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Queering Orientalism: the East as Closet in Said, Ackerley, and the Medieval Christian West

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The reinscription in Said's Orientalism of the divisions and silences of western Orientalist discourse is perhaps nowhere more problematic than in the area of gender, a subject on which Said's work has surprisingly little to say. Further, when Said discusses the work of "homosexual" authors, he keeps the open secret of hotnoeroticism safely in the closet. This essay proposes a queering of the construct of Orientalism, as it is set forth in Said's work and as it may be seen to function in instances of Orientalist performance where the figure of cross-dressing allows for complex negotiations between the West and an eroticized Eastern Other.

Affiliations: 1: Kansas State University


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