Skip to content

Wonder if Occident is next?

The University of Oxford has renamed its Oriental Institute over “unfortunate connotations” of colonialism and imperialism.

A review ruled that the name of the Faculty of Oriental Studies was “outdated” after an 18-month consultation with students, department members and other interested parties.

It has been renamed the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Its headquarters, known as the Oriental Institute since 1960, has also changed its name.

The department said the term “oriental studies” was “felt by many to be outdated and to have unfortunate connotations of colonialism and imperialism”.

Thought these were supposed to be the bright people?

The term “Occident” derives from the Latin word occidens meaning “west” (lit. setting < occido fall/set). The use of the word for "setting" to refer to the west (where the sun sets) has analogs from many languages: compare the terms "Arevmutk" in Armenian: արեւմուտք (Armenian Arevmutk means "West" or "Sunset"), "Ponant" (< French ponant "setting"), "Zapad" Russian: Запад (< Russian zakat Russian: закат "sunset"). In Arabic, the Maghreb "maḡrib" Arabic: مَغْرِب (< Arabic ḡarb غَرْب‎ "to go down, to set") literally means "the sunset", "the west". Historically, the Maghreb was the southern part of the Western Roman Empire. Another word for Occident in German is Abendland (rarely: "Okzident"), now mainly poetic, which literally translates as "evening land". The antonym "Morgenland" is also mainly poetic, and refers to Asia. The opposite term "Orient" derives from the Latin word oriens, meaning "east" (lit. "rising" < orior " rise").

Presumably the Portuguese need to rename the Algarve now?

9 thoughts on “Wonder if Occident is next?”

  1. hmmmm… but isn’t “Middle-Eastern” a vile imperialist term in and of itself, as it still places the infidel whipipo countries at the center of the world?

    They missed a big one there… Smart people indeed….
    Does anyone know peeps in Oxford that can address this? Might be a minor source of entertainment… 😉

  2. “Thought these were supposed to be the bright people?”

    They certainly are, and part of their brightness consists of being able to convince others that they are boldly progressive rather than being shit scared.

  3. Whither now ‘Leyton Orient’? – will they be forced down the route of the Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins (Apologies – Cleveland ‘Guardians’ and Washington ‘Commanders)

    Leyton ‘Asia and Middle East’ – LAME might give opposition fans in the lower reaches of English football some prime ammunition

  4. Football clubs? It’s a wonder that Queen of the South is still allowed to exist under that name, especially as the more waggish of its supporters like to point out that it’s the only football club named in the Bible.

  5. Not only are they mentioned in the Bible, but their promotion is predicted:
    “The Queen of the South will rise up”
    Matthew 12:42

  6. I am only surprised it has taken so long. Edward Said’s anti-western diatribe ‘Orientalism’ was published in 1978.

  7. It’s a pendantic revision of the name because it is now clear that it excludes the most easterly of the countries, to wit Australia and New Zealand.

  8. Well, as long as you mentioned Portugal

    October 4th through 8 will be in Lisbon, (‘cuz I’ve never been before). Going to the Array Programming Language conference OCT9 through OCT13 in Olhao(sp?). Where in the Olhao part of Portugal do i visit from the 14th through the 17th? Or do I head back up to Lisbon and take the train to that red castle in Sintra?

    Can’t remember where I saw somebody talking about a traditional Lisbon breakfast being a pastel de nata and a Ginjinha. A city where the traditional breakfast is a shot of Cherry Brandy and a cream puff strikes me as a city that I would enjoy. Reminds me of my traditional New Orleans breakfast of a frozen Irish coffee, beignets, and a slice of frangipani . …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *