Week 7 – Research Exercise, and extras to the discussion on Gender and the Orient

Please conduct the following steps for your homework for next week.

How To Research

1. Write down your research topic

Orientalism in the treatment of Japanese- Americans in World War 2

2. List 2-3 words you can use to search your topic

World War Two government policy Japanese-Americans racism

3. Search for these terms in the library catalogue website

http://kulis.khu.ac.kr/en/search/Search.ax?sid=1

Enter the search terms. What do you find?

This is the hardest part! At first, you probably won’t find any useful sources, or any sources at all.

Keep trying!

4. List the words, phrases or titles you found that describe your research topic

“Japanese-American family”

“Japanese American resistance to World War II : executive, legislative, and judicial policies / Rita Takahashi”

5. Write down why these are useful. Give one reason each.

Japanese-American families were put in camps in World War Two. I want to know how the Japanese-Americans were treated, so this is my topic.

Japanese-Americans resisted American policy. I want to learn why American policy is orientalist (how they treated Asians), so this is also my topic.

6. Write down the full title, author and call number

“The managed casualty : the Japanese- American family in World War II / by Leonard Broom and John I. Kitsuse.”
341.3 B87m

Social welfare policy : regulation and resistance among people of color / Jerome H. Schiele, editor.
362.8400973 S678

Go to the library, find the books or articles, and write down the main idea and arguments!

You can also download these instructions as a .pdf here: Week 7 – How To Research

Orientalism in media today?

These are two examples for our discussion about whether orientalism is lessening or changing because of globalization.

1. Clean Bandit – Rather Be ft. Jess Glynne

The main character is an Asian woman who begins to hallucinate about Clean Bandit, the band, who keep appearing in strange places. Is this Orientalist? The band is white and British and chasing her. Or is it anti-Orientalist? The main character is not sexualized. She lives in a normal-looking house and has a family, a pet, and a job. I think this video is an example of how to make an interesting story with people from different cultures, without relying on Orientalist stereotypes. Do you agree?

2. Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle – trailer

In this comedy, the main characters are an Indian-American and a Korean-American, who challenge the Orientalist stereotypes they face. However, the movie has sexist humour and reinforces gender stereotypes.

You are not required to watch these videos for the course, but if you are interested in the topic, I encourage you to check them out!

Monday, April 13 – notes to Gender and Orientalism discussion

Group 1:

  • there’s a single image of the exotic Orient, reduced to one group.
  • the female east and the male west. The east is female, needs protection and civilized by western men.
  • justifies male civilizing female; women need to be unveiled by the west. The veil is eastern culture, the west wants to understand the east by removing their culture. Making them more like the west.

Group 2: – western people think the Arab world is undeveloped, because it has a strong patriarchy.

  • divided into two groups: colonial, colonized. Barbarian, evil vs. weak, women, natural, wild. Have to be tame
  • Hollywood doesn’t depict all arabs as bad; westerners accept what they see in the movies as real.
  • Voyeur: someone who likes to peek/watch. Stalkers. Sexual pleasure from watching.

Group 3:

  • depict the concept of discovery. Westerners discover countries. Locals don’t know how important ancient objects are.
  • the westerner rescues local people. Only westerners can be heroes. People living there are submissive, relying on western knowledge. Oriental people are background.

Group 4:

puritanical morals. White woman. Radiers and Sahara – American women are stronger than Arab women. Sheik:white women are pure and cold

nudity. Non-white woman. Controlled by sexual desire.

Hollywood pursues these stereotypes.

Western women are passive objects of male desire.

Male gaze: objectification. To make into an object. Objectified.

Group 5:

Harum Scarum as orientalism: Arabs as Id, animal instinct.

Westerners as Superego, control primitive instinct.

Becomes westerner, rescues white woman.

Arabs want to rape white women. Arabs sexualize women.

How westerners think of oriental/Arabs: westerners are superior.

Group 6:

male rescue fantasy in the Sheik movies. Women are the subject of rescue and sexual desire. The main character is subordinated.

Monday, March 30 – Research question examples

For the research question:

Your name, student number, date, class

Research question. Please make it a direct question.

