A Critical Analysis Of Edward Said's Orientalism

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Part 1: In his 1978 book “Orientalism,” Edward Said sheds light on an abstract theory called Orientalism. Said starts out with an introduction in which he gives some very definite examples of what Orientalism is not. “Orientalism is not a mere political subject matter or a field that is reflected passively by culture, scholarships 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” (Said 12). Orientalism is then explained, it is the concept that western society views the world as two separate and unequal parts, the Orient (the east) and the Occident (the west). That the east needs the west to dominate it so that the east can become better. The book then goes on to discuss that this is not a modern topic, in fact it has been going on for many centuries. The only difference now is that there is new technology to spread the concept and “reinforce the stereotypes” (Said 26). The idea of knowledge is power is then introduced. This is a core principle of Orientalism as the west believes they have more knowledge of the east than the east does themselves, thus by having more knowledge about the east the west has more power over the east. Arthur James Balfour is then introduced. In 1910 Balfour lectured the House of Commons on British presence in Egypt. Said goes on to use multiple quotes from Balfour’s lecture to help prove
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