What is orientalism

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Orientalism is a term introduced by Edward Said (1935-2003) with his work of the same name published in 1978, which describes the Eurocentric, western view of the societies of the Orient, especially in oriental studies.

This way of thinking expresses a kind of superiority up to and including the masterminds of the people in the Orient and is part of the modern political and intellectual culture of the Western world and a tool or characteristic of its imperialist ambitions. This type of thinking stems from a deep-seated hatred of Islam that can ultimately be traced back to the Crusades.

With great interest in the 19th and 20th centuries AD. through numerous authors from the Western world, gave their own citizens a picture of the Orient that should underpin the feeling of superiority. The supposed critics did not appear as critics at all, but as alleged friends, such as Pierre Loti. The Turkish author Nazım Hikmet wrote in 1925: “This is the Orient as the French poet saw it! This is the Orient of Books, one million of which are printed every minute! But there was neither yesterday nor there is such an Orient today and it will not exist tomorrow either! "

Orientalism was reflected in various disciplines through the use of orientalisms, some of which were transfigured as romantic, such as: