Culture and Imperialism

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Culture and Imperialism

Culture and Imperialism

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Very highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand how cultures are dominated by words, as well as how cultures can be liberated by resuscitating old voices or creating new voices for new times. Survival in fact is about the connections between things; in Eliot’s phrase, reality cannot be deprived of the “other echoes [that] inhabit the garden. The book closes with an interview Said gave to Michael Sprinker and Jennifer Wicke in 1989, which also supplements Culture and Imperialism. As the connection between culture and empire, literature has "the power to narrate, or to block other narratives from forming and emerging", which might contradict the colonization of a people.

There are strikingly important points that Edward Said makes at the very end of this book that were reminiscent of Amin Maalouf’s “In the Name of Identity, Violence and the Need to Belong. Still, the book is interesting as a social document on the thinking of imperialism and culture of the time. Like, yeah, culture plays a central role in maintaining and confirming power/ hegemonic ideology, imperialist or otherwise. The book rewards a close reading, and I blackened many pages of my notebook writing down entire paragraphs.

Besides his academic work, he wrote a twice-monthly column for Al-Hayat and Al-Ahram; was a regular contributor to newspapers in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East; and was the music critic for The Nation. He is the author of twenty-two books which have been translated into 35 languages, including Orientalism (1978); The Question of Palestine (1979); Covering Islam (1980); The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983); Culture and Imperialism (1993); Peace and Its Discontents: Essays on Palestine and the Middle East Peace Process (1996); and Out of Place: A Memoir (1999). The well written book about contrast between Third World cultures' and imperial nature of Western power. I could not help thinking about what Edward Said would make of social media today: Would he perhaps have thought that an app like twitter only reinforces the regulation of public discussion and mainstream culture?

The subject of the book is obvious from the title, but the book also offers a trenchant critique of nativist nationalism. which is Kipling’s way of demonstrating that natives accept colonial rule so long as it is the right kind. Edward Said was a professor of literature at Columbia University, not surprisingly a master of words.It is only by reading histories, literature, identity, and cultures, "contrapuntally"- by emphasizing the interdependence and interaction of us all- that things can be seen with clarity. Before this book I used these terms interchangeably, even after reading the book I don’t think I fully understand how they are different. There ought to be no retreat into comfortable notions of the self or the community- for colonizer or colonized. Would he have said the most-followed tweets belong to “privileged ethnic groups” and that the rest of the world that is trying to emulate them are all but going to get crushed, or worse, ignored? But Said in his magnus opus asks the question: “what if imperialism was not simply a political project born of European realpolitik, but a whole encompassing form of thought and more importantly cultural production, one which very much still lingers in our collective unconscious and very ontology of the quotidian?

Both of these intellectuals seem to have battled with their identities in exile and came out with similar perceptions of how it is through “fear and prejudice” that patriotism and intolerance are made up. While imperialism is: “Now we (the colonizer) own you (the colonized), your land and we will be exploiting your economic resources to our benefit using culture and language alongside nuanced force. In 1999, with his friend Daniel Barenboim, Said co-founded the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, based in Seville, which comprises young Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab musicians. It doesn't matter that Bohemia is landlocked, art doesn't have to conform to reality and this kind of looseness with the facts certainly isn't unique to western portrayals of colonies. In 1963, he began teaching at Columbia University, where he was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature.To read a text contrapuntally is to read it “with a simultaneous awareness both of the metropolitan history that is narrated and of those other histories against which (and together with which) the dominating discourse acts” (51). Reading this you would think that Said has no idea that the phenomenon of Imperialism has occurred all over the world in every culture throughout history.

Facebook sets this cookie to show relevant advertisements to users by tracking user behaviour across the web, on sites that have Facebook pixel or Facebook social plugin. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea—something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to.

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