Reading the eastern question through the prism of orientalism: Hubris, founding genealogy and james bryce
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Can Edward Said's concept of Orientalism be useful to reinterpret the widely accepted and long-lasting perceptions about the atrocities committed against the Armenians during World War I? And, why? Presenting important insights to comprehend this issue in a more sophisticated fashion, Orientalism helps deconstruct and reconstruct the existing discourses that have produced a particular kind of knowledge and way of thinking about the 1915 events. I argue that the historical perception of catastrophic events regarding the minorities prior to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire was immensely linked to British wartime propaganda, which ideologically and politically demonized the Turco/Ottoman image. It forged discourses, pseudo-knowledge, otherization, and imaginary that legitimized a self-assumed accountability to remove the kind of anachronism the Ottoman Empire displayed. Thus, the effects of British wartime propaganda surpassed the consequences of the Ottoman Empire's own failure to do its "homework," which was about implementing reforms for the Christian minorities, especially the Armenians as assigned by the Great Powers, primarily Britain. In order to concretize my argument, I examine British liberal, Lord James Bryce (1838-1922) and the Orientalist discourse he often employed in circulating disingenuous depictions of the Turks and the Ottoman Empire.