Speaking into safety: Orientalism in the classroom
Using a self-reflexive approach, this paper tracks the ways in which “safe” speaking spaces are tenuously etched on volatile racialised grounds. These spaces constitute the rights to be, belong, speak and be listened to. For this, I focus on my experiences as a tutor for the course “Ways of Reading ‘Asian’ Cultures” and examine the responses I get from students. Whether they are antagonistic, complimentary or defensive, such responses are constituted by how my presence as an “Asian” tutor of “Asian” Cultural Studies is registered within systems of whiteness and Orientalism. I argue that this interconnection between whiteness and Orientalism functions as the point from which racialised negotiations of who can speak and when are formed.
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© borderlands ejournal 2009