Author: Edward Wadie Said
CERIS Faculty Readers' Forum choice for February 8, 2007.
The author (1935-2003) was a well-known Palestinian-American literary theorist and outspoken Palestinian activist. He was professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, and regarded as a founding figure in post-colonial theory. In this work he examines the way in which the West observes the Arabs. Said's evaluation and critique of the set of beliefs known as Orientalism forms an important background for postcolonial studies and current understandings. His work describes the constallation of false assumptions that forms the foundation of Orientalist thinking, and advocates the use of focused narrative and self-representation to understand smaller, culturally consistent regions. His supporters and critics alike acknowledge the profound, transformative influence this book has had across the spectrum of the humanities. First published in 1978, the book is now available in paperback.