Orientalism

Examines Edward Said’s definition of ‘orientalism’ and how this concept is viewed in Western terms.

Edward Said wrote Orientalism, with the intent of giving an explanation of the Eastern world. Shakespeare, in King Lear, expresses Orientalism (Foer, 15). British imperial anthropology texts were Orientalist. However important the implications of the Orientalist critique of culture, its effect on Western political discourse has become more immediately consequential. Many practitioners of the Orientalist critique have tended to dismiss the term terrorist as a usage of Western propaganda. Western scholars might ask themselves to what degree their work is less a critique of Western power than an enabler for Eastern failure. This paper discusses the work of Said in relation to history and the present Western understanding of the East.