About The Digital Orientalist (ISSN: 2772-8374)
This online magazine is run by a dedicated team of scholars, librarians, and students. We volunteer our time to share our experience using digital tools in the Humanities, especially as it relates to our day-to-day workflow.
Our name, The Digital Orientalist, may raise an eyebrow. We are all fully aware of the contentious meaning of “Orientalism” and its relation to colonialism. We use the term “Orientalist” in its classical sense. As noted by Edward Said:
The most readily accepted designation for Orientalism is an academic one, and indeed the label still serves in a number of academic institutions. Anyone who teaches, writes about, or researches the Orient-and this applies whether the person is an anthropologist, sociologist, historian, or philologist-either in its specific or its general aspects, is an Orientalist, and what he or she does is Orientalism.Edward W. Said, Orientalism (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1978), 10.
We use the term in order to attempt to convey in one word the relation between our fields of studies. We use it as a general descriptor to refer to those scholars who study African, Asian, and Middle Eastern spaces and histories, much in the same way that Tōyōgaku or Dōngfāng xué 東洋学/东方学 and Tōyōgakusha or Dōngfāng xuézhě 東洋学者/东方学者 are used in Japanese and Chinese. We are making a distinction then between “Orientalism” as a tool of oppression and political domination and “Orientalism” as the study of non-European spaces, between Orientalismus and Orientalistik, between Orientarizumu オリエンタリズム and Tōyōgaku 東洋学, between Dōngfāng xué 东方学 and Dōngfāng zhǔyì 東方主義.
We mirror, then, to some extent initiatives like The Digital Classicist, The Digital Medievalist, The Digital Humanist, etc. As diverse as our fields of studies are, when it comes to digital solutions, there are many shared aspects. We therefore think we stand to benefit from talking to each other, to learn of best practices in other fields.
For more information on our current editorial team and to access profiles for our individual editors please visit our Editorial Team page. For previous contributors and guest contributors, visit our Guest Contributors & Hall of Fame page.