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Lecture 5: Colonialism, Orientalism, and Discourses

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Vanina Sztainbok

SOCB53 – Lecture 5 (Feb. 5) Key Questions  What is the connection between colonialism and racism?  What is the connection between knowledge and power in the construction of race/racism? How is this evident in the history of colonialism and slavery? Definitions of Colonialism  “Classical colonialism is distinguished by economic exploitation, forced entry, and cultural imperialism through the imposition of new institutions and ways of thought” – Winona Stevenson o Stealing people‟s land, houses, etc. o Forcing European ideals. Culture and Imperialism  “Imperialism means the practice, the theory, and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan center ruling a distant territory; colonialism which is almost always a consequence of imperialism, is the implanting of settlements on a distant territory” – Edward Said o Iraq, there are foreign forces there (imperialism) but there isn‟t colonialism happening. Key Elements of Colonialism  Occupation and Seizure of Land  Exploitation of the pre-existing population o Genocides  Cultural Imperialism (Ideology) o Trying to change their ways of life  Justification of exploitation through “othering” o Example: Discourses that justify slavery  Notion that whiteness is superior o Example: Religious Discourses  Religion took race as a marker of superiority. Tying their morality to their skin colour. Edward Said  Postcolonial Theorist, one of the first scholars associated with it.  Pianist  Some Books: o Orientalism (1978)  Becomes a discourse that helps explain the orient. o Culture and Imperialism (1993) Latent and Manifest Orientalism  “The distinction I am making is really between an almost unconscious (and certainly an untouchable) positivity, which I shall call latent Orientalism, and the various stated views about Oriental society, languages, literatures, history, sociology, and so forth, which I shall call manifest Orientalism. Whatever change occurs in knowledge of the Orient is found almost exclusively in manifest Orientalism; the unanimity, stability, and durability of latent Orientalism are more or less constant.” - Edward Said Orientalism  Discourse about the “Orient,” representational frame o Frames current knowledge to generate new knowledge  Field of studies, academic and political doctrine  Geography as marker of “inherent” difference o “they live somewhere different, so they themselves as people must be different”  Organizes what we know about the “Orient”  Academic disciplines, literature implicated  Connected to power The Production of the Other, Edward Said on Orientalism  Key Questions o What does Orientalism tell us about the “Oriental” other (features)?  That it doesn‟t change, and never will. They aren‟t developing like the west. Timeless, doesn‟t progress. Not modern.  Mysterious.  That all Oriental countries are essentially the same. Homogeneous. Use the same types of images for each country.  Latent Orientalism: Not really conscious that it frame
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