Session Title

Theorizing Orientalism in the Middle Ages (A Roundtable)

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Sierra Lomuto, Shokoofeh Rajabzadeh

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Pennsylvania, Univ. of California-Berkeley

Presider Name

Sierra Lomuto

Paper Title 1

Introductory Remarks: What Is Orientalism?

Presenter 1 Name

Shokoofeh Rajabzadeh

Paper Title 2

Charlemagne, Chris Kyle, and Cross-Temporal Orientalism

Presenter 2 Name

Leila K. Norako

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Washington-Seattle

Paper Title 3

The Cloth as Skin: Reading the Two Women in Emaré

Presenter 3 Name

Lydia Yaitsky Kertz

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Fordham Univ.

Paper Title 4

Criticism through Deviation: Examining Richard of Devizes's Chronicon, Chaucer's Prioress's Tale and the Jewish Ritual Murder Plot

Presenter 4 Name

Dylan Thompson

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Univ. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Paper Title 5

East Teaches West: Orientalism and Its Alternatives in the Polychronicon

Presenter 5 Name

Stephanie Pentz

Presenter 5 Affiliation

Northwestern Univ.

Paper Title 6

Respondent

Presenter 6 Name

Tamar M. Boyadjian

Presenter 6 Affiliation

Michigan State Univ.

Start Date

11-5-2017 1:30 PM

Session Location

Sangren 1910

Description

When Edward Said rooted orientalism’s “formal existence [in] the decision of the Church council of Vienna in 1312,” he invited medievalists to investigate their corpus in an effort to theorize the origin point of his new theoretical paradigm. Since this claim, scholars such as Sharon Kinoshita, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Geraldine Heng, Suzanne Conklin Akbari, and Kim Phillips, among many others, have questioned the role of orientalism in discourses of alterity, colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, and cross-cultural exchange in the Middle Ages.

In the past three decades since the publication of Said’s Orientalism, scholars have employed, adapted, and contested Said’s formula of orientalism in analyses of medieval European-Asian relations. However, we remain conflicted on its relevance in this earlier period and it remains undertheorized in its medieval contexts. We continue to ask whether the Middle Ages is a site of origin for emergent ideologies of orientalism or a period whose absence of modern empire and colonialism renders it pre-orientalist.

The aim of this panel is to theorize orientalism in such a way that makes a space for the distinct, sometimes contradictory, orientalist narratives at work in the literature of the Middle Ages. Rather than developing a single theory, this panel seeks to theorize the network of orientalist attitudes in various, specific literary pieces. As such, we are interested in pieces that focus on orientalist attitudes, theories, or discourses in one or two specific works.

Sierra Lomuto

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May 11th, 1:30 PM

Theorizing Orientalism in the Middle Ages (A Roundtable)

Sangren 1910

When Edward Said rooted orientalism’s “formal existence [in] the decision of the Church council of Vienna in 1312,” he invited medievalists to investigate their corpus in an effort to theorize the origin point of his new theoretical paradigm. Since this claim, scholars such as Sharon Kinoshita, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Geraldine Heng, Suzanne Conklin Akbari, and Kim Phillips, among many others, have questioned the role of orientalism in discourses of alterity, colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, and cross-cultural exchange in the Middle Ages.

In the past three decades since the publication of Said’s Orientalism, scholars have employed, adapted, and contested Said’s formula of orientalism in analyses of medieval European-Asian relations. However, we remain conflicted on its relevance in this earlier period and it remains undertheorized in its medieval contexts. We continue to ask whether the Middle Ages is a site of origin for emergent ideologies of orientalism or a period whose absence of modern empire and colonialism renders it pre-orientalist.

The aim of this panel is to theorize orientalism in such a way that makes a space for the distinct, sometimes contradictory, orientalist narratives at work in the literature of the Middle Ages. Rather than developing a single theory, this panel seeks to theorize the network of orientalist attitudes in various, specific literary pieces. As such, we are interested in pieces that focus on orientalist attitudes, theories, or discourses in one or two specific works.

Sierra Lomuto