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  • 1 Edward Said, Orientalism, 25th anniversary edition (New York: Vintage, 2003), p. 334.
  • 2 More accurately described as “al-sahwa al-islamiyya” (the Islamic awakening), contemporary Islamist movements involve many different kinds of engagements with Islam, with piety, and with politics, only some of which are interested in challenging, at least directly, the power of the state (see Hirschkind n.d.).
  • 3 Bernard Lewis, “The Roots of Muslim Rage”, Policy, vol. 17, no. 4 (2001-2), p. 19.
  • 4 Huntington, Samuel P. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996).
  • 5 Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Knopf, 1993), p. xii.
  • 6 Said, Orientalism, pp. xxi-xxii.
  • 7 Ibid.
  • 8 Seymour Hersh, “The Gray Zone: How a Secret Pentagon Program Came to Abu Ghraib”, New Yorker (May 24, 2004), p. 42.
  • 9 Increasingly clear is that these forms of torture were first developed in Afghanistan and later at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, as both argued by Hersh in his May 24 article and attested to more recently by prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay and repatriated to the United Kingdom for trial (see BBC News Online 2005; bBc Radio 4 2004).
  • 10 Ibid, p. 42.

II Emram Qureshi, “Misreading the Arab Mind”, Boston Globe (May 30, 2004). In an earlier era, the book was given to U.S. diplomats serving in the Middle East.

12 Hersh, p. 42.

  • 13 There is a notable similarity—and possibly a direct link— between these U.S. tactics regarding how to extract information from political prisoners and techniques long used by the Israeli authorities in the Occupied Territories. (For reports on similar techniques as they are used against Palestinians, see Amnesty International 1994; Human Rights Watch/Middle East 1994a, 1994b; and Public Committee against Torture in Israel 2003. For discussions of possible links between the institutions of torture in Iraq and Israel, see Abunimah 2004; Fisk 2004; and Kalman 2004.)
  • 14 Said, Orientalism, p. xvii.
  • 15 Ibid.
  • 16 Ibid, p. 2.
  • 17 Ibid.
  • 18 Ibid, p. 3.
  • 19 Ibid, p. 45.
  • 20 Of course, the anthropological literature on colonialism and culture, one quite influenced by Said at its inception, is a notable exception to this claim (e.g., Comaroff and Comaroff 1991; Cooper and Stoler 1997; Dirks 1992).
  • 21 For a review that critically engages anthropological readings of Said’s text as raising questions about the general problem of representation, see Thomas 1991.
  • 22 James Clifford and George E. Marcus, eds., “Orientalism”, History and Theory, vol. 19, no. 2 (1980), p. 209.
  • 23 Ibid, pp. 209-210.
  • 24 Ibid, p. 205.
  • 25 Edward Said, “Representing the Colonized: Anthropology’s Interlocutors”, Critical Inquiry, vol. 15, no. 2, p. 206. See also his discussion of Claude Levi-Strauss in Orientalism, in which he considers the cognitive proclivity of the human mind to divide up the world into selves and others (Said 2003: 53-54).
  • 26 Edward Said, Humanism and Democratic Criticism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), p. 96. See Humanism ch. 4 for a lengthy discussion of Auerbach and his central work, Mimesis (2003).
  • 27 Said, Edward, The World, the Text, the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), pp. 178-225.
  • 28 Ibid, pp. 162-163.
  • 29 Ibid, p. 170.
  • 30 Ibid, p. 171.
  • 31 Ibid, p. 175.
  • 32 For a more extensive discussion of what is entailed in and enabled by studying texts’ affiliations with the world, see Said, The World, the Text, the Critic, pp. 174-175.
  • 33 See, for example, Said’s engagement with Othering in The World, the Text, the Critic, p.14, published just a few years after Orientalism, which, rather than relying on the cognitive assumptions of Levi-Strauss, engages questions of the state and its hegemonic power. See also his preface to the 25th anniversary edition of Orientalism, in which he writes: “What I do argue also is that there is a difference between knowledge of other peoples and other times that is the result of understanding, compassion, careful study and analysis for their own sakes, and on the other hand knowledge—if that is what it is—that is part of an overall campaign of self-affirmation, belligerency, and outright war” (Said 2003: xix).
