Occidentalism: A Theory of Counter-Discourse in Post-Mao China

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Oxford University Press, Sep 7, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 256 pages
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Xiaomei Chen offers an insightful account of the unremittingly favorable depiction of Western culture and its negative characterization of Chinese culture in post-Mao China from 1978-1988. Chen examines the cultural and political interrelations between the East and West from a vantage point more complex than that accommodated by most current theories of Western imperialism and colonialism. Going beyond Edward Said's construction in Orientalism of cross-cultural appropriations as a defining facet of Western imperialism, Chen argues that the appropriation of Western discourse--what she calls "Occidentalism"--can have a politically and ideologically liberating effect on contemporary non-Western culture. Using China as a focus of her analysis, Chen examines a variety of cultural media, from Shakesperian drama, to Western modernist poetry, to contemporary Chinese television. She thus places sinology in the general context of Western theoretical discourses, such as Eurocentrism, postcolonialism, nationalism, modernism, feminism, and literary hermeneutics, showing that it has a vital role to play in the study of Orient and Occident and their now unavoidable symbiotic relationship. Occidentalism presents a new model of comparative literary and cultural studies that reenvisions cross-cultural appropriation.

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OCCIDENTALISM: A Theory of Counter-Discourse in Post-Mao China

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An ambitious revisionist challenge to Edward Said's concept of Orientalism. Chen (East Asian Language and Literature/Ohio State Univ.) advances the notion that the influence and presence of Western ... Read full review


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Page 6 - Taking the entire globe, if North America and Western Europe can be called "the cities of the world," then Asia, Africa, and Latin America constitute "the rural areas of the world.
Page 6 - In a sense, the contemporary world revolution also presents a picture of the encirclement of cities by the rural areas. In the final analysis, the whole cause of world revolution hinges on the revolutionary struggles of the Asian, African and Latin iVmerican peoples who make up the overwhelming majority of the world's population.
Page 4 - a discursive practice that, by constructing its Western Other, has allowed the Orient to participate actively and with indigenous creativity in the process of self-appropriation, even after being appropriated and constructed by Western others.

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