HIST 517 Introduction to Orientalism and Oriental Studies
The ascendancy and self-globalization of the West went hand in hand with its exploration of “the Rest” not only in geographical, political and military terms but also in the form of opening up a new Oriental Studies world of knowledge. Over centuries, European scholars proceeded to penetrate non-European societies and cultures from languages, literature and belief systems to history proper. They produced a wealth of publications, including major dictionaries, encyclopedias, translations, anthologies and commentaries, that are to this day the indispensable reference materials and tools of trade of all scholars of the Middle East, of Islam, or of the Ottoman Empire. At the same time they constructed a vision, a gaze, an ideology of Eurocentrism and Orientalism. The object of this course is to introduce historians in the making to both aspects in their interconnected development, and especially to familiarize them with an immensely rich background of learning that will stay with them through their entire careers.