  • 34 Although Said was far from the first to criticize the relationship between knowledge and empire, and, certainly, that critique had been leveled by several anthropologists vis-a-vis their own discipline long before Orientalism was published, his argument was different insofar as he understood knowledge to be generative of forms of power (via his readings of both Gramsci and Michel Foucault) and not merely an ideological reflection of it (e.g., Asad 1973; see also Dirks 2004, who makes a similar point; of course, many of Bernard Cohn’s [1987, 1996] much earlier articles argued for the generative power of knowledge within the context of empire).
  • 35 See Said’s article “Representing the Colonized: Anthropology’s Interlocutors” (1989: 208; this article is the published version of the talk he gave before the American Anthropological Association in 1987). In particular, he is referring to works such as George E. Marcus and Michael M. J. Fischer’s Anthropology as Cultural Critique (1986) and James Clifford and Marcus’s Writing Culture (1986).
  • 36 Said, Orientalism, p. 210.
  • 37 Ibid.
  • 38 “What we must reckon with is a long and slow process of appropriation by which Europe, or the European awareness of the Orient, transformed itself from being textual and contemplative into being administrative, economic and even military” (Said 2003: 210).
  • 39 As Clifford, a very sympathetic critic, writes, “Indeed, his critical manner sometimes appears to mimic the essentializing discourse it attacks” (1980: 210). Or as he asks within the context of a series of questions regarding the problem of representation, more generally, “How ... is an oppositional critique of Orientalism to avoid falling into ‘Occidentalism?’” (Clifford 1980: 208). A second set of critical questions raised by reviewers was whether or not Said Orientalized the (Arab) East, giving no agency to an indigenous subject and history (see Ahmad 1992). Said seems to take the latter critique to heart in Culture and Imperialism (1993), in which anticolonial and postcolonial intellectuals play a central analytic role in his understanding of the relationship of culture to empire. The historical dynamic through which resistance to empire is generated comes into focus in this later work. Having said that, in my opinion, this latter critique partially misunderstands Said’s project in Orientalism. He was not interested in the nature of resistance in “the Islamic East” or in giving a historical account of the Arab-Muslim world at all. He was interested, instead, in understanding the coordinates and terms of imperial power therein, the context, one could argue, within which forms of resistance emerged.
  • 40 Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit, Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), p. 10.
  • 41 Worth noting is that the four archetypal forms are different in kind: the city is an abstraction of space; the Western mind, an imaginative trope; the bourgeoisie, a sociological form; and the infidel, a figure.
  • 42 “One way of describing Occidentalism would be to trace the history of all its links and overlaps, from the Counter-Reformation to the Counter-Enlightenment in Europe, to the many varieties of fascism and national socialism in the East and West, to anticapitalism and antiglobalization, and finally to the religious extremism that rages in so many places today” (Buruma and Margalit 2004: 11).
  • 43 For example, in discussing the “venom” of the Palestinian intifadas, Buruma and Margalit write:

Israel has to bear some of the responsibility for this menacing atmosphere [an atmosphere of suicide bombers, menacing to Israelis]. You cannot humiliate and bully others without eventually provoking a violent response. The daily sight of Palestinian men crouching in the heat at Israeli checkpoints, suffering the casual abuse of Jewish soldiers, explains some of the venom of the intifadas. But Israel has also become the prime target of a more general Arab rage against the West, the symbol of idolatrous, hubristic, amoral, colonialist evil, a cancer in the eyes of its enemies that must be expunged by killing. (2004: 138-139)

For their discussion of anti-Americanism, see Buruma and Margalit 2004: 8. In neither case do they provide an explanation for the remaining causes of such “venom”; rather, Occidentalism is a recurrent expression of anti-Enlightenment thinking—“hatreds and anxiety” toward the values of Enlightenment—that seems to require no historically specific explanation. Different groups, at different times, just seem to react against these values.

  • 44 Said, Orientalism, p. 3.
  • 45 Clifford, “Orientalism”, p. 207.
  • 46 Said, Orientalism, pp. 8-9.
  • 47 Ibid, p. 9.
  • 48 Said, Culture and Imperialism, p. xxii. His commitment to the creativity of individual authors is, of course, a theoretical and methodological commitment that diverges dramatically from Foucault’s notion of discourse, on which Said also relies. I will return to this point later in the article.
  • 49 See Said 2003: 268-269; see also Brennan 1992: 79 and Clifford 1980: 210-212.
  • 50 Said, Orientalism, pp. 201-225.
  • 51 Ibid, p. 55.
  • 52 Ibid, pp. 55-56.
  • 53 Ibid, p. 57.
  • 54 Ibid, p. 58.
  • 55 Ibid, p. 118.
