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am 25. Juni 2017
This is a great book !! I am doing a part on Postcolonial literature in university and Edward Said is a classic and very well to read. I liked his style of writing and was very intrigued by his way of thinking. Great book!!
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am 30. April 2017
Great book - Perfect condition and quick - Learning a lot - great great great great great great great great
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am 17. Juni 2000
When it was written, Orientalism administered a much-needed correction to the study of the Arab and Asian worlds. Any historian, social scientist or humanist working in related fields should own a copy.
The strength of Edward Said's Orientalism is its highlighting of the underlying assumptions of dominance and subjection in Orientalist scholarship. Said correctly points out that the British, French and United States have relied on the reduction of the Orient to an academic study backed by a mythical image of its inhabitants and cultures as more primitive, passionate, mystical and illogical. Complementing this has been a presumption of Western superiority that allows diagnosis of social ills and prescription of Western remedies for these ills.
Said also pointed out a secondary weakness in the Orientalist approach to its studies. If Westerners presume the Orient to be more passionate and mystical, they may assume that it provides absolute alternatives to the ills of Western culture and modernism. Thus the span of Western history scrutinized by Said has seen individuals and groups embracing ill-understood religions and cultural precepts. The anti-majoritan/left-leaning subcultures arising during the upheavals of the 1960's are particularly susceptible to this.
This leads naturally to Aijid Ahmad's primary criticism of Said. Orientalism doesn't consider the varied responses of the Orient/Third-World to its theories. In particular, Ahmad correctly points out that Orientalism over-focuses blames on the West and doesn't address the self-inflicted problems of "Oriental" societies. Based on this criticism, the proper approach is to balance the effects of Western Orientalism and the indigenous difficulties. Essentially, Ahmad advocates abandoning the simple depiction of the Orient for a complex and layered reality.
Orientalism's uncriticized weakness lies in its treatment of Europe. Said willingly admits his limited focus on Britain, France and United States may miss some important scholarship found elsewhere. This concentration has some logic to it. His trio of nations has been among the strongest if not dominant powers in the colonial and post-colonial world. A complete survey of European Orientalism could run for several volumes. Yet in this focus, Said misses those European nations who had had longer and more intricate relations with the "Orient".
Said mentions his lack of attention to German scholarship on the Orient. Beyond the loss in additional scholarship, he cannot take account of the direct influence of the German academic tradition on the rest of Europe and particularly the United States. Beyond this immediate effect, Said loses the transmitted experience of the German Reich's participation in the direct struggle against the Ottoman Empire. While he mentions the Medieval and Renaissance hostility to Islam based on direct threat and conflict, he ignores the extension of this conflict into the 18th and 19th centuries. Yet this conflict remained a dominant factor in the existence of the Austrian and Russian Empires. As long as the struggle continued, the Orient in the form of Islam would have a direct influence on the course of European history. The simple illustration of this is the European approach to independence for the Balkan states and occasional support for the Ottomans versus an opponent. While this support was partially based on the perceived weakness of the Ottomans and resultant manipulability, it also concedes the existence of some real and beneficial power.
Said's exclusion of other European states weakens his structure in a different manner. It's useful to consider the British and French perceptions of Austria and Russia. A simple interpretation of Orientalism presumes a unified Europe as opposed to the Orient. Yet this ignores the equally institutionalized denigration of Austria and Russia. We can refer to the image of the mythical Slavic province of Ruritania (cf. Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda), a den of intrigue and iniquity. Add to this Said's notes on the relative knowledge of the Near Orient versus the Far Orient. This suggests more of a subtle gradation in the construction of the Other than is represented by Orientalism's sharp division between Occident and Orient.
Other historical patterns also stress the need for the representation of a more complex Occident. For instance Said argues that European exploration and extension of trade routes to India and the Far East shows hostility to Islam. A simpler explanation may be mercantile concerns for lowering expenses and increasing profits. Direct trade was more profitable than relying on Arab middlemen. The Arab reaction to Portuguese penetration of the Indian Ocean reflected a concern with being excluded from the profits of trade with India rather than with the intrusion of a new power in the region. This concern with trade leads to different motivations for learning languages and examining cultures. A variety of motivations for scholarship argue for a more complex Occident. The need for more complexity does not necessarily invalidate Said's central points on the institutionalized domination common to Western European Orientalism. Rather it demands refinement of a useful critique of the study of colonialism.
