Geography of orientalism
Moreover, Boer (2003) noted that orientalism could be defined as ‘a Western style for dominating, restructuring and having authority on the Orient’ (Said 1979 3, cited by Boer 9). The particular concept has many dimensions: it can be interpreted by referring to its cultural, human, physical or political geography. The various geographical perspectives of orientalism, as indicatively presented above, are described in this paper. It is concluded that, indeed, the geography of orientalism can have different perspectives. however, not all of them are equally powerful in influencing the development of orientalism, a fact that seems to be related though to the local ethics and traditions.
Orientalism is a rather complex concept. The most known study on orientalism has been the book of Edward Said, entitled as ‘Orientalism’ (Aitken and Gill 150). In the above book, Said notes that the description of orientalism developed in the West is often inaccurate, reflecting the perceptions of Western on other cultures, those that meet the criteria of orientalism (Aitken and Gill 150). According to Said, these descriptions of orientalism, as developed by Westerns, show ‘lack of knowledge on other cultures’ (Aitken and Gill 150). In other words, the concept of orientalism is not based on the ‘detailed knowledge of foreign cultures, those that are characterized as orient cultures’ (Aitken and Gill 150). In any case, orientalism reflects the differences between the East and the West, as these differences are highlighted in pieces of art and studies developed in the West (Sharp 16). As Said notes, the differences between East and West are mostly geopolitical and are reflected in various texts developed in the West (Sharp 16).
The geographical perspectives of orientalism have become clear the last decades, when the concepts of human geography, physical geography and political geography have