  • 56 Ibid, p. 119.
  • 57 Ibid, pp. 120, 206-207.
  • 58 Ibid, p. 120.
  • 59 Ibid.
  • 60 Ibid, p. 42.
  • 61 Ibid, p. 43.
  • 62 Specifically, Volney identified three “barriers” to French hegemony in the Orient, which he saw as wars that would have to be fought: “one against England, a second against the Ottoman Porte, and a third, the most difficult against the Muslims” (Said 2003: 81). On the basis of what they learned from Volney’s work, according to Said, Napoleon and his troops sought to convince the Muslims that “nous sommes les vrais musulmans” [we are the true Muslims] (2003: 82) and to seek to build an alliance with the Egyptians against their Mameluk rulers.
  • 63 Said, Orientalism, pp. 83-84.
  • 64 Ibid, p. 87.
  • 65 According to Said: During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the Orientalists became a more serious quantity, because by then the reaches of imaginative and actual geography had shrunk, because the Oriental-European relationship was determined by an unstoppable European expansion in search of markets, resources, and colonies, and finally, because Orientalism had accomplished its self-metamorphosis from a scholarly discourse to an imperial institution. (2003: 94)
  • 66 Said, Culture and Imperialism, p. 8.
  • 67 In Culture and Imperialism, Said’s engagement with geography takes on more explicitly materialist dimensions. Imperialism is, quite literally, a “struggle over geog- raphy”—that which entails “thinking about, settling on, controlling land that you do not possess, that is distant, that is lived on and owned by others” (Said 1993: 7). But, that struggle over geography, as Said (1993: 7) then explains, involves not only “soldiers and cannons” but, in addition, ideas, forms, images, and imaginings. More generally, his historical account in this later work—a series of essays that expand on Orientalism to describe “a more general pattern of relationships between the modern metropolitan West and its overseas territories” (Said 1993: xi)—is a far more materialist account than that in Orientalism. See, for example, his reading of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Aida—its development, its musical and narrative forms, and its staging in late nineteenth-century Egypt.
  • 68 Said, Culture and Imperialism, pp. 8-9.
  • 69 Eric Hobsbawm, and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983).
  • 70 Said, Culture and Imperialism, p. 15.
  • 71 Ibid, p. 16.
  • 72 For example, Al-Azmeh 1993, Eickelman and Piscatori 1996, and Zubaida 2004. For a more extended discussion of this tendency in post-Orientalist scholarship, see Hirschkind n.d.
  • 73 Said, Edward, Beginnings: Intention and Method (New York: Basic Books, 1985), p. 19.
  • 74 Ibid, p. xxiii.
  • 75 Said, Orientalism, pp. 120-121.
  • 76 See Asad 1993; Haj 2002; Hirschkind n.d.; MacIntyre 1981; Mahmood 2004.
  • 77 Bernard Lewis, “The Question of Orientalism,” New York Review of Books (June 24, 1982), p. 51.
  • 78 For a collection of reviews of Orientalism, both critical and sympathetic, see Macfie 2000.
  • 79 Said, Orientalism, p. 16.
  • 80 Ibid.
  • 81 Ibid.
  • 82 Ibid, p. 17; Said, Culture and Imperialism, p. xxii.
  • 83 Said, Beginnings, p. 66.
  • 84 Ibid, p. xxiii.
  • 85 Ibid, p. 5.
  • 86 See Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures (New York: Pantheon Books, 1994), ch. 3.
  • 87 Said, Beginnings, p. 8.
  • 88 Ibid, p. 10.
  • 89 Ibid, p. 66. The dichotomies on which Said relies could be read in classic Orientalist terms: the divine, an invocation of origins, the work of mimesis standing in for the East versus the secular, the antiauthoritative, the constructive, or the work of the imagination synonymous with the modern West. Nevertheless, these distinctions— even if taken at face value—do not need to map onto a classic “East”-“West” divide with all its attendant meanings: in sum, that the former is oriented toward origins and the latter focused on (the making of) a novel future. As I discuss later, Said (2004: 54, 58, 68-69) saw nothing inherently Western in the latter, recognizing forms of argument, agency, and creativity in Islam’s history of ijtihad and locating humanism’s origins, at least in part, in the non-West. (In Islamic law, ijtihad refers to the process of making a legal decision through interpretation of the Quran and the Sunna; for a discussion of ijtihad, see Hallaq 1984.)
  • 90 See Mahmood 2001, 2004.
  • 91 Said, Reith, p. 10.
