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Edward Said

Edward Saïd

Edward Wadie Said
Full name Edward Saïd
Born November 1, 1935(1935-11-01)
Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine
Died September 25, 2003 (aged 67)
New York City, New York, United States
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Postcolonialism, Postmodernism
Notable ideas Occidentalism, Orientalism, "The Other"

Edward Wadie Saïd (Arabic pronunciation: [wædiːÊ� sæÊ�iːd] Arabic: ø�ø�ù�ø�ø�ø� ù�ø�ùŠø� ø�ø�ùŠø�–Ž, Idwä�rd Wadä«Ê¿ SaÊ¿ä«d; 1 November 1935 ' 25 September 2003) was a Palestinian-American literary theorist and advocate for Palestinian rights. He was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and a founding figure in postcolonialism.[1] Robert Fisk described him as the Palestinians' "most powerful political voice."[2]

Said was an influential cultural critic and author, known best for his book Orientalism (1978), which catapulted him to international academic fame.[3] The book presented his influential ideas on Orientalism, the Western study of Eastern cultures. Said contended that Orientalist scholarship was and continues to be inextricably tied to the imperialist societies that produced it, making much of the work inherently politicized, servile to power, and therefore suspect. Grounding much of this thesis in his intimate knowledge of colonial literature such as the fiction of Conrad, and in the post-structuralist theory of Foucault, Derrida and others, Said's Orientalism and following works proved influential in literary theory and criticism, and continue to influence several other fields in the humanities. Orientalism affected Middle Eastern studies in particular, transforming the way practitioners of the discipline describe and examine the Middle East.[4] Said came to discuss and vigorously debate the issue of Orientalism with scholars in the fields of history and area studies, many of whom disagreed with his thesis, including most famously Bernard Lewis.[5]

Said also came to be known as a public intellectual who frequently discussed contemporary politics, music, culture, and literature, in lectures, newspaper and magazine columns, and books. Drawing on his own experience as a Palestinian growing up in a Palestinian Christian family in the Middle East at the time of the creation of Israel, Said argued for the creation of a Palestinian state, equal rights for Palestinians in Israel, including the right of return, and for increased pressure on Israel, especially by the United States. He also criticized several Arab and Muslim regimes.[6] Having received a Western education in the US, where he lived from his high school years until his death, Said tried to use his dual heritage, the subject of his prize-winning memoir Out of Place (1999), to bridge the gap between the West and the Middle East and to improve the situation in Israel-Palestine. He was a member of the Palestinian National Council for over a decade and his pro-Palestinian activism made him a figure of considerable controversy.[7]

In 1999, Said co-founded with Daniel Barenboim the award-winning West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, made up of children from Israel, the Palestinian territories, and surrounding Arab nations. He was also an accomplished concert pianist.[8] Active until his last months, Said died in 2003 after a decade-long battle with leukemia.


[edit] Early life

Edward Said and sister, Rosemarie 1940

Said was born in Jerusalem (then in the British Mandate of Palestine) on November 1, 1935.[9] His father, a US citizen with Protestant Palestinian origins, was a businessman and had served under General Pershing in World War I. He moved to Cairo in the decade before Edward's birth. His mother, born in Nazareth, also had a Protestant background[10][11] and was half-Egyptian.[12] His sister was the historian and writer Rosemarie Said Zahlan.

Said lived "between worlds" in both Cairo and Jerusalem until age 12.[13] He claims to have attended the Anglican St. George's Academy in 1947 in Jerusalem, but this has been disputed.[nb 1] As the Arab League declared war on Israel in 1947/1948, his family moved from the neighborhood of Talbiya in Jerusalem and returned to Cairo. In a London Review of Books article, Said gave a more detailed account of his upbringing:

With an unexceptionally Arab family name like Said connected to an improbably British first name (my mother much admired the Prince of Wales in 1935, the year of my birth), I was an uncomfortably anomalous student all through my early years: a Palestinian going to school in Egypt, with an English first name, an American passport and no certain identity at all. To make matters worse, Arabic, my native language, and English, my school language, were inextricably mixed: I have never known which was my first language, and have felt fully at home in neither, al-though I dream in both. Every time I speak an English sentence, I find myself echoing it in Arabic, and vice versa.[13]

