Western Disorientations: The Vanishing East of South America and Eastern Europe
Acta Academia Artium Vilnensis
Keywords:Orientalism, Eastern Europe, South America, travel writing, colonialism, age of explorations
In this paper I utilise Edward Said’s framework of Orientalism in order to investigate how the regions that the European explorers have mistakenly or negligently identified in their imaginaries as “the East” are brought into the colonial order through an a priori assumption of their inferiority to the West. I turn to South America and Eastern Europe as the two frontiers which make these operations visible. Through the analysis of primary sources such as travel journals and letters from Spanish explorers and conquistadors during the age of encounters, as well as the writings the English and French travellers made during their visits to Eastern Europe during the Enlightenment, I demonstrate how the Western European Orientalist imaginaries remain persistent through the ages despite the geographical explorations and geopolitical changes, and instead of disappearing, migrate to create the new orients as the realms of European otherness.