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Orientalism: The Others in Our Knowledge
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University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of History
HISTORY 600 / Spring 2006

Orientalism: The Others in Our Knowledge

Professor Thongchai Winichakul
Mon 3:30-5:30, Rm. 5245 George Mosse Humanities Building



Orientalism: The Others in Our Knowledge

Monday 3:30-5:30 Rm. 5245Humanities Thongchai Winichakul

As a critical study of how the knowledge about "the Orients" is produced in "the West," Edward Said's Orientalism (1978) exposes the domination of the West over "the Others" through discourses and knowledge production. This is not merely the misrepresentation of the Others due to inadequate knowledge. Rather, it is the production of knowledge under disparate power-relations in the cross-cultural encounters. The book marks the beginning of a new era in the studies of the non-Western world, leading to an entirely new field of inquiry often called post-colonial studies.

The structure of the seminar is the following.
1) It takes Said's ideas as the point of departure.

2) Then it will look at several cases of Orientalist knowledge (discovery, travels, ethnography, films, fictions, and so on) that produce various types of the Others (exotic, erotic, mystical, noble savage, barbarian, etc.).

3) But the Others also produce knowledge about the West, and

4) the production of knowledge in cross-cultural encounters is common among the Orients as well.

5) The class will finally look at Orientalism and area studies in the US, and the attempt by post-colonialism to go beyond Orientalism.

Weekly Readings
Every week, students must do the required readings. As a combined high undergraduate/ graduate seminar, there are two tracks of readings each week marked by "U" and "G" in this syllabus. In some weeks, the required readings are the same for the entire class. Additional materials (+) are provided FYI, and in case students cannot find the required reading of the week (and do not want to buy it). ALL required books are in the Reserves and available for purchase at the University Book Store and the Underground Textbooks. Required articles are accessible either @ = via our library's on-line journal databases such as JSTOR and Proquest, or [E-R] = in the E-Reserves for this class (via My UW)

The "Issues" given under the topic each week in this syllabus are suggestions to help the reading and discussion. Students are not obliged to follow.

Attendance is required. Participation in the discussion is expected. Frequent and unreasonable absence may result in penalty. To be active means attention and involvement as one can, not being talkative.

Assignments
1. 30% -- Weekly email. No later than Sunday night of each week, each student must post an email message to the class. It can be a question, comment on reading, anecdote, story, news, anything that are relevant to the weekly reading or topic and raise an issue for discussion in the class on Monday. Everybody must read ALL the messages before coming to the class. Please keep each message short.

2. 60% -- Four essays (4-5 pages each, 15% each).
Essay #1 A comment on Said's book as read in Week 2. Due Feb 6
Essay #2-4 must be on a topic related to the subject or the readings of a particular week, although it does not have to be about the readings per se or the exactly same topic discussed in the class. It can be a commentary on the weekly subject in a certain way, a review of readings or related literature, a current issue that is relevant to the subject of a week, a creative story or a relevant historical case, and so on. Be creative. But it must a well written, coherent, and well argued essay that demonstrate your critical discussion on the subject.

Essay #2 must be relevant to one of the topics from Week 3-7. Due Mar 10

Essay #3 must be relevant to one of the topics from Week 8-12. Due Apr 14

Essay #4 must be relevant to one of the topics from Week 14-16. Due May 12

3. 10% for U - Presentation.
Every student must do a presentation (10 min.) at the beginning of one class. The presentation should include a summary of the main points of the weekly reading plus comments and/or suggested issues for discussion. (Grad students also do presentations for 0%.)

4. 10% for G - Peer reading. A copy of each G student's essay must be given to another grad student (a.k.a. "peer reader") for his/her comment. The reader makes comments (1 page max.), focusing on the ideas and arguments in the essay. Send the comment directly to the writer (with cc: to Thongchai) ASAP. A student should seek various peer readers, i.e. not relying on only one reader for all four essays. A student can be peer reader of no more than four essays.

Office Hour: Tue 1-3, 5211 Humanities, Ph. 263-8931 <twinicha@wisc.edu>

 

SCHEDULE

Week 1 (Jan 17-20) No class - meet with the instructor during the week for introduction of the course:
the course structure, contents, readings, assignments, etc.

Week 2 (Jan 23) Said's Orientalism
Issues: Main points of the book, methods, scholarly and political implications

UG - Edward Said, Orientalism, intro and chap 1 (I-III)

Week 3 (Jan 30) "Discovering" the Other
Issues: What kind of the Other was discovered in these readings? How does the description and narrative make the Other being as such? The purposes and conditions of the production of knowledge, power relations in the encounter; Self and Other; the gaze and the gaze back.

