Orientalism/Occidentalism: Languages of Cultures vs. Languages of Description
Hosted by the Russian Institute for Cultural Research in Moscow
23-25 September 2010
This Conference intends to stimulate the study of the cross-cultural phenomenon of Orientalism, broadly understood as fictional narratives or an academic description of the East (Asian and African cultures) in Western art, literature and scholarly research.
An analysis of the interpretations of the East by the West (and vice versa) and their historical evolution has emerged as especially important in light of ongoing globalization which has triggered the intensification of ideological, religious, economic and cultural differences between the East and the West.
Orientalism, the European interpretation of the East, bears negative connotations in some Asian societies and among certain Western scholars. Occidentalism, or the depiction of the West as seen from the East, often oscillates between excessively enthusiastic and overly critical portrayals of its subject. This Conference’s presentations and discussions aim to distill a critical understanding of Orientalist/Occidentalist discourses and question cross-cultural assumptions. The goal is to provide a forum in which old issues, new data, and fresh methodological approaches can be discussed and developed.
Topics for discussion will include:
Section 1: Classical Orientalism of the 19th Century
· The Orient of the Romantics from the Maghreb to the Caucasus
· Academic Orientalism: an exotic entourage and the “eternal laws of beauty”
· The erotic myth of the East as sublimation of Western sexual complexes
· The world of wild and cruel passion in Oriental decorations
· The world of Islam seen through the prism of Orientalism
· Chinoiserie and Japonisme
Section 2: The East as "The Other" in the Western mind of the 20th century
· Cubism's Africanism
· Surrealism and the ‘Primitive’
· Avantgardism and the “Natives” in mass culture
Section 3: Looking from the East: Images of the Occidental world in Afro-Asian cultures
Closing Discussion: The East and the West: the ways to cultural convergence
Keynote speakers: Prof. Shigemi Inaga (Nichibunken, Kyoto), Prof. Vera Lysenko (Inst. of Philosophy, Moscow), Prof. Sergey Serebryany (RSUH, Moscow), Prof. Timon Screech (SOAS, London), Prof. Vera Tolz (U. of Manchester), Prof. Toshio Watanabe (U. of Arts, London)
The conference will be conducted in Russian and English with synchronic translation.
Proposals for papers (duration: 20 minutes) are invited from art historians, historians of literature and specialists in cultural studies that examine the phenomena of Orientalism/Occidentalism. Papers should address the ways and limitations of cross-cultural discourse in both historical and contemporary contexts.
Please provide an abstract (up to 300 words) highlighting the argument of the proposed paper, include affiliation and contact details, and indicate if A/V is needed.
Proposals are welcome by 20 December 2009
Kindly submit proposals to email@example.com:
In case of any questions please write to the Conference organizer Dr. Evgeny Steiner: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notification of the Program Committee's decisions will be sent out by late February 2010.
Abstracts will be published at the time of the conference. A volume of selected papers is expected to be published in due course.
Financial assistance with accommodation and meals for out of town and foreign participants is possible. The availability will depend on the Conference's budget and the number of presenters.
Conference coordinator: email@example.com
Dr. Evgeny Steiner, the Chair of the Conference Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org
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