OrientalismOrientalism
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Orientalism

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Edward Said

Western societies have constructed the concept of Orientalism in their efforts to understand the East. However, the image of the Orient as constructed by the West does not accurately represent the true essence of the East. Rather, it serves as a framework through which the West has approached, examined, and classified the East based on its own perceptions and imaginations. Paying attention to language and visual representations enhances understanding. The next time you come across a news report about the Middle East or the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, pay close attention to how both sides are portrayed, particularly the choice of adjectives and images. Examining the vocabulary and images used for both sides is key to understanding the complexities of a conflict. Observe how Western advertisements present destinations in the East. The next time you see a travel advertisement promoting a holiday in the Middle East, such as Dubai, notice how the destination is portrayed as exotic. You'll probably notice that the East is portrayed as a timeless place, inviting Western holidaymakers to explore and discover its hidden treasures.

hashtagmiddle-east
hashtagorientalism
clock7 min
bite5 Bites
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What's it about?

Orientalism illuminates the pervasive and often unchallenged assumptions about Eastern civilizations that persist in Western societies. By exposing and examining these prejudices, Said aims to challenge their influence on the West's perception of and interaction with the East.

Book summary

Western societies have constructed the concept of Orientalism in their efforts to understand the East. However, the image of the Orient as constructed by the West does not accurately represent the true essence of the East. Rather, it serves as a framework through which the West has approached, examined, and classified the East based on its own perceptions and imaginations. Paying attention to language and visual representations enhances understanding. The next time you come across a news report about the Middle East or the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, pay close attention to how both sides are portrayed, particularly the choice of adjectives and images. Examining the vocabulary and images used for both sides is key to understanding the complexities of a conflict. Observe how Western advertisements present destinations in the East. The next time you see a travel advertisement promoting a holiday in the Middle East, such as Dubai, notice how the destination is portrayed as exotic. You'll probably notice that the East is portrayed as a timeless place, inviting Western holidaymakers to explore and discover its hidden treasures.

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All Bites
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Orientalism, coming from the West, deals with an invented concept: the Orient.

1
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Orientalism was shaped by economic and political agendas, asserting a supposed expertise on the Orient that did not correspond to the reality of the Orient itself.

2
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Two individuals played key roles in formalizing the principles of Orientalism as a scholarly discipline through systematic categorisation.

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The methods used by Orientalists to study the Orient often hinder their ability to perceive its intricacies and subtleties.

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Colonialism, along with the subsequent resistance movements and the upheavals of the First and Second World Wars, significantly altered the landscape of Orientalism.

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