Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Humanities

First Advisor

Annjeanette Wiese

Abstract

When Edward Said published his book Orientalism, he revolutionized academia, changing the way that the Middle East is studied and perceived by academics. However, several decades later, Orientalist visions and tropes have yet to change in popular imagination, the rise of terrorism allowing for the reinforcement of the dichotomous relationship between the East and the West that Said criticizes. Popular narratives, especially those projected by Hollywood, regurgitate the same representations that Orientalist art during the Colonial period popularized, underscoring the endurance of Orientalism as a system of knowledge. Through the lens of Edward Said’s conceptualization of Orientalism and its relation to narrative and race theory, this study analyzes movies and TV shows produced by Hollywood post-9/11 to showcase the persistent idea of the so-called Orient as an eternally existentially threatening Other. The study primarily focuses on the narratives of 24, Homeland, American Sniper, Sand Castle, and Lost, contextualizing those works in relation to each other and in relation to other, similar narratives.

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