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The Legacy of Edward W. Said

The Legacy of Edward W. Said

Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    The Legacy of Edward W. Said
    Book Description:

    With the untimely death of Edward W. Said in 2003, various academic and public intellectuals worldwide have begun to reassess the writings of this powerful oppositional intellectual. Figures on the neoconservative right, who have become influential in the policy-making of George W. Bushs administration, have already begun to discredit Saids work as that of a subversive intent on slandering Americas benign global image and undermining its global authority. On the left, a significant number of oppositional intellectuals are eager to counter this neoconservative vilification, proffering a Said who, in marked opposition to the anti-humanism? of the great poststructuralist thinkers who were his contemporaries--Jacques Derrida, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser, and Michel Foucault--reaffirms humanism and thus rejects poststructuralist theory._x000B__x000B_In this provocative assessment of Edward Saids lifework, William V. Spanos argues that Saids lifelong anti-imperialist project is actually a fulfillment of the revolutionary possibilities of poststructuralist theory. Spanos examines Said, his legacy, and the various texts he wrote--including Orientalism, Culture and Imperialism, and Humanism and Democratic Criticism--that are now being considered for their lasting political impact.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09245-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1. Edward W. Said and the Poststructuralists: An Introduction
    (pp. 1-25)

    With the untimely death of Edward W. Said in 2003 various constituencies of the academic and public intellectual community, both in the United States and abroad, have begun to reassess the writings of this powerful contemporary oppositional intellectual, seeking to determine the nature of his legacy. On the right, the Straussian neoconservatives, who have exerted inordinate influence over the policies of the George W. Bush administration, have already inaugurated a campaign that goes beyond simply discrediting Said’s work as that of a subversive intent on slandering America’s benign global image and undermining its global authority.¹ This initiative, for example, is...

  5. 2. Heidegger, Foucault, and the “Empire of the Gaze”: Thinking the Territorialization of Knowledge
    (pp. 26-69)

    As I observed in the previous chapter, the difficult question of the relationship between Edward Said, above all, his critique of Orientalism, and the poststructuralists, particularly Michel Foucault, depends on which of the several Foucaults one invokes. Following a certain antipoststructuralist emphasis in Said’s work afterOrientalism,recent “secular” and often postcolonial critics, especially in the wake of Said’s death, have, despite the evidence of his inaugural book, tacitly chosen the Foucault ofLes Mots et les choses(The Order of Things) andThe Archaeology of Knowledgeas the one who best explains Said’s (antagonistic) relationship to poststructuralist theory. This...

  6. 3. Orientalism: Foucault, Genealogy, History
    (pp. 70-110)

    As I observed in the previous chapter, the Michel Foucault who influenced Said in framing the question Orientalism poses about Western knowledge production is the Foucault not of Said’sBeginnings—Foucault the archaeologist/structuralist—but the Foucault ofSurveiller et punir.More specifically, it was the Foucault not ofFolie et déraison(1961;Madness and Civilization),Naissance de la clinique(1963;The Birth of the Clinic),Les Mots et les choses(1966;The Order of Things),L’Archéolgie du savoir(1969;The Archaeology of Knowledge), and “L’Ordre du discours” (1971; “The Discourse of Language”) but ofSurveiller et punir(1975; published in...

  7. 4. Culture and Imperialism: The Specter of Empire
    (pp. 111-150)

    Strangely, Edward Said’s magisterial bookCulture and Imperialismhas not received even remotely the kind of attention thatOrientalismhas had ever since its publication in 1978. This is in part, no doubt, becauseOrientalismwas a groundbreaking book that, in its powerful destruction of the Occident’s polyvalent truth discourse about the Orient, rendered it no longer possible for Westerners—scholars, intellectuals, public officials, and ordinary people—to perceive the Orient according to the representational imperatives of the binarist logic that, as I have shown, is intrinsic to the very idea of the Occident. Since its publication,Orientalismhas instigated...

  8. 5. Edward Said’s Humanism and American Exceptionalism after 9/11/01: An Interrogation
    (pp. 151-196)

    Edward Said’s posthumously publishedHumanism and Democratic Criticismis a deeply problematic book. Whatever his intention (was it to underscore his legacy in the face of his imminent death or simply another “raid on the inarticulate / With shabby equipment always deteriorating / In the general mess of imprecision of feeling”?),¹ it will be and indeed seems already to have been understood by his legion of followers as a last will and testament to his lifelong commitment to the democratizing dynamics of humanist inquiry.² This understanding rests on an interpretation that astonishingly relegates to oblivion the half-century of history following the catastrophe...

  9. 6. Edward Said’s Mount Hermon and Mine: A Forwarding Remembrance and a Coda
    (pp. 197-232)

    If I remember correctly, my first more or less direct contact with Edward Said came about when I wrote to ask him for a contribution to a symposium on postmodernism, the inaugural issue ofboundary 2,the “journal of postmodern literature” that my friend, the novelist Robert Kroetsch, and I had imagined into being during the harrowing year I spent as a Fulbright Professor of American literature at the University of Athens. This was in 1969–70, when the ruthless military dictatorship that had staged a coup d’état in 1967 against an emergent democracy in the name ofisichia kai...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 233-266)
  11. Index
    (pp. 267-274)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 275-277)