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Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular

Also available from Continuum: The Next Step in Studying Religion, Mathieu E. Courville

Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular

Mathieu E. Courville

Continuum International Publishing Group The Tower Building 80 Maiden Lane 11 York Road Suite 704 London SE1 7NX New York NY 10038 www.continuumbooks.com Mathieu E. Courville 2010 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN: HB: 978-0-8264-3755-6 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Courville, Mathieu. Edward Saids rhetoric of the secular / Mathieu E. Courville. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN-13: 9780-82643755-6 (HB) ISBN-10: 08264-37559 (HB) 1. Secularism. 2. Said, Edward W. I. Title. BL2747.8.C68 2009 211.6092--dc22

2009016705

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For our families & familiarities

. . . like a diplomat of terrorism, with a place at the table. Edward W. Said

Contents

Preface Acknowledgments Voyages In: An Introduction Chapter 1. Being and Not Being a Mere Book: History, Memory, and Self-Understanding Chapter 2. The Empire Writes Back: From Bernard Lewis to Martin Kramer Chapter 3. Scholars of Religion and the Return of the Repressed: William D. Hart and Carl Olson Chapter 4. Emergent Conversations: Working with and through Saids Religious Questions Chapter 5. Theoretical Travelogues: A Slight Return from Foucault Back to Fanon and Sartre Chapter 6. Convergences: The Other Arab Muslims and The Other America Chapter 7. The Essay as Form of Resistance: On the Essayistic Spirit in Said and Adorno Chapter 8. Out of Place: A Conclusion In Lieu of a Postface: An Appreciation of Edward W. Said Vivek H. Dehejia About the Author(s) Notes Bibliography Index

viii x 1 22 45 65 85 91 109 135 141 145

149 150 213 237

Preface

Representations of the religious and the secular in Edward Saids oeuvre are the central concerns of this book. Some of his critics claim he unduly dichotomizes these two notions. This study, however, aims to constructively demonstrate that Saids oeuvre can be interpreted as far more subtle; his representations of these integral dimensions of human existence are not so Manichean, not so radically dualistic when studied carefully and critically. I argue his oeuvre be read as subtly acknowledging religions and/or religiosities are not something that can be wished away and that secular humanism is not that which single-handedly deconstructs religion, filling the void left in its wake. Secular humanism, for Said, is a necessary supplement to, as opposed to a wholesale replacement of, the religious; in this, a needed step toward reconciling divisive identities. Secular humanism, understood here as both a style of thought and as an emergent way of life, aims to reconcile divisive identities with one another, seeking to reconcile human agents and agencies with realities such as modernity, modernism, and postmodernism. Such reconciliatory processes, however, can only take place if secular humanism emerges from within the religious traditions themselves. This books introductory chapter aims to make plain the foregoing perspectives. In the first chapter of this study, I examine recollections from Saids memoir as a backdrop or matrix of his views of the religious and the secular, important for understanding such views. Chapter 2 examines criticism leveled against Saids work by certain exemplary critics from within Middle Eastern studies, namely, Bernard Lewis and Martin Kramer. Chapter 3 examines criticisms leveled against Saids work from critical locations within Religious Studies, namely, in the works of William D. Hart and of Carl Olson. In Chapter 4, I discuss prior work on Saids notion of the religious and the secular that is more heuristic in orientation. Chapter 5 intervenes into a debate within Said scholarship, specifically regarding his intellectual debt to French high theorist Michel Foucault, by showing the equally significant redeployment of some of Frantz Fanons arguments within Saids work, arguments Fanon himself had decontextualized and recontextualized from Jean-Paul Sartres work on anti-Semitism. Chapter 6 aims to show that via essay writing, Said aimed to deconstruct prevailing stereotypes of the Middle East, and conversely, of America also. Chapter 7 aims to

