What Is Orientalism? Essay

526 words - 2 pages

What Is Orientalism?

Said made a clear analogy between orientalism and colonialism. They are both set
with the same binary opposition.

white/ non white
occidental/ non occidental

In a very detailed and structured study of the orient (behavior, habit,
tradition ...) we document a large amount of fact and data. All compile in a
general study they produce the illusion of a well understood and objectively
constructed knowledge.

These are, in fact, mere observations and purely subjective entities (seen only
with the western eyes) which do not explain nor reflect the true nature of the
object.

We then generalize from theses singles observations, set up categories and
labels. We are now able to answer questions very simply creating this illusion
of knowledge.

We witness the realization of cliches; single sided beliefs
that fuels themselves upon their own ignorance.

SAID then explains how this technique empowers his creator. The rigorous
discourse, the elaboration of thought and ideas, subjectively authenticated
itself. The content is no longer address and leaves the victim of the discourse
reduced to plain and pure denial. The content has become a set of prejudicial
belief (cliches).

To remind you of the famous aphorism: "the pen is mightier than the sword"

He writes:

"Orientalism is fundamentally a political doctrine willed over the orient
because the orient was weaker than the west."

Though injustice has already been served and the political establishment is
capitalizing on those cliches, it is interesting to notice that SAID himself
already looks at the orient with orientalism (western eye).

Was the orient really weaker than the west?

Could it be simply that the orient was just farther? May be not interested? Had
no curiosity towards the western world?

Could it be that the orient was to...

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