Studying orientalism in media, movies and tv programs, because I want to find out how Koreans understand southeast Asia, in order to understand South East Asia from a Korean angle.

What aspects of South East Asia do I want to understand Korea’s relationship with?

– migrant labour

– marriage

– refugees

I’m studying consumer spending habits because I want to find out how orientalism influences consumer spending, in order to figure out…

– which country?

– what kind of item?

– when?

– what sources? e.g. business newspaper?

Having lived in Australia, I want to find out what is the effect of multiculturalism on Australian national identity, and how have Australians constructed ‘The Other’?

– government banking policies against Chinese

I will trace orientalism in Western movies because I want to find out how directors represent through characters in movies, in order to understand whether the fashion intended by directors show us accurate and appropriate meanings.

– orientalism and fashion in Hollywood/western movies.

– define “meanings”. What’s an accurate meaning?

– choose 2-3 movies. compare.

I am studying different roles that Hallyu stars play in Western and Eastern film because I want to find out orientalism still exists in the films.

– which film or films? What appearance of orientalism would you like to look at?

I am studying orientalism in western games because I want to find out how Asian culture is portrayed in western games, in order to understand how Asian characters show up in western computer games.

– e.g. ninjas, Japanese culture. How is Japanese culture represented in western computer games? What do these games get right and wrong? Why?

I’m studying about orientalism in Disney animation because I want to find out how orientalist factors are reflected in film. How the trend of orientalism in animation changes as time passes.

– Mulan and Kung Fu Panda.

“Compare and contrast”

I am studying the Hallyu effect in Kazakhstan, in order to understand how good or bad this effect is.

– which aspects?

– what is the positive or negative impact?

Week 9 – Coffee consumption in South Korea

ELC 352 Asia and its Other, Week 9, April 27 / 29

The Soybean Paste Girl: The Cultural and Gender Politics of Coffee Consumption in Contemporary South Korea (excerpted and abridged)

Author: Jee Eun Regina Song, Journal of Korean Studies, Volume 19, Number 2, Fall 2014

The consumption of Starbucks coffee becomes an aspirational act of consumerism for many contemporary South Koreans. After the Asian Financial Crisis, the new middle class enjoyed a slow but steady recovery. Many, however, could not afford luxury brands like Burberry, Rolex, or Nike. Designer coffee provided a way to mark class status at a fraction of the cost of brand-name clothing. Many South Korean women see Starbucks as representing access to a more open and independent notion of Korean femininity, challenging Confucian patriarchy.

FROM TABANG TO STARBUCKS: THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF THE CAFÉ ENVIRONMENT

The first Korean coffee shop, better known as a tabang (teahouse), was run by a German woman named Antoinette Sontag (of the Sontag Hotel) in 1902. During Japan’s colonization of Korea (1910–45), coffee culture and tabangs offered important meeting places for elites and also for political and artistic activities. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, different types of tabangs flourished; in addition to the use of tabangs as meeting places, music tabangs gained popularity, as places to express desires for freedom and diversity during authoritarian rule under the Park Chung Hee administration. By the mid-1990s, as tabangs lost popularity, coffee shops continued to grow in popularity, especially as meeting grounds.

Coffee consumption in particular cafés like Starbucks became the norm in the new millennium and was celebrated by the media and popular culture. Shortly after its introduction, Starbucks became a popular verb. Going to Starbucks became an activity for thousands, if not millions, of people. Many people began using the coffee shop as their personal office.

Instant coffee was best suited for an economy based on manufacturing, intense productivity, and nationalized industries. In contrast, Starbucks coffee consumption seemed best suited for South Korean neoliberalism, in which work is more flexible, creative, and service-oriented. Starbucks, by providing a social space for leisure and flexible, individual forms of work—represented by people sitting in café spaces for long periods of time using their laptops—became the symbol of South Koreans’ new neoliberal identity after the 1997 Asian financial crisis. That identity was of a self-managing individual.

REPRODUCING FEMININITY AND MASCULINITY

For women especially, Starbucks provided not only an alternative space outside the family , but also a space outside dominant systems of patriarchy [male rule]. For many of those college-aged and career women, Starbucks represented privileged Western lifestyles; new drink menus, jazz music, nonsmoking spaces, and the general professionalism of store managers and baristas. Many interviewees I spoke with called this “the Starbucks experience.”

