Said Falsifies the Past
I find Said’s Orientalism most unsatisfactory. But first, what does his book argue? Here it is convenient to quote from the introduction to my book:
‘In a nutshell, it is this: Orientalism, the hegemonic discourse of imperialism, is a discourse that constrains everything that can be thought and written about in the West about the Orient and more particularly about Islam and the Arabs. It has legitimized Western penetration of the Arab lands and their appropriation and it underwrites the Zionist project. Though Said is not consistent about the origins of Orientalism, on the whole he argued that it originated in the work of French and British scholars in the late eighteenth century. However, the discursive formation was not restricted to scholars, as imperialist administrators, explorers and novelists participated in, or were victims of this discourse. The West possesses a monopoly over how the Orient may be...
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