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Edward Said on Orientalism - Term Paper Example

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This paper "Edward Said on Orientalism" describes the opinion of Edward Said, an internationally acclaimed author of “Orientalism”, about orientalism as a concept. From this paper, it is clear that overcoming the legacy of racism is our major task nowadays…
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Edward Said on Orientalism
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Download file to see previous pages In this paper, major themes of Said’s work are summarized in addition to discussion on Orientalism today and the Palestinian question. The paper also recommends everyone to watch this movie to better understand the conflicting world and media representation.
Said links Orientalism back to the mid-nineteenth century when despite the presence of huge literature, it was nearly impossible to discuss Orient in an open and unbiased way. The elaborate representation of sensual women used by men, Orient as mysterious and full of secrets and monsters is in fact, highly unrealistic. People in Orient are living human beings who evolve with time, but western art, literature, media, and movies assign them a timeless and eternal quality which was the same even a hundred years ago. The idea is not limited to media but penetrated in books as Said explains his discovery of Gerard de Nerval quoting Edward William Lane about modern Egyptian and their customs. Gerard may justify his quoting an 1830s reference for something as dynamic as culture by the theory that all orient is the same irrespective of their location. This perception keeps reproducing the idea of timeless orient which remains the same, unlike the west. Being unlike west automatically implies the opposite and generates imagery that is underdeveloped and inferior which Said regards as contradictory.
Said not only puts forth the idea of Orientalism, but he provides a concrete historical and institutional background of this long-established attitude. Said locates its construction in the imperial conquest when imperial powers were determined to conquer and subdue the natives not only in political but ideological manner. For this purpose, they followed already established categorization of people in large abstract classes based on the color of their skin, but Orientalism formalized the whole process and transformed it into objective knowledge. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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