Many South Korean men perceived this “Starbucks experience” as being too leisurely, implying time and money was being wasted on premium foreign products. But one customer, Yeongnan, said, “[r]ather than drinking two-dollar coffee at a loud and bright place, I’d rather pay a few more cents and experience the Starbucks culture. Some may argue fifty cents will add up quickly with daily visits, but I would pay the difference.” Customers were trying to carve out a safe, comfortable space in an urban setting that lacks spatial freedom for women. Many social and cultural spaces like Internet game rooms, pool halls, and bars have been occupied by men. Starbucks appeals to young women because they feel “free” in its space. Many describe it as an “uncontrolled” and “liberating” space, meaning individual customers can actually claim their space without being bothered by anyone who represents the company. All of the Starbucks employees remain behind the bar area and the customers are free to use “their” space however they wish. This means that customers can stay as long as they like without being “supervised” by servers.

This contributes to the sense of individualism often associated with the West. But it’s more than a desire to live like characters in a Hollywood film. South Korean women have long fought for their rights to participate and be vocal in all realms of society, including education, the workplace, and the political sphere. Many women who came of age during the years of prosperity throughout the 1980s and 1990s now face, in their twenties and thirties, a different reality.They are confronted with a host of “modern” problems, on top of the usual issues such as unequal pay and a much lower career advancement rate compared to men (issues women often face worldwide). Securing a permanent job, even with a college degree, is an increasingly unattainable dream. Many women feel trapped by the pressure to fulfill the hopes and dreams of middle-class families. Going to Starbucks represents a desire to achieve middle-class modernity without a lot of difficulty.

Men have drastically different perceptions of the café experience than women. The majority of both male and female consumers all had similar responses about coming to Starbucks: Korean men do not go to coffee shops; they go drinking. Men identified strongly with the alcohol-based drinking culture rather than coffee-drinking culture. Coffee shops were seen as feminine spaces of intimacy. Chulsoo compared Korean men to men overseas, explaining,

Overseas, two men can easily meet at a coffee shop for business purposes, but in [South] Korea, if men sit around [in a café] not dressed in a [business] suit, then that’s weird. If you sit around and chat in casual clothing . . . then people will be like, “Those two must not have anything to do. Look, they’re killing time in a café.”

When I asked why it is so awkward, Chulsoo responded, “Coffee is coffee. Many [men] would just get soju instead. Those men obviously don’t know the value of coffee.” Many men were expected to perform and reproduce masculinity, especially in public spaces like the café. You have to work hard to learn about good coffee, so Chulsoo is creating a new form of masculinity: learning about taste, instead of getting his knowledge from the social group of men (macho socialization), or by engaging in physical group bonding, which South Korean men do through sports, video games, and drinking.

The café is seen as emasculating [anti-masculine] for men because it is a space of luxury, where only certain kinds of white-collar labor can take place. Café space represents a waste of time, since all people do in cafes (supposedly) is socialize.

BACKLASH AND THE SOYBEAN PASTE GIRL: DOENJANGNYŎ AND GENDERED CONSUMPTION

Many women enjoy the spatial freedom cafés offer in urban spaces like Seoul. South Korean men, however, perceive the same café space as a feminine luxury and a waste of time. This comes from anxiety concerning South Korea’s status in the global economy and the changing status of South Korean men. This gender divide became clear in the backlash against Starbucks. In the summer of 2006, various news sources showed that between three countries—Japan, South Korea, and the United States— South Korea had the most expensive Starbucks Coffee prices. Starbucks was seen as an incursion of US cultural imperialism, eroding traditional Korean culture. One major backlash affected women, through the doenjangny or “soybean paste girl” curse that emerged in the summer of 2006.

