Beyond Said’s Orientalism

From Refashioning Iran, pp. 33-34:

The challenge of postcolonial historiography is to re-historicize the processes that have been concealed and ossified by the Eurocentric accounts of modernity. This challenge also involves uncovering the underside of “occidental rationality.” Such a project must go beyond a Saidian critique of Orientalism as “a systematic discourse by which Europe was able to manage – even produce – the Orient politically, sociologically, militarily, ideologically, scientifically, and imaginatively.” Said’s Orientalism provided the foundation for immensely productive scholarly works on European colonial agency but these works rarely explore the agency and imagination of Europe’s Other, who are depicted as passive and traditional. This denial of agency and coevality to the “Rest” provided the ground for the exceptionality of the “West.” By reconstituting the intertextual relations between Western texts and their repressed “Oriental” master-texts, the postcolonial historiography can reenact the dialogical relations between the West and the Rest, a relationship that was essential to the formation of the ethos of modernity.

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