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Culture and Imperialism

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And so if that environment happens to be imperialist, it’s worthwhile to look at their works through that lens. 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.

On the contrary, it is clear that he admires these works for their artistic and aesthetic achievements. Both Fanon and Foucault have Hegel, Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, Canguihelm, and Sartre in their heritage, yet only Fanon presses that formidable arsenal into anti-authoritarian service. 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. This dissonance is all the more jarring given that violent regime change has most often only succeeded in replacing one tyrant with an even worse one. Showing, kind of, how the novel implicitly reconfirms empire and imperialist ideology, sometimes less explicit (Austen) sometimes more so (Conrad).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?

However, the graceful writing predominates and even when things get difficult there are still some very valuable concepts being expressed. 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 you more like us”. 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.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. This was an unexpected pleasure, as I'd never read Said before and was fearful of drowning in jargon. In an effort to overthrow the oppressor, so many former colonies just modeled themselves after the occupying powers. Tim Brennan nicely analyzes the role of philologists and of geography in Said’s Arab trilogy: Orientalism (1978), The Question of Palestine (1979), and Covering Islam (1981). 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.

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