NEMLA 2019-- Orientalism and Representation: From Edward Said to Rey Chow

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
William Bowden & Sue Kim/ University of Rhode Island
contact email: 

This panel consists of conversations relating to Edward Said's critical treatise Orientalism (1978). We will embark on dialogic evaluations of Said's work through a discussion of the representation of the so-called "Orient" in contemporary literature, social media, and pop culture. There are several examples of texts or narratives exploiting individuals because of their ethnicity, and we have discovered several texts by immigrants or the children of immigrants who have succumb to utilizing stereotypes of their own culture for commercial purposes and appropriating their own culture for the sake of attention and wealth.
In the Protestant Ethic and The Spirit Of Capitalism (2002), Rey Chow compares the marginalization of animals on display in zoos with the "politics of ethnicity in the context of capitalist liberalism" (96). Both Said and Chow give examples of American and European scholars or political figures who claim to have an epistemological and ontological "mastery" over the so-called Orient. We would like to consider this type of marginalization and the absence of recognition of non-western individuals in the contemporary world through an exploration of literature, social media, and pop culture. The goal of this panel is to explore the concept of cultural appropriation and develop new ways of respecting and appreciating cultures that are different from our own in a healthy and nonviolent manner.