An Analysis Of Edward Said's Orientalism

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Edward Said’s historically influential work entitled Orientalism delivers a new and profound way to understand views of culture and society by understanding the historical context from which those views originate. Said’s thesis is that Orientalism is not only an academic field but also a manufactured and false representation of the Orient that serves as a powerful tool of political oppression and authority which the Orient has no say. Said explains that Orientalism shows what the Orient is by a way of explaining what Western culture, or the Occident, is not. He argues early in the book that Orientalism is “a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between "the Orient" and (most of the time) "the Occident." Before one dives into Said’s work, an understanding of what has been written about Orientalism before Edward Said needs to be examined. Said was not the first person to coin the term “Orientalism” or “Orientalist”, but rather he repurposed the word to have a more negative connotation. The word was not particular only to the nineteenth century as well. It was deployed among various realms of academia: sociology, political science, history, anthropology, and even economics. Said essentially co-opted the word from various fields and applied his new meaning to it. The orientalist was a person who had either a fascination with or who studied the Orient. Said gave the term a different meaning by basing it on ideology rather than
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