Write 5 pages thesis on the topic edward said’s orientalism and its contemporary relevance. Oriental Studies are a combination of scholarships consisting of ethnology, linguistics, philosophy, and decoding of culture via the detection, recovery, collection, and translation of Oriental texts. Said was categorical that his intentions were not to cover the whole area of Oriental studies, but to concentrate on how American, English, and French scholars view the Arab societies living in the Middle East and North Africa (Trefflich 2011, p. 2).
Said’s main concerns on Orientalism
In Orientalism, Said makes three main claims. The first claim is that, despite orientalist claiming to be an objective, non-interested, and an esoteric field, the truth is that it worked to serve political ends. In relation to this claim, Orientalist scholarship offered means that would help Europeans take over Oriental lands. Said further notes that, towards the final part of the twentieth century, Orientalism played a critical role in preserving American power in the Middle East and further defended the invasion and colonization of Palestine. However, in the contemporary world, there is less interest in the conventional fields of literature and philology. One fact that is worth mentioning is that American academic centers that offer Middle Eastern studies have an immense concern in giving advice on public policy to the government (Said 1979, p. 31).
In the second claim, Said argues that Orientalism assisted in defining Europe’s self-image. In relation to this claim, Said was of the opinion that creating an identity in every society and age entails establishing others and opposites. This is so because creating and maintaining each culture calls for the existence of a different and competing culture. Through Orientalism, the West began to perceive the Islamic culture as static in reference to time and place. In addition, the West also perceived the Islamic culture as uniform, foreign, and without the ability to define itself. In doing so, the West gained a sense of superiority in its culture and intellectual capacity (Said 1979, p. 36). As a result of this, the West perceived itself as an innovative, dynamic, growing culture, and as an observer, a jury, and a judge of every Oriental behavior.