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am 17. Februar 1999
At first sight, arcane knowledge of the classical "Orient" and seemingly objective inquiry into cultures other than "ours" may not bear any great impact on politics or other more decisive facets of life. Said demonstrates, however, that knowledge does affect political power in extremely significant ways. He thoroughly documents how apparently "objective" scholars from Europe and later America formulated and taught academic dogmas about the "inferior East." These academic doctrines, in turn, acquired an aura of authority on the basis of their seemingly immense knowledge, and thus acquired the power to (mis)represent "the Orient" to the Occidental audience. Through various reductionist stereotypes, such Orientalist dogmas climbed their way into state-sponsored academic chairs and experts who, up to his very day, have the power to guide and direct national policies. Said's Orientalism is a forceful and cogent political argument against binary oppositions and harmful divisions which unfortunately still pervade much of "our" scholarship and politics.
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am 31. Dezember 1999
It is not often that a brilliantly, exhaustively researched book on an alternatingly controversial and trivial subject can engender an emotional response of the magnitude with which this work does. In documenting the psychological architecture of the western mind and its perspective on the East- or the "Orient", he deconstructs it. The idea that it exists deconstructs it by nature; before reading this book you will swear that most of what we know of the Arabian East is the absolute truth, and isn't much of anything complimentary, let alone influential.
I rate this book, for its effect on our psyche as Americans alone (regardless of race or assumed political leanings), as one of the most important written in this now closing century. The world looks the way it does not because of natural law,like the reasons why the Sahara has become a desert- or at least not by the natural laws we have imagined. Edward Said shows this in remarkable fashion.
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am 6. Oktober 1999
Saiid's work was an incredible adventure to read, unmasking the European and American prejudices towards the Oriental world. Those objecting to it anti-occidental content seem justified, but a careful perusal of the book reveals that its conclusion go far deeper than emotive responses of hate. If you want to undermine your ill-founded stereotypes and biases, read this book. This Arab Christian of Palestinian nationality knows what he talking about living extensively in both the Occident and Orient with a priveledged position @ Columbia University in NYC.
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am 11. Januar 2000
Whichever side you may be on, East or West,if you are in for polemic and easy self-justification, don't even start to read this book: it just isn't for you! But if you like taking challenges this book with its nearly 40 pages of notes and index part and erudition dripping from each and every one of its pages will surely be a treat for you!
PS. I can't help lavishing this trivia on some: Edward SAID is a Protestant Christian not a Muslim!
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am 20. Mai 1997
This is an academic work, not for everyone's interests ortastes. But still it is a revolutionary look at how Westernscholarship "invented" the Orient from its own political and psychological needs to create a dehumanized "Other". Few books explain so well the intellectual origins of popular and academic stereotypes of the Middle East. Few books explain so well the failure of Western academics to accurately study other cultures in a useful way conducive to mutual understanding.
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am 5. September 1999
The central point of Said's book is that the so-called "West" cannot truly understand the complexities and intricate nature of the Arab world. Only a Muslim like him can, despite the fact that he himself was educated in the West. One must wonder how any culture can understand another, and if they cant we should just give up scholarship and go into our own hiding places. This is essentially a post-modernist argument, saying there is no real truth, only differing perceptions. For better treatment of the same subject see Bernard Lewis, a real scholar.You will walk away from his book with a true understanding of Arab history, despite what Said may say.
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am 11. September 1997
Although some may find this book distasteful to their appetites because it might infringe upon their personal perceptions of themselves or their society, debasing the book to a work that they perceive as an attack upon their 'race', "Orientalism" actually attempts to address an issue concerning Western academic perceptions regarding non-Western people: Mainly that these perceptions are tainted. The very fact that some individuals perceive that the book is a personal attack upon a certain race validates the book itself. Said attempts therein to explain how certain perceptions about certain people persist in academia, permeating and sustaining prejudices within the non-academic world as well, because the Orientalist school appeals to the base of human emotions of jingoism and self-justification of 'superiority'. Debasing this explanantion by perceiving it as an attack upon any other 'race' reeks of the attitude that Said is trying to explain. No 'race' is at blaim, only the causal relationship between the perceptions that empire created and the people they attempted to govern. Interpretations that attempt to label Said's work as an attack upon a certain 'race' only show the true colors of those that make such arguments
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