What are two main arguments Edward Said makes in his book Orientalism?

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Edward Said's seminal work Orientalism, first published in 1978, makes two important arguments about the ways in which the East, or the non-Western world, is portrayed both in academic texts and area studies and in discourse more broadly.

First, Said argues that Western texts have constructed the Orient as an exotic “other.” This scholarship, produced largely in the Western world, serves to reinforce monolithic notions of the Orient. The result is a canon of literature that reifies and exoticizes the Orient, casting populations as “others.”

Second, Said argues for the importance of understanding discourse as a system of power. According to Said, colonialism was not only a form of military rule that dominated the non-Western world but is also a powerful discourse that reinforces colonialist relations. This happens in part through the powerful textual representations produced in Western texts. Said contends that we cannot separate the production of knowledge from the exercise of...

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