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View Diary: Books That Changed My Life: Said's Orientalism (124 comments)

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  •  I'd be interested to read your thoughts after (10+ / 0-)

    you read it again. I can only speak for myself, but I don't find the text to be 'angry,' except perhaps in a few places in the Afterword written in 1994 where Said is engaging some of the ad hominem criticism. As to whether the text is 'dogmatic,' I suppose I can see that to a point though I have to admit that's part of what I find so endearing :~)

    The question of whether Said should have or needed to discuss Ottoman brutality is interesting. I am reluctant to speak for Said, but if I had to guess I would say that what Said was intent to document was the Eurocenticity of the experience of the East and, as that goes, the few instances of 'brutality' which might catch the attention of either the capital, clergy or public imaignation would be those instances when minority Christian populations within the Empire--such as the Maronites of the Lebanon and Damascus, 'the rose amongst the thorns'--were actively perceived to be persecuted. In the particular example of the Maronites between 1840 and 1861, the French were keen to exploit such a perception of persecution for political and economic advantage, and did so by tapping into the collective French imagination of their own historical identity as 'defender of the Maronites.' This is what I think Said would term a shining example of the corporate institution of Orientalism in practice.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:10:39 AM PDT

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