Preface

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theorize Saids espousal of The Essay as Form by comparing Saids essayism to that of Theodor Adorno, suggesting that for both the essay is a form of resistance to what Said calls epistemologies of imperialism. Since Said critiques epistemologies of imperialism via an enlightenment rhetorica rhetoric based on a critical theory of the religioushis view of the essay is another prime location for thinking what he envisioned by his use of the term secular. In this works concluding chapter, I try (i.e., essay) to proverbially bring it all back home, that is, metaphorically to be sure, making clearer what implications such work may have for contemporary studies of human religiosities and cultures, areas of knowledge that are still crucial today. I began my study of Edward W. Saids work before September 11, 2001. Since that fateful day, I have not ceased, nor could I have in good faith. Moreover, I enjoyed the encouragements of mentors along this path, two of whom I should like to especially thank, namely, Professors M. Gardaz and R. Pummer. Many more mentors do deserve thanks. The studies that constitute this work, interconnected as they are, are some of the results of my efforts, although not in isolation, to clarify my thinking about issues Saids oeuvre forcefully engages. Much of this was initially presented in 2007 as a doctoral dissertation for the department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa. The reader is here presented with its revised and revisited incarnation. I have not tried to change the documents essential nature, that is, how it is also an intervention into a time and place, except where I could do so without altering it beyond recognition. In his 1975 publication Beginnings, Said argues, with great subtlety, that the age of exhaustivity (or the belief in good faith of its possibility) is past. In this respect then, this work is self-consciously essayistic in spirit and form. Its strength, like the essay form, is to be found in being suggestive. It is the authors hope that both senior and (especially) junior colleagues will recognize many of the inroads here indicated in their general contours, many not followed to the extent they deserve. These inroads will be found not only in the text proper, but many could only be included and briefly discussed in the endnotes (a scholarly tradition students of religions such as Wilfred Cantwell Smith and Jonathan Z. Smith have practiced in exemplary ways). As Chuck Zerbys book The Devils Details: A History of Footnotes (2001; New York: Touchstone, 2003), makes plain, there are good reasons, especially within the Humanities, for struggling to keep this intellectual tradition alive. Moreover, it may be something of a microcosm of greater ongoing struggles on the stage best called the world. Mathieu E. Courville The University of Victoria, BC April 2009

Acknowledgments

First, I wish to thank Columbia University professor Edward W. Said for his work as well as for his example; I also wish to thank all those who have helped him in this along the way. I would also like to simply, though wholeheartedly, acknowledge the varieties of encouragements received, gifted by family, friends, lovers, as well as from various colleagues, near and far, and our professional associations. The Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) deserves great thanks for its work and support. I would also like to thank le Layali Eshark Caf, le Chez Lu, le Laff(ayette), and le Petit Chicago (since these became second homes when overburdened by work or life or both).

Voyages In: An Introduction

1. The Object, Aim, and Argument


The oeuvre of the late Columbia University professor Dr. Edward W. Said (19352003) constitutes a strong, convincing case for secular humanist understandings of human realities. The understandings that emerge from such hermeneutic work spring not from the point of view of god, nor does it from romantically imagining nature, but rather from the points of view afforded by human cultures. Such understandings arise in part from becoming more critical of our grasping and apprehending of reality. In this, not wishing to be a prophet, nor a theologian, Said follows Giambattista Vico in concluding with him that nature too shall likely forever remain somewhat mysterious to humankind. Saids oeuvre makes a good case for understanding culture as a very human thing indeed, not for the further sanctification of its supposedly higher cultural forms, thus further edifying a monolithic or curatorial view of the past, nor for the deeper mysteries into a divinely ordained human nature or cosmos it may reveal. For Said and from Saidian points of view, cultural matters are the result of human agencies, both subtle and crude, in and of the world. The creative and critically essayistic spirit that animates Saids thought leads one to interpret with due suspicion totalizing knowledge-claims. Therefore, to claim here to be but constellating a few ideas that may begin to act as heuristic, hermeneutical, principles for this admittedly highly eccentric reading of his oeuvre, would not only be brash, but as I go on to suggest, religious in Saidinspired figurative parlance. Nevertheless, I here proceed to describe what may be thought of as an underlying critical theory of the religious that is threaded throughout the texts that constitute Saids oeuvre.1 Such a critical theory of the religious initially appears to Said readers as a particular rhetorical use of words and notions that surround (and possibly literally make up) the religious and the secular. All of this books chapters, in various ways, approach the task of better describing the catachresis of this rhetoric and the worldviews that emerge via the visions of the world this crucially figurative language aims to begin imparting and promoting.2 By catachresis, I simply mean the willful misuse of a word, or of certain key words. The general drift of Saids oeuvre, if one can still speak in such broad terms, would have one unlearn the desire to seek mastery over any human other, and, therefore, the big o Other, or wholly other, need not retain one; if one

Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular

wishes to make no claim to complete understanding of an other, how much the more humble ones potential vis--vis the Other, should such an Other exist beyond human varieties of g-d-talk.3 The humans made others in this world are addressed by Saids oeuvre to be freed, in part by reforming what one may callinspired by the rhetoric of Saids expressed-thoughtimperialistic or religious epistemologies. Such epistemologies help create and maintain discursive creations and practices that serve some but not all. Creating freedom, humans have never yet been and it is unlikely they could ever be fully and completely successful; in this, human freedom is akin to both scientific understanding and progress. Such a point of view also makes plain the secular humanistic need and calling of the critic. The critic calls attention to shortcomings of a secular humanist nature, to where human creativities, such as are the processes of civilization, culture, and religion, have fallen short of the best worlds humans can imagine and thus build together. The critic calls attention to the ways the discursive creations and practices that constitute civilization, culture, and the religious have served to build and to bolster, section off and shield, certain domains against being questioned concerning their relations to our collective human failure to create a more humane global world in which to possibly make real homes. Saids oeuvre is overflowing with pressing matters addressed, strong yet nuanced stances, incisive points of view that todays and tomorrows critics can make more ofmaking them more of their ownin taking these up again in critiquing humanitys all too human attempts at bettering its ways of world-making (as Nelson Goodman might have once put it).4 Edward W. Said, a literary and cultural critic, never explicitly expounded a comprehensive theory of religion. Nevertheless, the aim of this book is to begin constructing a comprehensive interpretation of Saids oeuvre that specifically emphasizes the representations of the religious and the secular, making plain their important functions therein. By comprehensive, I do not mean I discuss every important topic Saids oeuvre engages. Saids learning and production was indeed humanistic: it is of a nearly incredible breadth.5 Both these aspectsthe apparent absence of a robustly argued theory of religion and yet the generally acknowledged scope of Saids vision and understanding find an interesting echo in the words of John Carlos Rowe who reminds that we are often influenced more by what our teachers do not address than by what they do, going on with a certain irony to make the important point that Edward Said was rarely modest about his knowledge and emulated the intellectual comprehensiveness of such masters of high theory as Claude Lvi-Strauss, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida.6 My own contention here is twofold: first, that truly comprehensive thinkers, though they may not deal thoroughly enough with every major area of study, nevertheless often do leave a legacy of suggestive beginnings from which a larger argument, following from such premiseswhen collected and treated as suchcan be seen in its broader and bolder contours; second, when areas of under-development are discerned within a comprehensive theorists thought, this in itself is tellingly suggestive,

