Edward Said on Colonialism and ‘Othering’. Who Was Edward Said? - very influential writer on colonialism. - a scholar in the humanities who grew up in Egypt and Palestine, but whose entire education was Western author of over 20 books, including:
to advance our understanding of the way cultural domination of oppressed people has operated.
- offers insights about colonialism from the perspective of one who has been colonized.
We can often generalize what he says about “The Orient” and “Orientalism” to the relationship of Indigenous peoples with colonizers elsewhere in the world.
- forms the basis of many Indig intellectuals’ challenges to cultural colonialism
– e.g. Darwin’s influence, Freud’s influence, racist authors’ (e.g., de Gobineau) influence?
Analyzed the writings (“texts”) of others, especially how they present colonized societies to their readers in:
(Said calls this an analysis of the text’s surface or exteriority, as opposed to an analysis of what lies hidden in the text. )
Looked at style, figures of speech, setting, & narrative devices (e.g., binary opposites).
2. A Style of Thought - based on a distinction between “East” & “West” (Orient & Occident)
- The essence of this style of thought is “the ineradicable distinction between Western superiority and Oriental inferiority”. - That belief in a radical difference between the two creates an on-going state of tension in the relationship between the two.
3. A Corporate Institution and Network of Vested Interests e.g., congresses, universities, foreign-service institutes
“European culture gained in strength and identity by setting itself off against the Orient as a sort of surrogate and even underground self.”
That became hegemonic (dominant and accepted by consent as conventional wisdom or common sense) in Europe. (A. Gramsci)
“The point is that in each of these cases, the Oriental is contained and represented by dominating frameworks.”
Instead, his so-called detachment is weighted heavily with all the attitudes, perspectives, and moods [e.g., fear] of Orientalism.