Friday, September 24, 2004

An Introduction to Edward Said, Orientalism, and Postcolonial Literary Studies

REQUEST: If you were assigned this post on Edward Said's "Orientalism" as part of a course, or if you're a teacher who is assigning the below, I would greatly appreciate it if you would leave a comment stating which class and which school below. Or, email me at amardeep [AT] gmail [DOT] com.



It's been about a year since Edward Said passed away.

Recently, there was a panel at Lehigh to talk about his legacy, specifically in the spheres of his contribution to literary studies, the representation of Islam, as well as his political advocacy. I was on the panel to talk about literary studies, especially his books Orientalism (1978) and Culture and Imperialism (1993).

Preparing a presentation gave me an opportunity to look at some Said essays on literature I hadn't ever read (see for instance this at LRB; or this at Al-Ahram). I was also particularly impressed by the Said resources at www.edwardsaid.org. There are dozens and dozens of essays by Said linked there, as well as a great many "tribute" essays written by critics all around the world, immediately after his passing. I highly recommend it.

An Introduction to Edward Said, Orientalism, and Postcolonial Literary Studies
(For a very general audience; notes for a presentation given at Lehigh University on 9/23/04)

Basic Bio: "Edward Said was born in Jerusalem in 1935 and was for many years America’s foremost spokesman for the Palestinian cause. His writings have been translated into 26 languages, including his most influential book, Orientalism (1978), an examination of the way the West perceives the Islamic world. Much of his writing beyond literary and cultural criticism is inspired by his passionate advocacy of the Palestinian cause, including The Question of Palestine, (1979), Covering Islam (1981), After the Last Sky (1986) and Blaming the Victims (1988). . . . He went to a New England boarding school, undergraduate years at Princeton and graduate study at Harvard." (from the Columbia University website)

Orientalism
Edward Said's signature contribution to academic life is the book Orientalism. It has been influential in about half a dozen established disciplines, especially literary studies (English, comparative literature), history, anthropology, sociology, area studies (especially middle east studies), and comparative religion. However, as big as Orientalism was to academia, Said’s thoughts on literature and art continued to evolve over time, and were encapsulated in Culture and Imperialism (1993), a book which appeared nearly 15 years after Orientalism (1978). Put highly reductively, the development of his thought can be understood as follows: Said’s early work began with a gesture of refusal and rejection, and ended with a kind of ambivalent acceptance. If Orientalism questioned a pattern of misrepresentation of the non-western world, Culture and Imperialism explored with a less confrontational tone the complex and ongoing relationships between east and west, colonizer and colonized, white and black, and metropolitan and colonial societies.

Said directly challenged what Euro-American scholars traditionally referred to as "Orientalism." Orientalism is an entrenched structure of thought, a pattern of making certain generalizations about the part of the world known as the 'East'. As Said puts it:

“Orientalism was ultimately a political vision of reality whose structure promoted the difference between the familiar (Europe, West, "us") and the strange (the Orient, the East, "them").”

Just to be clear, Said didn't invent the term 'Orientalism'; it was a term used especially by middle east specialists, Arabists, as well as many who studied both East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The vastness alone of the part of the world that European and American scholars thought of as the "East" should, one imagines, have caused some one to think twice. But for the most part, that self-criticism didn’t happen, and Said argues that the failure there –- the blind spot of orientalist thinking –- is a structural one.

The stereotypes assigned to Oriental cultures and "Orientals" as individuals are pretty specific: Orientals are despotic and clannish. They are despotic when placed in positions of power, and sly and obsequious when in subservient positions. Orientals, so the stereotype goes, are impossible to trust. They are capable of sophisticated abstractions, but not of concrete, practical organization or rigorous, detail-oriented analysis. Their men are sexually incontinent, while their women are locked up behind bars. Orientals are, by definition, strange. The best summary of the Orientalist mindset would probably be: “East is east and west is west, and never the twain shall meet” (Rudyard Kipling).

In his book, Said asks: but where is this sly, devious, despotic, mystical Oriental? Has anyone ever met anyone who meets this description in all particulars? In fact, this idea of the Oriental is a particular kind of myth produced by European thought, especially in and after the 18th century. In some sense his book Orientalism aims to dismantle this myth, but more than that Said's goal is to identify Orientalism as a discourse.

From Myth to Discourse. The oriental is a myth or a stereotype, but Said shows that the myth had, over the course of two centuries of European thought, come to be thought of as a kind of systematic knowledge about the East. Because the myth masqueraded as fact, the results of studies into eastern cultures and literature were often self-fulfilling. It was accepted as a common fact that Asians, Arabs, and Indians were mystical religious devotees incapable of rigorous rationality. It is unsurprising, therefore that so many early European studies into, for instance, Persian poetry, discovered nothing more or less than the terms of their inquiry were able to allow: mystical religious devotion and an absence of rationality.

