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Orientalism by Edward Said Essay Example

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Orientalism by Edward Said

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Orientalism by Edward Said. For many, Orientalism is essentially an art history term. In this guise it often has a relatively restricted meaning, relating to the paintings of a specific group of nineteenth-century and mainly French artists who took North Africa and the Middle East as the subject matter. During the past fifteen years, the period of the rediscovery of Orientalist painting, the term has sometimes been extended to the very large number of artists who produced representations of the Orient, including South Asia and the Far East, between the eighteenth and the twentieth centuries.” (MacKenzie, 43
Therefore, Orientalism had an important influence on the study of art and art history, and it enormously affected academia and the western art during the romantic period of the Orientalism movement.

At the beginning of his work, Said examines the scope of Orientalism and the roots of the field in pre-modern Europe. According to him, Orientalism is extraordinarily broad a movement which covers the various aspects of history, geography, sociology, art and anthropology. The concept of ‘the other’ is the most essential unit of the conception of the Orient to be studied, known and controlled. “By creating an imaginative history and geography of the Orient, they assigned virtues beyond the empirical to produce a limited and limiting vocabulary to describe the East, a discourse full of crude stereotypes. As these textual imaginings on the Orient gained in number and authority, they became embedded in scholarship even when the reality could not match the construct. As the nineteenth century began, academia became increasingly secularized and focused upon the “scientific,” yet the set of structures of Orientalism already created were merely reformulated and laicized.” (Edward W. Said, Orientalism) In his book, Said examines these structures and illustrates the examples of prominent Orientalists to illustrate his argument and academia played an important role in shaping Orientalist structures.
In conclusion, Orientalism by Edward Said, which is the most influential work in post-colonial studies, had an important influence on the study of art and art history.    . Orientalism by Edward Said.

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preview essay on Orientalism by Edward Said
  • Pages: 4 (1000 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Culture
  • Level: Masters
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