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Appel à contribution • Intercultural Masquerade : New Orientalism, New Occidentalism, Old Exoticism

Intercultural Masquerade : New Orientalism, New Occidentalism, Old Exoticism

•> Date limite : 15 octobre 2013

The encounter between ‘the East’ and ‘the West’ and the resulting exchanges have become a source of inspiration in many domains : architecture (the Royal Pavilion in Brighton), design (from Chinese exported porcelain to rococo Chinoiserie), literature (Montesquieu’s Persian Letters), international relations and business (Marco Polo, the Great Navigators…), as well as politics (Meiji period in Japan), aesthetics (the influence of the Renaissance in Asia), modern education systems, and sciences (massive application of modern technologies), etc. The exchanges have left deep footprints on the development of human societies while making impressions on each other – which brings “Orientalism” and “Occidentalism” into the picture.

Orientalism, even though its critique (Said, 1977) has played an important role in post-colonial studies, appears to be still very much alive, especially in new forms such as ‘neo-orientalism’. We could even argue that the attempt to deconstruct the concept seems to have merely operated a shift of representations : the ‘dominator’ appears to have been eventually replaced by the ‘dominated’ in some cases. As an inversion of Orientalism, Occidentalism (a term coined by Carrier, 1995) views “images of the West” from the perspective of ‘non-Westerners’. However, the rise of Occidentalism has not only brought exchanges between the ‘East’ and the ‘West’, but it has also influenced positively or not the world with its wide range of products, attitudes, beliefs, etc. symbolising Modernity and globalisation.

The co-existence of Orientalism and Occidentalism does not create a balance between the ‘East’ and the ‘West’ ; on the contrary, oppositions between the two spaces still seem vivid – for example, in the field of education where Chinese students generate a large interest amongst researchers ; in research on religion and worldviews where Asian religions prosper in Europe. This systematic opposition leads to imbalanced power relations, usually in favour of a “Centre, Western, chauvinistic ideology of superiority” (Holliday, 2011). Yet in 2013 a more balanced view of power relations is needed to reflect current changes.

Most researchers in the field of cultural anthropology and/or intercultural communication, multicultural education agree on the fact that cultures and identities do not exist per se (Lavanchy, Gajardo & Dervin, 2011) and that the terms should be used sous rature (Hall, 2000), by default of more satisfying concepts and notions. The editors of this volume wish to revisit the concepts of Orientalism, Occidentalism but also to a certain extent that of Reverse Orientalism (or how the East plays the East for the West) and Reverse Occidentalism in the 21st century, adopting a post-modern, constructionist and potentially non-essentialising approach (Holliday, id., Dervin, 2013).

The editors would like to receive proposals addressing the following questions (amongst others) :

1. Who is the other (‘Asian’/’Westerner’) ?

  • What does the ‘Asian’/’Western’ people/culture refer to in various discourses ? Who uses these elements and for what purpose(s) ?
  • Are the representations of ‘Asians’ & ‘Westerners’ unified ? What are the differences and similarities between ‘Asians’/’Orientals’/Chinese/Japanese etc.? And what about ‘Westerners’/’Europeans’/Americans etc.?
  • Where does ‘the East’/’the West’ start ? Is there a buffer zone ?

2. What characterises the other (‘Asian’/’Westerner’) ?

  • Which aspects (gender, social status, profession, socio-economic status…) are the most valued in the representations ? Why ? What does this indicate ?
  • How are ‘Asians’ & ‘Westerners’ idealised by each other ?
  • Is the praised Other exoticised or even eroticised ?
  • Is s/he ‘localised’ or ‘glocalised’ ?

3. Representations of the other (‘Asian’/’Westerner’) in time :

  • Do the current representations of ‘Asians’ & ‘Westerners’ match the stereotypes from the past centuries ?
  • What characteristics are valued now as opposed to before ? Why and how did this move occur ?

4. Contextualising of the other (‘Asian’/’Westerner’) :

  • In which situations are people/’culture’ being valorised or criticised ? How and why ?
  • Are the situations/contexts of valorisation/criticism similar ?
  • In which situation(s) is the ‘Asian’/’Westerner’ Other perceived as ‘One of Us’ ?

5. The other (‘Asian’/’Westerner’) among others

  • Are ‘Asians’/’Westerners’ only compared to locals or do they enter in opposition to others groups of people/’culture’. (i.e. : ‘Asian’ vs. ‘African’ immigrants) ?
  • What does it tell us about power relations ?

Any of the following domains may be tackled (in alphabetical order) :

  • Arts, literature, media
  • Business, advertising
  • Education, employment
  • Entertainment
  • Fashion, design
  • Intimacies, relationships, sexualities
  • Lifestyle, religion(s)
  • Politics : immigration policy, foreign affairs
  • Tourism
  • Etc.


Abstract of proposed chapter (300 words) : October 15, 2013

Decision on abstracts : November 5, 2013

Full chapters to be submitted : January 31, 2014

Interested authors should submit a 300-word proposal to the three editors by 15 October 2013 (rmachart@hotmail.com, mingao@utu.fi and fred.dervin@helsinki.fi). The proposals should clearly state the theoretical positioning and concerns of the proposed chapter, and include a short description of a corpus (where applicable). A basic bibliography may also be added (please do not send pdfs !).

The proposed book will be submitted to Palgrave Macmillan (Series : Frontiers of Globalization).


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