The term doenjangny described women who compulsively purchased luxury goods. One criticism was that a doenjangny spends the cost of a meal during one visit to a Starbucks café. A doenjangny: prefers Starbucks coffee in the morning over homemade breakfast; she goes to Starbucks regularly; she takes pictures of the drink in her hand and the Starbucks logo in the background; she asks men to buy her Starbucks coffee. Doenjangny are seen as irresponsible and against the ideal of virtuous Korean womanhood. For a doenjangnyŏ, the coffee has to be Starbucks, dinner has to be at Outback Steakhouse, and handbags need to be Louis Vuitton. The criticism targeted South Korean women as not only gold diggers, but gold diggers of Western goods and lifestyles. This contrasted her with the model of “virtuous” femininity seen as sexually desirable by many South Korean men. An ideal, virtuous woman was a wise, even frugal, consumer. Doenjangny became a label to criticize women with certain consumer habits and practices. Consuming coffee at Starbucks was no longer an innocent personal choice, and female Starbucks consumers were seen by the larger public as representative of consumerist excess and even the downfall of the national economy.

CONCLUSION: COFFEE AND THE POLITICS OF CLASS, GENDER, AND NATIONALISM IN SOUTH KOREA

Doenjangny are seen as blind followers of Western lifestyle and material goods, rather than having the status or class to make their own cultural choices. This misogynistic backlash is part of a larger concern about increasing class disparity in South Korea. It asks who has access to expensive coffee, as well as Western cultural experiences.1 When men see women making meaning out of certain consumer practices and spaces, they reduce such cultural experiences to material goods, such as brand-name coffee. How you view your consumer identity, and your coffee, often depends on your gender and class. In a neoliberal society, choices in consumer practices have big implications. Often they show up in negative, even dangerous ways, such as the misogyny in discussions of the doenjangny.

1The author means that when men are upset about women drinking Starbucks coffee, they’re actually upset about the women’s financial independence. In neoliberal Korea, many people are still poor and struggle to make a living. Women who drink at Starbucks become scapegoats for broader issues of class inequality.

Week 7 – Gender in Hollywood’s Orient

ELC352, Week 7 – class readings

Gender in Hollywood’s Orient

Author(s): Ella Shohat

Source: Middle East Report, No. 162, Lebanon’s War (Jan. – Feb., 1990), pp. 40-42

Please look up words you don’t understand!

From its very beginning, Western cinema has been fascinated with the mystery of the Orient. Hollywood films took civilizations as diverse as Arab, Persian, Chinese and Indian and made them into a single portrayal of the exotic Orient. The Arabic language, in most of these films, is impossible to hear or understand, while the “real” language is European: French or English.

Sexual difference has been a key component in the construction of the East as Other and the West as (Ideal) Ego. Consider the Western rescue fantasy, which portrays the Orient as a female saved from her own destructiveness, while also rescuing Arab and Western women from Arab men.

The contrast of Oriental “backwardness,” and “irrationality” with Western “modernity” and “rationality,” and the menacing figure of the Arab assassin and rapist – these images, taken together, recruit spectators for the West’s “civilizing mission.” Gender and sexuality are a significant part of this.

The figure of the veiled woman, in films such as Thief in Damascus (1952) and Ishtar (1987), is a metaphor for the mystery of the Orient itself, which must be unveiled by the West to be understood. Ironically, veiled women in Orientalist films, paintings and photographs expose more flesh than they conceal. This process of exposing the female Other, represents the power of Western man to possess her. She, as a metaphor for her land, becomes available for Western penetration and domination.

While the Arab is associated with images of underdevelopment and backwardness (the image of the desert serves as the essential backdrop of Arab history) the colonizer, whether Lawrence of Arabia or Indiana Jones, appears as a creative pioneer, a masculine saviour who conquers the feminine wilderness. In these films, the writer-soldier T E. Lawrence or the scientist-archaeologist Dr. Jones rescues the Orient from its own backwardness. Colonized people, like women, here require the guidance and protection of the colonial patriarchal figure.

Films distinguish submissive “natives” who are “warm,” “giving,” and “noble savages” from the rebellious “barbarians” dangerous to civilization and themselves. Yesterday’s “assassins” are today’s “terrorists.” In other words, Hollywood does not simply depict all Arabs as “bad.” Rather, it divides them according to a clash of good and evil. If colonized people demand independence, they’re a threat, and this provokes the discourse of the dangerous Third World, “non-civilized” people, who must be eliminated by the end of the film.

