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Compare and contrast what is meant by orientalism according to Said and Schwab.

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adnan1972 | eNoter

Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:01 AM via web

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Compare and contrast what is meant by orientalism according to Said and Schwab.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 11, 2013 at 10:25 AM (Answer #1)

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Raymond Schwab wrote famously about what he saw as the oriental renaissance, focusing on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that he attributed to the discovery of Sanskrit and other ancient religious texts. This benefited the Europeans, according to Schwab, because it opened them up to a world that was bigger than their own narrow Graeco-Roman culture and thus expanded their horizons from the original Classical Renaissance that was of such importance to European culture. Schwab's work mostly focuses on the relationship between India and Europe, whereas Said concentrates on the Middle East, and thus Said draws on the work and thinking of his predecessor in order to develop and enlarge his view of orientalism, exploring the interactions between the Orient and Europe and the way that Europeans took ideas and ways of thinking from the Orient and used them to their own advantage. For example, Said argued that the European:

...took from the classical Oriental past a vision (and thousands of facts and artefacts) which only he could employ to the best advantage.

Therefore what Schwab did in his work was to identify and classify the process by which ideas and cultural knowledge from the Orient were "borrowed" by Europe, but Said's work develops Schwab's original argument by exploring how Europe used this knowledge as part of their overall project of gaining mastery and "subduing" those they viewed as inferior, whilst all the while freely using ideas, concepts and knowledge that were developed by these supposedly "inferior" peoples.

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