Orientalism Summary Edward Said

Orientalism Summary Edward Said

This book, Orientalism, is very famous because, in this, Edward Said exposed the Europeans, who believe in white supremacy and authority. But, he says that the East also has its own beauty. But the Europeans also believed them to be uncivilized. 

Orientalism is one of the most famous works of Edward Said. And this article is all about major selections from Orientalism by Edward Said.

What Is Orientalism According To Edward Said?

Let us first understand the meaning of the title of this text, which is “Orientalism”. So, how does Edward Said define Orientalism? Well, orientalism refers to the East, and thus, Orientalism is the study of the eastern countries which include the Middle East as well as the south East, including India, and this is what the entire book focuses on. 

The book is divided into three parts: 

1. The Scope of Orientalism.

2. Orientalist Structures and restructures.

3. Orientalism Now.

Summary Of Orientalism By Edward Said

So, this book Orientalism was written by Edward Said in the year 1978. In this book, he developed the idea of Orientalism to explain the manner in which the West represented the East historically in its own perspective. The east includes Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, etc. 

In the book Orientalism, Edward Said argues about the thinking of Eastern and Political scholars about the Eastern world. Here, Edward Said has examined the historical, political, and cultural views of the Eastern countries which have been occupied and ruled by the West. 

He explains that with the beginning of colonialism, at that time, there was no rule of the U.S. in the rest of the world. This meant that the U.S. didn’t have that much power at that time it could do anything in this matter. In simple words, the U.S. was nothing at that time. 

So, the views of the Britishers and the French people were all that meant during that period, especially the British, because they had more colonies in the East as compared to France. 

In the beginning of Orientalism, Edward Said talks about the early 18th century and says that the colonial rulers couldn’t rule the East the right way. It is believed they had been ruling without any knowledge about it. They thought that wherever they will go, they will translate the works written in their native language and gain knowledge from them. 

The western people read the literature of the East and started believing that their own history is superior to everyone else’s. And thus, they described the East in the same manner from their own point of view towards it. They believed that they were active and the East was passive. 

Edward Said believes that these Oriental scholars from that time couldn’t even perk in their countries in the right way. And the term “Oriental” was used to describe the history of the Middle East and around areas.  

All the different cultures were kept together to be studied because political studies also had to be done alongside. The language and literature of those regions started being focused on and translated to understand their culture. 

And, as a result, the great scholars and orientalists of that time derived the misinterpretation of these cultures with their confused minds. And Edward Said, in this book, has explained the errors of those early Orientalist scholars. 

Edward Said also questions on what basis the early Orientalists have claimed the East/Orient was biologically inferior to the Europeans.

Said wants to say that the cultures and societies should be studied appropriately and with this, he also points out that there were a lot of errors in the studies that had been done earlier because that time, the Orientalists were also European and they didn’t know why the Orientals were afraid. And on the basis of that fear, they did their study which appeared forth with a lot of errors. 

It was only after the end of WW1 that the study of Orientalism shifted from Europe to the hands of the U.S. And, a lot of social science departments studied it. 

Edward Says that it is very important that an Orient studies himself according to his own culture. Why would the West look at them from its own perspective? 

Do let me know if you also want Orientalism By Edward Said PDF.

Final Words

I hope that I was able to properly describe the main summary of Orientalism by Edward Said. You can share your feedback or suggestions with me in the comments and I will definitely come up with more content related to what you are looking for. Till then, you can check out my other articles: Punishment By Heaney Summary, Roland Barthes The Death Of The Author Summary, and The Ecocriticism Reader Landmarks in Literary Ecology Summary

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