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Globalizing American Studies$
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Brian T. Edwards and Gaonkar Dilip Parameshwar

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226185064

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226185088.001.0001

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(p.283) [Ten] Neo-Orientalism
Globalizing American Studies

Ali Behdad

Juliet Williams

University of Chicago Press

Orientalist stereotypes pervade everyday journalism about the region. In spite of unabashed and unrefined forms of Orientalist representation, one may take issue with Said's claim that nothing has changed in representations of the Middle East in the West, particularly in the United States, during the past three decades. This chapter explores a phenomenon called “neo-Orientalism”—a mode of representation that, while indebted to classical Orientalism, engenders new tropes of othering. Neo-Orientalism entails a popular mode of representing, a kind of doxa about the Middle East and Muslims that is disseminated throughout the world. Although the term “neo-Orientalism” designates a shift in the discourse of Orientalism that represents a distinct, and in ways novel formation, it nonetheless entails certain discursive repetitions of and conceptual continuities with its precursor. Neo-Orientalism is monolithic, totalizing, reliant on a binary logic, and based on an assumption of moral and cultural superiority over the Oriental other. Neo-Orientalism should be understood as a supplement to enduring modes of Orientalist representation.

Keywords:   neo-Orientalism, novel formation, monolithic, doxa, cultural superiority

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