Edward Said

Said E. (1978. This edition 2003) Orientalism. London: Penguin

  • Orientalism once again raises the question of whether modern imperialism ever ended, or whether it has continued in the Orient since Napoleon’s entry into Egypt two centuries ago.” Preface xvi.
  • “…Orientalism as a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient.” Pg 3
  • Levi Strauss: “Science of the concrete” pg. 53
  • “Order is achieved by discriminating and taking note of everything, placing everything of which the mind is aware in a secure, refinable place, therefore giving things some role to play in the economy of objects and identities that make up an environment.” Pg. 53
  • many objects/places/times are “assigned roles and given meanings that acquire objective validity only after the assignments are made. This is especially true of relatively uncommon things, like foreigners, mutants or ‘abnormal’ behaviour” pg. 54
  • “If the mind must suddenly deal with what it take to be a radically new form of life…the response on the whole is conservative and defensive.” Pg. 59
  • “…contemporary learned Orientalists, whose subject is not so much the East itself as the East made known, and therefore les fearsome, to the Western reading public.” Pg. 60
  • “…the limited vocabulary and imagery that impose themselves as a consequence” pg. 60

Said E. (?) ‘Invention, Memory and Place’, Critical Inquiry 26(2) (Winter, 2000), pp. 175-192 http://www.jstor.org.arts.idm.oclc.org/stable/1344120

  • Recollection, confession and collective memory
  • “official memory” pg 176
  • “Memory and its representations touch very significantly upon questions of identity, of nationalism, of power and authority.” Pg. 176
  • “Because the world has shrunk- for example, communications have been speeded up fantastically- and people find themselves undergoing the most rapid social transformations in history, ours has become an era of a search for roots, of people trying to discover in the collective memory of their race, religion, community, and family a past that is entirely their own, secure from the ravages of history and a turbulent time.” Pg 177
  • Said speaks about the creation of “tradition” as a tool for maintaining authority and creating identities for the ruler and ruled.
  • “…the art of memory for the modern world is both for historians as well as ordinary citizens and institutions very much something to be used, misused, and exploited, rather than something that sits inertly there for each person to possess and contain.” Pg 179
  • geography “as a socially constructed and maintained sense of place”. Pg 180
  • on globalisation: “It is a spatial, geographical designation signifying the global reach of a powerful economic system.”
  • “geography can be manipulated, invented, characterised quite apart from a site’s merely physical reality.” Geography exists the memories, cultures and traditions of people and can instil a sense of belonging/identity even in people who have never been there. Places have connotations/idealizations/depictions that can be very different from what it actually feels like to live there.
  • Definition of imaginative geography: “the invention and construction of a geographical space…with scant attention paid to the actuality of the geography and its inhabitants- but also on the mapping, conquest and annexation of territory…” pg 181
  • “dialectic of memory over territory” – different memories/experiences of the colonisers/colonised etc. pg181
  • anglo-indian literature – “…reexcavating and recharting the past from a postcolonial point of view, thereby erecting a new postimperial space.”pg 182
  • “…the gradual triumph of a propertied class, which itself seems to stand for the nation at its best.”
  • “…myths of the social geography…” pg 182
  • in the case of Israel/Palestine – two different, competing narratives/histories. 1948 stands for freedom in the mind of jews and the opposite for Palestinians. “Perhaps the greatest battle Palestinians have waged as a people has been over the right to a remembered presence and, with that presence, the right to possess and reclaim a collective historical reality…” pg 184
  • “In the case of Israel, the narrative’s main point was that Zionism’s goal was to restore, re-establish, repatriate, and reconnect a people with its original homeland.” – ironically this is what they took away from the Palestinians.
  • “…modern day Zionists said that their coming to Palestine turned an ‘empty’ desert land into a garden.” – denies the “pluricultural identity of the place” pg 187
  • “making the desert bloom” pg187 – interesting phrase – cultivation=civilisation. Triumph over nature.
  • From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters – propaganda book that said that Palestinian identity was a fiction. Book has disappeared…
  • Jewish only segregations and “fortress like housing projects around the city of Jerusalem, were intended visibly to illustrate Israeli power, additions to the gentle landscape that signified aggression, not accommodation and acculturation.” Pg 189
  • “…The Law of Return, entitles any Jew anywhere the right to immediate Israeli citizenship, whereas Palestinians whose families were driven out in 1948 are allowed no such right at all.”

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