Other

“The concept of the Other originated in the discipline of philosophy through the interrogation of identity construction, and it acquired several different meanings and uses throughout history. In modern cultural studies (not exclusively) the meaning of the Other is roughly defined as a “cultural projection of concepts” that “constructs the identities of cultural subjects through a relationship of power in which the Other is the subjugated element.”[1] The Other is what “we” are not. Its alterity is composed of the alien, unknown, and unfamiliar. The concept of the Other is fluid in that it changes from person to person and from culture to culture.

In his famous work, Orientalism, Edward Said articulated this concept by demonstrating how Oriental culture has been stereotyped throughout “Western” history as irrational and uncivilized. Said explains how these false representations continue to impact politics and relations with the Middle East.[2]” (Joshua Catalano, “Roman Native Americans: the Other of Theodore De Bry?” paper given at the Ray Browne Popular Conference Paper in 2014).

 

[1] Andrew Edgar and Peter Sedgwick, Cultural Theory: the Key Concepts, 2 ed. (New York: Routledge, 2007), 235.

[2] Edward Said, Orientalism, 25th anniversary ed. (New York: Vintage, 1994), 284-328.

 

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