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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Orientalism: Edward Said

Puja Prakash (1124117)

Orientalism by Edward Said
Part I
  1. Americans will not feel quite the same about the Orient, which for them is much more likely to be associated very differently with the Far East.
Supporting Statements:
  1. Unlike Americans – French, British, Germans, Russians, Spanish, etc – have a long tradition of Orientalism. Orientalism means – a way of coming to terms with the Orient – based on its special place in the European Western experience.
  2. Orient – not only adjacent to Europe, geographically – it is the place of Europe's greatest, richest and oldest colonies. It is the source of its language, civilization and culture.
  3. Orient also helps to define Europe – as its contrasting image, idea and personality – Integral part of European material civilization and culture – Orientalism expresses and represents that part – culturally and ideologically.
  4. American understanding of Orient – less dense – recent Japanese, Korean and Indochinese adventures – creating a more sober and 'realistic' Oriental awareness.
Keyword: Orientalism
  1. That by Orientalism I mean several things, all of them, in my opinion, interdependent.
Supporting Statements:
  1. The most readily accepted designation – academic one. Anyone who teaches, writes – about the Orient – in specific detail or in general terms – is an Orientalist – what he or she does – Orientalism.
  2. Orientalism is vague – and connotes high-handed executive attitude of 19th and 20th century European colonisation – so Orientalism is less preferred.
  3. Even though, Orientalism does not survive as it once did – it lives on academically.
Keywords: Orientalism as an academic one
  1. Related to this academic tradition, whose fortunes, transmigrations, specializations and transmissions are in part the subject of this study, is a more general meaning for Orientalism.
Supporting Statements:
  1. Orientalism – style of thought – based upon ontological and epistemological distinction between – Orient and Occident. Many writers, novelists, philosophers – have accepted – the basic distinction between East and West – starting point for theories, social descriptions, etc.
Keyword: distinction between Orient and Occident
  1. The interchange between the academic and the more or less imaginative meanings of Orientalism is a constant one, and since the late eighteenth century there has been a considerable, quite disciplines - perhaps even regulated traffic between the two.
Supporting Statements:
  1. 18th Century – starting point of Orientalism – analysed as a corporate institution dealing with the Orient – Orientalism – Western style for dominating, restructuring and having authority over the Orient.
  2. Without understanding Orientalism as a discourse – cannot understand – the enormously systematic discipline – by which European culture was able to manage and produce – during post-Enlightenment period.
  3. Orientalism – authoritative position – one thinking, writing about Orient – could not do so without taking into account – limitations on thought and action.
  4. Not to say – Orientalism unilaterally determines – what is to be said about the Orient – but a whole network of interests – brought to bear on any occasion – where Orient is in question.
  5. European culture – gained in strength – by setting itself off against the Orient – as a sort of a surrogate – even underground self.
  1. Historically and culturally there is a quantitative as well as a qualitative difference between the Franco-British involvement in the Orient and-until the period of American ascendancy afterWorld War II-the involvement of every other European and Atlantic power.
Supporting Sentences:
  1. Orientalism – particular closeness between – Britain France and the Orient.
  2. From beginning of 19th century to world war II – Britain and France dominated Orient and Orientalism.
  3. Since World War II – America dominates the Orient – approaches it like how French and British once did.
  4. Out of the closeness – productivity – demonstrates greater strength to the Occident – also called Orientalist.
Keywords: involvement of European and Atlantic power
Part II
  1. Orient is not an inert fact of nature
Supporting Sentences:
  1. Orient is not merely there – exist
  2. Men make their history – what they know is what they have made – same extends to geography as well. Thus, geographical sectors – Orient and Occident are man-made.
  3. Orient is an idea – has a history and tradition – thought, vocabulary and imagery. The two geographic entities – support and reflect each other.
