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Eastern world

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Title: Eastern world  
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Subject: Edward Said, East–West dichotomy, Eastern religions, Ottoman Empire, Suleiman the Magnificent
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Eastern world

An image of the "Eastern world" defined as Asia

The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures or social structures and philosophical systems of Asia or geographically the countries and cultures east of Europe.

This includes the Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen in Western Asia) or the Middle East (aka the Near East), Central Asia (comprising Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), North Asia (aka Siberia), and South Asia (mainly the countries on the Indian subcontinent and below, comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, plus the British Indian Ocean Territory and the island countries of Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean).

Due to the Mediterranean, or parts of it in both north and south, have formed in Classic times a single cultural and civilizational bloc, and due to the early expansion of the Islamic religion and the Hong Kong, Japan, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey may be considered as Western at least in part, including being both Western and Eastern, while Cyprus even became part of the European Union in 2004 under its internationally recognised government (the Greek Cypriot government in the south).

Identity politics

Asian concepts

Many critics have pointed out that for generations now Europe and to a lesser extent the Western World have been trying to absorb Asian societies into their own society. This campaign makes it so that many societies when speaking about or thinking of these countries/regions in context of Asia and the eastern world they often withdraw and are reassigned with the Western world instead such as in the cases Turkey,[1] Siberia (Russia), and other areas of Asia that are linked to the Western world. Asian countries that are still believed to a part of Asia such as the countries of East Timor, Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines, Singapore, and to a lesser extent Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia are even then still less often thought of as such by the Western world and are marginalized in many Western concepts of the Eastern world this belief is so strong that even in Asia itself these places are also marginalized when it comes to Asia's ideas of the Eastern world.[2]

Many Asian countries believe that European influence has been successful in absorbing their countries and regions of North Asia (aka Siberia), and Turkey to the point that even within these societies themselves they rarely ever think of themselves as being a part of Asia, the Asian people, and the Eastern World.[3]

Although the concept of a united Asian people and an Asian race is even more debatable due to the fact that most of the world link the identity of Asian only to the people of East and Southeast Asia and to a lesser extent the people of South Asia and so regions that who even though see themselves as part of the Eastern world such as the Arab nations of Western Asia, Israel, Iran, and the ethnic groups that come along with these countries don't identify as Asian.[4] Another reason why a Pan-Asian identity is a flawed work in progress concept compared to the mass unity found in the continents of Europe and Africa is the fact that Asia is the most racially and ethnically diverse continent in the world[5][6][7] that differs very widely among and within its regions with many different cultures, environments, economics, historical ties and government systems whose people have an even further pan-continental belief of nationalistic, cultural, and ethnic individualism many of whom believe came out of the imperialistic colonization of the continent by foreign Western powers back in colonial times and because of this overt sense individualism across the continent once a specific group(s) is labeled something many groups within Asia will have a hard time identifying with the same label. Most of the people of Asia prefer to identify with their individual nations rather than with their continent, region, or each other and these attitudes can be found throughout the continent.

Other than Asia and some parts of Africa, Europe has successfully absorbed almost all of the societies of Oceania, the Americas and the Caribbean into the Western world,[8][9][10] but not to the degree that they are considered a part of Europe as is the case with Asia.[1][3]

The division between 'East' and 'West' is a product of European cultural history, and of the distinction between European Christendom and the cultures beyond it to the East. With the European colonization of the Americas the East/West distinction became global. The concept of an Eastern, "Indian" (Indies) or "Oriental" sphere was emphasized by ideas of racial as well as religious and cultural differences. Such distinctions were articulated by Westerners in the scholarly tradition known as Orientalism and Indology. An intriguing fact to be noted is that Orientalism has been the only Western concept that was about a unified Eastern world and not about any specific region(s), but rather all of Asia together.[11][12]

People from the Eastern world are known by certain regions in the West as "Oriental", while in others, it may still have a racial connotation (such as Brazil, where the more than 2 million Brazilians of East Asian descent are known as brasileiros orientais – in contrast to asiáticos brasileiros, a term that includes all those with recent descent from anywhere in Asia, including the generally white Mizrahi Jews, Macanese, Turks and Arab Brazilians) that became outdated or even offensive in others.

European concepts

During the Cold War, the term "Eastern world" was sometimes used as an extension of Eastern bloc, connoting the Soviet Union, China and their communist allies, while the term "Western world" often connoted the United States and its NATO allies such as the United Kingdom.

The concept is often another term for the Far East – a region that bears considerable cultural and religious commonality. Eastern philosophy, art, literature, and other traditions, are often found throughout the region in places of high importance, such as popular culture, architecture and traditional literature. The spread of Buddhism and Hindu Yoga is partly responsible for this.

Eastern culture

An image of the "Eastern world" defined as Asia or the "Far East", consisting of three overlapping cultural blocks: East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia
The distribution of the two major families of world religion, Eastern religions and Abrahamic religions (aka Western religion), highlights the religious difference between the Far East and the rest of the world

Eastern culture has developed many themes and traditions. Some important ones are:

See also


  1. ^ a b "EU-Turkey relations". European Information on Enlargement & Neighbours. 23 September 2004. Retrieved 26 August 2008. 
  2. ^ "No Reservations - Philippines". Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Fifty Years On, Turkey Still Pines to Become European". TIME. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009. 
  4. ^ Khatib, Lina (2006). Filming the modern Middle East: politics in the cinemas of Hollywood and the Arab world. Library of Modern Middle East Studies, Library of International Relations 57.  
  5. ^ Lee, Sandra S. Mountain, Joanna. Barbara, Koening A. The Meanings of Race in the New Genomics: Implications for Health Disparities Research. Yale University. 2001. October 26, 2006. [1]
  6. ^ Cartmill, M. (1999). The Status of the Race Concept in Physical Anthropology. American Anthropologist 100(3)651 -660.
  7. ^ For example, "Asian and Indian people" are referred to in the New Zealand Heart Foundation's BMI calculator.
  8. ^ Thompson, William; Joseph Hickey (2005). Society in Focus. Boston, MA: Pearson. 0-205-41365-X. 
  9. ^ "Embassy of Brazil - Ottawa". Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  10. ^ Falcoff, Mark. "Chile Moves On". AEI. Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  11. ^ Tromans, 6
  12. ^ from the Latin oriens; Oxford English Dictionary
  13. ^ Dawson, Christopher; Glenn Olsen (1961). Crisis in Western Education (reprint ed.). p. 108.  
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