Patriarchy, Orientalism, Modernisation


Potsdam University
Thursdays 16:15 – 17:45 (CET)
3 or 7 ECTS
14 Weeks
17 October 2022 - 10 February 2023
(Holidays: 19 December 2022 - 01 January 2023)


The course intends to combine and co-relate two seemingly different venues of research and study, Gender Studies, and Post/De-Colonial Studies, by indicating how different forms of patriarchy emerging in ancient civilisations leads to, or at least contributes to, the emergence of different social/cultural structures. It seeks to show how these structures eventually end up in a specific form of encounter between Western (that is, rooted in Greco-Roman) civilisation and Oriental (that is, rooted in ancient Asian and African) civilisations. This specific encounter leads to a world-system based on hierarchy and domination, a system of Western hegemony that seeks to re-structure the Asian and African civilisations in its own image, and calls it ‘Modernisation’, which is but a euphemism for the advent and ascent of Western capitalism in the East and the so-called ‘Global South’.

The course will advance with a greater emphasis on mythological and literary narratives, rather than anthropological/sociological/historical texts, since its primary focus will be on depicting the cultural atmosphere created around the so-called ‘Orient’. The main question that will be put forward is how it is constructed in the Western, as well as in the Eastern, mind, as a series of images, symbols, and narratives, which forms an edifice of the ‘Orient’ which will later be used to justify, willingly or not, the advance of Western/capitalist domination in the coming world-system.


  • The students will be guided to develop a clear concept of transdiciplinarity.
  • They will be expected to be able to apply the basic concepts of ‘Colonialism’, ‘Orientalism’, ‘Patriarchy’ and ‘Modernisation’ to Cultural Studies and Social and Human Sciences as well as the current international political situation.
  • They will also be expected to recognise the major encounters between Postcolonial Studies and other transdisciplinary world-outlooks, such as Psychoanalysis, Marxism and Feminism.
  • Softskills: Read and critically evaluate texts


A full outline of the course syllabus can be found here.


Bülent Somay had his BA and MA degrees in English Language and Literature in Bosporus University, Istanbul, and his PhD in Psychosocial Studies in Birkbeck College. Bülent Somay was a Lecturer in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies in Istanbul Bilgi University between 2000 and 2017, and the director of the Cultural Studies Graduate Program between 2008 and 2017. He has published seven books in Turkish, and four books in English (The End of Truth 2021; Something is Missing, 2021; The Psychopolitics of the Oriental Father, 2014; The View from the Masthead, 2010), one more forthcoming in 2022 (Beyond Family: A Case for Another Regime of Reproduction, Sexuality and Kinship). Since 2017, he is living in exile in Brussels (Researcher in the ULB), Oslo (Researcher in the UiO), Berlin (Academy in Exile fellow), and most recently he is working at Off-University as a Researcher and Instructor.

This course is held at the Department of English and American Studies, at the Potsdam University and organized in cooperation with Off-University.