Edward W. Said: Overcoming Orientalism.

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  • Author(s): Turner, Bryan
  • Source:
    Theory, Culture & Society. Feb2004, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p173-177. 5p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
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    • Abstract:
      Edward W. Said was a prolific author who made major contributions to various aspects of modern scholarship. These disparate contributions to literary theory, the history of ideas, music, the sociology of intellectuals, and political analysis were integrated around a critique of western assumptions about other cultures, namely around his critique of Orientalism. In 1978 the book "Orientalism" launched his international academic reputation and it has remained central to understanding his work, including his more overtly political journalism on Israel and the Palestinian movement. His study has often been narrowly interpreted. At one level Orientalism examined the literary conditions by which a static and regressive Orient was constantly reproduced in western literature, but Said had a larger purpose which was to see how scholarship could transcend simple dichotomies of East and West. He looked to the history of philology and Oriental sciences to see how negative Otherness could be transcended by a broader moral vision of the common culture of humanity.