Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Research Workshop: Mediated Orientalism

Members of the Globalization and East Asian Cultures Research Group within the centre are holding a Research Workshop on Mediated Orientalism on Wednesday October 31st.

The term ‘orientalism’ was coined by Edward Said in 1978 and has become one of the most popular and controversial terms in literary, media and cultural studies. In recent years, there has been a tendency to reject the term because ‘we’ and ‘our multicultural and post-ideological society’ have moved beyond the East/West, or Orient/Occident binaries, and ‘we’ celebrate cultural differences. But is that so? Is the term ‘orientalism’ out of date and out of history? What about its counterpart ‘occidentalism’? Does the East/West or Orient/Occident binary still structure people’s understandings of cultural differences in various ways? Does orientalism have any positive and performative effects, if at all? Can orientalism be used as a political strategy and tactics for postcolonial resistance? What are the embodied and affective experiences of the orientalist desires, fantasies and dreams? Does an obsession with the ‘oriental’ style suggest our desires and fantasies for the incommensurable Other, which sometimes take an affective and libidinal form and which cannot be reduced to power relations? Or does it simply suggest some sort of racial, ethnic, gender, sexual and class distinctions? Is the denial of orientalism, or rather the blind celebration of multiculturalism and cultural differences, indicative of the neoliberal consumer capitalism that we inhabit? How is orientalism manifested in today’s media and popular culture? How does the old concept of orientalism still haunt the seemingly ever-changing and forever-new field of Media and Cultural Studies? This research workshop brings together staff and students to critically reflect on the contemporary pertinence of the term orientalism and the embodied historical past in the mediated present.

 3:00-3:30 talk ‘Useless Orientalism’ (speaker: Professor Patrick Williams, Nottingham Trent University)
3:30-4:00 pm talk ‘Yellow Future: Oriental Style in Hollywood Cinema’ (guest speaker: Dr. Jane Park, the University of Sydney, Australia)  
4:00-4:10 pm coffee/tea break
4:10-5:00 pm roundtable discussion: After Orientalism? (chair: Gary Needham; participants: all the participants in the workshop)

All participants who are interested in this topic are invited to join in the roundtable discussion.

The event is free of charge will take place in ABK107 on the Clifton campus of Nottingham Trent University. If you have any questions or queries and if you are interested in attending, please contact Dr. Hongwei Bao.


  1. mind blown. I am in Hong Kong right now. The people have been occupying main streets since september now protesting against the elite of Hong Kong. The elite blame the brits. China hasnt stepped in yet.