Political Dominance. Said showed that the myth of the Oriental was possible because of European political dominance of the Middle East and Asia. In this aspect of his thought he was strongly influenced by the French philosopher Michel Foucault. The influence from Foucault is wide-ranging and thorough, but it is perhaps most pronounced when Said argues that Orientalism is a full-fledged discourse, not just a simple idea, and when he suggests that all knowledge is produced in situations of unequal relations of power. In short, a person who dominates another is the only one in a position to write a book about it, to establish it, to define it. It’s not a particular moral failing that the stereotypical failing defined as Orientalism emerged in western thinking, and not somewhere else.

Post-colonial Criticism
Orientalism was a book about a particular pattern in western thought. It was not, in and of itself, an evaluation of the importance of that thought. It was written before the peak of the academic ‘culture wars’, when key words like relativism, pluralism, and multiculturalism would be the order of the day. Said has often been lumped in with relativists and pluralists, but in fact he doesn’t belong there.

In his later literary and cultural work, especially in Culture and Imperialism Said generally avoided the language of confrontation. Where others have angrily rejected the literary heritage of the Western Canon, Said, has instead embraced it, albeit ambivalently. Where others denounced Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling as racist dead white men, Said wrote careful reappraisals of their works, focusing on their representations of India and Africa respectively. Said did not apologize for, for instance, Joseph Conrad’s image of the Congo as an essentially corrupting place inhabited by ruthless cannibals. But Said did acknowledge Conrad’s gift for style, and explored its implications: Conrad was sophisticated enough to sense that he did indeed have a blind spot. Conrad recognized that the idea of imperialism was an illusion, built entirely on a very fragile mythic rhetoric. You see some of this in the famous quote from Heart of Darkness:

The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea -- something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to. . . ."

The lines are spoken by the sailor Marlowe, who was in effect an observer-participant to the scene of Kurtz’s fatal breakdown in the upper Congo. He is a veteran, of the colonial system, and this is the first place where his views become apparent. Like many others in his trade, Marlowe was in fact ambivalent about what was, in effect, his job. He knows the violence of it and the potential evil of it, but he still tries to justify it through recourse to the "idea at the back of it." But even more puzzling: that "idea at the back of it" is not an idea of reason, or human rights, or technology (or the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction). The idea is something to "bow down before, offer a sacrifice to..." The desire to conquer the earth, in short, is as irrational a desire as any.

Said refers to this passage a few times in his essays. One such response is as follows, where Said sketches an account of the political conditions that made imperialism possible in England and France, as well as general readings of several works of literature. I quote at length because this is a perfect example of Said’s ability to blend political/historical analysis with literary criticism:

But there's more than that to imperialism. There was a commitment to imperialism over and above profit, a commitment in constant circulation and recirculation which on the one hand allowed decent men and women from England or France, from London or Paris, to accept the notion that distant territories and their native peoples should be subjugated and, on the other hand, replenished metropolitan energies so that these decent people could think of the empire as a protracted, almost metaphysical obligation to rule subordinate, inferior or less advanced peoples. We mustn't forget, and this is a very important aspect of my topic, that there was very little domestic resistance inside Britain and France. There was a kind of tremendous unanimity on the question of having an empire. There was very little domestic resistance to imperial expansion during the nineteenth century, although these empires were very frequently established and maintained under adverse and even disadvantageous conditions. Not only were immense hardships in the African wilds or wastes, the "dark continent," as it was called in the latter part of the nineteenth century, endured by the white colonizers, but there was always the tremendously risky physical disparity between a small number of Europeans at a very great distance from home and a much larger number of natives on their home territory. In India, for instance, by the 1930s, a mere 4,000 British civil servants, assisted by 60,000 soldiers and 90,000 civilians, had billeted themselves upon a country of 300,000,000 people. The will, self-confidence, even arrogance necessary to maintain such a state of affairs could only be guessed at. But as one can see in the texts of novels like Forster's Passage to India or Kipling's Kim, these attitudes are at least as significant as the number of people in the army or civil service or the millions of pounds that England derived from India.

For the enterprise of empire depends upon the idea of having an empire, as Joseph Conrad so powerfully seems to have realized in Heart of Darkness. He says that the difference between us in the modern period, the modern imperialists, and the Romans is that the Romans were there just for the loot. They were just stealing. But we go there with an idea. He was thinking, obviously, of the idea, for instance in Africa, of the French and the Belgians that when you go to these continents you're not just robbing the people of their ivory and slaves and so on. You are improving them in some way. I'm really quite serious. The idea, for example, of the French empire was that France had a "mission civilisatrice," that it was there to civilize the natives. It was a very powerful idea. Obviously, not so many of the natives believed it, but the French believed that that was what they were doing.

