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The Historical Roots of Reverse Orientalism and Their Recapitulation in Wo Chang’s England through Chinese Spectacles (1897)

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image of Asian Journal of Social Science

The reverse Orientalism intrinsic to the ‘Asian Values’ project of the 1980s is shown to have its origins in European thought of a much earlier period. Prominent scholars of the Enlightenment constructed a utopian image of oriental — principally Chinese — society which was deployed in stinging critiques of contemporary Europe. A cumulative inventory of this image is presented. There is a parallel critique of English society in the late nineteenth century in a work by ‘Wo Chang’ which represents a spirited contribution to the literature of reverse Orientalism.

Affiliations: 1: Victoria University of Wellington


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