American Neo Orientalism And The Justification For The ' War On Terror '

1426 Words Feb 22nd, 2016 6 Pages
Stephanie Pak
AP Human Geography
Mr. Shaw
22 February 2016

Ex Oriente Lux: American neo-Orientalism and the Justification for the ‘War on Terror’

The September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon fundamentally changed the dynamic of American identity threatening it’s hegemony and creating a space of insecurity thus necessitating a reassertion of state authority. In particular, the 9/11 post-traumatic space required US participation in an ambiguous ‘War on Terror’ that institutionalized racially charged violence through the demonization of the Islamic ‘Other’. The US-led project to ‘save’ its identity serves to permanently etch within the American subconscious a false representation of modern terrorism in order to incite fear of the ‘Orient’ both abroad and within its borders. In the years following 9/11, the American contemporary security landscape has undergone a paradigm shift towards the adoption of neo-Orientalist ideals and the concomitant imaginative geographies as analyzed through the justification of the ‘War on Terror’ as well as the portrayal of Islam and Islamic peoples in the American media. Since the publication of Edward Said’s seminal work, Orientalism, in 1978, the shape of global politics has drastically changed and the perception of the classical “Orient”—traditionally denoting “Arabs, Turks, and Indians”—has changed right alongside them. The term “Orient” has seen considerable revision as a result of the ever-shifting…

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