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linkspam_mod ([personal profile] linkspam_mod) wrote in [community profile] linkspam2010-03-17 07:22 pm
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Victorientalism #2

[ profile] fantasyecho @ [ profile] foc_u: I WANT TO SCREAM
Remember my last post about the Gatehouse Gazette's editor being a douche?

In this comment thread, where I've explained why the concept of Victorientalism is so bad, HE DID IT AGAIN...

[ profile] shweta_narayan: Signal boost: reasons "Victorientalism" upsets me
These three posts tie together in my head, as the reason that The Gatehouse's notion of Victorientalism leaves me speechless in horror and anger. The people I'm linking are saying this far better than I currently can. [Discussion in comments.]

Jha @ Intersectionality Dreaming: Cultural Appropriation: The Illusion of "The Line"
Yes, it is a fascinating topic, which is why I'm talking about it here! Because I am both victim and perpetrator of the systems that support cultural appropriation. I can't advocate for either side, because like, you, I don't know enough, and like you, I, too, have questions!

.... Except the questions I foresee getting, repeatedly, is this: Where is the line between appropriation and appreciation?

[personal profile] jadelennox: (no subject) [reaction to "In Defense of Victorientalism"]
I love steampunk, too, and I think we need to grapple with how to retain the romance of the past-that-never-was aesthetic without papering over the grim reality of the era. But hearkening back to "the oh so romantic and beguiling fantasy that was Asia before we actually knew it" is NOT THE WAY.

[personal profile] shewhohashope: Examinining (vict)orientalism as a discourse and the apolitcism of knowledge | LJ mirror
Underneath this defense of orientalism lies the idea that knowledge and its acquisition are apolitical, and more than that, that seeking knowledge is inherently noble. This is not the case. Knowledge and scientific enquiry were often used as tools to aid colonial oppression, and in themselves were an expression of that oppression. The need to learn about another culture, to be accepted into it with open arms, while simultaneously devaluing it, is an expression of entitlement. This can be seen clearly in the anger many privileged groups express when not allowed to be a part of a marginalised culture that they find interesting, while also accepting their escape from the parts that they find troublesome as also being in their rights.

Jha @ Silver Goggles: Countering Victorientalism [Warning: Derailing in comments]
[Different comments from crosspost in Victorientialism #1.]

[ profile] wintersweet: Questioning "Victorientalism"
I think the attitude that replicating the Victorian attitude toward Asia--treating it as a monolithic, nigh-mythical novelty and disregarding the fact that there were many different cultures there and real people there, and in this case that there are lots of people of Asian origins within the steampunk movement--is a rather poor position to advocate. Never mind that few Victorian "Japonisme" or "Chinoisierie" aficionados were invaders or pillagers; there's more to the subject than this. I think the Steampunk Magazine article has a lot of good points. It's too bad that the comments are full of efforts at derailing the conversation, but it seems to me that the steampunk community overall has a long way to go in terms of being able to hold thoughtful discussions about this kind of thing. At least there are some efforts being made!

[personal profile] elena: Re: Victorientalism
...They have just conflated over two thousands of Chinese history between Qin Shi Huangdi's reign in the third century before Christ with the Tang Dynasty in the seventh to tenth centuries AD and suggested that their fashions would look just as good during a period at the tail end of the Qing Dynasty. Well, I am looking forward for the next Victorian git suggesting as valid alternatives to steampunk outfits any British costume between the time of Boadicea and Richard Lionheart. They all look the same, amirite?

[personal profile] rodo: What the hell is wrong with genre fiction lately?
I realise that this picture of the noble warrior is really popular, in Japan as well as the West, but I just hate it when people think that perpetuating the stereotype is the best idea ever. It's othering (in the case of the West), distorting and romanticizing. It glorifies a past, and that, in my experience, always has a political dimension. It's about how horrible it is to live in the now (and the West), how bad it is that the past was stolen and it negates other things: samurai had the right to kill commoners that offended them. During the Tokugawa period they were mostly bureaucrats. A certain type of ritual suicide was abolished because it wasn't actually considered a good thing back then that the vassals went with their daimyƍ when he died. The four classes didn't include the eta and hinin, whose descendants are still discriminated against today.

[ profile] fiction_theory: No such thing as *just* fiction
Did I miss something? Has the month of March been declared International Show Your Privilege Month?

I ask because I just now saw this: "In Defense of Victorientalism". This guy just gave Norman Spinrad a run for his pantlessness.

N.Ottens @ The Gatehouse: Victorientalism [Warning: Problematic concepts regarding race and culture]
With the increasing contact with the East and its ensuing colonization, people in the West became increasingly fascinated by this strange new world. For centuries adventurers, novelists and romantics had been interested in these lands beyond the horizon. Europe had all been explored and people became more and more familiar with the world they lived in. The Orient was still a realm of mystery, inhabited by alien people, exotic and sometimes cruel, with customs that Enlightened Europeans thought of as barbaric; a place where time had apparently stood still.

[personal profile] deepad: Creative Othering: The Oriental in Ballet
This is a paper I wrote a few years ago, which I am posting for two people specifically, but also more generally in the interests of open source academia, which is something I have been meaning to make a post about for a while. I will save that for another day, but meanwhile this is my rebuttal to those who would profess that Ye Olde Orientalism was born from naive, well-intentioned ignorance, and had nothing to do with willful, deliberate socio-political systems of heirarchy and exploitation.

[The following link discusses class in steampunk.]

Emily Orr @ Welcome to the Trainwreck Love Life: splitting, splitting sound, silver heels spitting, spitting snow
In another found link, Miss Kamenev provided In Defense of Victorientalism by Gatehouse Magazine. The line that stuck most strongly with her was, "Because steampunk is fiction, not research." I think it's both, myself--one cannot have good fiction without some research into whatever it is one is writing about--but I'm more intrigued by the second assertion, that Victorientalism--and, by extension, steampunk--is all about the bright brass and the ever striding forward, that sense of Empire and prosperity, invention and creation. There is no 'dark side', Gatehouse Magazine tells us.

I beg to differ.

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