Keywords: Man-made
  1. Having said that, one must go on to state a number of reasonable qualifications.
Supporting Sentences:
  1. Firstly – wrong to conclude – Orient is essentially an idea. Disraeli – spoke about – East as a career. To be interested in East – would be an all-consuming passion for young Westerners.
  2. Many Eastern civilizations, nations and cultures – have a brute reality – greater than anything that could be said about them in the West.
  3. Orientalism – does not deal with the correspondence between Orientalism and Orient; but the consistency between – Orientalism and its ideas about the Orient as a career – despite or lack of any correspondence with the 'real' Orient.
  4. Disraeli's statement – refers to – the created consistency. Lays emphasis on the constellation of ideas as pre-eminent notion about the Orient – not its mere existence.
Keywords: East as a career
  1. A second qualification is that ideas, cultures, and histories cannot seriously be understood or studied without their force, or more precisely their configurations of power, also being studied.
Supporting Sentences:
  1. To believe that the Orient was created – 'Orientalized' – and to further believe such things happen out of necessity of imagination – is disingenuous.
  2. Relationship between Orient and Occident – relationship of power, domination, various degrees of a complex hegemony.
  3. Orient was Orientalized – because it was considered to be 'Oriental' by average 19th Century European – also because – it could be made Oriental.
Keywords: Orientalized
  1. This brings us to the third qualification.
Supporting Sentences:
  1. It is not right to assume – structure of Orientalism is a structure of lies and myth.
  2. Orientalism is valuable – as a sign on European-Atlantic power over the Orient than – it is a discourse about the Orient itself.
  3. What needs to be grasped – the sheer knitted-together strength of the Orientalist discourse – its close ties to enabling socio-economic and political institutions – and its redoubtable durability.
  4. Undoubtedly – a system of knowledge and ideas – that remain unchanged – from the period of late 1940s to the present – is far more than a collection of lies.
  5. Therefore – brings us to – Orientalism is not an airy European fantasy about the Orient – but a created body of theory and practice – for many generations there has been considerable material investment.
  6. Continuous investment – Orientalism a system of knowledge – a grid for filtering through the Orient into Western consciousness.
Keywords: system of knowledge
  1. Gramsci has made the useful analytic distinction between civil and political society in which the former is made up of voluntary (or atleast rational and noncoercive) affiliations like schools, families, and unions, the latter of state institutions (the army, the police, the central bureaucracy) whose role in the polity is direct domination.
Supporting Sentences:
  1. Culture – operating within the civil society – where influence of ideas of institutions and people – works not through domination – but consent.
  2. Therefore – in any society not totalitarian – certain culture forms predominate others – just as certain ideas are more influential than the others.
  3. This cultural leadership – is called hegemony. Important concept – for any understanding of cultural life – in industrial West.
  4. Cultural hegemony – gives Orientalism durability and strength – similar to Denny Hay's idea about Europe – which is – a collective notion of identifying 'us' Europeans as against 'those' as non-Europeans.
  5. This is the major component in European culture – made it culture hegemonic – inside and outside Europe. The idea of superiority as compared to non-European people and culture.
  6. Hegemony of European ideas over the Orient – reiterating European superiority over Oriental backwardness.
Keywords: Hegemony
  1. In a quite constant way, Orientalism depends for its strategy on this flexible positional superiority, which puts the Westerner in a whole series of possible relationships with the Orient without ever losing him the relative upper hand.
Supporting Sentences:
  1. Any scholar, scientist, etc – could think about the Orient – and could be there – with very little resistance from the side of Orient.
  2. The knowledge of the Orient – and within the western hegemony over the Orient – there has emerged an all new complex Orient.
  3. This is suitable for study – display in the museum – biological, linguistic, racial theses
  4. The imaginative examination of things Orient – based exclusively upon sovereign Western consciousness – out the unchallenged centrality of this – the Orient world emerged.
Keywords: positional superiority
  1. My two fears are distortion and inaccuracy, or rather the kind of inaccuracy produced by too dogmatic a generality and too positivistic a localized focus.
