Posted by: asmith60 | April 5, 2011


The international situation I’m focusing on is the current state of affairs involving the United States and Iran.  Mainstream media coverage of the conflict focuses mainly on Iran’s presumed intention to make nuclear bombs. Iranian authorities seem determined to continue with their nuclear program claiming they are not going to use it to make bombs. United States policy makers, on the other hand, are convinced that Iran’s nuclear program is, in fact, planned on being utilized to make bombs. In my opinion this dispute has caused American society to shift into a heightened state of Orientalism. In all probability, it has also caused Iranian society to experience more intense anti-American sentiments.

United States – Iran relations have been rocky ever since the mid-1950s. In 1953 the United States and Britain organized an operation in which Iranian military officers dethroned Prime Minister Muhammad Mussadeq, a leading proponent of nationalizing the oil industry.  Then in 1979 the American supported Shah of Iran was forced to leave the country due to widespread demonstrations and protests. The infamous Iran hostage crisis occurred in the same year. Iranian students seized sixty-three hostages at an American embassy in Tehran, igniting a lengthy crisis that led to the severing of diplomatic ties and many United States sanctions against Iran. The last of the hostages were finally released in 1981 after serious diplomatic activity. They were held for 444 days.

This is just a brief history of the relationship between the United States and Iran. As you can see there is a lot of room for the societies to subject one another to the mark of the plural. It seems to me that stereotyping is, to some degree, part of the human condition, meaning that everyone is apt to do it just because they are human. For this reason I would like to concentrate less on why the societies are stereotyping each other and more on why each specific stereotype has been chosen. For example, why is it a stereotype that all Middle Easterners are exotic and mysterious or that all Americans are reckless and vain?



  1. Now that I read your blog, I think that it’s a better idea to see why certain stereotypes are used and the driving force for them. I like the fact that you point out that it is the human condition to stereotype. We do it all the time, for whatever reasons, in our own culture. I think your paper and presentation will be very interesting. I would really love to hear the reason behind these stereotypes.

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