Another kind of Orientalist film claims to initiate the Western spectator into Arab society through the figure of the “discoverer.” The film watcher identifies with the gaze of the West (whether embodied by a Western character or by a Western actor pretending to be an Oriental) and quickly learns the norms of a foreign culture, which are shown as simple and stable. The Orient becomes the object of wonder for the Western voyeuristic gaze.

In most Western films about the Orient, we follow the perspective of the “discoverer”. In such films as Lawrence of Arabia and Raiders of the Lost Ark, the camera shows the hero’s movement across a passive, unmoving space, gradually stripping the land of its mystery, as the spectator wins visual access to Oriental treasures. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, the significance of ancient objects is understood only by the Western scientists, relegating Egyptians to the role of ignorant Arabs who happen to be in a land full of historical treasures, much as they happen to live near oil.

Indiana Jones reproduces the colonial vision in which Western “knowledge” of ancient civilizations “rescues” the past from oblivion. This legitimizes putting Egyptian treasures in Western metropolitan museums. The glorious Egyptian past can “only” be reached by the scientist, not by the ignorant Arab crowds which occupy the background of the film. The colonial presence in Egypt is also presented as natural. The American hero frees the ancient Hebrew ark from illegal Egyptian possession, and also from Nazi control, reinforcing the American and Israeli equation of evil Nazis and Arabs.

Male Gaze

Western women characters are more powerful than non-white women and non-white men in these films. Raiders and Sahara (1983), for example, make an American woman superior to Arab male characters. In The Sheik (1921), a young Englishwoman is kidnapped by a sheik and brought to his desert camp, where he holds her captive and sexually harasses her. The spectator is introduced to the Arab world by seeing a barbaric marriage market. Western women are usually passive objects of male desire in Hollywood cinema, but in the East she is active, because she represents Western civilization. She becomes the civilizing “center” of the film. The white woman is desired by the male characters. Darker women appear mainly as sexually hungry submissives. While the white woman has to be captured and virtually raped to awaken her hidden desire, the Arab/Black women are controlled by their libido. Images of sexual Black/Arab women are contrasted to cold white women. By suggesting non-white women constantly desire sex, these films imply that white rapists are a myth, and cover up the sexual violence of colonialism in the Third World.

From 1934 through the mid-1950s, Hollywood worked under a set of restrictive rules that forbade “scenes of passion”, and required that marriage be shown as the best, most normal relationship at all times. Nudity, sexually suggestive dances or costumes, and “lustful” kissing were prohibited; illicit sex, seduction, or rape could only be suggested, and then only if absolutely essential to the plot and if severely punished at the end. An Oriental setting provided Hollywood filmmakers with a way to show flesh without risking censorship. The Orient, much like Latin America and Africa, became the focus for eroticism for the west’s puritanical morals. An outlet for Western male heroic desire is clearly seen in Harum Scarum (1965). The film opens with Elvis Presley dressed in “Oriental” head wrap and vest, leaping off his horse to overcome two evil Arabs and free a captive woman. The triumphant rescuer sings:

I’m gonna go where desert sun is; where the fun is; go where the harem girls dance; go where there’s love and romance, out on the burning sands, in some caravan. I’ll find adventure where I can. To say the least, go East, young man. You’ll feel like the Sheik, so rich and grand, with dancing girls at your command. When paradise starts calling into some tent I’m crawling. I’ll make love the way I plan. Go East, and drink and feast, go East, young man.

The images of harems are an invitation to an unknown, alluring world which calls to the primitive desires in all men (supposedly). The Arab man in these films plays the Id to the Western Superego.1 In The Sheik, the main actor Rudolf Valentino acts as the Id when he is thought to be Arab. But when it is revealed that he is the son of Europeans, Valentino is transformed into a Superego figure, who risks his life to rescue the English woman from “real” Arab rapists. The English woman overcomes her sexual repression only in the desert, after being sexually provoked repeatedly by the Sheik. Valentino acts out sexual fantasies that would have been impossible in a American or European setting. The Sheik begins in the city, where European civilization has already “tamed” the East, but the real dramatic conflicts take place in the desert, where women are defenseless. This is the masculine fantasy of complete control over the Western woman, without any moral code to follow.

