Occidentalism vs. Orientalism

Occidentalism vs. Orientalism analyzes the merging of Eastern and Western architectural form and culture through Edward Said’s critique. Author Aida Mazroi has emerged with an understanding that time springs new meaning. The Orient is a unique example of how we may not completely understand culture, but architecture blends cultures, styles, and art into something new and unconstrained. – Editor. Mindy Gowen


Occidentalism VS. Orientalism


Said and Celik write about orientalism. What is orientalism? Edward Said argued that orientalism is the imagination and thought that illustrates the differences between eastern and western countries. These differences are derived from political, economic and cultural factors. In the 19th century, European art portrayed Eastern culture in a rather unrealistic way, romanticizing the culture and society. In order to understand the foreign cultures of eastern countries, Europeans attributed certain characteristics to the region which did not necessarily represent the Orient accurately. Consequently, there is a disconnect between orientalism, and the actual orient as a culture rich region.

In the Colonialism, Orientalism, and the Canon reading, Zeynep Celik’s discusses the contributions of art and architecture in the Orient. In historic times, most western countries were influenced by eastern countries. For instance, in 1830, the French started to colonize Algeria and used renewable urban design to change the city of Algiers. As they occupied the city, it was divided amongst French colonizers and Algerian locals (Edward Said). France built “French-style” architecture, which imposed the “style of the conqueror” onto the Algerian culture, illustrating the power of colonialism.French Invasion of Algeria

While orientalism was an attempt to capture the essence of foreign, colonized eastern countries, it fostered the creation of stereotypes and undermined the region’s cultural diversity. When it comes to colonialism, the power balance between colonizers and colonized can not only be found in political or economic factors, but also in cultural aspects. When new territory was colonized, the Europeans not only integrated their own art and architecture in the colonized regions, but they were also influenced by the country’s art and architecture. Although, there is still a great cultural variety and difference between western and eastern countries, many aspects of their art and architecture have merged.Chinatown L.A.


Çelik, Zeynep. Rethinking the Canon. The Art Bulletin, Vol. 78, No. 2. College Art Association. Web.  2.4.2016.

Said, Edward W.  Orientalism. Random House. 1978. Web.  4.4.2016.






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