Orientalism essay questions

Orientalism Topics for Discussion

Literature here is understood as a kind of carrier and distributor of ideology.

The greatest intellectual impact of Orientalism was upon the fields of literary theory , cultural studies , and human geography , by way of which originated the field of Post-colonial studies. As a work of cultural criticism, Orientalism is the foundation document in the field of Post-colonialism , because the thesis proved historically factual, true, and accurate for the periods studied; and for the How?

Post-colonial theory studies the power and the continued dominance of Western ways of intellectual enquiry and the production of knowledge in the academic, intellectual, and cultural spheres of the de-colonised country. Said's survey concentrated upon the British and the French varieties of Orientalism that supported the British Empire and the French Empire as commercial enterprises constructed from colonialism, and gave perfunctory coverage, discussion, and analyses of German Orientalist scholarship.

Essay Orientalism

Such disproportional investigation provoked criticism from opponents and embarrassment for supporters of Said, who, in "Orientalism Reconsidered" , said that no one opponent provided a rationale, by which limited coverage of German Orientalism limits either the scholarly value or the practical application of Orientalism as a cultural study. Young reported Post-colonial explanations of the "How? In the late s, the survey range of Orientalism did not include the genre of Orientalist painting or any other visual arts, despite the book-cover featuring a detail-image of The Snake Charmer , a popular, 19th-century Orientalist painting—to which the writer Linda Nochlin applied Said's method of critical analysis "with uneven results".

The historian Gyan Prakash said that Orientalism describes how "the hallowed image of the Orientalist, as an austere figure, unconcerned with the world and immersed in the mystery of foreign scripts and languages, has acquired a dark hue as the murky business of ruling other peoples , now forms the essential and enabling background of his or her scholarship" about the Orient; without colonial imperialism, there would be no Orientalism.

That overcoming such intellectual malaise requires that area scholars choose to break their "mind-forg'd manacles" and deeply reflect upon the basic cultural assumptions of their area-studies scholarship. Orientalism proved intellectually, professionally, and personally controversial. In a review of a book by Ibn Warraq , American classicist Bruce Thornton dismissed Orientalism as an "incoherent amalgam of dubious postmodern theory, sentimental Third Worldism, glaring historical errors, and Western guilt".

In the book-review article "Enough Said" , about Dangerous Knowledge , by Robert Irwin , in the preface paragraphs, Martin Kramer recapitulates the professional trials and tribulations of and repercussions to Orientalists caused by Orientalism :. In Dangerous Knowledge , Irwin relates that the 19th-century English Arabist Edward William Lane , compiler of the great Arabic-English Lexicon [], "used to complain that he had become so used to the cursive calligraphy of his Arabic manuscripts that he found Western print a great strain on his eyes. Orientalism, in its heyday, was a branch of knowledge as demanding and rigorous as its near cousin, Egyptology.

The first International Congress of Orientalists met in ; its name was not changed until a full century later. But there are no self-declared Orientalists today. The reason is that the late Edward Said turned the word into a pejorative. In his book Orientalism , the Palestinian-born Said, a professor of comparative literature at Columbia University, claimed that an endemic Western prejudice against the East had congealed into a modern ideology of racist supremacy—a kind of anti-Semitism directed against Arabs and Muslims.

Throughout Europe's history, announced Said, "every European, in that he could say about the Orient, was a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric. In a semantic sleight of hand, Said appropriated the term "Orientalism", as a label for the ideological prejudice he described, thereby, neatly implicating the scholars who called themselves Orientalists.

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At best, charged Said, the work of these scholars was biased, so as to confirm the inferiority of Islam. At worst, Orientalists had directly served European empires, showing proconsuls how best to conquer and control Muslims. To substantiate his indictment, Said cherry-picked evidence, ignored whatever contradicted his thesis, and filled the gaps with conspiracy theories. Nonetheless, the literary critic Paul De Man said that, as a literary critic, "Said took a step further than any other modern scholar of his time, something I dare not do.