Similarly, in the more recent reworking of The Sheik and Son of the Sheik in Sahara, the male rescue fantasy and the punishment of female rebellion are the backdrop to the film. The central figure, Dale (Brooke Shields), is the feisty, race-car- driving only daughter of a 1920s car manufacturer. She is presented as reckless, daring and assertive for entering the “men only” race. (She also disguises herself as a man, and adopts his profession and his mastery of the desert through technology.) Captured by desert tribesmen, she becomes a commodity fought over within the tribe and between tribes. Scenes of Shields wrestling with one of her capturers invites the Western spectator not only to rescue her but to experience sexual desire. At the end, Shields wins the race and decides to return to the noble light-skinned sheik who had rescued her at the risk of his life. The woman, who could have won independence, still prefers ancient gender hierarchies.

1This comes from the personality model of Sigmund Freud. Freud said our personalities were formed by 3 forces. 1) the Id: pure desire (child). 2) the Superego, guilt, shame and authority that suppresses the Id (parent); 3) the Ego, which keeps both forces under control and allows us to express our needs appropriately (adult). You can look up these terms using Google to get more information.

Week 4 – Notes on Orientalism 2

ELC 352 Asia and its Other
Week 4, Monday, March 23, 2015
Orientalism
Knowledge about other cultures isn’t neutral.
19th century literature depended on ‘orientalism’, an organized body of literature that relied on a bunch regular images:
  1. a sensual woman that gets used by men
  2. a place full of secrets and monsters
  3. all ‘Orientals’ are the same
This should sound familiar! Just like East Asians are exotic and submissive, Arabs are frightening, mysterious, threatening. These are both examples of Orientalism.
“Orientalism” is an ideology that distorts Asian peoples and cultures, compared to that of Europe and the U.S. It calls Arab and Asian culture exotic, backward, uncivilized, and dangerous.
According to Said, Orientalism provided an excuse for European colonialism. The East was extremely different and inferior, and therefore the East needed Western “rescue”.
Power: The British and French conquered the middle east. They asked: how do we understand the natives we’re encountered, so we can conquer them more easily? Use large, abstract categories to explain people who look different. Europeans had the power to go to a country, and create knowledge about it. The Egyptians couldn’t do the same.
For example, Napoleon, French dictator, conquered Egypt in 1798. Rather than just stealing, he brought scientists to survey the country. The French produce knowledge about Egypt (a giant book 1 meter wide).
From Edward Said’s book, Orientalism (NY: Vintage, 1978):
  1. The orient wasn’t real. It was a fantasy, and like all fantasies, had more to do with western mental issues, what Said calls “desires, repressions, investments, and projections….” (7). All the violence and sexuality that westerners are afraid of, get pushed onto Asia. ‘We’re not sexual and violent; you are.’
  2. It’s not a problem to understand other cultures using your own language and knowledge. That’s natural. “Yet the Orientalist … [converts] the Orient from something into something else: he does this for himself, for the sake of his culture; in some cases for what he believes is the sake of the Oriental” (67).
So, Orientalists not only turn Asia into a fantasy; they can’t admit they’re turning Asia into a fantasy. They always say they’re showing Asia this way to ‘help’ Asians understand themselves.
