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Orientalism refers to the study of Near and Far Eastern societies and cultures, generally by Westerners. Although this term had become archaic and rare by the late twentieth century, Edward Said has argued that the term should be redefined to apply to any current study of such societies, and that current accounts of the Middle East, India, China, and elsewhere reflect long-held Western biases, and the view that "the Orient" consists of seductive women and dangerous men living in a static society with a glorious but long-gone past. Critical theorists regard Orientalism as part of an effort to justify colonialism through the concept of the "white man's burden".

In most universities in North America, Orientalism has now been replaced by Asian Studies and East Asian Studies, which have a somewhat different focus of research and perspective. Many professional scholars and students of East Asian Studies are Asian Canadians, especially Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, and Korean Americans.

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