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Political science. Palestine and Orientalism - Essay Example

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Political science. Palestine and Orientalism

In his study Said blended political polemic and literary excursion. He writes: "The Orient is not only adjacent to Europe; it is also the place of Europe's greatest and richest and oldest colonies, the source of its civilizations and languages, its cultural contestant, and one of its deepest and most recurring images of the Other" (Said, 1979, pp.1-2)
Said claims that Orientalism is an academic area which causes interest in a variety of academic institutions, because all teachers, sooner or later begin to research Orient and apply their knowledge in the areas of their competence. Said holds that since the end of eighteenth century the scholarly and academic meanings of Orientalism have been quite 'politically correct' and the related efforts have been restricted. Furthermore, Said believes that Orientalism reflects Western style of domination and is close-knit with Western mind, usually related to perceiving Orient as a 'younger brother' or 'poorer kin'.
Said holds that the antagonistic political relationship between the Sast and the West lies in the earliest development the struggle between Islam and Christianity. According to Said, Orientalism, which presents Christian world as 'higher', is used as a demonstration of European power and is seen as a comparative theory, in which two eternal rivals - the East and the West - make an 'argument' with predicted conclusion which is to sum up that European beliefs and culture are more humanistic and more suitable and more appropriate for harmonious development of an individual.
Similarly to other '-isms', Orientalism has been ill-treated from the ancient times up to the present. From the other angle of view, Orientalism is a natural movement, whose toughness is quite sufficient in its universal authenticity. This movement is a product of synergy, which takes place among different studies, accumulated by different followers, who are interested in one of the richest world cultures, and Oriental culture. Moreover, Said's study has itself caused a number of responses, either positive or negative.
Lewis attempted to criticize Said's approach -in particular, in his article ' The question of Orientalism', which defended Middle Eastern studies, and in particular, Palestinian studies. On the other hand, Lewis was a newcomer to the United States, and his refutation - a forceful defense of the European and Palestinian traditions (which sometimes converts into an attack) - did not canceled Said's complaints about the problems and complications of American Middle Eastern studies. Lewis, for instance, writes that, in fact, Europe hasn't yet experienced (or probably, hasn't noticed) such considerable influence of Orientalism on its tradition. Lewis's main notes were following:
1) Firstly, it would be wrong to claim that Oriental studies are limited to the study of Muslim culture, while in fact Biblical research is an essential and substantial element or Orientalism. Palestine as the country of diverse religions supports both religious doctrines, so it needs more profound inquiry than Said has done.
2) Secondly, there is no doubt that an identifiable part of Western studies was stimulated by either political or religious propaganda "and appeared throughout the ages with distorted images of Islam, the East and its cultures; however, this movement cannot be termed "Orientalism", rather it is "False Orientalism" (Lewis, 1982, ...Show more

Summary

In 1978, Edward said, a professor of English and comparative literature, published a book titled 'Orientalism', producing a new viewpoint concerning Islamic world and creating sensation, as many authors, who were inspired by his book, reflected upon his ideas…
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Political science. Palestine and Orientalism essay example
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