Understanding the concept of “Orientalism”

Posted: November 7, 2009 in Uncategorized
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A few have asked about how Said’s concept of “orientalism” relates to the issue of Deadly Vipers.  In the two video clips below (presented in a workshop at the Christian Community Development Association National Conference), I discuss orientialism and its role in understanding the Rickshaw Rally debacle from a few years ago.  Part I (CCDA 2009 Part 2, Lecture Series Multi-Ethnicity) discusses “what is normative/normal” as well as an initial explanation of Said’s concepts (begins at about the 3 minute mark).   Part II (CCDA 2009 Part 3, Lecture Series Multi-Ethnicity) describes the Rickshaw Rally debacle in light of Said’s concepts.



More videos at www.youtube.com/profrah.

  1. This material is fabulous. Thank you!

  2. profrah says:

    Bibliographic Note. Two books mentioned in the clips:

    Hofstede, Geert and Gert Jan Hofstede. Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005).

    Said, Edward. Orientalism (Vintage Books, 1979).

    Another book that is helpful in understanding dynamics of leadership from an Asian-American perspective (referenced in the last part of Part II):

    Tokunaga, Paul. Invitation to Lead (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003).

    Further understanding of Asian-American marginalization:

    Wu, Frank. Yellow: Race in America beyond Black and White (Basic Books, 2003).
    – by a Chinese-American law professor at Howard Law School

  3. Peter Park says:

    Thank you for sharing. It’s seems strange that a church wouldn’t take the time to do some solid research before launching into something like this. I know when I’m trying to come up with a multicultural worship service through music I try and check with native speakers/singers. Why? I want to make sure I’m honoring them and their culture.

  4. Awesome! Thanks for the titles.

    Hmmm… I think it can be problematic to “check with native speakers/singers” to validate culturally-themed material. It’s better that not trying, so I appreciate that, but not everyone from a given culture or ethnicity relates in homogenous ways. It’s a dangerous venture to “portray” another culture, as an outsider. Especially when your cast is comprised of the same outsiders.

  5. Mark Matlock says:

    Dr. Rah,

    I appreciate you opening my eyes over the years to the depths of these issues. I am curious if you have read “Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism” by Ibn Warraq. If you haven’t I hope you do and post some thoughts, and if you have, could you give some reflections?

  6. […] instance, let’s add Orientalism into the common language of Asian American Evangelicals. We can disagree on its importance in the […]

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