Welcome - Orientalism and Occidentalism HIST 4550   Orientalism and Occidentalism
This seminar is intended for senior undergraduate and graduate students interested in discussing how scholarship has historically approached non-Western and non-Christian areas of the globe. Dating back to Herodotus, Plato, and Isocrates, the description of "the Other" has been a consistent theme in European literary and academic traditions. Whether or not it was the apologetic theological rivalry between Islam and Christianity in the Middle Ages, or the Humanist mania for non-European languages and ethnography, Occidental scholarship has historically been attracted to understanding and depicting the non-Occident. This course will examine the different European intellectual traditions of early modern Europe and how they laid the foundation for subsequent 19th and early 20th century characterizations of the Islamic world. Concurrently, however, there is evidence that a discourse of "Occidentalism" emerged among Muslim scholars and literati, and the ensuing dialectic between West and East framed the introduction of a number of political and religious ideologies to the Middle East, Iran, Central Asia, and India. There will be readings and discussions of a number of different scholars and theorists - Foucault, Chakrabarty, Said - who have commented on these discourses. Equal attention will be given to those Muslim scholars - Shayaghan, Soroush, al-Ahmad - who have written and commented on these dynamics between Western and Islamic civilization.
FORMAT: Seminar
PREREQUISITES: Any 2000 or 3000-level course in Middle East history or permission of the instructor