In 1951, Said was expelled from Victoria College for being a "troublemaker",[13] and was consequently sent by his parents to Mount Hermon School, a private college preparatory school in Massachusetts, where he recalls a "miserable" year of feeling "out of place".[13] Said later reflected that the decision to send him so far away was heavily influenced by 'the prospects of deracinated people like us being so uncertain that it would be best to send me as far away as possible'.[13] Though these themes of interweaving cultures, feeling out of place, and being far from home affected him dissonantly and would echo through Said's work for the rest of his life, Said managed to do well at the Massachusetts boarding school often 'achieving the rank of either first or second in a class of about a hundred and sixty'.[13]

Fluent in English, French, and Arabic,[23] Said earned a Bachelor of Arts (1957) from Princeton University, and a Master of Arts (1960) and a Ph.D. (1964) in English Literature from Harvard University.[24]

[edit] Career

In 1963, Said joined the faculty of Columbia University, in the departments of English and Comparative Literature, where he would serve until his death in 2003. In 1974 he was Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard, in 1975-6 Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Science at Stanford, and in 1977, Said became the Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia and subsequently became the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities. In 1979, Said was Visiting Professor of Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.[25] Said was also a visiting professor at Yale University and lectured at more than 100 universities.[26] In 1992, he attained the rank of University Professor, Columbia's highest academic position.[27] He lived near campus in The Colosseum on Riverside Drive.

Said also served as president of the Modern Language Association, editor of the Arab Studies Quarterly, and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the executive board of PEN, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Royal Society of Literature, the Council of Foreign Relations,[25] and the American Philosophical Society.[28]

Said's writing regularly appeared in The Nation,[29] The Guardian,[29] the London Review of Books,[30] Le Monde Diplomatique,[31] Counterpunch,[32] Al Ahram,[33] and the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat.[29] The themes of his writings included literature, politics, the Middle East, music, and culture.

[edit] Literary criticism

After expanding on his thesis to produce his first book, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography (1966), Said, swirling with a wealth of ideas which he received from studying the works of Giambattista Vico and others, presented his award-winning second book, Beginnings: Intention and Method (1974), a work on the theoretical underpinnings of literary critical projects.[34] Other literary critical texts by Said include The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983), Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature: Yeats and Decolonization (1988), Culture and Imperialism (1993), Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures (1994), and the posthumous Humanism and Democratic Criticism (2004) and On Late Style (2006).

Fascinated, like his postmodern influences, with how people perceive things in cultural contexts, and by the effects of society, politics and power on literature, Said is considered a founder of postcolonial criticism. His work on Orientalism is particularly important, but his interpretations of Conrad, Jane Austen,[35] Rudyard Kipling,[36] Yeats,[37] and other writers have also proven influential among critics.

[edit] "Orientalism"

Said is most famous for describing and critiquing "Orientalism", which he perceived as a constellation of false assumptions underlying Western attitudes toward the East. In his most famous book, Orientalism (1978), Said claimed a "subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arabo-Islamic peoples and their culture."[38] He argued that a long tradition of false and romanticized images of Asia and the Middle East in Western culture had served as an implicit justification for Europe and the US' colonial and imperial ambitions. Just as fiercely, he denounced the practice of Arab elites who internalized the US and British orientalists' ideas of Arabic culture.

So far as the United States seems to be concerned, it is only a slight overstatement to say that Moslems and Arabs are essentially seen as either oil suppliers or potential terrorists. Very little of the detail, the human density, the passion of Arab-Moslem life has entered the awareness of even those people whose profession it is to report the Arab world. What we have instead is a series of crude, essentialized caricatures of the Islamic world presented in such a way as to make that world vulnerable to military aggression.[39]

In Orientalism, the book, Said asserted that much western study of Islamic civilization was political intellectualism bent on self-affirmation rather than objective study,[40] a form of racism, and a tool of imperialist domination.[38] Orientalism had an impact on the fields of literary theory, cultural studies and human geography, and to a lesser extent on those of history and oriental studies. Taking his cue from the work of Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, and from earlier critics of western Orientalism such as A. L. Tibawi,[41] Anouar Abdel-Malek,[42] Maxime Rodinson,[43] and Richard William Southern,[44] Said argued that Western writings on the Orient, and the perceptions of the East purveyed in them, are suspect, and cannot be taken at face value. According to Said, the history of European colonial rule and political domination over the East distorts the writings of even the most knowledgeable, well-meaning and sympathetic Western 'Orientalists' (a term that he transformed into a pejorative):[45]

