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The assumptions made by Said brought a controversial debate that remains relevant even today. The Orientalism is a critique of the academic field of Oriental studies. This field has been a scholarly quest in a majority of the European universities for a number of centuries. Oriental Studies are a combination of scholarships consisting of ethnology, linguistics, philosophy, and decoding of culture via the detection, recovery, collection, and translation of Oriental texts. Said was categorical that his intentions were not to cover the whole area of Oriental studies, but to concentrate on how American, English, and French scholars view the Arab societies living in Middle East and North Africa (Trefflich 2011, p. 2). Said’s main concerns on Orientalism In the Orientalism, Said makes three main claims. The first claim is that, despite orientalist claiming to be an objective, non-interested, and an esoteric field, the truth is that it worked to serve political ends. In relation to this claim, Orientalist scholarship offered means that would help Europeans take over Oriental lands. Said further notes that, towards the final part of the twentieth century, Orientalism played a critical role in preserving American power in the Middle East and further defended the invasion and colonization of Palestine. However, in the contemporary world, there is less interest in the conventional fields of literature and philology. One fact that is worth mentioning is that American academic centers that offer Middle Eastern studies have immense concern in giving advice on public policy to the government (Said 1979, p. 31). In the second claim, Said argues that Orientalism assisted in defining Europe’s self-image. In relation to this claim, Said was of the opinion that creating an identity in every society and age entails establishing others and opposites. This is so because creating and maintaining each culture calls for the existence of a different and competing culture. Through Orientalism, the West began to perceive the Islamic culture as static in reference to time and place. In addition, the West also perceived the Islamic culture as uniform, foreign, and without the ability to define itself. In doing so, the West gained a sense of superiority in its culture and intellectual capacity (Said 1979, p. 36). As a result of this, the West perceived itself as innovative, dynamic, growing culture, and as an observer, a jury, and a judge of every Oriental behavior. Today, this claim becomes relevant since it offers an explanation for the Western imperialism, which could have been described by the West as an effort to redeem the degenerate world (Said 1979, p. 38). In the third claim, Said is of the opinion that Orientalism has created a false analysis of Islamic and Arab cultures. This is mainly due to the essentialist nature of the venture, which is the belief that there are possibilities of defining the essential characteristics of the Islamic culture and Arabic natives. The defined characteristics were viewed as uniformly negative. The definition brought out a perspective of a place in isolation from the mainstream of human development in arts, commerce, and sciences. This definition provides an inadequate perspective of Arabs and the Islamic culture, which by large influences the way the contemporary society views Arabs and Islam (Said 1979, p. 44). Orientalism further goes wrong in making an assumption that Islam has acquired a unity dating back from the seventh century and it is evident through the Koran and the contemporary Algerian, or Egyptian society. Therefore, the idea that Islamic culture suffers from static development is false and further overlooks the impacts of imperialism, colonialism, and
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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).
This pronouncement compelled the church to reexamine its faith to enhance the understanding of the doctrine. One of the most pertinent questions that originated from the proclamation is who exactly Jesus is in relation to the sinful man and God (Sung 2009, 32).
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.
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.
The experiences and histories of the privileged must be read against the histories of the dispossessed and marginalized, Said tells us.
The type of history which Said criticizes is the kind of history that has been written down since pre-civilization. The entire Bible, for example, is made up of stories about Israelite men, written down by Israelite men.
Now that the opposition between the East and the West has become "the main conflict of the humankind" (as it is interpreted by the mass media and politicians), Said's views become especially topical.
Said's defending of the Arab people, including the Palestinians, were closely related to his firm belief that violence is evil and meaningless, whereas the human rights and justice should always be a priority.
t is not a “free subject of thought or action” through the more imaginary concept of Orientalism and second to demonstrate how the “European culture gained in strength and identity by setting itself off against the Orient as a sort of surrogate and even underground
dward Said “lived and taught at Columbia,”1, and in the latter part of his life focused on the ideas of imperialism, colonialism and nationalism, which led to his book, Orientalism (1979).2 Said held that contemporary Oriental literature legitimized colonialism.3 Said was
Western scholarship on Islam was basically motivated from the political angle and certain images of Islam, as a backward and totalitarian religion, were, and still are quite reflective of the writings of a number of Western scholars. However the same was not true for many serious Orientalists. E. G.
of Oriental “philology, linguistics, ethnography, and the interpretation of culture through the discovery, recovery, compilation, and translation of Oriental texts”. (Windschuttle, 1999, p.30) Having been born into a Palestinian Christian family that later migrated to the
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