Orientalism

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Orientalism is a study of language and traditions of the people and their culture in the Middle East. These studies are mostly done by people outside of the culture that is being looked at, and mostly the studies are being performed by white western men. Edward Said believed that there was a problem with the way in which other people were studying and writing about his culture. 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. The study of other cultures and countries better known as the Orient has become a popular discussion since Said’s book on orientalism was published. This paper will take a look at what Orientalism is, and some of the surrounding topics that come with it like identity, power and knowledge, discourse, and the arts. It will also examine a Hollywood film called “Bride and Prejudice,” while focusing on points that make this movie a form of orientalism. Edward Said was born in Jerusalem, Palestine in 1935 he lived in Egypt and Lebanon for the beginning of his life however, and he went to upper class prep schools in Cairo and New England. After we went on to university at Princeton were he got a degree and then finished with a doctorate at Harvard University as told by Krishna in his booked titled “Globalization & Postcolonialism.” With all the privileges that Said received throughout his life he still considers himself to be a “Palestinian and passionately identified with their sufferings” (Irwin 2006, 278). As one can see from his schooling career that Said was of an upper class citizen and had many opportunities that many people in his countries would not be granted. Edw... ... middle of paper ... ...the Orient’ in blockbuster movies- can you think of any films where they are the lead heroic characters?” (Sharp 2009, 35) To me I see this as Orientalism with showing the fact that only white men can be seen as the heroes and save the day, while the helpless Middle eastern people are seen sitting around praying and hoping that their daughter comes back. “Orientalism is still with us but in a slightly different form” (Sharp 2009, 35). Orientalism as Edward Said wrote about in his book is still seen happening today. Orientalism has shaped who we are as a western culture and who the Orient is as the Eastern cultures, there are many debates between wheatear or not Edward Said was correct in his book, however at this point in history I believe it is more important to start looking at how the East can speak up for themselves and start to define who they really are.

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