Posted: September 21st, 2015

Basic elements of Orientalism


Western imperialism was frequently legitimized by reference to the concept of the ‘White Man’s Burden’. This departed from the understanding that non-Western civilizations were less developed than those in the West, and could consequently benefit from Western rule. The Western mother country would play an indispensable role in educating its colonial possessions to the point where they could continue on their own as modern and independent states.

This line of thought is perfectly in line with the nineteenth-century Western attitude that nowadays is commonly referred to by the term ‘Orientalism’. Write an essay of approximately 900 words in which you set out the basic elements of Orientalism and describe which function it served in this context. In your essay, you are required to refer to at least one scholarly book or article that you have selected yourself.

Follow up your argument by discussing a typical nineteenth-century example of the Orientalist perspective from art or literature (select a work yourself). Indicate in which ways your chosen work offers a remarkable depiction of the Orient and which elements make it specifically Orientalist in nature. Include a reproduction of your selected work with your essay.

Determine an appropriate title for your completed assignment, write a short introductory paragraph and round it off with a conclusion. Structure your notes in accordance with the guidelines of the Chicago Manual of Style


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