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Lecture Two: Patriarchy in the Middle East [September 10, 2013] Defining Eurocentrism - Ethnocentrism: “evaluating other cultures according to … the standards and customs of one’s own culture.” - o Eurocentrism is one kind of ethnocentrism that is rooted in a European reference point and regards other cultures as inferior; implicitly seeing European histories as superior to all others - Value Western culture and traditions to the exclusion of others Orientalism - Orientalism is a particular type of Eurocentric prejudice directed against ‘Oriental’ peoples and cultures based in post-colonial history - Orientalist prejudice is based on a distinction made between the Occident (self) and the ‘Orient’ (other) as fundamentally different. Orient is often imagined to be different from the west in every way – thoughts, etc. It ignores how the two influence and affect each other - The term is coined by Palestinian historian Edward Said, referencing the production of knowledge of the East in the West, and how that production of knowledge justifies the colonialism of European and American colonies. His book, Orientalism, was published in 1978 addressing particular types of Eurocentric prejudice against oriental people and cultures - Oriental means “East” – anything pertaining to the East. - No longer correct – during colonial period, the European and Americans used this term along with a whole bunch of oppressive acts. “West” – What is NA and Europe west of? Europe and NA is only west on the map when Europe is in the center of the map – also an Eurocentric term - In scholarly and literary works, the colonized were described as inferior, irrational, depraved, and childlike - The colonized were essentialized, or depicted as having fixed attributes that did not vary. - To essentialize a group is to say a group has an essence, a particular trait, that makes them who they are, and without it they are nothing - Often justified by biologic reasons rather than being due to social construction or structure - Reductionist view – reduce a person to that one trait, remove other traits - These ideas about the ‘Orient’ were being formed by colonizers and their elite allies in the ‘Orient’ during the 17th to 20th centuries - Colonizers in 18 -19 century engaged in this thought to justify their tutelage over these society – “white man’s burden”, historical duty to help these people develop, until they can rule themselves - By producing a certain type of knowledge, labeling them as inferior, colonizers could control those people, indoctrinate the elites of the society, into believing they need European guidance - These ideas were formed in a context of European/ American domination and ‘Oriental’ submission, but they also justified the economic and political exploitation of ‘Oriental’ locales - This discourse helped Europeans and Americans understand, define, control and manipulate their colonies th th th - Although European imperialism of the 17 -19 century ended chiefly in the 20 century, orientalism did not die with the end of colonialism. Orientalism is one way in which imperialism survives today. Orientalism today is a type of knowledge, a way to think of the East, a pattern of knowledge production and a form of cultural imperialism. A way for western societies to dominate by importing their ideas into non-western societies – colonization of the mind. - Cultural imperialism – cultural domination of one society over another. Traditional imperialism involves political and military and economic domination, but cultural is one society using media and cultural products to manipulate the subordinate society, affecting their tradition, culture, etc. They export their culture to the subordination, and much of the cultural products exported contain Eurocentric/ethnocentric ideas to cause the subordinate to think themselves subordinate or worthy of domination. Colonizing the mind instead of the land Myths and Stereotypes about Gender and Women in the Middle East - Orientalist representations of women in the Middle East centered on contradictory fantasies regarding (i) salacious belly dancers; (ii) veiled and secluded harem women - Belly dancers were seen as sexually depraved and active in a sexual way. In a way, oriental art has many images of women dancing in front of non-kin men - Harem women is a women of the elite middle eastern household who must cover their whole body so they cannot be seen by non-kin men. At home, she stays in the harem with the company of only females and male body guards who are castrated (eunuch) – the typical Arab household did not contain a eunuch or harem, many could not stay in a harem because there is an economic necessity for them to work – image is a minority - Belly dancers exist as a symbol for male gaze, and the harem, those who are secluded from men’s gaze. Both are illustrated by the wait for white men to come save them, to remove their mask - Women are uniquely oppressed in the Middle East, but… - How unique is this relative to women’s status other world regions? While women’s oppression in the ME is very real, there's no reason to believe it is unique in comparison to other world regions. Women are far from being helpless in ME, far from waiting for white man's liberation, they often take charge of their lives, and often operate within the constrains of their position. Patriarchy is universal, but the ways in which patriarchy manifests themselves is unique for every group - How unique is this relative to other social actors, such as junior men?  Although patriarchy subordinates women, it also does so for young men. Classic patriarchy is based on gender and age, meaning women are disadvantaged relative to men, but younger people are disadvantaged to older people. - How static and unchanging is women’s oppression in the region?  Women are not uniquely oppressed, but depend on age, region, race, etc. Myths and Stereotypes about Family in the Middle East - The family system of patriarchy is static in the Middle East - But how can we account for differences across time in women and men’s subordination if patriarchy is unchanging? - There is a constant morphing and shifting taking place in the institution of patriarchy in response to other macro society forces. - The family system of patriarchy is uniform across the Middle East - But how do we explain differences in women’s and men’s behaviors and circumstances if patriarchy is uniform? - There are significant differences in men and women circumstances, and if patriarchy is uniform, then there should not be these differences. Patriarchy exists in weaker or stronger forms in different areas according to culture, location, time, etc. - The family change in the Middle East follows a pattern set by the ‘West’ - But how can we explain differences in the onset, pace, and nature of family change between the ‘West’ and the Middle East? - This argument sees change as linear and uni-directional, where the non-western societies will follow the exact path of the western society. - Not always start in the same spot, nor finish in the same. Trajectory of change, pattern of change, may be different, with different timing. Reverse Outlining Joseph and Kandiyoti Key terms - Affine: a relative through marriage - Endogamy: marriage within a group - Polygamy: multiple marriage partners for one spouse - Polygyny: one husband - Polyandry: one wife (sanctioned under Islam while man can have up to 4 wives, as said by the Quran, as long as they treat them equally.) - Patrimony: Inheritance throu
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