Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu; Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu
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Orientalism, Past and Present: The image of Otherness in Western Middle Ages
The current orientalism, as it is decried by Said, generally monolithically depicts a Western world which is hostile to the East. This statically image somehow neglects the variation of orientalist arguments. Its origin and evolution have to be tracked down in an earlier period than Western European modernity. Such an effort is worthy in shedding light on the discursive strategies used by Middle Ages scholars from Western Europe to degrade Islam. The contexts of political subordination, organized violence and attempts to convert the infidel Muslims are relevant for the denatured image of the Muslim faith and for the Western incapacity to evaluate Islam as an equal partner. Moreover, those attitudes and prejudice are important for the mechanism fuelling the modern orientalism in that it manages to fully justify cultural domination and political subordination in the modern era.
Keywords: orientalism, Western culture, Middle Ages, Islam.
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