Manusya, Journal of Humanities


Omar Moumni

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In this paper I examine the Orientalist discourse of the silent movie The Sheik and its contribution to the cultural construction of the Western empire. I argue that despite the orientalizing representation of the Arab "other," this discourse fails to complete its mission and hence problematizes the cultural identity of the sheik. The movie focuses on the sheik as a villainous Arab whose identity, as the film develops, is revealed to be of European origin. This hybridity problematizes the colonial identitarian discourse, reflects cultural anxieties intrinsic to the West and disrupts the colonial dream of conquering and dominating the "other."

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