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American Orientalism

New course in Fall 2007 taught by Keddie-Balzan Fellow Houri Berberian

This seminar will introduce students to the historiography on Orientalism and, more specifically, American Orientalism. We will begin with the broader concept of Orientalism as expressed by Edward Said and others before and after him. We will explore critiques of American Orientalism, a select few representative writings by American Orientalists and “neo-Orientalists,” the debate among American scholars on Orientalism, and end with studies on the way in which American Orientalism has affected U.S. interests, policy, media, and opinion on the Middle East.

We will study the themes, issues, and problems that have informed modern Middle Eastern history and Middle Eastern studies in the modern U.S., with a specific focus on the role of and debate over Orientalism, concluding with studies on the role of American Orientalist representations and perceptions since the mid-twentieth century.

Houri Berberian is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Middle East Studies Program at California State University, Long Beach.

Center for Near Eastern Studies