Morocco in the Imaginary of a Brazilian Telenovela
If Orientalism is a discourse of Western mastery over the “Orient,” as Edward Said argued, what happens when it “travels” to another part of the imperialized world? What are the contours of Brazilian Orientalism? If not driven by imperial interests, what are its ideological investments? This article focuses on the representation of Morocco and Islam in O Clone, a specimen of the highly popular genre of the telenovela that began to air on Brazilian television three weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. O Clone depicts Morocco as both a locus of otherness (different religion, strange customs, and sexual mores) and solidarity (another part of the Third World), a repository of authentic spirituality but anti-modern and tradition-bound. This paradoxical construction of national identity reveals the tertiary structure of Brazilian Orientalism, in which the East/West divide of classic Orientalism is triangulated in its “southern” variety.
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