David Ewick


Undreamt by Tyrants and Orthodoxies:
Edward Said, Orientalism, and the Politics of Cyberspace (Abstract)

David Ewick
Chuo University, Tokyo

Presented at the conference ‘Other Voices, Other Cultures: Rereading Orientalism’, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, 12 ~ 14 August, 2004; forthcoming in Reorienting Orientalism, edited by Chandreyee Niyogi (New Delhi: Sage, 2006).

We are today abetted by the enormously encouraging democratic field of cyberspace, open to all users in ways undreamt of by earlier generations of either tyrants or of orthodoxies.

Edward Said, Orientalism 25 Years Later: Worldly Humanism Versus the Empire Builders, www.amin.org, 6 August 2003

Edward Said’s last published discussion of Orientalism, a re-reading of his 1978 study twenty-five years on, a critique of the contemporary Orientalist orthodoxies of the United States, and a vigorous defence of humanism, appeared first on the bilingual web site of the Arabic Media Internet Network, AMIN, on 6 August 2003. The following day the work appeared under the title Preface to Orientalism at the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Weekly On-line. Three weeks later, on 28 August 2003, the Penguin Modern Classics twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Orientalism appeared in Britain, with the earlier-published AMIN and Al-Ahram essay as its New Preface.

One account of this subject would address the politics of absence that pertains in the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The purpose of this paper, however, is to address instead Said’s response to such a politics, his turn in the last years of his life to ‘the enormously encouraging democratic field of cyberspace’. The paper will demonstrate that Said’s late work written for on-line publication is instrumentally related both to his understanding of Orientalist discourse and to his theories of resistance to it, and that this body of work, 140 essays written in the last five and a half years of his life, yet to be sifted through by scholars bound to the discourse of commercial publication, in important ways extends Said’s critique of Orientalism and his understanding of the post-colonial condition.

The theoretical frame will be Said’s often-quoted and much-misunderstood 1978 introduction to Orientalism. But for that text and the earlier-written but later published The World, the Text, and the Critic, the texts under discussion have yet to appear in conventional print publication. Attendees [at the conference presentation version of the paper] will be provided on CD-ROM an annotated bibliography of Said’s work written for on-line publication from January 1998 to September 2003, with hyperlinks to the primary texts, registered under a Creative Commons license that allows non-commercial reproduction and distribution.

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Truth to Power:
A Bibliography of Edward Said Online

The Edward Said Archive

Said @ Al-Ahram Weekly Online

In Arabic @ AMIN

In French @ Le Monde diplomatique

In Spanish @ Rebelión

In Italian @ Giangiacomo
Feltrinelli Editore

In Italian @ Reds

In Japanese @ RUR-55

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