Essays are invited for a collection tentatively entitled Re-Orientalisms.
Orientalism (Said, 1978) has not only been alive and well, but has developed in a curious direction over the last few decades – a process which has been termed “re-Orientalism” (Lau, 2007), where Orientals are perpetrating Orientalisms no less than non-Orientals.
Like Orientalism, re-Orientalism has shaped actual fragmentary representations of the "Orient." This has recently been brought to the fore by the winning of the coveted Booker prize by Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger. Indeed, Adiga's novel has been facing accusations, especially in the Indian nativist media, of complicity with a re-Orientalist representation of "Dark India."
This collection would case study the processes of re-Orientalism of South Asia and South Asians in particular. As Jigna Desai puts it when discussing the recent influx of performative representations of cultural hybridity, "the burden of representation has become the spectacle of representation" (Desai, 2004).
Hence, it seems that this would be a timely moment to devote a collection of essays to the topical process of re-Orientalism. It would certainly contribute to highlight the resultant identity dilemmas from the negotiation of Orientalist representation by South Asians, both those within South Asia as well as the South Asian diasporic community.
Thus far, studies in this field have for their most part dealt with the resurgence of neo-Orientalism, framed within the logic of neo-colonialism. Alternatively, this collection would focus on the ways recent cultural production by "Orientals" has complied with and/or subverted expectations of Orientalisation. Within this framework, essays dealing with literary, cinematic, or media representations of South Asia(ns) would be of interest.
An academic publisher has shown interest in publishing the collection and is waiting on a detailed proposal.
Please send abstracts of up to 500 words, including a short cv, to Ana Mendes, University of Lisbon Center for English Studies (anafmendes_at_gmail.com), and Lisa Lau, Keele University (l.e.j.lau_at_gmail.com), by 5 January, 2009.
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