The idea of having an empire is very important, and that is the central feature that I am interested in. All kinds of preparations are made for this idea within a culture and then, in turn and in time, imperialism acquires a kind of coherence, a set of experiences and a presence of ruler and ruled alike within the culture. (see http://www.zmag.org/zmag/articles/barsaid.htm)


A final point, about postcolonial studies. The development of Said’s ideas about literature and art paralleled those of the field of post-colonial criticism as a whole. It began in anger – Frantz Fanon, Aime Cesaire, Malcolm X. And it has ended up in a rather different place, embraced in the very academic settings that once might have laughed at the very notion of a canonical body of, say, African Literature.

Post-colonial criticism, which began under the combative spiritual aegis of [Frantz] Fanon and [Aime] Césaire, went further than either of them in showing the existence of what in Culture and Imperialism I called 'overlapping territories' and 'intertwined histories'. Many of us who grew up in the colonial era were struck by the fact that even though a hard and fast line separated colonizer from colonized in matters of rule and authority (a native could never aspire to the condition of the white man), the experiences of ruler and ruled were not so easily disentangled. (from the London Review of Books: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v25/n06/said01_.html)


That means that nativism cannot be an effective answer to western hegemony (later he gets more specific: "Afrocentrism is as flawed as Eurocentrism"). There’s no simple way to achieve decolonization, just as (in the more limited context of the United States), there’s no simple way for anyone to disentangle him or herself from the effects of racism.

But it also means that, in many respects, colonialism is still with us. It was through the colonial system that most of the national borders in Africa and Asia were drawn up, in many cases arbitrarily. But more than that are the effects of colonial language, the colonial state bureaucracy, and especially colonial attitudes to things like economic development.

237 comments:

1 – 200 of 237   Newer›   Newest»
Matt Kwan said...

Hi,

This blog post was pretty helpful towards my major essay re. South East Asia and Orientalist perspectives.

Cheers,
Matt

Anonymous said...

thanks...

it was really, really helpful.

regards,
john, Bangalore

Anonymous said...

thank you, most helpful,
Josna Pankhania,
PhD student exploring the development of spirituality (through satyananda yoga) as part of post colonial struggle and achievements

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this work it has helped explain how Said did not invent the term Orientalism and explain what he was trying to say.
EB from UNCG

Anonymous said...

thank you very helpful in explaing Said

Bones said...

thank you this was very hepful in ex0plaing Said's views.

SteveDK said...

It was great help to my presentation on 'Orientalism', thanks a lot.

Steve from Pecs, Hungary; graduate student in english and philosophy

Anonymous said...

thanks mate, this blog was more than helpful in my study of postcolonialism, cheers!

Ed, London

RK said...

I was told to read this for Art Appreciation class! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Very clear, very useful! Many thanks...

Anonymous said...

heyea....this is a great piece of work...helped me alot thanks
jaskaran gill
MA panjab university chandigarh

Anonymous said...

dear mr.singh,
you explained a comparatively difficult essay so very simply that i could actually relate to it..

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Very helpful for my "Literature of the Middle Ages in Translation" class at UT @ Austin.

roxbnl8 said...

Hi. I'm a senior at Indiana University Bloomington studying secondary English education. I'm using your article in a unit plan for advanced-level placement high school seniors. The unit topics are Postcolonialism and Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart." Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot, Mr. Singh
Very helpfu.
I wasn't assigned your post - just clicked from Wikipedia - but I'm doing a course on Postcolonial Women's Writing for a Ba in English at Hull University.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the valuable information! I am a PhD student at SSSUP- Italy.

gimlithepirate said...

We are at an Online High School and our teacher assigned this to help us understand Orientalism. We have been reading "Farewell to Manzanar" by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James D. Houston, and our teacher thought that it would be informative to have a better handle on what Oreintalism was. He liked your summary and directed us to it. Thank You for putting up such a well thought out summary of this important idea.

Benjamin said...

Just clarifying on my classmate's point above, in case you wanted specifics:
We go to Stanford EPGY OHS, and our class is English: Textual Analysis and Argumentation.
Thanks so much for this introduction, it was really helpful and extremely interesting.

Mac said...

Alas, I am from Stanford EPGY OHS As well! Aha!
English: Textual Analysis and Argumentation. Teacher: Dr. Kiefer

Super helpful!

Arijit said...

Dear Amardeep
Thank you for your blog. My students in the Architecture and Social Theory class (Arch 751, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) used this blog as they researched Said.
Arijit

Anonymous said...

Hey,

your text proved to be very helpful indeed. I'm writing a dissertation for a course called "Western Literature: Concepts and Questions" at Louvain University, Begium.
I'm in my final year MA in Western Literature

thanks!

Brecht

Anonymous said...

i have an exam tomorrow and this has really clarified many things. thank you so much!

the special one said...

Thank you very much, it has been a real help.

Newcastle

Anonymous said...

Very helpful. Succint and knowledgable, good examples too.

Will help my essay no end :)

Cheers,

Jon F.

Anonymous said...

Hey!

Thanks, it helped in giving me a background on Orientalism that will help me write my essay for Post-colonialism and the Indian English novel.

Keya
(Bombay)

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot it was extremely useful in preparing orientalism answer!

Anonymous said...