I doubt if it is controversial, for example, to say that an Englishman in India or Egypt in the later nineteenth century took an interest in those countries which was never far from their status in his mind as British colonies. To say this may seem quite different from saying that all academic knowledge about India and Egypt is somehow tinged and impressed with, violated by, the gross political fact ' and yet that is what I am saying in this study of Orientalism.[46]

Said argued that the West has stereotyped the East in art and literature, since antiquity'such as the composition of The Persians by Aeschylus.[47] Even more so in modern times, Europe has dominated Asia politically so that even the most outwardly objective Western texts on the East were permeated with a bias that Western scholars could not recognize. Western scholars appropriated the task of exploration and interpretation of the Orient's languages, history and culture for themselves, with the implication that the East was not capable of composing its own narrative. They have written Asia's past and constructed its modern identities from a perspective that takes Europe as the norm, from which the "exotic", "inscrutable" Orient deviates.[48]

Said concluded that Western writings about the Orient depict it as an irrational, weak, feminised "Other", contrasted with the rational, strong, masculine West, a contrast he suggests derives from the need to create "difference" between West and East that can be attributed to immutable "essences" in the Oriental make-up.[49] In 1978, when the book was first published, with memories of the Yom Kippur war and the OPEC crisis still fresh, Said argued that these attitudes still permeated the Western media and academia.[50] After stating the central thesis, Orientalism consists mainly of supporting examples from Western texts.

[edit] Criticism

Orientalism and other works by Said sparked a wide variety of controversy and criticism.[51] Ernest Gellner argued that Said's contention that the West had dominated the East for more than 2,000 years was unsupportable, noting that until the late 17th century the Ottoman Empire had posed a serious threat to Europe.[52] Mark Proudman notes that Said had claimed that the British Empire extended from Egypt to India in the 1880s, when in fact the Ottoman and Persian Empires intervened.[53] Others argued out that even at the height of the imperial era, European power in the East was never absolute, and remained heavily dependent on local collaborators, who were frequently subversive of imperial aims.[54] Another criticism is that the areas of the Middle East on which Said had concentrated, including Palestine and Egypt, were poor examples for his theory, as they came under direct European control only for a relatively short period in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These critics suggested that Said devoted much less attention to more apt examples, including the British Raj in India, and Russia's dominions in Asia, because Said was more interested in making political points about the Middle East.[55]

Strong criticism of Said's critique of Orientalism came from academic Orientalists, including some of Eastern backgrounds. Albert Hourani, Robert Graham Irwin, Nikki Keddie, Bernard Lewis,[56][57] and Kanan Makiya addressed what Keddie retrospectively calls "some unfortunate consequences" of Said's Orientalism on the perception and status of their scholarship.[nb 2] Bernard Lewis in particular was often at odds with Said following the publication of Orientalism, in which Said singled out Lewis as a "perfect exemplification" of an "Establishment Orientalist" whose work "purports to be objective liberal scholarship but is in reality very close to being propaganda against his subject material".[60] Lewis answered with several essays in response, and was joined by other scholars, such as Maxime Rodinson, Jacques Berque, Malcolm Kerr, Aijaz Ahmad, and William Montgomery Watt, who also regarded Orientalism as a deeply flawed account of Western scholarship.[61]

Some of Said's academic critics argue that Said made no attempt to distinguish between writers of very different types: such as on the one hand the poet Goethe (who never travelled in the East), the novelist Flaubert (who briefly toured Egypt), Ernest Renan (whose work is widely regarded as tainted by racism), and on the other scholars such as Edward William Lane who was fluent in Arabic.[62] According to these critics, their common European origins and attitudes overrode such considerations in Said's mind; Said constructed a stereotype of Europeans.[63] The critic Robert Irwin writes that Said ignored the domination of 19th century Oriental studies by Germans and Hungarians, from countries that did not possess an Eastern empire.[64]

