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Deploying Orientalism in Culture and History

Deploying Orientalism in Culture and History: From Germany to Central and Eastern Europe

James Hodkinson
John Walker
Shaswati Mazumdar
Johannes Feichtinger
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 308
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  • Book Info
    Deploying Orientalism in Culture and History
    Book Description:

    The concept and study of orientalism in Western culture gained a changed understanding from Edward Said's now iconic 1978 book Orientalism. Especially in Germany, however, recent debate has moved beyond Said's definition ofthe phenomenon, highlighting the multiple forms of orientalism within the "West," the manifold presence of the "East" in the Western world, indeed the epistemological fragility of the ideas of "Occident" and "Orient" as such.This volume focuses on the deployment -- here the cultural, philosophical, political, and scholarly uses -- of "orientalism" in the German-speaking and Central and Eastern European worlds from the late eighteenth century to thepresent day. Its interdisciplinary approach combines distinguished contributions by Indian scholars, who approach the topic of orientalism through the prism of German studies as practiced in Asia, with representative chapters by senior German, Austrian, and English-speaking scholars working at the intersection of German and oriental studies. Contributors: Anil Bhatti, Michael Dusche, Johannes Feichtinger, Johann Heiss, James Hodkinson, Kerstin Jobst, Jon Keune, Todd Kontje, Margit Köves, Sarah Lemmen, Shaswati Mazumdar, Jyoti Sabarwal, Ulrike Stamm, John Walker. James Hodkinson is Associate Professor in German Studies at Warwick University. John Walker is Senior Lecturer in European Cultures and Languages at Birkbeck College, University of London. Shaswati Mazumdar is Professor in German at the University of Delhi. Johannes Feichtinger is a Researcher at the österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften.

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-882-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    James Hodkinson and John Walker

    Over the last three decades the term “orientalism” has become a commonplace and often pejorative term within cultural studies. In Edward Said’s seminalOrientalism(1978)¹ the term was first defined critically as a mode of thought and writing by which Western discourses exercise a form of ideological power over the peoples and cultures of the East, reducing them to Europe’s consummate other: exotic, degenerate, passive, fanatical, mysterious, civilized, and uncivilized by degree. The term has, though, come to be used so liberally that it seems to imply the existence of a real, unified historical school of thought, an ideological movement...

  5. 1: (Re)translating the West: Humboldt, Habermas, and Intercultural Dialogue
    (pp. 15-30)
    John Walker

    There are no two words in contemporary discourse more current, or more elastic and therefore potentially more misunderstood, than “difference” and “otherness.” Both terms are constantly present in discussions of intercultural communication and therefore of the practice of orientalism, which is our theme. This chapter will interrogate this discourse in light of contemporary debates about communication between cultures and the linguistic thought of the German Enlightenment, especially the work of Wilhelm von Humboldt, and the reprise of some key Humboldtian themes in the most recent work of Jürgen Habermas on intercultural dialogue.

    In her seminal bookDer andere Orientalismus(2005),...

  6. 2: Friedrich Schlegel’s Writings on India: Reimagining Germany as Europe’s True Oriental Self
    (pp. 31-54)
    Michael Dusche

    This chapter looks at how Friedrich Schlegel (1772–1829) developed and applied his particular kind of orientalist thinking and writing within the German¹ geographical, linguistic, and cultural context of the early nineteenth century. Schlegel’s orientalism developed in Paris (1802–4) in the context of the Pan-European clamor against French cultural (later political) hegemony and against modernity, capitalism, urban life, and individualism. His reflections on the Orient, particularly the topos of “India,” became part of a process whereby Germany was reimagined as no longer being part of Western Europe but rather as the “true” oriental self of Europe.²

    Much has been...

  7. 3: Germany’s Local Orientalisms
    (pp. 55-77)
    Todd Kontje

    InFor Space, Doreen Massey challenges what she terms “an essentialist, billiard-ball view of place” that imagines cross-cultural contact as a series of collisions between self-contained units that may ricochet in unpredictable angles across the surface of the global pool table, but which never change their basic identities as solids or stripes, cue ball or eight ball. Instead, Massey argues that we should understand “place as the sphere of the possibility of the existence of multiplicity in the sense of contemporaneous plurality; as the sphere in which distinct trajectories coexist; as the sphere therefore of coexisting heterogeneity.”¹ In her understanding...

  8. 4: Tales from the Oriental Borderlands: On the Making and Uses of Colonial Algiers in Germanophone Travel Writing from the Maghreb around 1840
    (pp. 78-98)
    James Hodkinson

    Contemporary and historical writing about the region of coastal North Africa known today as the Maghreb has, for the obvious reason of its long and complex colonial history, usually been a focus for scholars of French literature and history.¹ The most recognizable literary text in German is Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué’s less-than-well-knownKarl V. Angriff auf Algiers, a historical-fictional account of the camaraderie of sixteenth-century German and Spanish soldiers in the service of Emperor Charles V during his military campaigns against Barbary corsairs, published in 1845. The advent of modern French colonial expansion into Algeria from 1836 involved the...

