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Orientalism by Edward Said - Movie Review Example

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It remains author Edward Saids definitive work, alongside other titles such a The Question of Palestine and Covering Islam. Orientalism as a scholarly work is the combined study and…
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Orientalism by Edward Said
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Download file to see previous pages United States, Said had the unique advantage of experiencing different perspectives on the issue of Palestine-Israel conflict as well as broader Arabian politics. His works on the subject of Middle East politics are informed by his first hand experiences at these places, as well as a careful study of preceding scholarship by Western intellectuals. The primary criticism in his book Orientalism, as also seen in the documentary, is directed toward the stereotyped vision of Arabs in Western media and academia. This phenomenon, Said notes, is not something new, for its origins could be dated back to the Napoleonic conquest of Egypt in late eighteenth century.
Behind the Western stereotyping of the Orient is the underlying belief that the surveyed geographies and peoples are somewhat backward and unrefined compared to Western civilization. What is also evident is the process of homogenization, whereby the vast mosaic of Oriental culture, language, social norms and religious beliefs are bracketed and abstracted into a unified whole. According to Said,
“Orientalism identifies a range of strategies by which 19th and 20th century scholars, writers and artists imposed their authority on the East. The Orient was represented as a theatrical stage affixed to Europe, a place where jaded aristocrats, earnest second sons and tyrannical explorers could discover timeless truths, or perhaps unimagined erotic delights. Stereotypes of eastern wise men and exotic harems removed the colonial world from history altogether, substituting a timeless realm. Orientals are seen not as people but as problems, subjects, races”. (Burrows, 1999, p.50)
But the reality is far from such constructions, as accounts of people who live in different regions of the Orient attest to. And as Said suggests in the documentary film, this set of illusions about the Middle East is not accidental or due to scholarly oversight.
Said identifies a subtle difference between the stereotyping of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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