Visualizing German Orientalism, GSA Conference 2022, Houston
Visualizing German Orientalism
Since Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978), scholars in the fields of literature, art history, film and media studies have adopted, adjusted, or criticized his initial discussion of a complex system of knowledge produced by “Western” scholars to represent and thereby contain the “Orient.” In the field of German Studies in particular, scholars such as Suzanne Marchand, Nina Berman, Todd Kontje, Venkat Mani, and Kristin Dickinson, among others, have further criticized Said’s neglect of German Orientalist encounters in his limited focus on colonial British and French texts of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Building on the growing body of scholarship on German Orientalism, this panel asks more specifically how Orientalism operated in and through visual culture. What modes of (self)representation were made possible in different media, such as paintings, postcards, or photographs? How might visual art forms disrupt the strictly hierarchical relationship between West and East so central to Said’s initial theorization of Orientalism? And how can German Studies build on the multidirectional approaches of scholars such as Reina Lewis, Mary Roberts, Elisabeth A. Fraser, Mohammed Gharipour and Ali Behdad, whose focus on cross-cultural exchanges and productions also take the agency and perspective of so-called “Oriental” subjects into account?
We invite proposals that show the wide range of German Orientalist practices in the realm of art and visual culture, including, but not limited to the fine arts, film and cinema, graphic design and photography. We welcome projects from any time period that address any of the wide-ranging geographies and languages that German Orientalism studies encompasses. We further welcome approaches that build on or challenge previous studies.