Critically Evaluate How Said's "Orientalism" Thesis And Huntington's "Clash Of Civilization" Thesis Apply To Asian.

992 words - 4 pages

The thesis of "Orientalim" was written by Edward W. Said in 1978 and the author defined the orientalism as a "European invention" and it is a western style for dominating, restructuring and have authority over the orient. It started since the beginning of nineteenth century until World War II and it adopted by France, Britain and American. Most westerner think the orient is seen as "separate, passive, eccentric, backwards" and it is with "a tendency to despotism". Actually these are all the particular form that western stereotypical understanding of Asian people, culture, and value. In Said's "Orientalism" thesis, he thinks the "Orient is an integral part of European material civilization and culture" and "orientalist expresses and represents that part culturally", but in fact he has already divided them into "orient" and "occident" and also labeling someone as an "orientalist". It sets up a dichotomous boundary between "us" and "them". The main objection to Said is we should not label people "as an orientalist or ethnocentrist or imperialist" , because it can create some effects, resulting in promoting stereotypical understanding and still remaining unaware of people's own fixed structures of orientation.The second article " the Clash of Civilization", was written by Samuel P.Huntington in 1993. As "world politics is entering a new phase", that the great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of international conflict will be the cultural. A civilization is the "highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest level of cultural identity people have short of that which distinguishes humans from other species. It is defined both by common objective elements, such as language, history, religion, customs, institutions, and by the subjective self-identification of people". These divisions are deep and increasing in importance. In this article, there also exist some problems with Huntington's notion of civilization which apply to Asia.The first problem is Huntington argues that civilization identity is not only real but also basic. In Huntington's view, religion as the central defining element of civilization and it is not same as language, culture, history and custom, as religion beliefs do not blend and overlap. "Even more than ethnicity, religion discriminates sharply and exclusively among people". He points out that a person can be half-French and half-Arab and simultaneously even a citizen of two countries, but it is more difficult to let a person be a half-Catholic and half-Muslim. This argument seems be true for Christianity and Islam, but actually it is not same with Confucianism and Buddhism. The author identifies many fundamentalist movements, such as Western Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, but he does not identify any fundamentalist Confucian movement. In fact, Confucianism is not a religion. A person can be a Buddhist, but he/she also can have the belief of Confucianism. There is no clash and...

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