Eastern world

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An image of the "Eastern world" defined as Asia

The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures or social structures and philosophical systems of Asia or geographically the countries and cultures east of Europe, north of Oceania. The term is usually not used by non-Europeans since this Eastern world is a varied, complex and dynamic region, hard to generalize, and although these countries and regions have many common threads running through them, historically they never needed to define themselves collectively against another entity, real or superficial.

Traditionally, This includes Central Asia (comprising Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), the Far East (comprising mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan in East Asia; Russian Far East in North Asia; plus Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam in Southeast Asia), the Middle East (aka the Near East) or Western Asia (comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen), Siberia (aka North Asia), and the Indian subcontinent (comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka plus the British Indian Ocean Territory and the island countries in the Indian Ocean).

Due to the Mediterranean, or parts of it in both north and south, have formed in Classic times a single cultural and civilizational bloc, and due to the early expansion of the Islamic religion and the Arabic language to all of its southern shores, North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Western Sahara, sometimes Mauritania and Sudan), the African part of the Greater Middle East, is often regarded as part of the Eastern world, while geographical Asian nations with a significant historical (pre-modern) or formative imprint of European populations and traditions such as the Philippines[citation needed], or of those ultimately non-European in culture and origin whose indigenous populations were forced into Europe and its surrounding areas for a long period of time such as Israel,[1] may be considered Western at least in part or Westernized, including being both Western and Eastern, while Cyprus even became part of the European Union in 2004 under its internationally recognised government (the Greek Cypriot government in the south).

Identity politics

Asian concepts

Many critics[who?] have pointed out that for generations now Europe and to a lesser extent the Western world have been trying to absorb Asian societies into their own society. This campaign makes it so that many societies when speaking about or thinking of these countries/regions in context of Asia and the Eastern world they often withdraw and are reassigned with the Western world instead such as in the cases Turkey,[2] Siberia (Russia), and other areas of Asia that are linked to the Western world.

Many Asian countries believe that European influence has been successful in absorbing their countries and regions of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cyprus, Georgia, North Asia (aka Siberia), Turkey, and Lebanon to the point that even within these societies themselves they rarely ever think of themselves as being a part of Asia, the Asian people, and the Eastern World.[3]

Although the concept of a united Asian people and an Asian race is even more debatable due to the fact that most of the world link the identity of Asian only to the people of South, East and Southeast Asia and so regions like Western Asia that who even though see themselves as part of the Eastern world such as the Arab nations of Western Asia, Israel, Turkey, Iran, and the ethnic groups that come along with these countries do not identify as Asian.[4] Another reason why a Pan-Asian identity is a flawed work in progress concept compared to the mass unity found in the continents of Europe and Africa is the fact that Asia is the most racially and ethnically diverse continent in the world[5][6][7] that differs very widely among and within its regions with many different cultures, environments, economics, historical ties and government systems whose people have an even further pan-continental belief of nationalistic, cultural, and ethnic individualism many of whom believe came out of the imperialistic colonization of the continent by foreign Western powers back in colonial times and because of this overt sense individualism across the continent once a specific group(s) is labeled something many groups within Asia will have a hard time identifying with the same label. Most of the people of Asia prefer to identify with their individual nations rather than with their continent, region, or each other and these attitudes can be found throughout the continent.

Other than Asia and some parts of Africa, Europe has successfully absorbed almost all of the societies of Oceania, and the Americas into the Western world,[8][9][10] but not to the degree that they are considered a part of Europe as is the case with Asia.[2][3]

The division between 'East' and 'West' is a product of European cultural history, and of the distinction between European Christendom and the cultures beyond it to the East. With the European colonization of the Americas the East/West distinction became global. The concept of an Eastern, "Indian" (Indies) or "Oriental" sphere was emphasized by ideas of racial as well as religious and cultural differences. Such distinctions were articulated by Westerners in the scholarly tradition known as Orientalism and Indology. An intriguing fact to be noted is that Orientalism has been the only Western concept that was about a unified Eastern world and not about any specific region(s), but rather all of Asia together.[11][12]

People from the Eastern world are known by certain regions in the West as "Oriental", while in others, it may still have a racial connotation (such as Brazil, where the more than 2 million Brazilians of East Asian descent are known as brasileiros orientais – in contrast to asiáticos brasileiros, a term that includes all those with recent descent from anywhere in Asia, including the generally white Arab Brazilians, Mizrahi Jews, Armenian Brazilians, Turkish Brazilians) that became outdated or even offensive in others.

European concepts

During the Cold War, the term "Eastern world" was sometimes used as an extension of Eastern bloc, connoting the Soviet Union, China and their communist allies, while the term "Western world" often connoted the United States and its NATO allies such as the United Kingdom.

The concept is often another term for the Far East – a region that bears considerable cultural and religious commonality. Eastern philosophy, art, literature, and other traditions, are often found throughout the region in places of high importance, such as popular culture, architecture and traditional literature. The spread of Buddhism and Hindu Yoga is partly responsible for this.

Eastern culture

An image of the "Eastern world" defined as Asia or the "Far East", consisting of three overlapping cultural blocks: East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia
The distribution of the two major families of world religion, both Eastern, Eastern religions and Abrahamic religions (aka Western religion), highlights the religious difference between the Far East and the rest of the world

Eastern culture has developed many themes and traditions. Some important ones are:

See also


  1. Sheldon Kirshner (2013-10-16). "Is Israel Really a Western Nation?". Sheldon Kirshner Journal. Retrieved 2013-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "EU-Turkey relations". European Information on Enlargement & Neighbours. EurActiv.com. 23 September 2004. Retrieved 26 August 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Fifty Years On, Turkey Still Pines to Become European". TIME. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Khatib, Lina (2006). Filming the modern Middle East: politics in the cinemas of Hollywood and the Arab world. Library of Modern Middle East Studies, Library of International Relations. 57. I.B. Tauris. pp. 166–167, 173. ISBN 1-84511-191-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Lee, Sandra S. Mountain, Joanna. Barbara, Koening A. The Meanings of Race in the New Genomics: Implications for Health Disparities Research. Yale University. 2001. October 26, 2006. [1]
  6. Cartmill, M. (1999). The Status of the Race Concept in Physical Anthropology. American Anthropologist 100(3)651 -660.
  7. For example, "Asian and Indian people" are referred to in the New Zealand Heart Foundation's BMI calculator.
  8. Thompson, William; Joseph Hickey (2005). Society in Focus. Boston, MA: Pearson. 0-205-41365-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Embassy of Brazil - Ottawa". Brasembottawa.org. Retrieved 2011-05-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Falcoff, Mark. "Chile Moves On". AEI. Retrieved 2011-05-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Tromans, 6
  12. from the Latin oriens; Oxford English Dictionary
  13. Dawson, Christopher; Glenn Olsen (1961). Crisis in Western Education (reprint ed.). p. 108. ISBN 9780813216836.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Ankerl, Guy (2000) [2000]. Global communication without universal civilization. INU societal research. Vol.1: Coexisting contemporary civilizations : Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western. Geneva: INU Press. ISBN 2-88155-004-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>