[ Read Online Culture and Imperialism æ love PDF ] by Edward W. Said Ç Dense and sometimes irritatingly circular in logic, this book is still a fantastic piece of examining postcolonial literary theory Rooted in literature, this book looks at the history around the works though not in as extreme a detail as Orientalism and analyses it When it goes to far, it can tend to be annoying for example, while Aida is a brilliant example of imperialist orientalising a culture, and the history around it are interesting, it too specifically points to the cultural circumstances as being the reason that Aida came out as it was ie a specific attempt by Verdi rather than influencing the attitudes indirectly, which is a stronger argument both for Aida and also for the concept , but when it isn t exaggerating, it is clever and helpful Oh, ignore the last chapter It s interesting but a tangent.
In this followup to his classic Orientalism, Sa d looks closer at 20th C British and American imperialism In this series of essays, he consider s it the aesthetic object whose connection to the expanding societies of Britain and France is particularly interesting to study The prototypical modern realistic novel is Robinson Crusoe, and certainly not accidentally it is about a European who creates a fiefdom for himself on a distant, non European island If you wonder why a white person shooting innocents is one crazy isolated incident , where as if the shooter is someone of color or with an Arabic sounding name is immediately labeled terrorist , this book is for you It lays the foundation for how the West has justified its relentlessly violent relationship to Arab countries other than those it can exploit such as Saudi Arabia and how a nativist, racist like Drumpf could become President on the heels of Obama Twenty four years later, this book still resonates as a clarion call for a shift of perspective and thinking towards the Islamic world rather than sweeping generalizations about a civilization that brought humanity the number zero and wastechnologically advanced than the West for centuries during the Middle Ages To be read with urgence.
A Landmark Work From The Intellectually Auspicious Author Of Orientalism That Explores The Long Overlooked Connections Between The Western Imperial Endeavor And The Culture That Both Reflected And Reinforced It Said Is A Brilliant Scholar, Aesthete And Political Activist Washington Post Book World I didn t finish this to be honest I got halfway through and gave up He analyses Verdi s opera Aida as an example of his thesis on the Imperialising nature of western culture because of factors like the fact that Verdi didn t present a thoroughly accurate version of Egyptian society in the opera He included women among the dancers at one point when in fact it should have only been men Shakespeare refers to the coast of Bohemia in a Winter s Tale 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 Basically I can see the point of his thesis but he repeats himself and uses too much hyperbole to hammer his point home He criticizes other critical approaches and overstates his case for example declaring that the 19th and 20th century novel particularly the French, American and above all the English are unthinkable without Imperialism and vice versa He says the key to Austen s Mansfield Park, around which everything else resolves itself, is the sugar plantations the Bertram s own in Antigua, which seems ridiculous to me 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 Post colonial, Marxist, feminist and other politically charged interpretations of literature and art just seem too ideologically narrow to me I suppose They certainly have value and can lead to interesting insights, but I find them overly restrictive.
Texts are not finished objects.
Foucault s discourse is systems of thoughts composed of ideas, attitudes, courses of action, beliefs and practices that systematically construct the subjects and the worlds of which they speak Foucault traces the role of discourses in wider social processes of legitimating and power, emphasizing the construction of current truths, how they are maintained and what power relations they carry with them He later theorized that discourse is a medium through which power relations produce speaking subjects.
Edward Said s work depends on this notion by asking how we read texts For any text is constructed out of many available discourses, discourses within which writers themselves may be seen as subjects For Said, The critic s function is both enhanced and focused by his or her capacity to be in the world Perhaps the best conception of the critic s worldliness can be found in a passage from a twelfth century Saxon monk called Hugo of St Victor which Said usesthan once The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign land The tender soul has fixed his love on one spot in the world the strong man has extended his love to all places the perfect man has extinguished his And as Said said Criticism must think of itself as life enhancing and constitutively opposed to every form of tyranny, domination, and abuse its social goals are non coercive knowledge produced in the interests of human freedom In summary Speak Truth To Power.