Orientalism creates the ‘Other’. The East/Orient is essentially different from the West/Occident. For example, take a line from Rudyard Kipling’s “Ballad of East and West” a poem about India/the Orient in 1895: “East is East, West is West / And never the twain shall meet….”
Orientalism does not always mean disliking ‘Orientals’: they can be admired – think of Gwen Stefani and the Harajuku Girls! The point is that Asians are being created as an ‘Other’: an image that’s projected onto Asians. Imagine a film projector: the film is Orientalism, and the screen is actual people.
  • no real, actual Orient exists (only specific places). Yet the world becomes orientalized. Oriental ideas or myths become internalized: for example, all Asians are Confucian and need to be broken from that tradition through western culture. The idea that ‘you’ foreigners (non-Asians) cannot understand Asians stems from this too.
  • The idea of the Orient and Orientals also helps Europe, by giving Europe something to compare itself to – the dark, mysterious, exotic ‘Orient’ against the light, clear, normal ‘West’. The underlying message of orientalism is that Asia doesn’t develop; it’s always the same. It creates an ideal ‘other’ for Europe – and then Europeans can go and change it. So Orientalism is really about ‘western’ culture rather than Asia. It lets the modern West see itself as the height of progress and civilization, a place that everybody else has to reach.
Vocabulary
The ‘Other’:
Someone who’s not in ‘our group’. Our group has power, based on our identity and social relationships: we are white, male, heterosexual, wealthy, etc. People in ‘The Other’ lack one or more of those qualities. Since they’re not like ‘us’ – and ‘we’ are powerful in some way – they’re different and weaker. We get to describe them how we like: strange, exotic, submissive, inferior, etc.
(More information: http://othersociologist.com/otherness-resources/)
Cultural Appropriation:
An unequal exchange between cultures. This could be:
  1. Taking aspects of someone else’s culture without respecting the history and traditions that create it;
  2. Taking one aspect of someone’s culture and claiming it represents all of them;
  3. Making fun of an aspect of someone’s culture.
Equal exchange involves learning about and respecting aspects of others’ culture. It means taking that culture seriously when you use it, not treating it as strange, weird or exotic.
Social Construction:
An idea that is created by society. It’s not natural; it has to be made (‘constructed’). Those people in power usually get to decide what’s constructed. Just like the video shows how Arabs are made. Arabs are not terrorists or violent; but they are socially constructed that way through the media and government.
Ideology:
A system of beliefs about the world that isn’t realistic or accurate for everybody. Instead, that system depends on being the member of a particular class, race or group. Think of ideology as a big framework for stereotypes.
Example – If you say Asians are all good at math, that’s a stereotype. But if you say that Asians are good at math because all Asian people love studying, because their families tell them to study, because it’s a Confucian value, because all Asians obey Confucius, so therefore Asians are obedient, submissive, and robotic… now we’re creating ideology. Ideology organizes stereotypes.
Problematic:
A false idea that harms someone else (noun). Or, a set of ideas that creates a thesis.
Lens:
A way of looking at a person, group or idea that has been socially constructed or shaped by ideology.
Discourse:
A set of ideas, and texts, that create a system of knowledge. And also, understanding how systems of knowledge are affected by powerful groups. (From Foucault).