Voyages In: An Introduction

leading one to reflect about how and why an area of central human concern could be so obviously overlooked or rather, go so obviously understated. Le nondit en dit long (i.e., the understated states much). Although all of Saids major works and collected interviews are within this books interpretive purview, I nevertheless discuss the main topics Saids oeuvre engages only to the extent that they illuminate his views of the religious and secular, or conversely, to the extent that his views of the religious and the secular illuminate a given topic of interest. For example, I discuss Saids views of literature and musictwo of the biggest concerns that run throughout much of Saids oeuvreonly to better understand his views of the religious and the secular. In this, I am well aware that my work may be perceived as what Jonathan Z. Smith has called an exaggeration in the direction of truth.7 This expression is in fact quite apt, heuristically, to describe much of Saids work, his views of religion and the secular included. The emphasis here, however, as I believe it is throughout Saids oeuvre, is in the direction of truth, even when some exaggeration is necessary to get points across. Indeed, Saids oeuvre leads one to reflect about the nature of polemics. Secular criticism, as Said conceives it, is inherently polemical; religious criticism, apologetic, in its etymological sense of a defense, even when rhetorically polemical, that is, polemical in style, in its way of convincing. An important question I shall treat is what is being argued against (secularly) and what defended (religiously) and to what extent this rhetoric helps or hinders Saids more general project. The desired end of articulating a better understanding of Saids expressed views of the religious and the secular arose from reading the existent secondary literature on this topic. Admittedly, I read this emergent critical corpus with many questions in mind; for example, how are Saids views on these matters represented in the secondary literature? Are these representations accurate? Is this corpus of criticism fair? Is it balanced in its treatment? Does it do justice to the topic? How best to define and explain Saids view of religion, the religious, the secular, and of secular humanism? Having previously studied Saids oeuvre extensively, I became dissatisfied with much of the existent secondary literature, unconvinced by the existing interpretations of Saids expressed thoughts about religion and secularism. I felt it necessary to identify the basic deficiencies of some of the literature on this topic. In my estimation, none of the existing work can stand as constituting a definitive account since, as I will show, at its best, it is either, on the one hand, too narrow or eclectic, or, on the other, too crudely polemical; at its worst, it is a combination of all of these, that is, too narrow, eclectic, and polemical. Therefore, I have endeavored to construct a more nuanced account of Saids positions vis--vis religion and secularism. The only way to do this comprehensively, however, is to pinpoint representative inadequate or derisory claims that have been made, demonstrating their shortcomings by contrasting them with a more comprehensive and nuanced picture drawn from closer attention to Saids oeuvre.

Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular

Why is much of the existent secondary literature on this topic insufficient? Like much of the existent criticism of Said, it takes up its object too partially, often too polemically. Patrick Williams has stated that in general Said has not been well served by his critics.8 Often, Saids critics have not granted him the liberty of setting the parameters of his own studies, nor allowed him to define his own use of terms. The classic example of this is none other than Bernard Lewis, in The Question of Orientalism.9 Lewis not only criticizes Said for having largely and explicitly left out Orientalists other than the French, English, and American, he also accuses Said of humpty-dumptyism, that is, of having defined Orientalism against itself, Orientalism becoming a term of derision rather than one of praise.10 Regarding leaving out key national traditions of Orientalism, Lewis makes his case especially regarding German Orientalism. Christopher Hitchens, however, addresses this concern, though not without polemics of his own (polemicizing against both Lewis and Said).11 Tersely stated, Hitchens reminds his readers that Germany [also] did have an imperial project, (emphasis in the original) and that on account of this project one can argue that its Orientalist tradition is not essentially different in also having been imperialisms curious bedfellow in this case as well.12 Regarding the charge of humpty-dumptyism, the root of the clash between Lewis and Said might be best regarded as a clash between divergent philosophies of language, Lewis defending a more Platonizing program, suggesting that words, like ideal forms, should be changeless, whereas Saids view is more like that of Aristotle, in being more down to earth, accepting that since words, like human institutions, are always battlefields, in defining ones use of a term, one is in fact engaging in an ongoing struggle regardless of whether one wishes to or not. The ideal-reader (an intellectual fiction to be sure), however, must allow the one formulating an argument the chance to establish some groundwork (such as operative definitions, the studys focus, its underlying premises, etc.). Initially at least, one must assume that these premises aim at elaborating something potentially subtle and yet robust, which can be discerned only if the premises are initially granted a charitable interpretation. Because much of Saids writing is explicitly political, quite often not all of the relevant premises, which make up his arguments armature, are explicitly expressed.13 However, a careful reader can see from where he is coming or where he is going. Ideally, a critic makes suppressed premises come to light, articulating these as clearly and robustly as possible. Some of what his critics deem internal contradictions are either merely apparently so, or still more tellingly, these contradictions animating Saids thought grew to be consciously held as irreconcilables. The charge of self-contradiction that Said seems to have taken the most seriously is surely that of James Clifford, first articulated in Cliffords review essay of Saids Orientalism.14 In the review essay, Clifford writes that Saids humanist perspectives do not harmonize with his use of methods derived from Foucault, who is, of course, a radical critic of humanism.15 That Cliffords criticisms were among those that he found the most useful is evidenced by his having returned to them once again, and