Such critics accuse Said of creating a monolithic "Occidentalism" to oppose to the "Orientalism" of Western discourse, arguing that he failed to distinguish between the paradigms of Romanticism and the Enlightenment; that he ignored the widespread and fundamental differences of opinion among western scholars of the Orient; that he failed to acknowledge that many Orientalists (such as William Jones) were more concerned with establishing kinship between East and West than with creating "difference", and who had often made discoveries that would provide the foundations for anti-colonial nationalism.[65] More generally, critics argue that Said and his followers fail to distinguish between Orientalism in the media and popular culture (for instance the portrayal of the Orient in such films as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) and academic studies of Oriental languages, literature, history and culture by Western scholars (whom, it is argued, they tar with the same brush).[66][67]

Said's critics argue that by making ethnicity and cultural background the test of authority and objectivity in studying the Orient, Said drew attention to the question of his own identity as a Palestinian and as a "Subaltern".[68] Given Said's largely Anglophone upbringing and education at an elite school in Cairo, the fact that he spent most of his adult life in the United States, and his prominent position in American academia, his own arguments that "any and all representations ' are embedded first in the language and then in the culture, institutions and political ambience of the representer ' [and are] interwoven with a great many other things besides the 'truth', which is itself a representation" [69] could be said to disenfranchise him from writing about the Orient himself. Hence these critics claim that the excessive relativism of Said and his followers trap them in a "web of solipsism",[70] unable to talk of anything but "representations", and denying the existence of any objective truth.

[edit] Supporters

Said's supporters argue that such criticisms, even if correct, do not invalidate his basic thesis, which they say still holds true for the 19th and 20th centuries and in particular for general representations of the Orient in Western media, literature and film.[71] His supporters point out that Said himself acknowledges limitations of his study's failing to address German scholarship [72] and that, in the "Afterword" to the 1995 edition of Orientalism, he, in their view, convincingly refutes his critics, such as Lewis.[73] Orientalism is regarded as central to the postcolonial movement, encouraging scholars "from non-western countries...to take advantage of the mood of political correctness it helped to engender by associating themselves with 'narratives of oppression,' creating successful careers out of transmitting, interpreting and debating representations of the non-western 'other.'"[74]

Said's continuing importance in the fields of literary criticism and cultural studies is represented by his influence on scholars studying India, such as Gyan Prakash,[75] Nicholas Dirks,[76] and Ronald Inden,[77], and Cambodia, such as Simon Springer,[78] and literary theorists such as Hamid Dabashi, Homi Bhabha[79] and Gayatri Spivak.[80] His work continues to be widely discussed in academic seminars, disciplinary conferences, and scholarship.[4]

[edit] Influence

Both supporters and critics of Edward Said acknowledge the profound, transformative influence that his book Orientalism has had across the spectrum of the humanities. But whereas his critics regret his influence as limiting[81], his supporters praise his influence as liberating.[82] Postcolonial theory, of which Said is regarded as a founder and a figure of continual relevance,[1] continues to attract interest and is a thriving field in the humanities.[83] Orientalism continues to profoundly inform the field of Middle Eastern studies.[4] He was a prominent public intellectual in the United States, praised widely as an "intellectual superstar," engaging in music criticism, public lectures, media punditry, contemporary politics, and musical performance.[74] His breadth of influence is regarded as "genuinely global," resting on his unique and innovative blend of cultural criticism, politics, and literary theory.[4]

Said was "one of President Obama's teachers at Columbia University."[84]

[edit] Music

Being not only an avid music lover, but also an accomplished pianist,[85] Said wrote extensively about music, including being the music critic for The Nation for several years,[86] and writing three books on music: Musical Elaborations, Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society (with the Argentine-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim), and his last book, On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain. In music, Said often saw a reflection of his ideas on literature and history, and he would find real life possibilities in bold composition and performance. A posthumous collection of essays was published in 2007 by Columbia University Press, entitled Music at the Limits.[87][88]

In 1999, Said jointly founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra with Barenboim. The award-winning youth orchestra is made up of musicians from Israel, Palestine, and the surrounding Arab countries, and has performed internationally, including within both Israel and Palestine. Said and Barenboim also worked together to establish The Barenboim-Said Foundation in Seville. The government-funded foundation was eventually constituted in 2004 with its purpose being to develop several "education through music" projects. In addition to managing the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Barenboim-Said Foundation assists with other projects such as the Academy of Orchestral Studies, the Musical Education in Palestine project and the Early Childhood Musical Education Project in Seville.[89]