Said main doctrine is that through culture, the assumption of the divine right of imperial powers to rule is supported, that the institutional, political and economic operations of imperialism are nothing without the power of the culture that maintains them The imperial nations have not only the right but the obligation to rule those nations lost in barbarism to civilize them As Conrad puts it The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much What redeems it is the idea only 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 He gives an example from Kipling s Kim, where Kipling has the widow of Kula says, when a District Superintendent of Police walks by, that These be the sort to oversee justice They know the land and the customs of the land which is Kipling s way of demonstrating that natives accept colonial rule so long as it is the right kind.
They weren t like us and for that reason deserved to be ruled Said s resistance to this is by what he calls the voyage in , to enter into the discourse of Europe and the West, to mix with it, transform it, to make it acknowledge marginalized or suppressed or forgotten histories For example by rewriting these classics from the point of view of the colonized This subtle movement beyond simple binary refuses the short term blandishments of separatist and triumphalist slogans in favour of the larger,generous human realities of community among cultures, peoples, and societies He refuses works that just promotes the nationalism of the oppressed, to the theory of the absolute evil of the native the theory of the absolute evil of the settler replies because it reinforces the distinction even while reevaluating the weaker or subservient partner so he avoids this binary opposition of east and west and this summaries his Worldliness A dialogue between equals.
Maybe evenrelevant to the discourse of our times than when it was written.
Edward Said s analysis of 19th and 20th century western written texts is outstanding In Culture and Imperialism Said makes the distinction between the two terms Colonialism and Imperialism Before this book I used these terms interchangeably, even after reading the book I don t think I fully understand how they are different In any case, I now know that Colonialism is the practise while Imperialism is the idea that shapes that practice In other words Colonialism is Now we The colonizer own you The colonized , your land, and we will be exploiting your economic resources to our benefit using brute force We also know and want you to know that we are a superior racial group, our intellectual abilities are beyond your comprehension and reach 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 We discretely think and want you to think that we are a superior racial group that is intellectually blessed and would like to help you by making youlike us.
Culture and language are very powerful tools, Said demonstrates over and over how western imperialism uses the written word to dominate other nations and send some into near obliteration The Foucauldian manner in which he excavates these materials is well suited, I m only saddened that I m not familiar with all the works he mentions which I m sure diluted my understanding of his thesis Said shows how some oppressed voices chose to resist cultural displacement by refusing to write in english and writing in their mother language instead Against the backdrop of globalization I don t see how that is a sound methodology to preserve one s culture and language If you refuse to write in english and instead write in Kenyan for example, to preserve your culture and language that is great However, I m inclined to think that only a handful of people will read what you write, half of those people will comprehend what you are trying to present, and half of that half will respond to it In other words, while you think as an intellectual you are strengthening your culture you are not even putting a dent in western imperialism, actually, you are helping it along by isolating yourself as an intellectual Liberating oppressed voices is of coursecomplex than that but it it something I m deeply thinking about.
A reader might think that this book is repetitive maybe it is but I don t think of it that way, what seems repetitive is actually a historical narration with stacks of evidence to support the writer s thesis As far as I m concerned the abundance of evidence presented strengthens the case which is necessary, especially given the boldness of Said s thesis Despite being a challenging read, I would recommend this book to others curious about why we all need to speak english to exist in this world I will definitely reread Culture and Imperialism after I ve read colonialism and postcolonilsm for dummies, something I ve should of done the first time around I remember being completely blown away by Said s Orientalism years ago, and this book, like that one, is less concerned with resolving every possible issue it brings up than with inaugurating and providing profound moral and aesthetic incentives for a massive intellectual mission Said s goal here is not simply to explain the numerous ways that ideas of empire and culture bleed into each other, but to explain the broad humanistic necessity of studying that phenomenon at all This book,than anything I ve read in my life, offers a profound statement about why its important to exhume the writings and works of the politically marginal, the dispossessed and the displaced.
That s a project which has arguably become one of if not the dominant goals of the humanities in our age If you ve taken a college level literature course in the past 20 years that has focused on non white non western writers, or characters of that type within western literature itself, it s largely because Edward Said and others like him made an impassioned, essential case for why that mattered His influence in the academic world is, in many ways, almost too large to quantify.
