Thursday, August 23, 2012

Orientalism, Edward Said

Edward Said wrote Orientalism in 1978 initiating post colonialism studies on colleges because he analyzed the arrogant Eurocentric mentality with which these Western entities colonized non-western areas. I think it’s weird/disappointing that it took till 1978 to spark that kind of interest among intellectuals about post colonization.  Maybe as a Middle Easterner (outsider by Western standards), Said was in a better position to observe and criticize the behavior and motives of the colonizers. Just like it is sometimes hard to acknowledge our own flaws or prejudices, it is hard for nations to recognize their possibly flawed ideologies and impact on other countries.  It is also hard for me to distinguish whether proselytizing, lifting the civilization to higher standards, or pursuing economic self interest was the predominant motive for colonization…(I’m going with economic pursuits was the first and formost purpose after a little while, with spreading the “True religion” and lifting up civilizations as a fa├žade.) But which came first among the 3, which was the biggest driving force, and so on might be hard to pin point. Kinda like its hard to determine which came first, the chicken or the egg?  

1 comment:

wkuehne said...

I think this post has allot of cool points. On the idea of eurocentricity and Europeans' proselytization of Indians, I couldn't help but draw comparisons to many convents in developing countries nowadays. Many religiously affiliated schools, or communities (orphanages, etc.) in developing countries are accused of trying to convert people to their religion over actually giving humanitarian aid, and help. I think that that view is skewed: I believe that the goodwill of convents is legitimate, and perhaps the same idea could be applied to some aspects of colonization or post colonization.