Orientalism Questions and Answers
by Edward W. Said

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Edward Said says that "Orientalism... creates a divide between The East and The West." Comment on the above idea.

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To the late Edward Said (1935-2003), the Western world’s approach to the East was one of marked condescension that made an imperative of colonization.  “Orientalism ,” as conceptualized by Said, is defined as those perceptions that view the regions known commonly in the United States as the Middle East and South Asia (i.e., the Indian subcontinent) through the lens of racial superiority and cultural arrogance.  Said was an Arab American whose principle focus was the Middle East, and European imperialism was motivated in no small part by those condescending images of the Arab world.  Said’s main thesis was that the Occidental (i.e., Western) mind could never fully comprehend the Oriental (i.e., Eastern) mind no matter how hard it tried, and that most Western scholarship regarding the Arab world was, consequently, invalid.  With regard to Said’s notion that orientalism created a divide between East and West, such a conclusion is grounded in the tendency of men to view the...

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