I am preparing for my Presentation On Orientalism and think it will be helpful.

Afrin Z

aliza said...

hi
this really helped me a lot!
aliza
MA eng Delhi university

Anonymous said...

this reading was assigned to our contemporary sociological theory class at hampton university, hampton,va

thanks
little

Anonymous said...

I think this has helped clarify Said's ideas a bit for me,

Thanks
B.A Eng NUIM

Anonymous said...

Anytime anyone tries to shoehorn history into a "correct" reading of modern politics, they are wrong. Said makes the same errors as Marx, and Ayn Rand, although not as entertainingly.

Run away, run away.

Eurocentric or Americentric history students could try Glubb Pasha (Sir John Bagot Glubb) for an honest if personal (and politically incorrect) attempt at a middle east history from a participant and observer, then range out from there.

Better an honestly prejudiced writer than a phoney "historian."

johanna said...

thank you very much. your text is really helpful for getting a basic idea about saids thoughts behind.
you helped me a lot also about how to continue my research!

i'd like to attend some more courses of yours ;)

am studying about german-arabic writers and their way of representing the orient towards german audience.

Michelle said...

Thanks!

This was by far the most comprehensive and logical info on Edward Said and Orientalism I could find!

Helped me a lot =)

Had to research Orientalism for a high school in Australia.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amar Deep! THis Artilce contains really very helpful material..i have to prepare an assignment about Orientalism with reference to Edward Said..I got almost all material...marvelloues effort u have made..thanx.
M.A English G.C.University Fsd.Pak

Anonymous said...

I am in an online Intro to Islamic Art course through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This is a suggested site from out instructor to familiarize ourselves with Orientalism/Edward Said.

Anonymous said...

Comparative Politics, San Francisco State University

Anonymous said...

Chapman University - ENG302 Writing for Diverse Cultures... Great insight s, I appreciate your information and the many comments.

With Best Regards,
Kristine Simon

Anonymous said...

hey...
love how u linked orientalism and culture and imperialism.

have done anything on diasporic writtings?
would be intresting to read.

thanx! great help!!
bye...

Anonymous said...

I'm a third year english literature and History student at Trinity College Dublin and this is my second essay on Said's 'Orientalism'. I done my first one on my english course in critical and cultural theory and the one i'm doing now is for 'historiography' on my history course.

Your work was very helpful.

Anonymous said...

Sophomore studying pre-med at arizona university. Used your site for a music course called Arab and Asian music to write a paper about the effects that colonialism and tourism have had on the music of Egypt, Bali, and China. Good site. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Singh,
This post on Said's orientalism is a highly praise-worthy effort of yours, and extremely useful for teachers as well as students.
Manjit Kaur Ghuman,
GNW, Ludhiana.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Comparative Government- private high school, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Anonymous said...

Clear and informative work. I was assigned this reading for an upper level english literature course on post-colonialism at the University of Redlands, CA.

Anonymous said...

Thanks!

English Philology student in the University of Barcelona researching for an essay on Postcolonial Literature.

Ghada said...

Hey
It's Ghada. I'm an english literature student. Orientalism is chosen to this month in our reading club.
Thank u 4 all the given info ab it. Amazing!
Ghada.
KSU, Art college, English department, Saudi Arabia

Anonymous said...

I was assigned this reading by my Writing About Film (ENG 425B) professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. We just watched The Sheik and are using the article for background information for the time period.

Nagarjuna said...

As a part of the course "Life,Literature And Thought" from International Institute of Information Technology,Hyderabad,India

Mary Anne Mohanraj said...

Amardeep, I'm assigning this to my students in Colonialism and Post-Colonialism (ENG 358) at the University of Illinois. They've read the intro to Orientalism, but I think this will help make it clearer to them, so thanks!

- Mary Anne

Anonymous said...

thank you so much
explained a lot about said
really helpful information

sincerely
Crysty
EAS in UofT

HellaHjort03 said...

This essay was apart of an assignment in my english composition course at Southern Maine Comunity College

shukkoor said...

ya this essay is very useful for my presentation of the book review of orientalism by Edward said
thank you

Tomahawk said...

I am using this for a Humanities course I am teaching at LASA high school in Austin Texas. The Unit is on "Self and the Other" and we do quite a bit of postcolonial studies, Fanon Othello and others. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

This was a really great summary of Said's Orientalism. For your records, I am an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis in IAS 203: Crossing Borders II: An Introduction to Cultural Theory. Thanks for the clarification presented on this page.

LG, New Jersey

Anonymous said...

Southampton Politics Masters student - focussing on human rights and (neo/post)colonialism. Thanks for the precis :)

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot. i found some interesting ideas for my presentation for the seminar "Littérature et multiculturalité"
Natalia, Geneva
UniGE

sara said...

thank you, it is really perfect

Anonymous said...

Many thanks!from eBCC, Berkeley, California, USA

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot! From the University of Virginia, USA, for my Literary Theory and Criticism final project

Anonymous said...

