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Ward The Question of Orientalism

Ward The Question of Orientalism - Estee Ward MESA 201 1 In...

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Estee Ward MESA 201 10/1/07 1. In his article, The Question of Orientalism , Bernard Lewis discusses the history behind the word “Orientalism,” how the term came to be, and how it has, since the mid-20 th century, become “polluted” by anti-Orientalists determined to skew the study as condescending and an offense to the Middle East. He begins by defining Orientalism and its related history, explaining that during the Middle Ages, Europe viewed “its neighbor” as not something insignificant, but as something to be greatly feared. The centuries of “conquest and reconquest” between the two regions validate this point (Lewis 2000, 252). Thus, because Europeans did not know what lay beyond their own continent, they had to suffice with general terms such as ‘the East,’ ‘Middle East,’ ‘Orient,’ and ‘Asia Minor.’ During the decline of the Ottoman period, Europeans sent out researchers, termed Orientalists, to collect texts and other evidence that would give Europe some answer to the great “Eastern Question” (Lewis 2000, 252). As time went on,
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