[edit] Politics

[edit] Pro-Palestinian activism

Throughout his adult life, Said involved himself in the effort for Palestinians statehood. From 1977 until 1991, he was an independent member of the Palestinian National Council.[90] He was also an early proponent of a two-state solution and, in 1988, voted for the establishment of the State of Palestine at a Palestinian National Council meeting in Algiers. In 1991, he quit the PNC in protest over the process leading up to the signing of the Oslo Accords, feeling that the terms of the accord were unacceptable and had been rejected by the Madrid round negotiators. He felt that Oslo would not lead to a truly independent state and was inferior to a plan Yasir Arafat had rejected when Said himself presented it to Arafat on behalf of the US government in the late 1970s.[91] In particular, he wrote that Arafat had sold short the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in pre-1967 Israel and ignored the growing presence of Israeli settlements. Said's relationship with the Palestinian Authority was once so bad in 1995 that PA leaders banned the sale of his books,[92] but improved when he hailed Arafat for rejecting Ehud Barak's offers at the Camp David 2000 Summit.[93]

In an article entitled Zionism from the Standpoint of its Victims, he argued for the legitimacy and authenticity of both the Zionist claim to a land (and, more importantly, the Zionist claim that the Jewish people needed a homeland) and Palestinian rights of self-determination.[94] Said's books on the issue of Israel and the Palestinians include The Question of Palestine (1979), The Politics of Dispossession (1994) and The End of the Peace Process (2000).

[I]n all my works I remained fundamentally critical of a gloating and uncritical nationalism.... My view of Palestine ... remains the same today: I expressed all sorts of reservations about the insouciant nativism and militant militarism of the nationalist consensus; I suggested instead a critical look at the Arab environment, Palestinian history, and the Israeli realities, with the explicit conclusion that only a negotiated settlement between the two communities of suffering, Arab and Jewish, would provide respite from the unending war.[95]

Edward Said throwing a stone across the Lebanon-Israel border.

A photograph taken on July 3, 2000, of Said in South Lebanon throwing a stone across the Lebanon-Israel border drew criticism from some political and media commentators, some of whom decried the act as "terrorist sympathizing."[96]. Said explained the act as a stone-throwing contest with his son, and called it a symbolic gesture of joy at the end of Israel's occupation of Lebanon. "It was a pebble. There was nobody there. The guardhouse was at least half a mile away."[97] Although he denied aiming the rock at anyone, an eyewitness account in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir asserted that Said had been less than 30 feet (9.1 m) from Israeli soldiers manning a two-story watchtower when he aimed the rock over the border fence, though it instead hit barbed-wire.[98] While the photo provoked criticism from some Columbia University faculty members, some students, and from the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the Columbia provost issued a five-page letter defending Said's act on the grounds of freedom of expression: "To my knowledge, the stone was directed at no one; no law was broken; no indictment was made; no criminal or civil action has been taken against Professor Said."[99] Said said that there were repercussions, however, noting that in February 2001 the Freud Society of Vienna cancelled an invitation for him to give a lecture.[100] The president of the Freud Society cited "the political situation in the Middle East and its consequences" as a reason, going on to explain that anti-Semitism "has become more dangerous" in Austrian politics and that the Society had decided on the cancellation "to avoid an internal clash."[97]

Said made a documentary film about Palestine for BBC named In Search of Palestine.[101] BBC was unsuccessful in getting it on U.S. television.[102]

In Culture and Resistance (2003), Said likened his situation to that of Noam Chomsky: "It's very similar to him. He's a well known, great linguist. He's been celebrated and honored for that. But he's also vilified as an anti-Semite and a Hitler worshiper." Said went on to explain:

"For anyone to deny the horrendous experience of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust is unacceptable. We don't want anybody's history of suffering to go unrecorded and unacknowledged. On the other hand, there's a great difference between acknowledging Jewish oppression and using that as a cover for the oppression of another people."[103]