Week 4 – Notes on Orientalism 1

Please review the following notes after watching the video. You don’t have to memorize them! Just read them over and become familiar with them.

Definitions:
Orientalism:

“Orientalism” is a way of seeing that imagines, emphasizes, exaggerates and distorts differences of Arab peoples and cultures as compared to that of Europe and the U.S. It often involves seeing Arab [and Asian] culture as exotic, backward, uncivilized, and at times dangerous. Edward W. Said, in his groundbreaking book, Orientalism, defined it as the acceptance in the West of “the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate theories, epics, novels, social descriptions, and political accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, ‘mind,’ destiny and so on.” According to Said, Orientalism dates from the period of European Enlightenment and colonization of the Arab World. Orientalism provided a rationalization for European colonialism based on a self-serving history in which “the West” constructed “the East” as extremely different and inferior, and therefore in need of Western intervention or “rescue”.

(From: http://www.arabstereotypes.org/why-stereotypes/what-orientalism)
The ‘Other’:
Someone who’s not in ‘our group’. Our group has power, based on our identity and social relationships: we are white, male, heterosexual, wealthy, etc. People in ‘The Other’ lack one or more of those qualities. Since they’re not like ‘us’ – and ‘we’ are powerful in some way – they’re different and weaker. We get to describe them how we like: strange, exotic, submissive, inferior, etc.
(More information: http://othersociologist.com/otherness-resources/)
Cultural Appropriation:
An unequal exchange between cultures. This could be:
  1. Taking aspects of someone else’s culture without respecting the history and traditions that create it;
  2. Taking one aspect of someone’s culture and claiming it represents all of them;
  3. Making fun of an aspect of someone’s culture.
Equal exchange involves learning about and respecting aspects of others’ culture. It means taking that culture seriously when you use it, not treating it as strange, weird or exotic.
Notes for understanding Edward Said’s Orientalism:
Said limited much of his study to the Orient of Near East or Islam as dominated by the European West (especially England and France) from the beginning of the 19th century until the end of WWII. He suggests, however, that after WWII the United States moved into a similar position of domination in all of Asia.
From Edward Said’s book, Orientalism (NY: Vintage, 1978):
  1. Orientalism “puts the Westerner in a whole series of possible relationships with the Orient without ever losing him the relative upper hand. … The scientist, the scholar, the missionary, the trader, or the soldier was in, or thought about, the Orient because he could be there, or could think about it, with very little resistance on the Orient’s part. … there emerged a complex Orient suitable for:
  • study in the academy
  • for display in the museum
  • for reconstruction in the colonial office
  • for theoretical illustration in anthropological, biological, linguistic, racial, and historical theses about mankind and the universe
  • for instances of economic and sociological theories of development, revolution, cultural personality, national or religious character.” The idea of “an Oriental world emerged, first according to general ideas about who or what was an Oriental, then according to a detailed logic governed not simply by empirical reality but by … [western] desires, repressions, investments, and projections….” (7)
  1. The problem is not that conversion takes place [between reality and our knowledge of it]. It is perfectly natural for the human mind to resist… strangeness [difference]; therefore cultures have always been inclined to impose complete transformations on other cultures, receiving these cultures not as they are but as, for the benefit of the receiver, as the way they ought to be. Yet the Orientalist makes it his work to be always converting the Orient from something into something else: he does this for himself, for the sake of his culture; in some cases for what he believes is the sake of the Oriental” (67).

That “something else” is the ‘Other’. Orientalism is a style of thought based upon … a distinction made between “the Orient” and (most of the time) the “occident.”… novelists, philosophers, political theorists, economists, and imperial administrators, have accepted the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, “mind,” destiny, and so on.” The East/Orient is essentially different from the West/Occident. Orientalism is a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient. For example, take a line from Rudyard Kipling’s “Ballad of East and West” a poem about India/the Orient in 1895: “East is East, West is West / And never the twain shall meet….”

Orientalism does not always mean disliking ‘Orientals’: they can be admired – think of Gwen Stefani and the Harajuku Girls! The point is that Asians are being created as an ‘Other’: an image that’s projected onto Asians. As soon as that act is made – ‘Othering’ – the potential for false images vastly increases. Imagine a film projector: the film is Orientalism, and the screen is actual people.
  • no real, actual Orient exists (only specific places). Yet the world becomes orientalized. Oriental ideas or myths become internalized: for example, all Asians are Confucian and need to be broken from that tradition through western culture. The idea that ‘you’ foreigners (non-Asians) cannot understand Asians stems from this too.
  • For example, in colonial India the caste system became more rigid and stronger under British rule; it was made into a legal system; and a defining feature of India/Hinduism. It became an “official’ part of the colonial system. And this gets incorporated into local laws and customs. Strict laws in India, Jamaica and Zambia against homosexuality were in fact introduced by the British.
  • The idea of the Orient and Orientals – while full of stereotypes, generalizations, falsehoods and so on — has real effects in the world. As Said put it:

“Yet none of this Orient is merely imaginative. The Orient is an integral part of European material civilization and culture. Orientalism expresses … a mode of discourse [system of knowledge] with supporting institutions, vocabulary, scholarship, imagery, doctrines, even colonial bureaucracies and colonial styles.”

Orientalism has “very close ties to the enabling socio-economic and political institutions, and its… durability. After all, any system of ideas that can remain unchanged … from the … late 1840s until the present in the United States must be something more… than a mere collection of lies.”
  • What does Orientalism do? It provides an excuse for colonial or imperial rule. It also helps Europe, by giving Europe something to compare itself to – the dark, mysterious, exotic ‘Orient’ against the light, clear, normal ‘West’.
  • Orientalism has more to tell us about ‘Western’ culture and society and history (e.g. Christianity, faith in modern progress, our exceptional status as a race or civilization or society, empire and colonialism) than it about the so-called Orient or a place/people within that. It lets the modern West see itself as the height of progress and civilization, a place that everybody else has to reach.