Orientalists study Eastern cultures, languages, and history, while Anglicists focus on English language and culture, typically from a Western perspective.

TL;DR Orientalism Vs. Anglicism

Orientalism focuses on the study of Eastern cultures, particularly those from Asia and the Middle East. It often carries historical baggage tied to Western colonial attitudes towards these regions. The orientalist perspective tends to view Eastern societies as exotic, mystical, or even inferior in comparison to the West.

Anglicism centers around British culture and language studies. This approach predominantly examines English-speaking countries such as England itself, as well as its former colonies like Canada, Australia, or India. Anglicists tend to explore cultural exchanges between Britain and its territories while considering linguistic aspects more closely.

Defining Orientalism

picture of an orientalist building

Orientalism is a multifaceted concept that emerged in the 19th century. Orientalism refers to the study and representation of Eastern cultures, primarily by Western scholars. These scholars sought to understand and interpret various aspects of Eastern societies, such as art, literature, religion, and philosophy.

However, it’s important to note that Orientalism is not just about studying the East objectively; it also encompasses attitudes and biases held by Westerners towards these cultures. The orientalist perspective often portrays Eastern societies as exotic or inferior compared to the West.

Orientalists may approach their research with a sense of curiosity and fascination for the unfamiliar. They explore topics like Arab poetry, Chinese calligraphy, or Indian classical music through a Western lens. While this can lead to valuable insights and cross-cultural understanding when done respectfully and ethically, there is potential for misrepresentation or perpetuation of stereotypes.

In essence, Orientalism involves both academic exploration of Eastern cultures and an examination of how Western perceptions shape our understanding of them. This field has evolved over time to incorporate critical perspectives that challenge traditional power dynamics between East and West.

Defining Anglicism

picture of an english castle

Anglicism refers to the study or appreciation of English language, literature, culture, and history. It is an academic discipline that focuses on aspects specific to England and its influence around the globe. Anglicists examine everything from Shakespearean plays to British colonial rule, analyzing their impact on society and shaping our understanding of English-speaking nations.

Anglicists offer insights into Western traditions with particular emphasis on English heritage. They explore how Britain has shaped global politics, economics, art forms like literature and theater; alongside examining societal norms developed within English-speaking countries.

Anglicism explores the rich tapestry of England’s past and present contributions globally without imposing any cultural hierarchy or power dynamics onto other societies.

Orientalism Vs. Anglicism – Key differences

FocusEastern cultures, languages, and historyEnglish language and Western culture
RegionPrimarily Asia, Middle East, North AfricaPrimarily associated with England
SubjectsStudy of non-Western societies and civilizationsStudy of English language, literature, culture
PerspectiveOutside perspective on Eastern culturesWestern perspective on English language and culture
DisciplinesAnthropology, history, languages, religionsLinguistics, literature, cultural studies
PurposeUnderstanding and appreciating non-Western culturesAnalyzing and promoting English language and culture


Image Credits

Featured Image By – Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay

Image 1 By – Ai from Pixabay

Image 2 By – Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay 


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