Faculty Advisor

Smith, Katherine

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2018


This paper examines the ways in which different texts (crusade chronicles, French epic poems, and crusade sermons) written during the early Crusades and Crusader States created a coherent portrait of the East. It compare the ways Edward Said’s Orientalism, which examines colonial texts, and the effect their portrait of the East had on European identity, with texts of the Crusades. These texts cast the Orient into a place that was the antithesis of Christendom, defining what it meant to have a Christian, European white identity. This was done through representations of: threatening sexuality, skin color, unlimited wealth, and a fictional depiction of Islam as a mirror to Christianity. In addition, Crusader Orientalism cast the East into a temporally static place, where the Biblical past is closer to the present than it is in Europe. Together this set of beliefs became extremely popular in Christian writings of the East and worked to define themselves on the inverse of the Other as well as shaping modern ideas about geography and race.


University of Puget Sound