More than three decades after its first publication, Edward Said's groundbreaking critique of the West's historical, cultural, and political perceptions of the East has become a modern classic.
In this wide-ranging, intellectually vigorous study, Said traces the origins of "orientalism" to the centuries-long period during which Europe dominated the Middle and Near East and, from its position of power, defined "the orient" simply as "other than" the occident. This entrenched view continues to dominate western ideas and, because it does not allow the East to represent itself, prevents true understanding. Essential, and still eye-opening, Orientalism remains one of the most important books written about our divided world.
Comment (from this Blueprint): Orientalism is a classic text in postcolonial theory which successfully brought out the politics of ‘othering’. It shows how the ‘Orient’ was constructed by delineating it from the supposedly morally, culturally and politically advanced (and superior) ‘Occident’. The book is not so much about the East as much as it is about how the Orient was ‘produced’ by the imperial masters of Europe and America and perceived as the ‘other’ to the rest of the ‘civilized’ world. The author traces and examines various literary and political sources which originated and perpetuated Orientalism. The abstract gives an overview of the argument and introduces the reader to the rest of the book.