  9. 5: The Jew, the Turk, and the Indian: Figurations of the Oriental in the German-Speaking World
    (pp. 99-116)
    Shaswati Mazumdar

    This chapter focuses on three events in the period 1840 to 1857/58 and discusses how orientalist ideas were used in each of them to construct three different figurations of the oriental: the Jew, the Turk, and the Indian. The first event is the Damascus affair (1840), in which Damascan Jews were forced to confess under torture to the ritual murder of a Christian priest. The incident was widely covered in the leading European and German dailies in general and the emerging Jewish press. The second event is the Crimean War (1853–56)—a war that is central to the oriental...

  10. 6: M. C. Sprengel’s Writings on India: A Disenchanted and Forgotten Orientalism of the Late Eighteenth Century
    (pp. 117-134)
    Jon Keune

    In 1786, a professor at the University of Halle, Matthias Christian Sprengel, published a history of what was, at the time, the largest and most powerful Indian kingdom, about which few of his German readers had probably ever heard.Die Geschichte der Maratten bis auf den lezten Frieden mit England den 17. Mai 1782contained nearly 250 pages of sober, statistic-filled narrative that Sprengel had stitched together from dozens of European sources.¹ With this book, the deskbound German surprisingly became the first European to write a comprehensive history of the Maratha Empire, despite the advantages his colonial English, French, and...

  11. 7: Occident and Orient in Narratives of Exile: The Case of Willy Haas’s Indian Exile Writings
    (pp. 135-147)
    Jyoti Sabharwal

    Among the German-speaking exiles who made India their “exile homeland” (1933–45) to escape persecution from the Nazi regime in Europe was Willy Haas (1891–1973), a Prague-born Germanophone of Jewish origin, and writer, critic, and publisher of the most widely read Weimar literary journalDie literarische Welt.¹ Haas scripted some of the most successful films of the 1940s for the Bhavnani Studios in Bombay,² published an anthology entitledGermans beyond Germany,³ and a series of essays on Indian culture and mythology that were published in India and in Germany.⁴

    While locating Haas’s writings within twentieth-century German discourses on...

  12. 8: Distant Neighbors: Uses of Orientalism in the Late Nineteenth-Century Austro-Hungarian Empire
    (pp. 148-165)
    Johann Heiss and Johannes Feichtinger

    In contrast to Edward Said’s classical model, modes of so-called orientalist thinking and writing in the Habsburg monarchy provide a more differentiated idea of the Orient. It would be inaccurate to speak of just one form of orientalist discourse in the late Habsburg Empire. This chapter will consider at least two variants, outlining and then illustrating them through quotations from influential Austro-Hungarian policymakers.¹ One variant represents the image of the Orient as “distant” (referring to the Ottoman Empire and the Turks, who were both kept at a distance in consequence of their defeat at the gates of Vienna in 1683,...

  13. 9: Modes of Orientalism in Hungarian Letters and Learning of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
    (pp. 166-189)
    Margit Köves

    This chapter charts the varied and changing uses of orientalist material and strategies in Hungarian culture over four distinct periods, two in the nineteenth century (1800–1850, 1850–1900) and two roughly corresponding to the two halves of the twentieth century. In the romantic period in Hungarian letters, the Orient was used for the systematic mobilization of the relevant “cultural artifacts” to highlight the “specificity” of Hungary, its differences from other European nations, and the al leged mission of the Hungarian nation in Europe.¹ Hungary had been a part of the Habsburg monarchy from the eighteenth century, and the Habsburg...

  14. 10: Where the Orient Ends? Orientalism and Its Function for Imperial Rule in the Russian Empire
    (pp. 190-208)
    Kerstin S. Jobst

    INOrientalism, Edward Said fiercely criticized what he saw as the complicity of academic oriental studies with the colonial projects of the British, French, and American Empires. However, a few years before Said, certain Western historians of the Russian Empire had already begun to scrutinize the complex relationship between the Russian center and the residents of its Asian colonies. One important example was the anthologyRussia and Asia, edited by the American historian Wayne Vucinich in 1972. Because of its subtitle—Essays on the Influence of Russia on the Asian Peoples—this volume seemed to describe the Russian-Asian colonial encounter...

  15. 11: Noncolonial Orientalism? Czech Travel Writing on Africa and Asia around 1918
    (pp. 209-227)
    Sarah Lemmen

    When in 1927 the Czech Egyptologist Ludmila Matiegková (1889–1960) set out with fellow travel companions for Egypt to marvel at its ancient culture, she was confronted with her role as a tourist, a European, a woman, a scholar, and a Czech. Even though her published travelogue¹ did not explicitly discuss her national identity or what it meant to be a Czech in Cairo, it still produced an implicit and ambivalent picture of Czech identity in a colonial setting: while Ludmila Matiegková painted a picture of the “magic of the Orient”² that seems to reproduce general orientalist topoi, she distanced...

  16. 12: Oriental Sexuality and Its Uses in Nineteenth-Century Travelogues
    (pp. 228-242)
    Ulrike Stamm

    This chapter seeks to explore some of the ways in which discourses about oriental sexuality were deployed in European travelogues. The concept of deployment, taken here to refer to the way models of the Orient and oriental culture were used in European writing, aims at a more thorough understanding of the familiar notion of the stereotypically sensual Orient with its concomitant figures of the lascivious oriental and odalisques, and its central role in constructions of the Orient. In particular, this chapter will ask which function these images had for European travelers, by giving special attention to their respective gender, class,...

  17. Notes on the Contributors
    (pp. 243-246)
  18. Index
    (pp. 247-260)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 261-261)