Neither East Nor West: Postcolonial Essays on Literature, Culture, and Religion
|University||Södertörns högskola university|
|Keywords||Orientalism, Postcolonialism, Postcolonial Studies, Media, Religion, Islam, Comparative literature, Postcolonial literature|
When the Saudi Arabian author, Rajaa Alsanea, published her novel Banat Al-Riyadh (Girls of Riyadh), she did not expect it to be of interest outside the Arabic-speaking world. In the Author’s Note to the English translation (2007) she explains that: It seemed to me, and to many other Saudis, that the Western world still perceives us either romantically, as the land of Arabian Nights and the land where bearded sheikhs sit in their tents surrounded by their beautiful harem women, or politically, as the land that gave birth to Bin Laden and other terrorists, the land where women are dressed in black from head to toe and where every house has its own oil well in the backyard! Therefore, I knew it would be very hard, maybe impossible, to change this cliché. (vii) 1 Are Alsanea and many other Saudis right when they say that the old orientalist clichés and stereotypes are still with us in the twenty-first century? Have decades of migration, globalization (and postcolonial theory) had no impact on orientalist world views? Are latent and manifest forms of orientalism still with us in this era of postcoloniality, underpinning and justifying new imperialist pursuits leading to new formations of ‘us’ and ‘them’? These questions, among many others, were raised at an international conference held at Södertörn University College in Stockholm in 2006. The present anthology
consists of papers presented at that conference.