reading orientalism part 01
January 5, 2015
Observations from the 2003 preface:
- Said locates the rise of ‘modern” Orientalism with Napoleon”s invasion of Egypt.
- the ‘Orient” is not a stable concept
- Orientalism is still very much about the middle east and Islamic-based cultures there and the response by white states like America.
- Said”s conception of the ‘Orient” as an oppositional concept to the ‘West” includes Africa (and other parts of Asia beyond the middle east)
- I”m not at all sure how i feel about his humanist intentions in formulating the theory. he explicitly says that, in the end, this is meant to be concilliatory. which i don”t disagree with, on the surface, since his example is, whenever Palestine is returned to Palestinian rule, that they don”t become oppressive towards the Jewish settlers. but. idk. something to think about.
- “The point I want to conclude with now is to insist that the terrible reductive conflicts that herd people under falsely unifying rubrics like “America,” “The West” or “Islam” and invent collective identities for large numbers of individuals who are actually quite diverse, cannot remain as potent as they are, and must be opposed, their murderous effectiveness vastly reduced in influence and mobilizing power” (xxiii)
- one thing i have large… doubts about is his discussion and valuation of ‘rational discourse”.