Thanks, from San Jose State University. Assigned from my Art194b class with Kristy Phillips

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Assigned to Issues in Contemporary Art at the University of Delaware.

Dave Mazella said...

Thanks for this, Amardeep. I'm linking to this for the courseblog of my Swift and Literary Studies class at the University of Houston. We had a Said segment on Orientalism and his Swift essays.

Best,

Dave Mazella

Anonymous said...

Very helpful, writing an essay on Romantic era Orientalism in relation to Said's book of same name.

Anonymous said...

Hi!!! I'm an English literature student in Mexico and I had to read 'From the Introduction to Orientalism' for one of my classes. I was just looking for some opinions and/or summary in order to put all my ideas together!! This helped me a lot!!

Thank YOU!!

Anonymous said...

Amazing! Thanks! Ive always been interested in Said's work and the construction of the orient and how those perceptions still affect how people view the east.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this useful introduction!!

It really helps explain Said's Orientalism really well...

KSU student , college of Arts, English Literature Department, Saudi Arabia

Kathryn said...

I am preparing an honours thesis for the University of Newcastle, Australia and found this article to be a useful entrance into postcolonialism. My thesis will be titled 'United Nations peacekeeping in Cambodia through postcolonial lenses.'
Thank you

Anonymous said...

Thankyou, LUMS, Dept of Social Science, Pakistan

Anonymous said...

Kia Ora,

I am a Masters student (Indigenous Studies) at Te Whare Wananga O Awanuiarangi, Whakatane, NZ. We have been asked to look at some key concepts of critical theory of which orientalism is one. I found this link after working through other internet based sources. Thank you for this introduction - while there is a lot written about Said and orientalism it is difficult for beginners to get a basic understanding of the concept and then a feeling for the positions of those critiquing his work.

Anonymous said...

hi.
I'm using your essay for my third yr. undergraduate students. I have asked them to read this article for both their class on Heart of Darkness and Postcolonialism. Thanks.
University of Delhi, India

Anonymous said...

Anthropology 1
Universiy of the Philippines

Anonymous said...

Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, Maine.

English Composition

Shamik said...

I think I can adopt this into my framework in which the British identity is very much a part of being 'Indian'; we grow up on English literature, and honestly its not 'their' literature but also ours. The hypocricy lies in accepting it as theirs and thereby not cherishing it as much as we could. I like the idea that of the experience being inexticably intertwined. Also the paradox lies in the fact that although there seems to be no absolute 'us' and 'them', we can't avoid this vocabulary, a point which can be extrapolated out of Said.

Anonymous said...

Hi

Daewon Foreign Language High School, Seoul, South Korea.

English Composition.

Thanks for your summary. I'm a high school student, and I had a difficult time understanding Orientalism. Your summary helped a lot! Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

I'm using your essay for my practice Internal Assessment for IB Regional History. Thank you.

Rampart High School, CO.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr SIngh,

I found this very helpful indeed, am a third year geography student at the University of Manchester using an 'Orientalism' vantage point to do post-colonial map critics.

Very useful,

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Religious Studies
Stirling University

Anonymous said...

I am using your essay as a resource for my IB English essay about post-colonialism found within Anita Desai's Games at Twilight and Other Short Stories. It helped a lot. thanks!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm suggesting this text and your essay at The Valve on Homi Bhabha to my students in the art department at the University of Idaho.

Thanks for doing this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks!
History major assigned a paper on Said and Joan W Scott
at University of Hawaii for junior class in historiography
Useful in analysis!

Anonymous said...

this has been a great help.I just happened to read this when i searched for orientalism.I am studying the book Orientalism in relation to my doctoral thesis in japanese literature and how it portrays things oriental.Yoiur clear explanation of concepts should help me make more sense of Said when i read his book.Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It is quite a good work, that I may cite particular line and use it in my research, Orientalism, history and effects.
Thanx. Well done.

Akshat said...

great ... really helpful
This is in my course curriculum at Humanities and Social Science
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati....

Anonymous said...

university of redlands

Anonymous said...

I have assigned this to students in a 3000-level Geography class on South Asia at East Carolina University. It's very helpful - thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Dallas, Oregon

Anonymous said...

Kia Ora from NZ said exactly what I would like to say.
This is very helpful for my first year political theory students, as reading Said directly first of all is disheartening for new students.
Thanks for a clear, brief and accessible account.
Chris

Rachel said...

Rachel - Secondary School Teacher Devon, England
A very useful interpretation of Said.
Many thanks

Anonymous said...

I was assigned to read this for my art history class that is currently studying Romanticism. The chapter we are on briefly mentioned Oriental art and we were assigned to read this.

Amy's Paradigm said...

I am so grateful to stumble on your blog. You're explanation of Said's work and how to apply his concepts has been very helpful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a billion! The first explanation of Said's work that I read straight through without getting confused multiple times.

Anonymous said...

