Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The word orientalism has several meanings. Specifically, it is the science that has for its subject matter “Oriental” languages and civilizations and, by extension, the taste for Oriental objects and arts, as well as their use in Western artistic fields, particularly decoration, painting, and music. Orientalism was born in the 18th century, although the word was not commonly used before the 19th century. In the current, postcolonial era, the term orientalism and the concept of the Oriental have taken on pejorative connotations, especially among people of Asian and Middle Eastern descent. Recent scholarship, perhaps most notably that of the late Edward Said, points out the social psychological function of “Oriental” as a label whose use tacitly assumes the absolute primacy of a Eurocentric perspective, thereby categorically objectifying what is not European, rendering it exotic and essentially “other.” This entry examines the history of this concept, the different kinds of Orientalism ...