The disastrous legacy of Edward Saïd's Orientalism.
Via Harry's Place
Via Harry's Place
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- This is a very interesting piece. I was of course made to read Said's Orientalism when doing my M.Phil in Middle East Studies, but to be fair my tutors did acnowledge that there were problems with it. Over the twenty years since I first read it I have watched it take on the status of a 'meme' just as this writer says. Many of those who embrace the meme would struggle to read the whole of the original book, which is actually fairly scholarly in its own way. At the present time there appears to be a backlash against the Orientalism argument. The aspect of this that is coming from Muslims and Arabs themselves, because they are rejecting a culture of victimhood, is to be welcomed. The aspect that represents a resurgence of racial essentialism in the West is, of course, not to be.
I do though feel that Dawkins' crass and gratuitous comment is not the best way to open this debate. Jim al-Khalili has produced a terrific book and TV series about the Arab golden age of science which pleads for the universalism of the values of science and for the rejection of the idea that these values are intrinsically 'western'. This is the line we need to emphasise.Aug 14, 2013
- I must read this post as I'm interested in (though not a fan of) Edward Said. Someone I 'follow' on Pinterest has quite an interesting pin-board on orientalism in Western film posters - which is quite funny as well as illuminating. Not having read Said, however, I suspect I'm familiar with the debased popular form of the concept.
The resurgence of racial essentialism in the West sounds rather worrying! As for Dawkins (mutter, mutter).Aug 15, 2013