This essay bridges a gap between an analysis of anti-Asian targeting and an analysis of Orientalism. Because histories of Orientalism and anti-Asian targeting pre-date the current moment, I demonstrate the centrality of Orientalism to the evolution of xenophobic language and sentiment in U.S.-foreign historical relations. I recount instances of anti-Asian, xenophobic, and “Yellow-Peril” rhetoric in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, I examine the racialization of COVID-19 as a trope of orientalism. This racialization, I argue, places the Asian-presenting body in a state of heightened visibility, precarity, and susceptibility to plunder. The newfound precarity of the Asian body has been redefined in terms of the epidemiology of COVID-19 and illustrates how today’s Orientalism has been reactivated within the phenomenological space of the human body.
"Orientalism Restated in the Era of COVID-19,"
Asian American Literature: Discourses & Pedagogies: Vol. 11, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/aaldp/vol11/iss1/4
American Film Studies Commons, American Literature Commons, American Popular Culture Commons, Asian American Studies Commons, Chinese Studies Commons, Literature in English, North America Commons, Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority Commons