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13.05.2021 10:56 Alter: 3 yrs

Media Aesthetics of Occidentalism

Call for Papers

Theme: Media Aesthetics of Occidentalism
Type: International Conference
Institution: Institute for Media Studies and Centre for Near and
Middle East Studies, Philipps-Universität Marburg
Location: Marburg (Germany)
Date: 26.–28.1.2022
Deadline: 31.5.2021

Due to the immense hostile geopolitical dynamics all over the world,
an interrogation of the dichotomies of West/East, Occident/Orient, or
North/South seems still very necessary. It is with regard to this
observation that scholars have been discussing the concept of
Occidentalism for more than thirty years now.

The closeness and affinity of Occidentalism to the concept of
Orientalism (Said 1978) cannot be denied nor over emphasized,
however, it is now possible to identify a strand of discourse on the
concept that has become very heterogeneous. It shows at least four
manifestations (Alkin 2019):

a) the patriarchal epistemological pervasion of the world by the West
(Armstrong 1990; Müller 1998)

b) the stabilization of the self-images of the non-West that is the
result of its devaluating constructions of the West (writings of
Hassan Hanafi, Buruma & Margalit 2005; Bauhn & Tepe 2017)

c) self-images of the West based on its constructions of the non-West
(Coronil 1996, Carrier 2003, Brunner & Dietze 2009)

d) a meta-reflective perspective that considers the multiple
directions and dynamics of the discourses between West and non-West
(“Critical Occidentalism”, Ahıska 2003; “Strategic Occidentalism”,
Sánchez Prado 2018)

Even if there is this variety of definitions of the concept of
Occidentalism, most of the research analyzes the dichotomic
relationship between the Orient and the Occident, and the complex
discursive and historical entanglements in different regional and
national contexts (b and c).

Again, due to the discourse analytical approach of most of these
investigations, which are oriented towards textuality, the media
aesthetic features of the discourses have often been neglected.
Although the investigations focus on films, photographs or other
types of media, the non-textual media-aesthetic qualities (image,
sound) are hardly considered.

The consequence is that the aesthetic dimension of discourses remains
analytically untouched. In order to understand the role of
media-aesthetic features of discourses (Mitchell 2015) in the context
of the constitution of Occidentalism, the conference pursues the
following central question:

“How do media aesthetic qualities contribute to the constitution of
Occidentalist discourses?”

The goal of the conference is threefold:

Firstly (SECTION A: Theory), the significance of the concept of
Occidentalism will be theoretically re-discussed.

Secondly (SECTION B: Topical Cases of Occidentalism), the concept
will be explored in regard to its usefulness in describing
contemporary problems (since the 2000s onwards; also genealogically

Thirdly (SECTION C: Media Aesthetics), the role of media aesthetic
qualities for the effectiveness of occidentalist discourses will be
discussed theoretically and empirically.

The threefold objective of the conference results in the following
possible topics:

- Theories and philosophical debates on Occidentalism

- Case studies on occidentalist discourses in new (also digital)
 media and media-aesthetically complex settings

- Media or film cultures that address the role of the West relating
 to the non-West in its various manifestation

- Contributions from Critical Whiteness studies that reflect on the
 role of the West in relation to the rest of the world (and the
 problems of this reproductive dichotomy)

- Current Western/non-Western propaganda strategies that function in
 an occidentalist manner (strategies of valorization and devaluation
 of the Other, e.g., jihadism and the media).

- Non-Western aesthetics from all over the world (Africa, Asia, the
 Global South) and their relationship to the epistemology from the

Submissions from the broad field of the humanities and the cultural
and media studies are welcome (all regional studies such as: Islam
studies, Arabic studies, Turcology, Middle and Near Eastern studies,
Japanology etc., the visual studies, history, cultural studies, media
studies, film studies, sound studies, music studies, [intercultural]
philosophy, art and visual culture, gender studies, queer studies,
postcolonial studies, migration studies, transcultural studies,
[media] anthropology, game studies, media sociology, history of

Partial funding might be available, but cannot be guaranteed at the

The conference will take place from 26th to 28th January 2022 at
Philipps-University Marburg. Please send an abstract (350 words), a
summarizing two-liner and a short CV (100 words) by 31st May 2021 to:

Notification of acceptance will be sent by the end of July 2021.

Due to the Covid-19 situation, possibilities that the conference will
take place in a hybrid or digital format is seen.

Registration for guests will be free.

Conference Language: English

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Dr. W.J.T. Mitchell, Chicago University, Chicago, USA
Prof. Dr. Meltem Ahıska, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey
Prof. Dr. Jiré Gözen, University of Europe for Applied Sciences,
Hamburg, Germany


Dr. Ömer Alkin, Project Manager
Institute for Media Studies
Philipps-Universität Marburg