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The Concept of Orientalism - Essay Example

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This essay considers authors of differing perspectives and uses various societies and historical periods in evaluating these arguments on orientalism. Orientalism is a term that has long been implemented by scholars as a means of describing the people and cultural attitudes surrounding the Middle East and East Asian society…
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The Concept of Orientalism
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The Concept of Orientalism

Download file to see previous pages... One of the seminal theorists on orientalism is Edward Said. Said’s text ‘Orientalism’ is regarded as a highly influential critique on the notion of orientalism, both in post-colonial investigations as well as in broader investigations of the Middle East and Asia. Because of Said’s centrality to the discussion, his perspective is considered in-depth. From an overarching perspective Said’s argument is that the notion of orientalism is constituted by erroneous Western assumptions regarding the Middle East. More specifically, Said contends that these assumptions regarding Middle Eastern culture are not merely erroneous but also have been implemented by Western powers as a means of justifying colonial and imperial interests in the region. Furthermore, Said has criticized individuals within the Middle Eastern culture who he argues have co-opted these Western perceptions of the ‘orient’. Said’s criticism of orientalism is not limited to a singular cultural epoch but spans a wide range of theorists and histories. Indeed, his discourse has been noted to be as, “historically, politically, and philosophically diverse as Aeschylus, Dante, and Marx” . Specifically, Said considers Aeschylus’ perspective on the barbarian, Dante’s perspective on the Arab, and Marx’ perspective on India; still, scholars have criticized such expansive historicism as rooted in falsified notions of a unified essence. While these concerns represent the backbone of Said’s argument there are further structural components that must be considered. It appears that within Said’s examinations is a strong emphasis on the post-modern dialectic, as established by Michel Foucault. Foucault has envisioned political and social structures primarily as embodiments of power. For instance, Foucault’s vision of Western law enforcement is that it is contingent on the notion of the panopticon, with individuals within society abiding by laws because of the random potential of them being enforced. For Said, Foucault’s understanding of this social order is recognized in the dialectic that has emerged surrounding orientalism. Said (2002, p. 204) writes, “My contention is that Orientalism is fundamentally a political doctrine willed over the Orient because the Orient was weaker than the West, which elided the Orient’s difference with its weakness....As a cultural apparatus Orientalism is all aggression, activity, judgment, will-to-truth, and knowledge.” Within this context of understanding Said is indicating that rather than the notion of orientalism have emerged from legitimate scholarship or ethnographic research, instead it is the product of Western political or economic forces that have found it convenient to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Said's Concept if Orientalism
On the contrary, the written statement is a presence to the reader by virtue of its having excluded, displaced, made supererogatory any such real thing as “the Orient”... that Orientalism makes sense at all, depends more on the West than on the Orient, and this sense is directly indebted to various Western techniques of representation” (Said, 1978, 22).
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Explicate and discuss Edward Said's notion of 'orientalism'. How useful is this notion in understanding the role which soc
Orientalism is now essentially treated as a label for the Eastern or primarily Asian cultures that help explain the schism between the Western and Eastern ideology; in other words, the orient and the occident. Edward Said has established his reputation as an authority on this concept through his critically acclaimed and somewhat controversial book titled “Orientalism” that then redefined the field of Post-Colonial and cultural studies, shedding light on the development of racial and ethnic stereotypes.
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20th Century Literary Theory:Orientalism as a tool of colonial discourse
In the history of twentieth century literary theory, colonial discourse has an important role and orientalism has been considered as the best tool in analysing literary pieces on this topic. Orientalism can be comprehended as the reproduction or depiction of various vital elements of the Eastern cultures in the West by writers, designers and artists and it was Edward Said, in his celebrated book Orientalism, who gave a critical introduction to the theoretical interpretations of the concept.
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INTRODUCTION from Edward Said's ' Orientalism'
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For him, the city looks like a map; but the pedestrians on the street read the city as a text, and, at the same time, they are capable of writing this text. [92] The ordinary pedestrians of the city are termed as ‘walkers’. Walking is an
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After this brief introduction, Prof. Jhally moves on to a talk by Edward Said. Said observes that there was a kind of repertory of images that kept coming up, in
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On Orientalism
The Europeans’ outlook towards countries and people in the Middle East is colored by certain interests and very often Middle East people were perceived to be threatening and violent. It was the
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Critical Commentary on Orientalism
The paper "Critical Commentary on Orientalism" gives the detailed information about the definition of Orientalism. It is basically an all-inclusive concept that is used to describe the place of the Eastern cultures in Western imagination. It can also be said to be a Western-based method that is used to restructure, dominate, and wield authority over the nations that are considered as being part of the Orient.
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