UG - Tzvetan Todorov, The Conquest of America: the Question of the Other
+ Stuart B. Schwartz ed., Victors and Vanquished
+Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, esp part 1.
+Stuart B. Schwartz ed. Implicit Understandings: Observing, Reporting, and Reflecting on the Encounters between Europeans and Other Peoples in the Early Modern Era, 1994, esp. the article #5 by Peter Hulme (plus # 1, 3, 4 for more info about Columbus and the New Spain)

Week 4 (Feb 6) Pictures of the Exotic
Issue: What makes the National Geographic a model or unique for travel and explorer accounts? What in the stories, photos, perspectives, etc. that make the places and peoples exotic? How those people are "framed"?

UG - Catherine Lutz and Jane Collins, Reading National Geographic
+ Mary B. Campbell, The Witness and the Other World: Exotic European Travel Writing 400-1600, esp part I, chaps 3-4.
+ Henri Baudet, Paradise on Earth: Some Thoughts on European Images on Non-European Man.
+ Milton Osborne, River Road to China (a study of those travels to Indochina in the 19th c.)
+ Victor King and Michael Parnwell eds. Tourism in South East Asia, esp the articles by Michel Picard pp. 48-70 and by Tom Selwyn, pp. 117-137.

Week 5 (Feb 13) Seductive Orientals
Issues: What do the Orient protagonists represent: an Oriental Despot, a noble savage, a colonized charm, a masculine fool, a clown, a mystic seduction, victim or victor? What do the Western protagonists represent: civilization, secular missionary, enlightened femininity, prey, predator, victor or victim? Find out different narratives the same movie can create.

UG - Watch the film, "The King and I" (the 1956 Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr version, NOT the recent one. Available in the library and several commercial video rentals)
UG - Watch the film, "A Passage to India" (1984) (available in the library)
G -Anna Leonowens, The English Governess at the Siamese Court, or The Romance of the Harem or Margaret Landon, Anna and the King of Siam or E.M. Forster, A Passage to India.

More on colonial and Orientalist fictions and films
+ Panivong Norindr, Phantasmatic Indochina
+ Robin Winks and James Rush eds., Asia in Western Fiction

More about women writers and colonialism
+ Susan Morgan, "An Introduction to Victorian Women's Travel Writings about Southeast Asia",
Genre 20 (1987): 189-207.
+ Lisa Lowe, Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalism
+ Billie Melman, Women's Orient: English Women and the Middle East, 1718-1918,
see esp pp.4-18 and part 2 on harem.
+ Sara Mills, Discourse of the Difference:Women Travel Writings and Colonialism

More about Siam at the time
+ William Bradley, Siam Then: the Foreign Colony of Bangkok before and after Anna.

Week 6 (Feb 20) Ethnography of paradise on earth
Issue: What is ethnography? What cultural encounter takes place in an ethnographer's practice from reading, fieldwork, observation to writing? The shifting discourses on Bali, why? What are the techniques, modes of describing, patterns of the narratives, etc.?

UG - Donald Lopez, Prisoners of Shangri-La : Tibetan Buddhism and the West
Option for G - Adrian Vickers, Bali: Paradise Created

More on ethnography and Orientalism
+ James Clifford and George Marcus eds., Writing Culture, any article but esp Clifford's.
+ Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object
+ Talal Asad, Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter
+ Paul Atkinson, The Ethnographic Imagination: Textual Construction of Reality, chap 4
+Adam Kuper, The Invention of Primitive Society

More on Tibet and Buddhism
+ Donald Lopez, Curator of the Buddha
+ Peter Bishop, Myth of the Shangeri-La

More on Bali
+ Nordholt Schulte, Bali: Colonial Conceptions and Political Change, 1700-1940.
+ Geoffrey Robinson, The Dark Side of the Paradise
+ James Boon, The Anthropological Romance of Bali, esp part 1

Week 7 (Feb 27) "Vietnam": Country? Enemy? Mistake? Haunted past? Ghost?
Issues: What is "Vietnam" in American films about the war? Is it an allegory? If yes, of what? How, in what ways (techniques, narratives, special effects) is it represented as such? Compare these films and the ones on recent battles in Middle East and Africa.

