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Lauren Michaud April 5 2000 ORIENTALISM A BRIEF ANALYSIS Said describes Orientalism as the generic term that I have been employing to describe the Western approach to the Orient Orientalism is the discipline by which the Orient was and is approached systematically as a topic of learning discovery and practice By this Said is saying because we treated the East like a school subject we have learned to treat the East as an inferior Which has developed into something called Orientalism The poets authors and statesmen of the nineteenth-century have made Orientalism every thing that it is They started out with the intent of learning about a civilization of people that was extremely different from ours Their intentions were academic and nothing more really Unfortunately their almost unconscious prejudices and fears of the unknown led to the slow cultural and then political domination of the place referred to as the Orient I agree with Said on the matter of knowledge leading to slow domination but I think he needs to be much clearer on the fact that it was arrived at with good intentions Our predecessors wanted to understand unfortunately there were much too eager and presumptuous In 1798 Napoleon invaded down through Syria Although this was one of the first attempts to invade the Orient two people were ahead of him Both were scholars from Europe Antiquetil-Duperron and Abraham-Hyacinthe These men gave the first images of language text and civilization to Europe The started the fascination with the Orient and Napoleons urge to dominate it Out of his failed plan to take over Egypt came more people who wrote about the Orient without experiencing it Said called these authors textual children Said also goes on to describe the textual attitude this mindset believes everything you read In this case reading about places and the generalizations made and believing these simplifications of a rather complex area to be the concrete truth This
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