A few days ago

can someone tell me a synopsis of the film “Edward said:on Orientalism? in 1978?

and what are your thoughts on the film?

Top 1 Answers
A few days ago

Favorite Answer

Edward Said’s theories on Orientalism are based in the West’s perceptions of ‘the Orient’. In his case, the Orient refers mainly to what we call the Middle East and the Arab world.

He posits that the West defines and constructs the Orient through fantasies and imaginations, and manifests these constructions through art, music, film, and academic work.

According to Said, the West uses these constructions to control and shape the Orient for its own benefit, regardless of the fact that most of it is fantasy.

Everything from Disney’s Aladdin, to CNN’s portrayal of Muslim political parties falls under this banner of Orientalism – basically, any attempt to represent this fictionalized world of the Orient by Westerners.

Academics who studied the Orient often did so through the lens of previous Western writers/travellers who had created accounts of exotic, dangerous, foreign lands, both intriguing and frightening to the civilized Westerner.

The Arab is often portrayed as a thief, sneaky and dark, or as a seductive belly-dancing object of desire… these are only some of the caricatures of ‘Orientals’ that we see throughout Western history.

Basically, Said challenged the entire study of the Orient that had come before him, underlining the prejudices, preconceived notions, and sometimes intentional use of these constructions to control or harness this Orient.

Said has been criticized by many academics and political players, and has responded to them over the years in revisions of his work. He is seen by many as a revolutionary, but by others as an extremist of sorts, who sees only very stereotypical views of the West, in much the same way that he accuses the West of having limited knowledge of the Orient.