UG watching the following movies: - 1) The Green Berets or Rambo II; 2) The Deer Hunter; 3) Apocalypse Now; 4) Full Metal Jacket
G - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
+ Linda Dittmar and Gene Michaud eds. From Hanoi to Hollywood: The Vietnam War in American Films.
+ Albert Auster and Leonard Quart. How the War Was Remembered: Hollywood and Vietnam
+ @ Cultural Critique 3 (Spring 1986): 1-240, special issue on American representations of Vietnam
+ Micheal Andregg, Inventing Vietnam: the War in Films and Television

Week 8 (Mar 6) Critiques of Said's Orientalism
Issues: How valid is Said's criticism to the study of Islam and is it applicable to other parts of Asia? Was the West also shaped by the East in similar characteristics and processes?

UG - @ Arif Dirlik, "Chinese History and the Question of Orientalism", History and Theory 35, 4 (Dec 1996): 96-118.
UG - @ "Review Symposium: Edward Said's Orientalism", Journal of Asian Studies 39 (1980): 481-516.
G - @ James Clifford, "On Orientalsim," History and Theory 19 (1980): 204-223(reprinted in Clifford, The Predicament of Culture)
+ Bernard Lewis, Islam and the West, (Oxford U Press, 1993), chap 6
+ John Mackenzie, Orientalism: History, Theory, and the Arts, chaps 1-2

Week 9 (Mar 13) No class; Spring Recess

Week 10 (Mar 20) Gazing back at the West: "Occidentalism"?
Issues: If knowledge of the Other is never one-way, what is the similarity and difference between Orientalism and the gaze-back at the West? Why jokes about the white men but not serious ethnography? Is there a pattern of Occidentalism? Is it institutionalized and power-related too?

UG - Keith Basso, Portraits of "The Whiteman": linguistic play and cultural symbols among the western Apache
+ James Carrie ed., Occidentalism: Images of the West, esp. articles # 5, 7, 8, 9
+ Stuart B. Schwartz (ed.), Implicit Understandings 1994, see articles by David Morgan, James Lockhart, Anthony Reid, Ronald Toby
+ Stuart B. Schwartz ed., Victors and Vanquished
+ Xiaomei Chen, Dai Jinhua, Occidentalism: A Theory of Counter-Discourse in Post-Mao China
(2nd edition)
+ Ian Buruma, Avishai Margalit, Occidentalism : the West in the eyes of its enemies

Week 11 (Mar 27) The Orient's Other
Issues: Is Orientalism in fact very common in any cross-cultural relations, i.e. the Orients also construct knowledge of their Otherness and tried to civilize them? What is the politics of ethnonyms and historical narratives in creating the Other? How about the significance of health, sanitation, and medicine in the civilizing mission?

U - @ Todd Henry, "Sanitizing Empire: Japanese Articulations of Korean Otherness and the Construction of Early Colonial Seoul, 1905-1919," Journal of Asian Studies, 64:3 (Aug 2005): 639-677 (@ via Proquest only, not JSTOR or other database)
UG - [E-R] Harry Harootunian, "The Function of China in Tokukawa Thought," in A. Iriye ed., The Chinese and the Japanese, pp.9-36
G - Stefan Tanaka, Japan's Orient, esp the intro.
+ Mayouri Ngaosyvathn, Kith and Kin Politics: the Relationship between Laos and Thailand

Week 12 (Apr 3) The Others Within
Issues: The racialist discourse in a society is also a form of cross cultural encounters. Is it another Orientalist practice? Can we make sense of the layers or "scales" of Orientalism?

U - [E-R] Thongchai Winichakul, "The Other Within" in Andrew Turton ed. Civility and Savagery, (2000), pp. 33-62.
U - [E-R] Christopher Duncan ed., Civilizing the Margins: Southeast Asian Government Policies for the Development of Minorities, see three articles by Duncan, Gillogay and McElwee
G - Laura Hostetler, Qing Colonial Enterprise
+ Patricia Pelly, Postcolonial Vietnam
+ Susan Blum, Ordering Human Kinds in Chinese Nation.
+ Francine Hirsch, Empire of Nations: ethnographic knowledge and the making of the Soviet Union
+ David Streckfuss, "The Mixed Colonial Legacy in Siam: Origins of the Thai Racialist Thoughts, 1890-1910" in Laurie Sears ed. Autonomous Histories: Particular Truths, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
+ See two Thai films below about the Lao people in Thailand. (Both are available at the Audio-Visual Services, 4th floor, Memorial Library, call numbers SA 1057 and SA 1061 respectively).
- "Luk Isan" (in Lao). The film is from the book of the same title, which is available in English titled, Child of the Northeast,) and "Thong Pan" (with English subtitle).