I remain in the safety of rhetorical analysis, where criticism is the second-best thing I do. In the book review, "The Mightier Pen? Edward Said and the Double Standards of Inside-out Colonialism: a review of Culture and Imperialism , by Edward Said" , Ernest Gellner said that Said's contention of Western domination of the Eastern world for more than 2, years was unsupportable, because, until the late 17th century, the Ottoman Empire — was a realistic military, cultural, and religious threat to Western Europe. In "Disraeli as an Orientalist: The Polemical Errors of Edward Said" , Mark Proudman noted incorrect 19th-century history in Orientalism , that the geographic extent of the British Empire was not from Egypt to India in the s, because the Ottoman Empire and the Persian Empire in that time intervened between those poles of empire.

In For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies , Robert Irwin said that Said's concentrating the scope of Orientalism to the Middle East, especially Palestine and Egypt, was a mistake, because the Mandate of Palestine — and British Egypt — only were under direct European control for a short time, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; thus are poor examples for Said's theory of Western cultural imperialism. That Orientalism should have concentrated upon good examples of imperialism and cultural hegemony , such as the British Raj of India — and Russia's dominions in Asia — , but he did not, because, as a public intellectual , Edward Said was more interested in making political points about the politics of the Middle East, in general, and of Palestine, in particular.

Orientalism in Pocahontas

PLSI Discussion questions. Edward Said on Orientalism. What is Orientalism , according to Said? What were some of the stereotypes of Arabs and. Orientalism Questions and Answers - Discover the bibdeomaigranto.cf community of that he applies Foucault's idea of discourse to the discussion of Orientalism.

Not only did Europeans study Japan without any hope of colonizing it, but Japanese academics played a prominent role as informants and interlocutors in this academic discipline, providing information both on their own practices and history and on the history of China. In the article "Said's Splash" , Martin Kramer said that, fifteen years after publication of Orientalism , the UCLA historian Nikki Keddie whom Said praised in Covering Islam , who originally had praised Orientalism as an 'important, and, in many ways, positive' book, had changed her mind.

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In Approaches to the History of the Middle East , Keddie criticised Said's work on Orientalism, for the unfortunate consequences upon her profession as an historian:. I think that there has been a tendency in the Middle East field to adopt the word "orientalism" as a generalized swear-word, essentially referring to people who take the "wrong" position on the Arab—Israeli dispute , or to people who are judged too "conservative". It has nothing to do with whether they are good or not good in their disciplines.

So, "orientalism", for many people, is a word that substitutes for thought and enables people to dismiss certain scholars and their works.

What is Orientalism?

I think that is too bad. It may not have been what Edward Said meant at all, but the term has become a kind of slogan. In the article, "Edward Said's Shadowy Legacy" , Robert Irwin said that Said ineffectively distinguished among writers of different centuries and genres of Orientalist literature. That the disparate examples, such as the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — who never travelled to the Orient; the French novelist Gustave Flaubert — who briefly toured Egypt; the French Orientalist Ernest Renan — , whose anti-Semitism voided his work; and the British Arabist Edward William Lane — , who compiled the Arabic—English Lexicon —93 —did not constitute a comprehensive scope of investigation or critical comparison.

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Being European is the only common trait among such a temporally and stylistically disparate group of literary Orientalists. Kejariwal said that with the creation of a monolithic Occidentalism to oppose the Orientalism of Western discourse with the Eastern world, Said had failed to distinguish, between the paradigms of Romanticism and the Enlightenment , and ignored the differences among Orientalists; and that he failed to acknowledge the positive contributions of Orientalists who sought kinship, between the worlds of the East and the West, rather than to create an artificial "difference" of cultural inferiority and superiority; such a man was William Jones — , the British philologist—lexicographer who proposed that Indo—European languages are interrelated.

That Said failed to adequately distinguish between the genuine experiences of the Orient and the cultural projections of Westerners. George Landlow argued that Said assumed that such projection and its harmful consequences are a purely Western phenomenon, when in reality all societies do this to each other. This was a particular issue given Said treated Western colonialism as unique, which Landlow regarded as unsatisfactory for a work of serious scholarship.