In 2003, Said, along with Haidar Abdel-Shafi, Ibrahim Dakak, and Mustafa Barghouti, helped establish the Palestinian National Initiative, or Al-Mubadara, an attempt to build a third force in Palestinian politics, a democratic, reformist alternative to Fatah and Hamas. Three years later, in January 2006, anthropologist David Price obtained 147 pages of Said's 238-page FBI file through a Freedom of Information Act request. The records reveal that Said was under FBI surveillance as early as 1971. No records were available on the last dozen years of his life.[104]

[edit] Criticism of US foreign policy

In a 1997 revised edition of his book Covering Islam, Said criticized what he viewed as the biased reporting of the Western press and, in particular, media 'speculations about the latest conspiracy to blow up buildings, sabotage commercial airliners, and poison water supplies.'[105] Said opposed many US foreign policy endeavors in the Middle East and elsewhere. He critiqued US involvement in Kosovo and Iraq under President Clinton,[8] and US support for Israel was a constant topic that he addressed in his activism. Although growing increasingly weak from his battle with leukemia, Said spent many of his last months speaking out against the then recent invasion of Iraq.[106] In an April 2003 interview with Al-Ahram Weekly, Said argued that the Iraq War was ill-conceived:

My strong opinion, though I don't have any proof in the classical sense of the word, is that they want to change the entire Middle East and the Arab world, perhaps terminate some countries, destroy the so-called terrorist groups they dislike and install regimes friendly to the United States. I think this is a dream that has very little basis in reality. The knowledge they have of the Middle East, to judge from the people who advise them, is to say the least out of date and widely speculative.... I don't think the planning for the post-Saddam, post-war period in Iraq is very sophisticated, and there's very little of it. US Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman and US Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith testified in Congress about a month ago and seemed to have no figures and no ideas what structures they were going to deploy; they had no idea about the use of institutions that exist, although they want to de-Ba'thise the higher echelons and keep the rest. The same is true about their views of the army. They certainly have no use for the Iraqi opposition that they've been spending many millions of dollars on. And to the best of my ability to judge, they are going to improvise. Of course the model is Afghanistan. I think they hope that the UN will come in and do something, but given the recent French and Russian positions I doubt that that will happen with such simplicity.[107]

[edit] Death and tributes

An al-Mubadara memorial poster of Edward Said on the Israeli West Bank wall.

Edward Said died at age 67 in the early morning of September 25, 2003, in New York City, after a 12 year-long battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.[108] He was survived by his wife of 33 years, Mariam (née Cortas); a son, Wadie, and a daughter, Najla.[109][110]

Subsequently, several prominent writers published elegies for Said, including Alexander Cockburn[111], Christopher Hitchens,[112] Tony Judt,[113] Michael Wood,[114] and Tariq Ali.[115]

In November 2004, Birzeit University renamed its music school as the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Said's honor.[116]

In 2008, Verso Books published Waiting for the Barbarians: A Tribute to Edward W. Said, a book of essays by 15 authors, including Akeel Bilgrami, Rashid Khalidi and Elias Khoury. The book was edited by Müge Gürsoy Sökmen and BaÈ�ak Ertür.[117][118]

A critical memoir, Edward Said: the charisma of criticism, by H. Aram Veeser was published by Routledge in March 2010.

[edit] Edward Said memorial lectures

Since Said's death in 2003, several institutions have instituted annual lecture series in his memory, including Columbia University, University of Warwick, Princeton University, University of Adelaide, American University of Cairo, and Palestine Center, with such notables speaking as Daniel Barenboim, Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, and Cornel West.

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] Awards

Besides being honored with memberships and posts to several prestigious organizations and institutions, Said was the recipient of twenty honorary degrees from universities around the world.[119] Said was the recipient of Harvard University's Bowdoin Prize. He received the Lionel Trilling Award (twice), the first occasion being the first time the award was given. He also received the Wellek Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association, and the inaugural Spinoza Lens Award.[120] In 2001, Said received the Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2002, he received the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, and he was the first U.S. citizen to receive the Sultan Owais prize.[121] His autobiography, Out of Place, won him the 1999 New Yorker Book Award for Non-Fiction; the 2000 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction; and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award in Literature.[122] Said Was named an honorary patron of the University Philosophical Society, Trinity College, Dublin in 2003, shortly before his death.

