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Postorientalism: orientalism since orientalism

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  • Literature
  • Musicology
  • Political Science
  • Social Sciences


This dissertation examines a range of popular contemporary texts in a post-Saidian context. It begins with an analysis of Orientalism, as that text influences almost any discussion of representations of Easmest relations. Now, almost twenty years after Orientalism was first published in 1978 it is still a crucial text, and it still needs to be understood and argued with. The other texts looked at in this dissertation include novels, drama, films, opera, a musical, and the print and electronic mass media. They are texts that either represent or comment on EastIWest relations. The main texts I examine fall roughly into two categories: ones that are clearly orientalist and ones that are postorientalist. Those that are orientalist repeat the same myths of Orient Said describes in Orientalism. Those that are postorientalist challenge those myths by repeating and elaborating them, reversing and displacing the orientalist gaze. The methodological approach is an eclectic blend of cultural studies and literary criticism. Such an approach enables analysis of a variety of texts, fiom classical nineteenth century books and myths through to contemporary postmodern representations, that deal with identity politics. My thesis is that contemporary postcolonial representations that deal with East and West and that use and displace the very terms such categories rest upon, can be called postoriental.

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