  • 92 Ibid, p. 11.
  • 93 Ibid. Or, as he writes in his essay “Secular Criticism”, criticism is “individual consciousness placed at a sensitive nodal point”, it is “distance” (Said 1983: 15)— from belonging, from orthodoxy, and from “home”.
  • 94 See Said, Beginnings, ch. 5.
  • 95 Said, Culture and Imperialism, p. 302.
  • 96 Said, Beginnings, p. xviii.
  • 97 Said, World, p. 3.
  • 98 Ibid, p. 4; see also pp. 148-151 and Said, Humanism, pp. 48-49.
  • 99 Said, World, p. 170.
  • 100 Ann Stoler. “A Tribute to Edward Said” (Unpublished MS, Department of Anthropology, New School University, n.d.), p. 5.
  • 101 Edward Said, “Opponents, Audiences, Constituencies, and Community”, Critical Inquiry, vol. 9, no. 1 (1982), p. 135.
  • 102 See also “Reflections on American ‘Left’ Literary Criticism”, in The World, the Text, the Critic (Said 1983).
  • 103 Said, “Opponents”, p. 140.
  • 104 Ibid.
  • 105 The conference, “Edward W. Said (1935-2003): A Continuing Legacy Conference and Cultural Evening”, was held on October 3, 2004.
  • 106 Said, Orientalism, p. 23.
  • 107 Said, World, p. 146.
  • 108 Ibid, p. 160.
  • 109 For an extended discussion of this distancing (including its relation to the question of identity politics, which I do not engage here), see Brennan 2000.
  • 110 Although I agree with much of Brennan’s argument, both in his reading of Said and in his critique of postcolonial studies, I think he goes too far in dismissing as almost superficial Foucault’s influence over Said. Foucault’s concept of a discursive formation is essential to Said’s analysis in Orientalism, a debt quite evident in Said’s interest in the reproduction and repetition of “form”—or, of grammar—so fundamental to Orientalism’s longevity. Moreover, clearly, Foucault was also interested in institutions—the clinic, the prison, or the madhouse—even if his understanding of the nature of institutional power was quite different from Said’s.
  • 111 Ibid, p. 168.
  • 112 Said, Humanism, p. 10.
  • 113 Said, Beginnings, p. 319.
  • 114 E.g., Said, Reith, p. 26.
  • 115 Said, Humanism, p. 6.
  • 116 Ibid, p. 54.
  • 117 Said writes, “What is the acceptable humanist antidote to what one discovers, say among sociologists, philosophers, and so-called policy makers who speak only to and for each other in a language oblivious to everything but a well-guarded, constantly shrinking fiefdom forbidden to the uninitiated” (2004: 143). Alongside the corporatization of knowledge qua expertise, Said saw a second phenomenon contributing to humanism’s demise. Recounting an argument made by Masao Miyoshi, Said argues that the humanities—which ... [Miyoshi] ... correctly presupposes, is not the province of the corporate manager but of the humanist—have fallen into irrelevance and quasi-medieval fussiness, ironically enough because of the fashionableness of newly relevant fields like postcolonialism, ethnic studies, cultural studies and the like. This has effectively detoured the humanities from its rightful concern with the critical investigation of values, history, and freedom, turning it, it would seem, into a whole factory of word-spinning and insouciant specialties, many of them identity-based that in their jargon and special pleading address only like-minded people, acolytes, and other academics. (2004: 14)
  • 118 Said, Humanism, p. 11.
  • 119 Ibid, p. 47.
  • 120 For more on Pipes’s organization, see Campus Watch n.d. According to the Spectator eulogy, “Said’s scholarly life hit its nadir in July 2000, when he hurled a rock over the Lebanese-Israeli border toward an Israeli guardhouse. He described this act, which was undoubtedly profoundly opposed to the responsibilities of an academic, as ‘a symbolic gesture of joy’” (Sebrow and Rolfe 2003).
  • 121 Martin Kramer, “MESA Culpa”, Middle East Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 4 (2002).
  • 122 The journal Middle East Quarterly and the Campus Watch website are both programs of the right-wing think-tank Middle East Forum.
  • 123 Michael Richardson, “Enough Said: Reflections on Orientalism”, Anthropology Today, vol. 6, no. 4 (1990), p. 18, after Simon Leyes, The Burning Forest: Essays on Chinese Culture and Politics (London: Paladin, 1988), p. 96; for another attack on Said’s knowledge and credentials, see Lewis, “Orientalism”, p. 53. In Culture and Imperialism, Said consciously distances himself from what he calls a “rhetoric of blame”, the language, he explains, “through which contemporary (post) colonial figures are heard”; instead, Said strives to “formulate an alternative both to a politics of blame and to the even more destructive politics of confrontation and hostility” (1993: 18, emphasis added).