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Washbrook said that Said and his academic cohort indulge in excessive cultural relativism , which intellectual excess traps them in a " web of solipsism ", which limits conversation exclusively to "cultural representations" and to denying the existence of any objective truth. In the article "Orientalism Now" , the historian Gyan Prakash said that Edward Said had explored fields of Orientalism already surveyed by his predecessors and contemporaries, such as V. Kiernan , Bernard S. Cohn , and Anwar Abdel Malek , who also had studied, reported, and interpreted the social relationship that makes the practice of imperialism intellectually, psychologically, and ethically feasible; that is, the relationship between European imperial rule and European representations of the non-European Other self, the colonised people.

Nonetheless, George Landow , of Brown University, who criticized Said's scholarship and contested his conclusions, acknowledged that Orientalism is a major work of cultural criticism. In October , one month after the death of Edward W. Said — , the Lebanese newspaper Daily Star recognized the intellectual import of the book, saying "Said's critics agree with his admirers that he has single-handedly effected a revolution in Middle Eastern studies in the U. Middle Eastern Studies were taken over, by Edward Said's postcolonial studies paradigm ".

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Essay Topic 1

I think Donald S. Fenollosa, Ernest and Ezra Pound. There are many other books on East Asia which use Said's general approach. Rather than alienation and hostility to another time and a different culture, philology as applied to Weltliteratur involved a profound humanistic spirit deployed with generosity and, if I may use the word, hospitality. He says through this lens all art, writing and any other depiction of Islamic. How are they related to the discourse of Orientalism? What could this possibly mean?

Dewey Decimal. Accessed 4 January Orientalism pp. He argues that, the perception of Eastern nations held widely in the West is one of a primitive, exoticised and less rational race of people, thus fuelling the assumption of Western paternal superiority and the necessity of intervention.

Beyond 'the East' & 'the West': Orientalism, Occidentalism & Self-Orientalism

This is the result of the personal biases and assumptions held by those scholars who study and write about the region, both conscious and sub-conscious ibid. Furthermore, these essentialising discourses become particularly dangerous when combined with hegemony, a concept which Said borrows from Gramsci, which describes a state of ideational domination of one class or group over another.

Orientalism is a hegemonic discourse for Said: these essentialist assumptions of Western superiority over Eastern cultures serve the ruling world powers and are manifested throughout all forms of discourse including literature, research and conversation both due to, and in order to, perpetuate the power of these dominant groups. While the book has contributed a great deal to post-positivist academic writing it is not without its critics Lockman, Perhaps the most well-known critique is that of Bernard Lewis.

Great How They Keep Things Clean and Tidy!

In his book review, Lewis claimed that Said was part of a Nazi-linked anti-Semitic conspiracy which was a danger to contemporary scholarship Ibid. For Said, the same ideological motivation was true of Lewis; both scholars came at loggerheads over this. Further analysis has proven to be somewhat more nuanced. Drawing away from polemical outrage at the connections between Said and a wider ideological conspiracy, it looks in more depth at the theoretical and methodological shortcomings of his work while recognising its positive contributions.

For instance, Plumb acknowledged the conceptual contributions which Said made, however went on to critique him for his failure to fully contextualise the literary texts of Western scholars that formed the basis of his claims Lockman, In a similar vain, al-Azam argues that through constructing such a long historical account in Orientalism , Said falls into the trap of constructing static conceptions of Western and Eastern culture: the West being inherently power hungry and the East being perpetually the innocent party al-Azm, Both these critiques lead to the conclusion that Said ultimately essentialises the categories of East and West in the way he constructs his account.

He makes generalisations about East and Western culture which simplify these regions into timeless and continuing identities. Indeed, it is these more nuanced critiques of Said which the following analysis will stem from.

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Exploring the implications of misplaced intellectual foundations on the emergence of unintended essentialist narrative in Orientalism , is a worthwhile endeavour, in part because of the impact and importance of Orientalism in contemporary scholarship Lockman, Moreover, it is instructive for future study, whether Saidian or not, inasmuch as it allows us to identify the dangers, tensions and possible ways of resolving these issues.