[edit] See also

[edit] Further reading

  • Valerie Kennedy, Edward Said: A Critical Introduction, Key Contemporary Thinkers. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2000.
  • Andrew N. Rubin, ed., Humanism, Freedom, and the Critic: Edward W. Said and After. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2005.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ One critic, Justus Weiner,[14] asserted that Said's formative years were spent in Egypt where his family's business was located, and that Said "probably" did not attend St. George's Academy in Jerusalem, except briefly. There is no official record of his attendance in the school registry books from the period. Weiner said that cast doubt on Said's qualification to contribute to the debate over the dispossession of Arabs before Israel's founding in 1948. Weiner said he did not interview Edward Said. Asked about this, he said that after conducting research that lasted three years, he saw no need to talk to Said about his memories or his childhood: "The evidence became so overwhelming. It was no longer an issue of discrepancies. It was a chasm. There was no point in calling him up and saying, 'You're a liar, you're a fraud.'" Three journalists and one historian wrote that Weiner's claims are false. Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair of Counterpunch interviewed Haig Boyadjian, who reported telling Weiner that he had been Said's classmate at St. George's, a fact Weiner omitted mentioning [15] In The Nation, Christopher Hitchens wrote that schoolmates and teachers confirmed Said's stay at St. George's,[16] and quoted Said stating, that in 1992, Said had spent much of his youth in Cairo.[17] Amos Elon, biographer of the founders of Israel, wrote in The New York Review of Books that Weiner failed to disprove that, in the winter of 1947'48, Said "and his family sought refuge from the war outside Palestine, as did hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians at the time. The fact remains that shortly afterward the family's property in Jerusalem was confiscated. Said and his family became political refugees as the result of the Israeli government's refusal to allow them to return to the country of their birth."[18] In reply, Weiner accused Elon of dishonesty, and Hitchens of making himself "into a poster boy for Palestine."[19] Said observed that the publishers of Commentary, a conservative magazine, had attacked him in three long articles and that Weiner's was the third in the series.[20][21] Said commented that the article about his early life was "undercut by dozens of mistakes of fact."[22]
  2. ^ Martin Kramer wrote that "Fifteen years after publication of Orientalism, the UCLA historian Nikki Keddie, whose work Said had praised in Covering Islam, allowed that Orientalism was 'important and in many ways positive.'[58] But, in an interview, Keddie said that she also thought Said's work on Orientalism had had "unfortunate consequences." She continued:

    "I think that there has been a tendency in the Middle East field to adopt the word "orientalism" as a generalized swear-word essentially referring to people who take the "wrong" position on the Arab-Israeli dispute or to people who are judged too "conservative". It has nothing to do with whether they are good or not good in their disciplines. So "orientalism" for many people is a word that substitutes for thought and enables people to dismiss certain scholars and their works. I think that is too bad. It may not have been what Edward Said meant at all, but the term has become a kind of slogan."[59]

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Robert Young, White Mythologies: Writing History and the West, New York & London: Routledge, 1990.
  2. ^ Robert Fisk, "Why bombing Ashkelon is the most tragic irony", The Independent, 12 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  3. ^ Martin Kramer, "Edward Said, Malcolm Kerr, and Honors at AUB". 26 June 2003. Accessed 5 January 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d Stephen Howe, "Dangerous mind?", New Humanist, Vol. 123, November/December 2008
  5. ^ Oleg Grabar, Edward Said, Bernard Lewis, "Orientalism: An Exchange", New York Review of Books, Vol. 29, No. 13. 12 August 1982. Accessed 4 January 2010.
  6. ^ Richard Bernstein, "Edward Said, Literary Critic and Advocate for Palestinian Independence, Dies at 67", New York Times. 26 September 2003. Accessed 5 January 2010.
  7. ^ Andrew N. Rubin, "Edward W. Said", Arab Studies Quarterly, Fall 2004: p.1. Accessed 5 January 2010.
  8. ^ a b Democracy Now!, "Edward Said Archive", DemocracyNow.org, 2003. Accessed 4 January 2010.
  9. ^ Hughes, Robert (1993-06-21). "Envoy to Two Cultures". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,978727,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  10. ^ Joe Sacco (2001). Palestine. Fantagraphics. 
  11. ^ Amritjit Singh, Interviews With Edward W. Said (Oxford: UP of Mississippi, 2004) 19 & 219.
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