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Transcript of Orientalism
Definitions Of Orientalism
Hegemony is the social, cultural, ideological or economic influence exerted by a dominant group.
Orientalism as a sign of Western hegemony
Orientalism as a discourse
Who is Edward Said
Seeing Eastern culture exotic compared to Western culture
The study of Near and Far Eastern societies and peoples by Western scholars.
What does "hegemony" mean?
The Orient was understood to be static in time and place. It was understood as being eternal, uniform and incapable of defining itself. This was in opposition to the West which saw itself as being dynamic ,and innovative. The European sense of cultural and intellectual superiority granted to Westerners the authority of spectator to be the judge and jury of Oriental behavior.
Orientalism as a Western hegemony:
Edward Said argues that
"without examining Orientalism as a discourse, one cannot possibly understand the enormously systematic discipline by which European culture was able to manage--and even produce--the Orient, politically, sociologically, militarily, ideologically, scientifically and imaginatively during the post-Enlightenment period."
"Moreover, so authoritative a position did Orientalism have that…no one writing, thinking, or acting on the Orient could do so without taking account of the limitations on thought and action imposed by Orientalism."
Orientalism as an ontological and epistemological distinction.
A Palestinian American academic, political activist, and literary critic who examined literature in light of social and cultural politics and was an outspoken proponent of the political rights of the Palestinian people and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
In 1978 he published Orientalism, his best-known work and one of the most influential scholarly books of the 20th century. In it Said examined Western scholarship of the “Orient,” specifically of the Arab Islamic world (though he was an Arab Christian), and argued that early scholarship by Westerners in that region was biased and projected a false and stereotyped vision of “otherness” on the Islamic world that facilitated and supported Western colonial policy.
Homi Bhabha and mimicry
Homi Bhabha is a professor of humanities. He has a great interest in the history of ideas and literature. He applies the post-colonial theory; in order to figure out the impacts which the colonizers left on the colonized nations.
Bhabha, in his book “Of Man and Mimicry”, asserts the idea that colonialism results in irony, repetition, and mimicry.
Mimicry is the art of mimicking somebody or something. And mimic means to copy somebody’s voice or gesture in order to entertain people.
But according to Bhabha’s theory, it is the most elusive and effective strategy of colonial power and knowledge. It is the way by which the colonized nations have resisted the colonizers, but it’s not a representation of resistance itself but a resemblance for camouflage.
The colonial definition of mimic differs a little bit, as it means to adopt the colonizer’s cultural habits, assumptions, institutions and values.
Lack of Objectivity
Discourse controls how we think about a given subject, and it sits barriers to what can be said or thought. As a result those who are affected by the discourse grow to be subjective.
They start to think about the given subject in terms of their personal beliefs and superficial facts gained from the discourse. Thus, there is a lack of objectivity, a lack of true facts about the Orient.
Based on the Silence of the Other
“Every one of them [Orientalists] kept intact the separateness of the Orient, its eccentricity, its backwardness, its silent indifference, its feminine penetrability, its supine malleability; this is why every writer on the Orient, from Renan to Marx (ideologically speaking), or from the most rigorous scholars (Lane and Sacy) to the most powerful imaginations (Flaubert and Nerval), saw the Orient as a locale requiring Western attention, reconstruction, even redemption.
The Orient existed as a place isolated from the mainstream of European progress in the sciences, arts, and commerce. Thus whatever good or bad values were imputed to the Orient appeared to be functions of some highly specialized Western interest in the Orient” (206).