Supporting Sentences:
  1. In trying to deal with these problems – three main aspects of contemporary reality are being dealt with.
  2. In the first instance – the difficulty that might force – into writing – coarse polemic on unacceptably general level of description – not worth an effort.
  3. The second instance – into writing so detailed – a series of analyses – that the general lines of force – lose track
  4. to recognize individuality and reconcile with the intelligent – not passive or directional, general or hegemonic context merely
Part III
  1. It is very easy to argue that knowledge about Shakespeare or Wordsworth is not political whereas knowledge about contemporary China or the Soviet Union is.
Supporting Sentences:
  1. Humanist – unlikely – he might say anything political – because does not seem to have a direct political response upon reality in everyday sense
  2. Distinction between humanists and people whose work is of political significance – former's views – incidental importance to politics. The views of the latter – directly woven into his material – and therefore is 'political'
  3. Most knowledge from the West – mainly US – is non-political – scholarly, academic, etc. – practice of such theory in reality – is problematic
  4. No method of detaching scholar from – circumstances in life, everyday happenings – class, set of beliefs, social position. These bear on him – even though his research does not withstand such inhibitions.
  5. Yet – knowledge is not – automatically non-political.
Keywords: political knowledge, non-political knowledge
  1. I am interested in doing now is suggesting how the general liberal consensus that "true" knowledge is fundamentally non-political (and conversely, that overtly political knowledge is not "true" knowledge) obscures the highly if obscurely organized political circumstances obtaining when knowledge is produced.
Supporting Sentences:
  1. When the adjective 'political' is used for any work – a label of discredit is given – because it was daring to violate – protocol of pretended suprapolitical objectivity
  2. Civil society – reorganizes a gradation of political ideas – various fields of knowledge.
  3. Most times – political importance – comes with the possibility of direct translation – to economic terms; but largely – comes with closeness with ascertainable sources of power.
  4. Political society – reaches – realms of civil society – saturates them with significance of direct concern to them
Keywords: true knowledge
  1. For if it is true that no production of knowledge in the human sciences can ever ignore or disclaim its author's involvement as a human subject in his own circumstances
Supporting Sentences:
  1. European or American – studying the Orient – he comes up against the Orient as an American or European first – individual next.
  2. To be European or American in this situation – is not an inert fact
  3. It makes aware, even though dimly – one belongs to a power with definite interests in the Orient
  4. Or one belongs to the part of the earth – with definite history of involvement in the Orient
  1. Put in this way, these political actualities are still too undefined and general to be really interesting.
Supporting Sentences:
  1. There is too great a distance between – the big dominating fact – and the details of everyday life.
  2. If we eliminate from start – the notion that big facts – like imperial domination – can be applied to culture and ideas – then a new and interesting kind of study can be approached.
  3. European and American interest in Orient – political – for obvious historical accounts.
  4. Culture – as a matter of fact – created that interest – acted dynamically – to make Orient a varied and complicated place – field of Orientalism
  1. Therefore, Orientalism is not a mere political subject matter or field that is reflected passively by culture, scholarship, or institutions; nor is it a large and diffuse collection of texts about the Orient; nor is it representative and expressive of some nefarious "Western" imperialist plot to hold down the "Oriental" world.
Supporting Sentences:
  1. Distribution of geopolitical awareness – into aesthetic, scholarly, economic, sociological, historical texts
  2. Elaboration of basic geographical distinction – also a whole series of 'interests'
  3. It creates and maintains
  4. Will or intention – to understand, in some cases control, manipulate and incorporate – a manifestly different world.
  5. It is produced and exists – in uneven exchange with various kinds of power – shaped to a degree by the exchange with power political – power intellectual – power cultural – power moral
  6. Orientalism – considerable dimension of modern political-intellectual culture – got to do less with Orient – than with the 'our' (western) world.

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