Western Voices, Arab Minds

Orientalism, Stereotypes and Propaganda in the Middle East
  • James R. Vaughan
Part of the Cold War History Series book series (CWH)


International historians should need no reminding of the importance of ‘unspoken assumptions’ behind the policy-making process. Recent years have seen a remarkable upsurge of interest in the role of ‘culture’ in international relations, and within this rapidly expanding field the analysis of Western cultural assumptions about the Middle East provides the diplomatic historian with an extraordinarily rich area of study. The student of Western propaganda in the Middle East has particular reason to interest himself in this literature, since images of ‘the Arab mind’ exerted a powerful and often unhelpful hold over British and American propagandists. It will be argued here that many Western officials were influenced by a set of racial and cultural assumptions about ‘Islam’ and the Arabs that was recognisably ‘Orientalist’, and that this had a direct impact on the conceptualisation and communication of propaganda in the Middle East.


Middle East Middle Eastern Arab World Arab State American Policy 
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© James R. Vaughan 2005

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  • James R. Vaughan

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