Graduation Date

Spring 2020

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Anthony Silvaggio

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. James Ordner

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Nikola Hobbel

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Edward Said’s 1987 examination of Orientalism suggests that fields of learning are constrained and acted upon by society, cultural traditions, worldly circumstance, and by stabilizing influences. According to Said these fields of learning work to sustain Western notions of superiority and designate what became considered backwards, degenerate, and uncivilized: the Oriental. Just as the West became the creators and keepers of particular domains of knowledge, specific knowledge concerning martial arts has been altered and modified in ways which reflect the appropriation of martial arts for Western consumption, via the processes of Orientalism. The Orientalization of martial arts preceded in a manner which removed the philosophical and moral aspects of mutual prosperity; establishing a philosophy of meritocratic individualism central to Western sports. I suggest Muay Thai - the marital fighting culture of Thailand - has been Orientalized during the Westward appropriation of martial arts. In this thesis, I will utilize Said’s framework of Orientalism in an examination of the sport of Muay Thai. My purpose being to leverage sport as a lens to show how Orientalism is utilized by the West in order to culturally appropriate the East. I suggest the fundamental underpinnings of Orientalism are at play as Muay Thai has moved from martial fighting style and traditional contest to a formalized sporting event.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location