Edward Said

Palestinian-American academic (1935–2003) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Edward Wadie Said[lower-alpha 1] (1 November 1935 – 24 September 2003) was a Palestinian American academic, literary critic and political activist.[1] A professor of literature at Columbia University he was among the founders of postcolonial studies.[2] Born in Mandatory Palestine, he was a citizen of the United States by way of his father, a U.S. Army veteran.

Quick facts: Edward Said, Born, Died, Nationality, Educati...
Edward Said
Said in Seville, 2002
Edward Wadie Said

(1935-11-01)1 November 1935
Died24 September 2003(2003-09-24) (aged 67)
New York City, U.S.
SpouseMariam C. Said
Children2, including Najla
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Notable ideas

Educated in the Western canon at British and American schools, Said applied his education and bi-cultural perspective to illuminating the gaps of cultural and political understanding between the Western world and the Eastern world, especially about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in the Middle East; his principal influences were Antonio Gramsci, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, Michel Foucault, and Theodor Adorno.[3]

As a cultural critic, Said is known for the book Orientalism (1978), a critique of the cultural representations that are the bases of Orientalism—how the Western world perceives the Orient.[4][5][6][7] Said's model of textual analysis transformed the academic discourse of researchers in literary theory, literary criticism, and Middle Eastern studies—how academics examine, describe, and define the cultures being studied.[8][9] As a foundational text, Orientalism was controversial among scholars of Oriental studies, philosophy, and literature.[10][3]

As a public intellectual, Said was a controversial member of the Palestinian National Council, due to his public criticism of Israel and the Arab countries, especially the political and cultural policies of Islamic regimes who acted against the national interests of their peoples.[11][12] Said advocated the establishment of a Palestinian state to ensure equal political and human rights for the Palestinians in Israel, including the right of return to the homeland. He defined his oppositional relation with the status quo as the remit of the public intellectual who has "to sift, to judge, to criticize, to choose, so that choice and agency return to the individual" man and woman.

In 1999, with conductor Daniel Barenboim, Said co-founded the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, based in Seville. Said was also an accomplished pianist, and, with Barenboim, co-authored the book Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society (2002), a compilation of their conversations and public discussions about music held at New York's Carnegie Hall.[13]

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