Hi Professor Singh:
I hope you don't mind if I post this on my blog for my students. I will post a link to your blog along with it.
Masood Raja
Postcoloniality.org

Research Paper said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this very readable explanation of Orientalism. It has been of enormous help to my students.

Anonymous said...

Useful tool for main summary of an important academic work. Social Theory @ the University of Michigan. Thank you.

Lya said...

Not assigned to this but it was super helpful. Thank you.

Vinay Nair said...

A contrary view on Said which I tend to agree with more: http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/enough-said-3743

I am a student from MSU Baroda.

Nuzhah said...

I am a student from Mauritius and I am studying Postcolonial Studies at the University of Mauritius. I have been assigned summarize the main ideas and give an overview of what Edward Said's "Orientalism" is all about. I wish to thank you immensely because your work was indeed of great help to me.

Hannah Hunt said...

Assigned this work in a 300-level Honors class also entitled "Orientalism" at Christopher Newport University in Virginia.

Anonymous said...

A very useful post... thank u very much.. it helped me preparing my assignment...

Anonymous said...

BAhons International Education. Set reading (optional) for third year module ED6003 Comparative Education Asia. Bath Spa University

Anonymous said...

Anthro Course

University of California, Irvine

Anonymous said...

Dear Amardeep,

Thanks very much for your blog, it is very helpful as it it explains what Siad actually argued and devloped and how he did not produce the thoery of Orientalism rather it was from the discourse of the Western people. Further, it is interesting how the westeners produced this thoery by only using thier own perspectives about the Orient rather tha including them because of the pwer relations. it makes me think most perspectives are based on the viewpoints of the western people excluding the Orientals or the less academic. this blog has helped me with my English essay about post colonial thoery applied to A Passage to India.


Thanks very much.

Ruzina

khagendra said...

thanks a lot, it's been a great help to study on Non western study...

khagen, MA final year student
Nepal

Antoine said...

I used your analysis to contrast Orientalism with David Cannadine's Ornementalism: how the british saw their empire.

It's for an history class at the Université de Montréal.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your valuable discussion on orientalism I will assign it to my students in our gender, race and class course at the Claremont colleges

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a well-written and informative article. I will be integrating this into my Western Thought II class at Kansas City Art Institute.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Graduate English Literature Student. CA.

Anonymous said...

-from Harding University in Arkansas, USA, reading up on Edward Said and Homi Bhabha in preparation for an exam in Literary Theory. Thanks for your helpful explanations and comments :)

Anonymous said...

Great article.

Used in Theories of International Relations module, as part of politics degree.

Southampton University

Anonymous said...

Hello (: this was really meaningful in understanding Said's stands as he was writing his Orientalism piece. thanks so much ^^

Pioneer Junior College, Singapore

Golbarg Bashi said...

Many thanks for providing this wonderful online resource on Professor Edward W. Said's seminal "Orientalism." I have posted this link on my "The Middle East in Western Popular Culture and Mass Media" class' virtual blackboard at Rutgers University.

Leslie Bary said...

Leslie Bary, Prof. Spanish & Latin American Studies, for a course archly called Jungle Books, on primitivism in modern literature and art. This is for juniors in literature ... reading and so on includes Les Blank's film Burden of Dreams, Marianna Torgovnick's Gone Primitive, some Said, pieces of Tarzan and Kipling, Heart of Darkness, and various Latin American texts. (So much would fit in, really.)

sradha said...

Thanks for this! Very helpful in figuring out how to boil down Said for a 200-level undergrad course on Gender in South Asia!
~Smitha Radhakrishnan, Wellesley College

Anonymous said...

Writing 100
Boston University

Anonymous said...

Non-Western World Lit. CSU system. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Really needed this for my essay on 'Postcolonial and Diasporic Literature' covering KS Maniam's The Return and Rushdie's East, West.

Sabrina, Monash

Anonymous said...

College of Charleston

Anonymous said...

Willamette University
Anthro 150

Alex said...

Thank you for this work it has helped explain how Said did not invent the term Orientalism and explain what he was trying to say.
EB from UNCG

Adam Ghilchrist said...

It is quite a good work, that I may cite particular line and use it in my research, Orientalism, history and effects.

Adam Ghilchrist said...

It is quite a good work, that I may cite particular line and use it in my research, Orientalism, history and effects.

Jayaprakash Mishra said...

Hello

I found the essay very useful for understanding different tenets the Post colonial study in general and Said's Orientalism in Particular.


Jayaprakash Mishra

M.Phil Scholar
Ravenshaw University
Cuttack
Indian

Anonymous said...

Australian National University, School of Art
Writing a paper on Contemporary 'Asian' self portraiture and Eurocentric responses to the exhibitions.

Thank you!dizerma

Surajit said...

I find it helpful to anyone interested in Said. I'v been teaching English literature at a govt college in Khulna, Bangladesh, and visited the site out of curiosity. Thanks to Mr Singh.

amasiko said...