Week 13 (Apr 10) Break. No class.

Week 14 (Apr 17) Orientalism, language and translation
Issues: Is Orientalism possible without the domination over language and translation? Why and why not? In what ways the unthreatening matter of language are so important in cross-cultural domination? But - can language and translation be controlled? What happens if language and translation are in the hands of the Other?

UG - Bernard Cohn, Colonialism and Its Form of Knowledge: the British in India, 1996, chapters 1,2,4
G - @ Vicente Rafael, "Confession, Conversion, and Reciprocity in Early Tagalog Colonial Society," Comparative Studies of Society and History 29, pp. 320-339 (reprinted in Nicholas Dirk ed. Colonialism and Culture) or his book Contracting Colonialism
+ Vicente L. Rafael, The Promise of the Foreign : Nationalism and the Technics of Translation in the Spanish Philippines

Week 15 (Apr 24) Area Studies and Orientalism: the case of Southeast Asian studies
Issues: The origins, growth and development of area studies in relation to the various forms/stages of Orientalism and its politics: from colonialism to the Cold War, the anti-war movement, and globalization.

UG - @ Donald Emmerson, "Southeast Asia - What's in the Name?" Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 15, 1 (1984): 1-21
UG - @ Vicente Rafael, "The Culture of Area Studies in the United States" Social Text, 41 (1994): 90-111.
G - Said, Orientalism, Chap 3, IV.
G - [E-R] Reynaldo Ileto, Knowing American Colony, Center for Philippines Studies, University of Hawaii, 1999, esp "Orientalism and the Study of Philippines Politics" pp. 41-65.
+ Charles Hirschman et al, Southeast Asian Studies in the Balance, 1992
+ Social Science Research Council, Weighing the Balance: Southeast Asian Studies Ten Years After
+ Ruth McVey, "Globalization, Marginalization, and the Study of Southeast Asia" in McVey and Reynolds, Southeast Asian Studies: Reorientations,
+ Craig Reynolds "A New Look at Old Southeast Asia" Journal of Asian Studies, 54:2 (1995):419-46
+ Anthony Reid ed., Southeast Asian Studies: Pacific perspectives
+ Paul Kratoska et al eds., Locating Southeast Asia: geographies of knowledge and politics of space

Week 16 (May 1) Post-colonial studies: Is it a way out from Orientalism?
Issues: Thanks to Said, a new field, loosely called Post-colonial studies, emerges as an effort to counter and go beyond Orientalism. What are its characteristics and politics? Does it offer anything new in terms of knowledge of the non-Western world? Can it escape from the undesirable power relations or effects on us (Self) and on the Others?

G - Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
UG - @ Edward Said, "Representing the Colonized: Anthropology Interlocutors" Critical Inquiry 5, 2 (1989): 205-225.
UG - @ Arif Dirlik, "The Postcolonial Aura: Third World Criticism in the Age of Global Capitalism" Critical Inquiry 20 (1994): 328-356
G - @ Gyan Prakash, "Writing Post-Orientalist Histories of the Third World: Indian Historiography is Good to Think" Comparative Studies of Society and History 32, pp. 383-408 (reprinted in Nicholas Dirks ed. Colonialism and Culture, and in Vinayak Chaturvedi, see below)
G - @ Rosalind O'Hanlon; David Washbrook, "After Orientalism: Culture, Criticism, and Politics in the Third World," Comparative Studies in Society and History, 34, pp.141-167
G - @ Dipesh Chakrabarty, "Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History" Representations, 37 (1992):1-26; reprinted as chapter 1 of his book, Provincializing Europe
+ Carol Breckenbridge and Peter van der Veer, Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament: Perspectives on South Asia, 1993, esp the chapter by David Ludden.
+ Vinayak Chaturvedi, Mapping Subaltern Studies and the Post Colonial, articles # 8-14
+ James Clifford, "On Orientalsim" in The Predicament of Culture, 1988, pp. 255-76 (originally in History and Theory 19 (1980): 204-223.
+ Robert Young, White Mythologies: Writing History and the West, 1990, chaps. 8, 9
+ Bill Ashcroft et al, eds. The Post-colonial Studies Reader, see items # 4,7,18,23,25,38,46,83
+ Craig Reynolds, "Self-Cultivation and Self-Determination in Post Colonial Southeast Asia", in McVey and Reynolds, Southeast Asian Studies: Reorientations, pp. 7-35.

R

 



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