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E. Said’s Orientalism: Literature and the Non-European

at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research - Brooklyn

(17)
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$315
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Location:
Brooklyn
68 Jay St
Btwn Water & Front Streets
Brooklyn, New York 11201
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Description
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 21 and older
Average Class Size: 14
Teacher: Danielle Drori

What you'll learn in this literature class:

What is “Orientalism”? And why has the book that defined it as a Western body of knowledge remained so popular as a key text of critical theory?

Published in 1978, Edward Said’s Orientalism immediately attracted both praise and censure. For Said, the notion that the world is divided—politically, culturally, and morally—into the oppositional categories of East and West was an intellectual creation, which supported and facilitated particular forms of power. Drawing on the ideas of discourse and hegemony as developed by Michel Foucault and Antonio Gramsci, respectively, Said highlighted the ways in which knowledge of “the Orient” has been historically bound up with imperial domination; from the Arabic linguists who accompanied Napoleon to Egypt to the scholars who peddle commentary on the “Arab mind.” What, exactly, binds “Orientalism” together as theory and practice? And to what extent does Said’s critical intervention remain needed today?

In this class, we will read Orientalism in its entirety, alongside excerpts from Foucault’s The Archaeology of Knowledge and Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks. We will explore selections from Said’s later corpus of scholarly works, his interviews and lectures. We will ask: How was this work—now widely regarded as a pioneering one due to its impact on numerous fields—received at the time of its publication? How does “Orientalism” function as a cultural discourse, and how are we to understand its relationship to the material world? To what extent do we accept Said’s revolutionary assessment regarding the political investments of literature, art, and scholarly work? And is there a way to study another culture outside of paradigms of domination and appropriation? Finally, we will discuss Said’s work vis-à-vis contemporary manifestations of Islamophobia and Eurocentrism, tracing the ways in which the ontological division between “us” and “them” continues to shape our world.

There *is* no physical Brooklyn Institute. We hold our classes all over (thus far) Brooklyn and Manhattan, in alternative spaces ranging from the back rooms of bars to bookstores to spaces in cultural centers, including the Center for Jewish History, the Goethe-Institut, and the Barnard Center for Research on Women. We can (and do) turn any space into a classroom. You will be notified of the exact location when you register for a class.

Instructors will contact students approximately one week prior to the first class with reading assignments and details about the course location

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Refund Policy
Upon request, we will refund the entire cost of a class up until 1 week before its start date. Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to a 75% refund. After the first class: 50%. After the second: 25%. No refunds will be given after the third class.

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Reviews of Classes at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (17)

School: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

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