Discuss. Extra: Orientalism

“The Mahasiddha Vanaratna Receiving Abhishekha from Sita Tara”, dated 1469 (Image: Public domain, via LACMA)

Orientalism is accepting “the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate theories, epics, novels, social descriptions, and political accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, ‘mind,’ destiny and so on.” Or so Edward Said defined it in his groundbreaking work, Orientalism, on the Western study of the Middle East.
Orientalism wasn’t just a way of talking about the world — it actually changed the way the world thought of itself, right down to what FYP considers the Western canon. That’s according to Dr. Douglas Berger, a lecturer in philosophy and the organizer of the “Centuries of Dialogue: Asia and the West” lecture series at King’s.
In our final extra episode of Discuss., Berger explains how the colonial experiment in India changed the way the West thinks.