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Orientalism
by Edward Said

# Publisher: Penguin Books
# Categories : Critical Thinking
# Identifications : Books
# Number of Pages: 234
# Publication Date: 2003

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Book Description:

His idea in Orientalism is to use humanistic critique to open up the fields of struggle, to introduce a longer sequence of thought and analysis to replace the short bursts of polemical, thought-stopping fury that so imprison us in labels and antagonistic debate whose goal is a belligerent collective identity rather than understanding and intellectual exchange. He has called what he try to do "humanism," a word he continue to use stubbornly despite the scornful dismissal of the term by sophisticated post-modern critics. By humanism he means first of all attempting to dissolve Blake's mind-forg'd manacles so as to be able to use one's mind historically and rationally for the purposes of reflective understanding and genuine disclosure. More-over, humanism is sustained by a sense of community with other interpreters and other societies and periods: strictly speaking, there-fore, there is no such thing as an isolated humanist. This is to say that every domain is linked to every other one, and that nothing that goes on in our world has ever been isolated and pure of any outside influence. The disheartening part is that the more the critical study of culture shows us that this is the case, the less influence such a view seems to have, and the more territorially reductive polarizations like "Islam vs. the West" seem to conquer. For those of us who by force of circumstance actually live the pluri-cultural life as it entails Islam and the West, he has long felt that a special intellectual and moral responsibility attaches to what we do as scholars and intellectuals. Certainly he thinks it is incumbent upon us to complicate and/or dismantle the reductive formulae and the abstract but potent kind of thought that leads the mind away from concrete human history and experience and into the realms.

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