Orientalism, Culture and Imperialism | Department of History

Orientalism, Culture and Imperialism

Our seminar explores the cultural production, consumption and circulation of the western scholarship relating to the Orient that characterise European overseas expansion in the modern era. The course takes at its basis Edward Said’s foundational text, Orientalism: Western Perceptions of the Orient (1978) and his seminal assertion that European political domination of the Orient and the knowledge relating to its land, peoples, and cultures were interdependent. The present seminar will examine various forms of knowledge production and their varied uses within the colonised world, stressing the core themes of the use of technology; the construction of imperial identities and their modes of representations; and, the appropriation of and resistance to these formulations. The topics covered include: anthropology, criminology and law; mapping, cartography and census enumeration; science and medicine; philology; museums displays and exhibitions; and nationalist discourse. The reading material relates to British imperial expansion in South Asia. Students are encouraged to read outside of the suggested texts, and if appropriate, place the discussion in a wider geo-political framework. 

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