Said emerges in this, as in his other work, as one of the most erudite, sophisticated, and perhaps most importantly profoundly humane thinkers of the past century I can t imagine any thinking person reading him and not being affected.
I first heard about this collection of essays via Philosophy Tube s video, in which he praised it as being quite good when compared to another piece of work he read It is basically a book that focuses on how imperialism and colonialism affected and was presented in the writing of British authors, mainly in the 18th,19th, and 20th centuries all the while showing how such events shaped, mostly, British and French literature No one today is purely one thing Labels are notthan starting points, which if followed into actual experience for only a moment are quickly left behind Imperialism consolidated the mixture of cultures and identities on a global scale But its worst and most paradoxical gift was to allow people to believe that they were only, mainly, exclusively, white, or Black, or Western, or Oriental The main take of the book comes from what has been said by many historians and political scientists, the present is still being affected by the effects imperialism had on the world Although Said focuses on the cultural aspect, a bit of what he refers to and quite a lot of philosophers agree on molds the view of economic and political effects of colonization imperialism This is a book I would love to write a full review on They weren t like us and for that reason deserved to be ruled.
Edward Said sCulture and Imperialismemploys a contrapuntal reading strategy by which he asserts the needs to examine texts from the perspectives of both colonized and colonizer 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 Contrapuntal reading requires not only reading the text in terms of what it includes but in terms of what has been excluded from it 66 67 In one of Said s most broad sweeping arguments, he contends that the novel itself is an artifact of imperialism, unthinkable outside the context of empire To read the complicity and construction of imperial ideology in British, U.
S and French literature is not to dismiss the literature of unworthy of analysis but to suggest the need for the complexity of our analysis and examination of literature in relationship to empire As he explains repeatedly, understanding that connection does not reduce or diminish the novels value as works of art on the contrary, because of their wordliness, because of their complex affiliations with their real setting, they areinteresting and valuable as works of art 13 Said distinguishes this book fromOrientalismboth by employing a broad comparative literature framework to examine imperialism s relationship to culture as a broad system across a range of imperial ventures and through his attention to the resistance to imperialism also present in literature I was particularly attuned to his discussions of geography in relationship to empire in the texts he discusses Spatiality is central to the ways in which Said identifies the relationship of the texts to imperialist ideologies He makes this argument masterfully in his discussion ofMansfield Parkwhere he writes, Then there is the hierarchy of spaces by which the metropolitan center and, gradually, the metropolitan economy are seen as dependent upon an overseas system of territorial control, economic exploitation, and a socio cultural vision without these stability and prosperity at home home being a world with extremely potent resonances would not be possible The perfect example of what I mean is to be found in Jane Austen sMansfield Park , in which Thomas Betram s slave plantation in Antigua is mysteriously necessary to the poise and the beauty of Mansfield Park, a place described in moral and aesthetic terms well before the scramble for Africa, or before the age of empire officially began 59 The possession of land is central to empire Consequently, exposing ideologies about territorial control as well as the primacy of geography to the interpellation of culture by empire are central to Said s project 78 Notably, the final chapter turns to the United States and specifically to a discussion of the media coverage of the 1992 U.
S war against Iraq as well as maps out a vision for the productive future of the study of world literature or Anglophone literature As Said explains, The major task, then, is to match the new economic and socio political dislocations and configurations of our time with the startling realities of human interdependence on a world scale 330 He suggests the exile exists not as the forgotten and the margin but the norm in a world where experiences, identities, cultures, literatures, etc are hybrid In this way, the exile represents an experience of crossing boundaries and charting new territories in defiance of the classic canonic enclosures, however much its loss and sadness should be acknowledged and registered 317.
On a side note I found his explanation of the difference between imperialism and colonialism worth keeping for later reference, As I shall be using the term, imperialism means the practice, the theory, and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan center ruling a distant territory colonialism, which is almost always a consequence of imperialism, is the implanting of settlements on distant territory 9 Second side note Oddly enough, one of the most significant impacts of this book was to create in me a desire to re read many of the 19th Century British novels I last read in high school.