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Orientalism (Concepts in the Social Sciences)

Orientalism (Concepts in the Social Sciences)
Paperback144 pages
PublisherOpen University Press
Publication Year1999
  • Why did Orientalism emerge and how has it evolved?
  • Has the theory of Orientalism developed by Edward Said and others stood the test of time?
  • What is the significance of postmodernism for the future of Orientalism?

Orientalism, the theory and practice of representing ‘the Orient’, is a controversial and a problematic concept. This book provides a concise text on the evolution and development of the theory of Orientalism, the practice of Orientalism in history, and its persistence and reformulation in contemporary times. It places Edward Said’s contribution in an appropriate historical context, examines the work of his critics, and explores the postmodern future of Orientalism. Ziauddin Sardar provides a highly original historical perspective and shows how Orientalism was reworked and reinvested during the Middle Ages, the Enlightenment, colonialism and under the impact of modernity. Through the examination of a wide range of cultural products – films, television, fiction, CD-Roms – the book argues that, as a practice of representing the ‘Other’, Orientalism has been substantially transformed: it has reformulated itself as a far more diverse as well as a more sophisticated tool of representation.