Orientalism and its Importance to Study

Graham      According to Edward Said’s definition of “Orientalism,” Orientalism is an entrenched structure of thought, a pattern of making certain generalizations about the part of the world known as the “East.” The word “Orientalism” it was a term used especially by Middle East specialists, Arabists, as well as many who studied both East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Orientalism was ultimately a political vision of reality whose structure promoted the difference between the familiar Europe, West, “us” and the strange -the Orient, the East, “them”.” as Said put it (Wallenius). It is a cultural bias of the western writers toward Middle East.

I would personally recommend to anyone and educational institutions to make “Orientalism” a mandatory reading or topic for students who are majoring in the fields of Political science, International relations; Global studies and Conflict. Studying about Orientalism in the classes is an essential contribution to our self-awareness as producers of knowledge and offers a welcome and indispensable criticism of the field. I have learned that the study of “Orientalism” itself can be learned much about the West’s image of itself through the way Western writers have depicted the Orient. Edward Said argued that Orientalism can be found in current Western depictions of Arab cultures; the depictions of “the Arab” as irrational, threatening, untrustworthy, anti-Western, and dishonest. Said’s literary criticism can essentially become a political science.

The importance to study this particular subject “Orientalism” became a powerful European ideological creation a way for writers through the modern mass media as weapons of conquest. The knowledge of Orientalism will help us to reject a biological generalizations; cultural constructions, racial and religious prejudices. It is also a rejection of greed as a primary motivating factor in intellectual pursuit. As the orientalism stereotype goes on and on.., they are capable of sophisticated obstructions, but are impossible to trust due to not of concrete and practical organization or detail-oriented analysis from our own knowledge. Then the Orientalist mindset would be just “East is east and west is west, and never the twain shall meet” (Rudyard Kipling). Finally, the study of Orientalism will appeal for us to recognize the humanity of the Arabs, Muslims and others that can be the victim of orientalism.


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