If we are to truly assist in achieving a resolution to the current crisis, we must examine not only the "Orientals" but also ourselves.
For many Westerners, Islamic society is still understood in terms of the West's Oriental history (the heathen violent fighters of the Crusades), and not in the context of followers of a religion that shares much with both Judaism and Christianity.
Evidence from his 1978 book “Orientalism”, states that the culture has been of influence and marred with controversy in post colonial studies and other fields of study.
Said carefully examines what he calls 'Orientalism' in an attempt to show how different cultures view each other and depend upon other cultures to define their own.
This essay will include a brief definition of Orientalism as well as how Henry Kissinger has an Orientalist view upon developing countries, shown through numerous examples from Said's book....
"Orientalism” is a way of seeing that imagines, emphasizes, exaggerates and distorts differences of Arab peoples and cultures as compared to that of Europe and the U.S. It often involves seeing Arab culture as exotic, backward, uncivilized, and at times dangerous. Edward W. Said, in his groundbreaking book, Orientalism, defined it as the acceptance in the West of “the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate theories, epics, novels, social descriptions, and political accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, ‘mind,’ destiny and so on.”
Salman Rushdie's Booker of the Bookers prize winning novel Midnights Children is full of remarks and incidents that show the orientalist perception of India and its people.
Examples of early Orientalism can be seen in European paintings and photographs and also in images from the World’s Fair in the U.S. in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The paintings, created by European artists of the 19th and early 20th centuries, depict the Arab World as an exotic and mysterious place of sand, harems and belly dancers, reflecting a long history of Orientalist fantasies which have continued to permeate our contemporary popular culture.
ine years ago I wrote an afterword for Orientalism which, in trying to clarify what I believed I had and had not said, stressed not only the many discussions that had opened up since my book appeared in 1978, but the ways in which a work about representations of "the orient" lent itself to increasing misinterpretation. That I find myself feeling more ironic than irritated about that very same thing today is a sign of how much my age has crept up on me. The recent deaths of my two main intellectual, political and personal mentors, the writers and activists Eqbal Ahmad and Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, has brought sadness and loss, as well as resignation and a certain stubborn will to go on.
Due to an accident of history, I found myself traveling around the Middle East in 1955/6, and then studying at Oxford at the birth of modern Middle Eastern Studies in the West signaled, inter alia, by the creation of the Center of Middle Eastern studies at Saint Antony’s College. There, I participated, in a very small way, in a process which required creating the subject more or less de novo, on the basis of a handful of scholarly books about the region. But I did it under the guidance of the brilliant Albert Hourani — an outsider himself, having never studied Near East languages and civilizations in the traditional Orientalist way, and who was thus better able to understand, and to critique, their basic structures of thought, most notably in his wonderful essay, “Islam and the Philosophers of History,” while also following in the steps of his own mentor, Sir Hamilton Gibb.
He was upset and spoke up when he wrote a booked called “Orientalism,” in his book he points out many reasons why the study of orientalism is hurting the cultures in which they are studying....
Jean-Leon Gerome (French, 1824-1904) The Snake Charmer. 1880. Oil on canvas. 33 x 48 in. (83.8 x 122 cm). Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA. From Davies, Kristian. The Orientalists. New York: Laynfaroh, 2005. Page 19.
Orientalism expresses and represents that part culturally and even ideologically as a a mode of discourse with supporting institutions, vocabulary, scholarship, imagery, doctrines, even colonial bureaucracies and colonial styles.