Edward Said on Orientalism. Essay Example

Published: 2023-12-11
Edward Said on Orientalism. Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Culture Philosophy Stereotypes Community Essays by wordcount
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 534 words
5 min read

Edward Said developed the concept of Orientalism. Orientalism was developed in the 18th and 19th centuries, which was also the period of enlightenment. He describes orientalism as a strongly stereotyped western tradition from the people inhabiting the European parts. This concept defines the Orients (Asians, Middle Easterners, and Asian Americans) as different from the Westerners due to their differences in cultural activities. The concept of Orientalism views the world as an entity constituting various civilizations. Edward states that the idea of Orientalism is constructed by men based on multiple factors such as religious disparities, cultural and racial differences, and geographical variations.

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Edward Said also disagrees with the idea of “We know ourselves the best.” Like any other culture, European culture is influenced to some extent by the activities of different cultures. Essentially, when the actions of another influence culture, it becomes complicated to define the limits of cultural interactions. Edward states that the concept of orientalism has affected a lot of places in the world and has constructed a permanent effect. Orientalism, for instance, was used as a justification for colonization and domination over lands. According to Edward, orientalism diminishes a specific group of individuals' capabilities as they are made to appear less significant.

Orientalism is a factor that distorts the realities and the ideologies of a particular culture. Racism can be viewed as a product of orientalism. Racism has caused a lot of oppression to the communities that are affected. Although most countries have developed some strategies to fight racism, it has been a very tactic struggle. Orientalism in the current world has also caused dominance in other factors such as economic and academic-related issues. For instance, there are cases where particular students are not allowed to attend certain schools due to their cultural orientation. Orientalism has also controlled how people from various communities interact.

Edward Said also argues that the concept of orientalism has also affected how most western regions perform and acquire places of power. He argued that the aspect of orientalism in places of power leads to the oppression of the communities that are regarded as less being. Orientalism has led to colonialism as the societies that are dominated are not entitled to allocating the same resource as the dominating communities.

History plays a significant role in enhancing the connection between the past and the present. It is only through studying the past that we can understand what is happening today. In most cases, the activities that occur in the more recent times are an advancement of the past experiences. It is usually necessary to understand historical activities to know how to deal with more recent activates in most cases. Therefore, history can be viewed as a framework that can help more recent communities and cultures understand the origin of certain cultural concepts. For example, through works of history, we can understand the concept of orientalism. Therefore, it is beneficial to preserve pieces of history and enhance its growth so that society can reap maximum benefits from abundant knowledge. History is, therefore, a lens through which community can determine its origins.


Said, Edward W. Orientalism. Vintage, 1979.

Warraq, Ibn. Defending the West: a critique of Edward Said's Orientalism. Prometheus Books, 2010.

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