Orientalism, a Thousand and One Times
A Tale of Two Perspectives
There has been no way to absolve Orientalism from ferocious debate. Scholars have been drawn from several quarters of the world to Edward Said’s oeuvre when it first appeared almost fifty years ago. Orientalism has since become an oft-occurring, if not a dominant work segueing into every postcolonial (or otherwise) conversation that unfurls. Said presents in Orientalism a mode of thought quite complex in its essence; its emphasis offers an overwhelming, unsettling sense of the detail and a complexity capable of halting one in haste. The very best of Said’s work has stood the test of time, but the many-hued reception has, so far, not only prevented any effective convergence, but also allowed Orientalism to lose its complex argument and dissolve into simplification. This article gives insight into two different perspectives (the Algerian and the Jordanian) on Said and Orientalism, and on this basis offers a reassessment of Orientalism’s main argument to refocus its energy and locate Said vis-à-vis Orientalism. It also discusses the pitfalls of “newly” emerging Orientalist thoughts, and instead of departing from the concept of Orientalism as Said defines it, it proposes to reconfigure and modulate it to fit the current circumstances, providing the foundation for a new concept: Warientalism.
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