Orientalism and War (Columbia/Hurst)

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9780231703567: Orientalism and War (Columbia/Hurst)

Orientalism imagines history as a conflict between "East" and "West" from the Greco-Persian Wars onward. An institutionalized, expert community represents this world of East and West with authority, as, for example, in media and policy discussions of the Islamic sources of terrorism.

The essays in this volume, which include chapters by historian Bruce Cumings, feminist scholar Susan Jeffords, and cultural critic John Mowitt, explore three dimensions connecting Orientalism and war. The first concerns the representations of "self" and "other" that mark the place of Orientalism in war and which, for example, saturate media coverage of the War on Terror. The second follows the way in which hostilities produce Orientalisms, since it is in and through conflict that Eastern and Western identities are defined and propagated. The third focuses on how Orientalisms amount to acts of war. By redefining politics and identity in such a way that the West is required to bring order to an unstable, violent East, Orientalisms are constitutive of conflict. Defense studies scholar Patrick Porter concludes with an assessment of each essay's critical import and proposes paths for further study.

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About the Author:

Tarak Barkawi is associate professor in the Department of Politics at the New School for Social Research. He specializes in the study of war, armed forces, and society, with a focus on conflict between the West and the global South. He is author of Globalization and War and many scholarly articles. With Shane Brighton, he is coeditor of the Critical War Studies series, published by Hurst.

Keith Stanski is a senior program officer at the New York University Center on International Cooperation. He completed his D.Phil in international relations at Oxford University on the history of U.S. and British relations with "warlords."

Review:

Tracing the enduring power of Orientalist frames, these essays explore how contemporary wars are still saturated with old assumptions about race, reason, and civilization across the world. Unsettling and disturbing, they are a sobering corrective to the belief that we are inexorably moving beyond the global War on Terror towards post-racial and postcolonial modes of thought.

(Gerard Toal, Virginia Tech, North Capital Region)

Through scholarly and lively examinations of diverse sites, from the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and Napoleon's occupation of Egypt to the current War on Terror, this volume unravels the multifaceted and often disturbing ways in which the violence of words and war go hand in hand. An essential and timely intervention into our understanding of conflict, empire, and the making of truths.

(Julian Go, Boston University)

When a book comes along examining what should be obvious yet is utterly under-thought, you have to read it and teach it. This is just such a book. It has persuaded me to consider how war is unthinkable without Orientalism, and how Orientalism is unthinkable without war.

(Cynthia Weber, University of Sussex)

Orientalism has a history in which projections of superiority and inferiority, fear and desire, repulsion and envy reach extremes only war can resolve. From Herodotus to Petraeus, Orientalism and war have been cultural bedfellows. Assembling a diversity of views and keenness of inquiry rarely found in a single volume, Tarak Barkawi and Keith Stanski have revitalized the concept of Orientalism to bring a nuanced and complex understanding of how culture has become the killer variable of modern warfare.

(James Der Derian, Brown University)

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Published by Columbia University Press (2013)
ISBN 10: 0231703562 ISBN 13: 9780231703567
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Book Description Columbia University Press, 2013. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110231703562

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