An influential literary critic and theorist as well as a significant political figure, especially as an advocate of the rights of Palestinians. He was born in Jerusalem, Palestine, which had been controlled by Great Britain since 1922. The resulting political tension and fighting within Palestine led Said’s family to emigrate to Cairo at the end of 1947. He attended St. George’s, an Anglican preparatory school, and Victoria College. After Said was expelled from school for disciplinary reason in 1951, his father sent him to Mount Hermon, a preparatory school Massachusetts, to complete high school and to gain U.S citizenship, which he gained in 1953. He is perfect as an outside, constantly critical of everything, critical of Palestinian authority; accused by Islamic world of being too Westernized, and by Westerns he was accused of sympathizing with the Islamic world.
– In July 1922, the League of Nations adopted Palestine, and stated that it should be a British mandate (under the control of Britain).
– In May 1947, the United Nations decided to divide Palestine into Arab and Jewish territories and place the city of Jerusalem under its control.
– In 14 of May 1948 Israel was declared an independent state.
– In 1948 Israel was celebrated in the West as the restoration of a Jewish homeland, Palestinians called it the nakbah, or “disaster”; Said comments, “Israel was established; Palestine was destroyed.”
General idea of Orientalism:
Said’s Orientalism was published in 1978. His work is often regarded as having established the field of postcolonial studies; his work has focused particularly on imperialism and the interplay between the dominant West and the Middle and Far East. Said discusses how Europeans and U.S literary and cultural representation, academic disciplines, and public perceptions foster biases against non-Western peoples, casting them as oriental Others.
Said’s three interpretation of Orientalism:
“Orientalism is an academic one, and indeed the label still serves in a number of academic institutions.”
“Orientalism is a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between ‘the Orient’ and (most of the time) ‘the Occident’.”
“Orientalism can be discussed and analyzed as the corporate institution for dealing with the Orient- dealing with it by making statements about it, authorizing views of it, describing it, by teaching it, settling it: in short, Orientalism as a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having the authority over the Orient.”
The main terms in Orientalism:
“Orient” (east), “Occident” (west).
“Worldliness”: a belief that the text is the product of a work, materially located in the world. the fact that any text has to be in context; it is more of knowing the details of its emerges, the background of the author; not only to be objective to the text for an object fact, but also to go through the surroundings, the circumstances in which the text is written during it.
“Contrapuntal Reading”: a way in reading in order to read the implications that we may not be aware, (aware of 2 things at once). We must be aware of reality in order to see what is legitimated in a text.
“Exile”: create a new sense of the world, never one place or another, being homeless.