Dear Singh,
Your invaluable write up on Said's work has been of immense help to my understanding the author's thesis. I am a ph.d student of English studies from the university of port harcourt Nigeria, with research interest on nation formation in the works of Ben okri using the post- colonialism discourse.
Very many thanks.
Irene Omenuko

Anonymous said...

I have assigned this article to many students in my various Humanities classes at San Francisco State University.

Anonymous said...

Optional reading for Intro Art History at MIT.

sar said...

good work...helped me a lot...this is in my curriculum...hons in english from delhi university

Ruth Herrin said...

Hi! I teach IB Anthropology and will be using excerpts from this in class to help explain Said's ideas.

Thanks so much!

-Reh.

William said...

Hello,

I am beginning a PhD program in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Concentration in Ethical and Creative Leadership and a Specialization in Martin Luther King, Jr. Studies. Your article "An Introduction to Edward Said, Orientalism, and Postcolonial Literary Studies" is a reading that was assigned for a class.

School: Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH USA
http://www.myunion.edu

Course: Engaging Differences - FNDS 703

Anonymous said...

Very helpful. Looking at exoticism in the writing of JMG LeClezio for an MA in French at Tufts University.
Amir Farhadi

Anonymous said...

Just revising for an exam in module 'imagining others'(university of leeds), covered said and orientalism as part of research. Thanks for the help, very useful.

Unknown said...

Thank you, helped me out alot for my History of the Middle East class...Jaspreet Dhadda

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

-undergrad student from the University of California, San Diego

Louly100 said...

Really useful introduction to Said's Orientalism for a Senior Class studying Georges Darien's Biribi. Thanks!

Yug zee Tah said...

You are a genius!

Leigh-Anne said...

University of Kansas

Anonymous said...

I am writing a graduate paper for a 500 level Ethnic and Minority Literature class at Indiana University. The paper is on Native American stereotypes and modern identity formation. I plan on using aspects of Said's theory, and would like to use some of your summaries. I will properly site you and your site. It was very helpful. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I found this article while researching orientalism and Post-colonial criticism. I'm writing a paper on these topics, in relation to Hwang's "M Butterfly" for a literary criticism course at Colorado State

Abrar said...

Thanks a lot it is more than hepful and realy easy to understand. It help me in my TMA about the relationship between East and West thanks again. Arab Open University

Anonymous said...

A very helpful and clear overview of Said and Orientalism. Thank you! It certainly strengthened my understanding of the material for pending exam.

BA English Literature, University of Exeter

uzma khan said...

Thanx a lot now i got the perfect answer for my presentation

Anonymous said...

University of Leeds, UK. Course: Performance Design (its a broad course ok.. haha) we were assigned this blog post as part of our reading.

Thanks very much! Really helpful

Anonymous said...

Thanks, was very interesting, especially having read Said 78, 93. I'm studing Postcolonial Geographies and Imperialism at Nottingham.

Anonymous said...

hi,

At the university of Utrecht in The Netherland we have several courses that contain Orientalism and Post-Colonial Theory. The two courses I have followed are: World History and Gender, Etnicity & Cultural Critique. thanks for your info!

Anonymous said...

Great help!
Essay on Orientalism, World History, Utrecht University, Holland

Anonymous said...

American Military University (American Public University System) for Middle Eastern Culture course (IRLS662) in the Masters Degree Program

catsandbadgers said...

Using this for my Freshman Seminar, "Race, Gender, and the Other in Disney," at Shenandoah University this fall

Anonymous said...

Graduate student in Political Science for Middle Eastern Culture Course (IRLS 662) at American Public University System (www.apus.edu)

Anonymous said...

Shenandoah University- Class: Race, Gender, & The Other in Disney

Anonymous said...

University of Oregon, Honors College Literature.

Thanks!

Kellie said...

I have referenced your blog several times this semester for a graduate course in Ethnic American Literature. I am working towards a Master's in Multicultural and Transnational Literature at East Carolina University. Thank you very much for all of your work; it has been very helpful to me and a couple of my classmates.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I assigned this post to students at NYU in Shanghai for a course on Chinese literature. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. I am taking a graduate level course in Middle Eastern Culture at APUS online.

Anonymous said...

Hey, just wanted to say that I'm citing this as a source for a report I have to do on Postcolonialism. Thank you for this. From the Philippines. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Thanks for writing such a clear essay. I am using it to help my students in my Introduction to Global Literature course.

Anonymous said...

Amardeep, Thank you very much for the concise explanation to a wonderful literary work.

Orientalism was a required reading for Visual Culture class.

calebk said...

I writing an essay on Edward Said's 'Orientalism' and stumbled upon this blog. I have found it extremely useful.
I am studying History at Gloucester University, England.

KISHA J. said...

Thank you, for this have and will make my understanding and assignment on "Orientalism" more clearer and better understood.

Joseph Crulcich said...

It was very interesting didn't know anything of this author and now I feel I know much more about him. Thank you.

Kelly Noda said...