  • 124 It is worth noting that, although Said’s presumed identity was fair game in public (and academic) debate and in “explaining” his intellectual and political positions, it seems to be out of bounds to comment publicly on the Jewish identity—or, perhaps more accurately, identification—of many of those driving these critiques, let alone those pushing U.S. policy into an ever-closer alliance with the Israeli state: For example, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Douglas Feith, who coauthored with David Wurmser at least two strategy papers for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996, have all been central architects of the Bush administration’s Middle East policies. In addition, Martin Kramer, Pipes, and Stanley Kurtz, seen as Said’s and Middle East studies (public) intellectual critics today, all have strong ties to U.S. Jewish organizations and deep commitments to and strong identifications with the Israeli state.
  • 125 These hearings were held on June 10, 2003, under the auspices of the Committee on Education and the Workplace, Subcommittee on Select Education. For the full transcript of the hearings, see U.S. House of Representatives 2003. See also Lori Allen et al.’s article (in press) that discusses Title VI and public intellectualism with regard to the Middle East. During the hearings, Kurtz cited Martin Kramer’s book, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America (2001) as his authoritative source. Ivory Towers was published by the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and it “depicts academic Middle East studies as a cesspool of error, fuzzy thinking and anti-Americanism” (Lockman 2004). Kramer, formerly a research associate at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies and currently a senior editor of Middle East Quarterly, the journal that Pipes founded, is in the forefront of those leading attacks against academics who are critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East and of the Israeli state.
  • 126 US House of Representatives 2003.
  • 127 The question ofbalance has become quite central to attacks on universities, in general, and their Middle East studies programs, in particular. Among universities under the most direct attack are New York University, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Columbia University (the former two were discussed at length during the hearings). And university administrations have become increasingly responsive to such criticisms, as I can testify to most directly regarding Columbia. (Vis-a-vis attacks on particular campuses and their Middle East faculties, the driving criticism has focused at least as much on the “problem” with a critical stance toward Israel as toward the United States; see, e.g., Feidan2004; Fink2004; Kleinfeld2005; Piper2003.) It is also worth noting that “balance” in these debates is often a code word for ethnic- religious balance and notjust ideological balance (presuming the faculty ofMiddle East studies departments to be too heavily Arab or Muslim and completely ignoring that Jewish and Israel studies departments—a second context in which “the Middle East” is taught at universities—tend to be staffed almo st entirely by Jewish faculty members). To achieve (or impose) balance, Kurtz suggested that the board supervising Title VI programs be staffed by the secretary of education, national security advisor, secretary of state, secretary of commerce, director of the National Endowment for the Humanities, commander of the National Defense University, and four additional presidential nominees.
  • 128 I quote Kurtz, from a transcript of the question and answer period of the hearings: It’s almost a reflex towards criticism of America and American foreign policy [that] has grown up within the academic community. And the folks who pervade that particular perspective themselves have critical attitudes towards traditional notions of liberty and freedom. People who take a postmodern perspective, like Professor Said, followed Michel Foucault. Michel Foucault doesn’t take very seriously a tradition of democratic guarantees. (U.S. House of Representatives 2003)
  • 129 U.S. House of Representatives 2003.
  • 130 See Said, Orientalism, pp. xv-xxx.
  • 131 The linking of criticisms of the Israeli state to the problem of anti-Semitism is part of an organized campaign that has taken off over the past few years. For example, at its 34th zionist Congress in 2001, the World zionist Organization resolved to undertake steps to train its members to deal with what it described as the rise on college campuses of anti-zionism and anti-Semitism, which it understands to be inseparable. In addition, the David Project (the group that produced the controversial documentary film Columbia Unbecoming [2004], which accuses members of Columbia’s Middle East faculty of being biased and intimidating Jewish students) is “working on campuses to counter the hostile environment for many students and faculty who challenge the dominant paradigm about the Middle East conflict” (2005). This film equates criticism of the Israeli state with the long-standing historical problem of anti-Semitism. See also Stern 2002.
  • 132 Stoler, “Tribute”, p. 2.
  • 133 Ibid, p. 3.
  • 134 Ibid, p. 4.
 
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