British Orientalism

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Carver Lagos
Modern World History
Christopher Freeman
March 14, 2013
Orientalism
During the 16th and 17th centuries, it was very common for European explorers to come across native people in countries in different continents. Naturally, things such as these people’s culture, and overall way of living differed very much from their own European way of life. This caused them to be Orientalized, or criticized for the way they lived. People at this time were very skeptical and unaccepting of when it came to things that were “different”. Ranging from things such as not wearing clothing to the consumption of other human beings, these native groups of people were orientalized for it by the Europeans.

Jean De Lery is an icon of orientalism because of his journey through the country of Brazil and his orientalization of the Tupinamba people. Lery Orientalizes the Tupinamba by attacking their physical appearance and their actions. On page 64, Lery writes that the Tupinamba also "share with them the practice of pulling out all body hair, as well as the eyelashes and eyebrows”. According to Lery, this is not normal. Therefore he oriantalizes it, or simply makes fun of it. Compared to how things are now, eyebrows and eyelashes are common things to have, and if someone were to be missing them nowadays, they would most likely be oriantalized as well. On page 126, Lery describes in great detail the Tupinamba’s cannibalism process. “After that, the one who owned the prisoner, with as many neighbors of his choosing as he please, will take this poor body, cleave it, and immediately cut it into pieces…licking their fingers, they say ‘that is good’”. The reason for Orientalizing this action is that it is not normally done in Europe.

In 1591, when British sailors came across the Hottentot people, or the KhoiKhoi, they only saw things that were wrong. According to the British, “What was spoken by the people of the Cape, the English refused to recognize as language; what was...
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