Lecture: From “The Turkish Bath” to “300”; the Past and Present Faces of Orientalism
Lecturer: Josuee Hernandez
Teacher Bio: http://peoplescolloquium.org/teacher-bios/
Due to imperialism, colonialism and subsequent forms of exploitation, conceptions of “the Orient” have a long and storied history in the so-called Western World. Beginning with British and French incursions into what is now broadly known as the Middle East, a fascination with the peoples and aesthetics of the Orient have produced cultural images and narratives that have persisted for generations. From visual artistry of the nineteenth century to pop-culture cinema such as “300,” Orientalists have used Orientalism not only as a way of producing knowledge, but as a means of reinforcing the Western self against an imagined Eastern other.
This lecture will attempt an overview of the material forces which have shaped western Orientalist attitudes of the past two hundred years, as well as endeavor to explain the imperialist mindset which justified said attitudes. The effects of colonialism such as those that arose from the British Raj will be considered, as well as more contemporary geopolitical situations. Finally, if we have time, I will ask participants to apply any skills or knowledge learned to their own conceptions of western art and culture, to see if they’ve also been influenced by Orientalism. Thank you.