Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Orientalism: Have Recent Developments in the Study of Islam Gone Beyond Said’s Seminal Critique of ‘Orientalism’?

Version 1 : Received: 15 November 2018 / Approved: 19 November 2018 / Online: 19 November 2018 (05:28:54 CET)

How to cite: Rajina, F. Orientalism: Have Recent Developments in the Study of Islam Gone Beyond Said’s Seminal Critique of ‘Orientalism’?. Preprints 2018, 2018110419 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201811.0419.v1). Rajina, F. Orientalism: Have Recent Developments in the Study of Islam Gone Beyond Said’s Seminal Critique of ‘Orientalism’?. Preprints 2018, 2018110419 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201811.0419.v1).

Abstract

This paper undertakes a critical analysis and evaluates the recent developments in the study of Islam and how it has gone beyond Orientalism; as Martin and Ernst remark in the preface and acknowledgements of Rethinking Islamic Studies: from Orientalism to Cosmopolitanism that the last three decades—after the publication of Orientalism in 1978—“has been a liberating experience for us as scholars initially trained in narrowly textual ‘Orientalist’ approaches, as we have been forced by circumstance to address many issues of contemporary political and social relevance.” However, I will also acknowledge the alternate perspective that these developments may not have gone beyond Said’s Orientalism, but have rather reinforced and maintained - and have “decidedly worsened”—the very ideas Said introduced in Orientalism because of issues such as: Islamic fundamentalism and the aftermath of 9/11, and how the study of Islam has been influenced by these issues in modern times thus returning to the Orientalist approach. I will look at the history of Orientalism in the study of Islam, then the emergence of space for self-representation, and then I will look at the current study of Islam. Esposito argues that Orientalism has taken a new form, and no longer romanticizes the Middle East as having sandy deserts where genies, thieves and evil sorcerers vied after scantily clad princesses amid a backdrop of white palaces and peasant-ridden streets, as presented in the film ‘Aladdin’.

Subject Areas

Orientalism; postcolonialism; Islamic Studies; Islam; representation; Muslims; history

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