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Define the term Orientalism coined by Edward Said. 

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shiveshjnu | (Level 2) Honors

Posted April 10, 2013 at 8:18 PM via web

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Define the term Orientalism coined by Edward Said. 

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 10, 2013 at 10:27 PM (Answer #1)

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Edward Said describes "orientalism" as a process in which the Western and European countries have (through literary and scientific/anthropological texts and discourses) not discovered but "invented" the culture and people of the East ("Orient"). In so doing, the West has created biased depictions of Eastern people and culture. The West (Occident) has described the East not as it is but as it is from the West's perspective. Thus, the East has been described by the West in its orientation to the West. 

I shall be calling Orientalism, a way of coming to terms with the Orient that is based on the Orient's special place in European Western experience. 

Said describes the Orient (the East) as Western European's "Other." To differ itself from the Orient, the West has focused on generalizing, stereotyping, and inventing depictions of the Orient that conform to this opposition of West and East. 

Said writes that anyone who researches the Orient is doing orientalism. So, orientalism is a process. Said notes that the history of orientalism has been done, by the West, to establish the West's position of authority over the East (Orient); "in short, Orientalism as a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient." 


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