious" ethics. The example of the Chinese confirmed for Wolff that revelation is not necessary for knowledge or practice of genuine virtue, though he held that the Chinese achieve only the first of three "degrees of virtue." (Most Christians, including the Pietists who drove Wolff from Halle shortly after he (...) delivered the "Discourse," did not, in his judgment, achieve even that.) China's being perceived as outside of Western (and sacred) history made it a congenial example for the ethics and moral anthropology that, in Wolff's time, were struggling against the voluntarism of a Christian ethics premised on original sin. (shrink)
In what Arjun Appadurai has dubbed the ‘colonial imaginary’ issues of femininity, and who possessed it, were of prime importance. An orientalizing sociology sought to distinguish, and indeed to fix, differences between metropolitan and indigenous women as a rhetoric of hierarchy which secured proper and western femininity to white women. One critical route which colonial commentators and authorities took to produce that knowledge was to measure women's proximity to the practice of prostitution, a means which permitted discussion and judgement of (...) racialized sexualities as well as of proper models of feminine behaviour. This article will explore the ways in which the new sociology of the Victorian period, wielded in a colonial context, served to separate women through race-based ideas of sexual behaviour and sexual order. It will deal with British India in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. (shrink)
On January 1, 1958, in the journal Democratic Critique, Zhang Junmai, Mou Zongsan, Tang Junyi, and Xu Fuguan published the "Manifesto on Chinese Culture for the World: Our Common Understanding of Chinese Scholarship Research and of the Future of Chinese Culture and World Culture."1 This manifesto is commonly seen as the founding statement of the New Confucianism movement. Section 2 of the manifesto, "Three Motives, Approaches, and their Shortcomings in the Study of Chinese Culture in World Scholarship," claimed that Chinese (...) culture had not been understood by three kinds of people who had approached it, namely, Christian missionaries, sinologists, and students of present world history. For the New Confucians, the... (shrink)
"What is whole on earth? … [D]oesn't this building of the times upon each other make the whole of our species into a formless monstrous structure [zum unförmlichen Riesengebäude], where one carries away what another began to build, where what never should have been built remains standing and in centuries finally everything becomes One Ruin [Ein Schutt], amongst which, the more broken and crumbling it is, the more confidently the hesitating people live?" "Johann Gottfried Herder, Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte (...) der Menschheit1"With the subordination of Church to State introduced by the principle of “cuius…. (shrink)
Posthumanist critics such as Braidotti—informed by the antihumanisms of Foucault, Irigaray, and Deleuze—seek to respond to advanced capitalism by promoting what they take to be a radical transformation of what it means to be “human,” a way of conceiving being human that is thoroughly and consistently post-anthropocentric. Braidotti calls out advanced capitalism’s global economy as being inconsistently post-anthropocentric. In response, I first lay out ways through which posthumanists can find corroboration in Asian religious thought, such as in Zhuangzi and classical (...) Chan (Zen) Buddhism. I simply put forth, basically side by side, posthumanist positions on subjectivity and flourishing and parallels in Zhuangzi and Chan. This may strike some as sophomoric, which is in part what I hope to illustrate: just how easy it is to find corroboration in these Asian religious resources. This leads to my second issue. Given such conveniently available resources, what might this tell us about limitations in posthumanist Humanities and posthumanist critical theory as developed so far? I seek to bring out both a possible covert form of Orientalism in posthumanism and a myopic methodology in excluding Religious Studies in general as paradigmatic of posthumanist Humanities. (shrink)
My point of departure is Said’s rejection of the idea of an “Orientalist” Hellenism. What might it mean to argue that Orientalism characterizes “intra-European” cultural politics, specifically the colonial geography of western Europe vis-à-vis its “subaltern” Others? Contra Said, I argue that the function of Hellenism in constituting both the fantasy of Europe and western hegemony has an Orientalist structure. I explore the cultural underpinnings of Greece’s relation to “Europe” in Hellenistic discourses. Then, I suggest that the dominant discourse (...) surrounding the odious Greek debt has an Orientalist structure. Pairing a critique of Orientalism with a core-periphery analysis arguably enables a more nuanced understanding of the coloniality of power in today’s “age of austerity,” enabling a deconstruction of the racial logic underlying continental integration and revealing the violence inherent in the fantasy of European civilization. (shrink)
Under such a name in Kiev on April 22-23, 1996, a colloquium on problems of Eastern religiosity was held on the basis of the Department of Religious Studies and with the assistance of the UAR. It was attended by academics from academic institutions to research centers, university lecturers and high school students, students, postgraduate students, representatives of eastern religious communities, informational agencies and public organizations. Visitors to the colloquium came from India, Donetsk, Lutsk.