Thanks for this explanatory article. I will read this with Honors World Lit students 10th grade at Bishop Snyder High School as we read "Master Harold and the Boys" and Things Fall Apart this quarter.

Anonymous said...

Humanities 212 non-Western Art
Wilbur Wright College

Anonymous said...

Assigned for MIddle Eastern Culture Graduate level course at American MIlitary University.

Anonymous said...

American Public University System pursuing a graduate program in Middle Eastern studies currently enrolled in a course on Middle Eastern Culture.

Anonymous said...

very helpful and easy to understand.
I was assigned this for my Rethinking Global Development class at Cornell University

Anonymous said...

Tiffin University- Master's class in Western Art history

Anonymous said...

Extremely helpful for my final research paper.
ENGL302: Foundations: Introduction to Contemorary Theoretical Practices
University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
BA English

Anonymous said...

sociology 5 - Global social change
UC Davis

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Great help you've been.

Olamiposi O.
Obafemi Awolowo University
Nigeria

Anonymous said...

World History Since 1500
Oklahoma City University

Anonymous said...

Such a clear, well-written resource! I just taught 'Orientalism' in late 19th century French music at UCSD and this text really helped frame key issues for my students.

Anonymous said...

Studying English and Creative Writing at Chichester University. This was useful for my Post-Colonial Theory assignment. Thank You

Anonymous said...

Hi, My name is Patrick Patterson. I am a lecturer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Asian Studies Department. I am using your article as an introduction to Said for my third-year students in a class titled "Contemporary Asian Civilizations."

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot, really helpful!
University of Sheffield

Anonymous said...

Hello I'm taking an online humanities Non-Western Art class. This was a great introduction into the perspective we hold of "non-western" civilizations.

Anonymous said...

Hi sir! I was assigned to report about Orientalism and this helped a lot. Thank you so much! - Communication arts student, St. Paul university QC

Jason Banta said...

Hello - I found this post as well as the one on Bhaba quite useful as a supplement for my students in my Science Fiction and Empire course.

Jezebella said...

I am going to assign this to 30 undergraduates in a Fine Arts course on 19th century art (for non-art majors). Thank you so much!

JRC

Megan said...

Hello! This is for a Middle Eastern Culture course I'm enrolled in at American Military University.

Anonymous said...

City Colleges Of Chicago
Malcolm X College
Humanities 212

Anonymous said...

Assigned this for ANTH 3038 - Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East at the University of Connecticut, USA

Anonymous said...

Muhlenberg College, Arabian Nights and Disney Days

Anonymous said...

Randolph College, Senior Seminar for English Majors

I am visiting this page to get a summary of Edward Said's theory.

Anonymous said...

I am putting a link to this on my historiography course, to help graduate students as they read Edward Said's Orientalism.

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm using this article in my essay relating to stereotypes in the media about Muslims or Islam and Terrorism. It's in my curriculum for Race, Racism & Popular Culture at York University. Thank you! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, it's useful stuff...

Anonymous said...

I have assigned this reading for 25 students in a Fine Arts course entitled "The Nineteenth Century" at the undergraduate level.

thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the very useful blog. I am an academic Symbiosis University, Pune, India.

Anonymous said...

Very helpful for my seminar "Europe in a global context" when writing an essay about Said's "Orientalism".
European University Viadrina Frankfurt/Germany

Anonymous said...

UMASS Amherst
Costume Design Thesis work on The Merchant of Venice and issues of representation surrounding Jewish, Islamic and African stereotypes.

I will also be assigning it as reading to my 300 level costume design class for their work on The Tempest.

Anonymous said...

"music since 1900" at Westminster Choir College-Princeton NJ

Anonymous said...

Thanks!
Required reading for my Intro to International Studies course College of Charleston, South Carolina

Anonymous said...

Posting link as resource for Modern World Lit. course at Rutgers University-Camden

Anonymous said...

I think this post is very useful and have given it to my foundation students in area studies at UCLan.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! This helped solidify Said's ideas about orientalism for me. I'm studying the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in a course at Mount Royal univeristy and I believe that, in the context of this course, this is a pretty important term to understand.

Paige Young said...

Dr. Howarth's sex and empire class at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire

Anonymous said...

I teach the History of Modern and Contemporary Art and will be providing this reading as supplemental information on an assignment that uses postcolonial theory to analyze 19th and early 20th century World's Fair architectural design. Thank you for making this information available and easily accessible for students!

Anonymous said...

This was very helpful. I am writing an essay for an Ethnomusicology class (within a music history class) at Washington State University. Cleared things up that I read in Said's book!

Anonymous said...

College of Applied Sciences, Nizwa
Sultanate of Oman

Thank you for the very helpful notes.

Anonymous said...

Hello, thank you for the wonderful article. I am preparing for my post colonial exam and I wanted to know more about Orientalism and was thrilled to find information regarding Heart of Darkness which I am also studying but from the angle of the Colonial Gaze.
- Third Year BA English at Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand.

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