Voyages In: An Introduction

explicitly so, in his posthumously published Humanism and Democratic Criticism.16 Said was engaged in daily evolving world affairs, and because of this, he often summarily makes plain how he could accept these apparent contradictions, why he felt compelled to hold, or at least entertain, both views, even though some thought they could not be held together. Consider, for example, this quotation drawn from a late interview, conducted in 1999, which serves to explain how and why it is that Said has been read in such a variety of ways: Every context produces different readers and different kinds of misinterpretations. In Orientalism, I begin with a notion that interpretation is misinterpretation, that there is no such thing as the correct interpretation. For instance, I recently got a letter from the publisher of the Bulgarian edition of Orientalism, asking if I would write a preface for it. I didnt know what to say. Orientalism is about to appear in Hungary, in Vietnam, and in Estonia. These are all places that Ive never been to and I know very little about. So you can see how uncontrolled all these interpretations can be. In that respect, I think certain kinds of distortions and deviations are inevitable. What you can control is your own ideas. If you keep repeating them, simplifying them, and making them more accessible, through disciples, through rewritings and lectures on the same subject, then you can induce [a] kind of Borgesian trap [. . .]. Ive been very conscious about not doing that. Ive always tried to develop my ideas further, in ways that paradoxically make them in a certain sense ungraspable and unparaphrasable. Ive found myself, for example, being more interested in some of the inconsistencies and irreconcilabilities of historical experience, including that of Orientalism. There are certain contradictions, what I call antinomies, that cannot be resolved, and its important to explore and to deepen investigation of them. I want to say, well, theyre there, we cant wish them away, we cant reconcile them under duress, as Theodor Adorno says. As intellectuals, we have to be able to make them more apparent, to make their influence more profound and more felt, which requires more work and more of an understanding of different kinds of political organizations and intellectual efforts.17 In such an intellectually and culturally pluralistic world, any given work seems interpretable in a multitude of ways. Not only could Said not respond to all of his critics readings, but as he tacitly acknowledges in the extract given earlier, he did not wish to; his thought pursued its course. This is not to say that he paid no attention to certain charges of self-contradiction leveled against him; rather, he pursues some of these when the contradiction in question is deemed significant. Saids life, after all, as he and others have noted, was more than an apparent contradiction, especially insofar as stereotypical ways of thinking are concerned. It is indeed standard fare within the secondary literature concerning Saids life and work to have it noted, often belabored, that this supposed spokesperson of

Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular

the East is profoundly Western, that this man of the people wore fancy suits and taught at an elite institution; such claims as these, in themselves as it were, testify to just how reified are the notions of Westerner and Oriental. Rhetorically, one might ask, does one need to sport a beard in order to defend the Islamic world from misrepresentation? Is it the preserve of people of European descent to argue that secular humanism may be a vitally important worldview universally? Globally, that is, as one can say in French to mean holistically, Saids oeuvre affirms the negative regarding both these rhetorical questions (that is to say, the beardless may defend the Islamic world from misrepresentations on secular grounds and the bearded, Muslim or not, can be and/or can become greater proponents of secularity, of humanity, and yes, of secular humanism as well, as opposed to proponents of misanthropic theologies). Identity is indeed crucial, but getting beyond it, that is, not being limited or reducible to it, is also important; this may appear contradictory, and yet, this Saids work affirms.18 Because of his lifes particular, if not to sadly say peculiar, circumstance, he had a high threshold for, even an attraction to, forms of apparent or very real contradiction, though not for all forms thereof. After all, the movement of world history, or rather, world histories, had imposed real contradictions within and throughout his very existence. What others deemed contradiction was for him the only way to keep up the struggle to rescue meaning from life in this all too imperfect world.19 Unlike some of my predecessorswho have already written more or less directly on the topic of religion and secularism in Saids life and thought and whose works I will discuss more explicitly and in greater detail in what follows I am of the mind that Saids representations of religion and of the religious, of secular humanism and of the secular, of secularity, are coherent, which is not to say that they are not without their own crucial intricacies. All of these terms (the religious, the secular, and so forth) are all culturally and historically bound and are therefore quite problematic. This is a well-known problem of Religious Studies as a field of studies. As John Bowker observes, religion is much like what Augustine said of time. Bowker writes: [a] strange thing about religion is that we all know what it is until someone asks us to tell them. Many definitions exist. The awareness of the multiplicity of perspectives adopted vis--vis religion is not new.20 In this book, I make no claim to having arrived at a better definition or theory of the religious and the secular via my reading of Saids oeuvre, though I do think that Saids oeuvre and the implied understanding of religion and secularism therein are fruitful avenues that may lead one to reformulate core problems of crucial importance for contemporary religious and secular thought, especially concerning the fuzzy borders between them. As consistently as possible, I have tried to use the terms the religious and the secular in speaking of Saids critical theory. Although I go on in what follows to examine this choice of words in more detail, it is well worth examining very briefly already at this early stage. Saids oeuvre bears witness to a much stronger interest in the religious than in what is typically described as religion.

Voyages In: An Introduction

In this regard, Bruce Robbins early essay in Saidian religiology remains crucial.21 Robbins argues that religion is a trope for nationalism in much of Saids work.22 Another important contribution is William D. Harts Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture, which, as I read him, acknowledges some of this aspect of Saids rhetorical nomenclature, that the religious is more significant than the religions, in his works title itself.23 However, for Said, culture becomes religious not for nothing but by tacitly or manifestly elevating the one and denigrating the other. Therefore, a better formulaic rendering of a main thrust of Saids critical thought might be Edward Said and the secularization of differences. In this, one sees continuity between Saids work and some of the core concepts expressed in Burkes The Rhetoric of Religion.24 In this work, Burke takes religious and theological language seriously, not religiously nor theologically so, but as uses of language that may inform one about language use as such; regardless of ones thoughts concerning divinity, theological language is nevertheless a rhetoric about a word, that is, god, and can be studied as a discourse about a word, as a language about language, a language about itself.25 That Said returns to this work of Burke more than once throughout his oeuvre informs Saids readers that he did contemplate the differences between religious or theological language and secular language more so than some of his critics have assumed. Moreover, when coupled with Feuerbachs notion that divinity is a human projection, more specifically, in Durkheimian terms, a social projection, one may begin looking for group discursive formations that operate like religious rhetoric, setting oneself and ones group off from belittled others via god-like terms and concepts (be it the West or Islam, the Nation or the hermetic discipleship more or less tacitly worshiping a matre penser or an ide matresse).26 The god-terms are used to create insiders and outsiders, insiders contained within the god-terms providential good graces, the outsiders demonized by their mere exclusion, though nevertheless contained by the discursive radius of the god-terms negation. Through this book, what I do wish to arrive at is a better sense of the definitions and theories implied by Saids work; it is these that I wish to theorize, though not reductively so. Some readers might have me define my own view of religion here, clearing the air of potentially subconscious ambiguities I would be reading into the texts. Although this is an important concern, I side with Max Weber methodologically, in that definitions must arise from the engagement between the scholar and the subject addressed, not imposed a priori from the beginning.27 In this sense, my approach to Saids oeuvre emulates his approach to Conrad, described in his first book, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography, as phenomenological.28 Often, where others have perceived apparent contradiction in Saids thought, I nevertheless perceive not only some measure of coherence, most often startling lucidity. Throughout this study, I argue that a reading of Saids oeuvre that emphasizes the role his discourse concerning religion and secularism plays within his oeuvre is worthy of attention and consideration.29 Such a readingbeing

Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular

what I aim to elaborate hereis not only interesting theoretically; it is also important for the sake of understanding how Said represents the religious and the secular, while both interpreting and critiquing Western academic matters, and engaged in interpreting and critiquing both the Middle Eastern and American political landscapes, both not simply of theoretical interest. In what follows, I argue that a critical theory of the religious and the secular implicitly underpin much of Saids literary and cultural criticism. What I call Saids theory is often largely implied. However, within the context of theory of religion specifically, it is not unheard of to speak of a given theorists theory even when the theorist in question would adamantly refuse to acknowledge the presence of such an implicit theory underpinning much of his/her thought.30 In the following pages, I attempt to make what is largely implicityet operative throughout much of his workmore explicit. Although such a theory was not presented in a systematic fashion, a central aspect of my contention is that theorists of religion can elaborate a more comprehensive theory from its lineaments, culled from throughout his oeuvre. Although not presented systematically, there is a tangible non-system-building systematicity that animates Saids rhetoric, one that might be illustrated with a comparison. Concerning Aristotleand this even though Aristotles writings are notoriously helter-skelterTimothy A. Robinson wrote the following: Aristotle is a very systematic philosopher. Systematic can mean different things. In Aristotles case, it means that ideas developed in one area of investigation often find applications in other areas. As a result, his treatment of one topic may not be fully clear until you have examined his discussion of other topics which form a basis for that one.31 I do not make this comparison lightheartedly but to show that regarding certain time-honored thinkers, one can easily refer to their theory of X and its relation to their theory of Y, and this even though their theories were not presented in a manner modeled according to the axiomatic method of geometry. Scholars who would wish all theories to look alike, that is, to be drawn up according to the same methods and standards, are conflating two distinct desiderata; one, theoretical, the other, definitional. In this sense, in his work Interpretive Theories of Religion, Donald A. Crosby writes: The task of constructing theories of religion needs to be distinguished from that of trying to arrive at definitions of religion. It might be thought that the two tasks come down to the same thing, but there are several reasons for concluding that they do not. For one thing, among the usual goals of a definition is that of terseness, an economy and brevity of expression typified by this definition of a Euclidian triangle: a three-sided, closed figure in a single plane, the sum of whose angles is one-hundred and eighty degrees. But the concept of religion is far more complex than that of a Euclidian triangle, and

Voyages In: An Introduction

it is not likely that it will admit of satisfactory characterization by a few well-chosen words. Also, a concise definition will tend to be so abstract that it will gloss over important nuances and ramifications of religious concerns. A theoretical treatment, by contrast, is under no such obligation to be terse and thus permits elaboration of the subtleties of its subject at whatever length seems to be required.32 Therefore, it is important to underline that by theory one need not mean something that is best expressed according to the geometrical method of axiomatic prepositions and derivations, as a Ren Descartes or a Baruch Spinoza would have once wished. Later, in the same work, Crosby compares and contrasts theories of religion from theories in physics, since, as it is well-known, many humanists and social scientists (not to mention religious thinkers), having lost their romanticized view of geometry, have taken up a romanticized view of the language of physics. Crosby begins the section entitled Interpretive Theories of Religion and Theories in Physics by saying that [m]uch of the current connotative aura of the word theory results from its use in the natural sciences, especially physics.33 Many in todays academy might find this statement odd in that from todays vantage point, the residual connotative aura of the word theory would be widely attributed to the often blatant anti-scientism of the high French theorists, and not contemporary physics as Crosby sees it. Crosby was, however, writing in the late 1970s and early 1980s and from within the apparently relatively isolated discipline of Philosophy of Religion, specifically its so-called analytic or Anglo-American branch.34 This is important to underline since, although Crosby does contrast theory of religion from theory in the physical sciences, his view of theory is far more influenced by that of science than by the academic and intellectual trends associated with so-called high French theory.35 The idea of theory most of Saids more sympathetic readers have in mind is one more akin to that of relatively recent French and German philosophy, or cultural criticism inspired in large measure by it, all of which in varying ways have been impacted by what Raymond Geuss has called The Idea of a Critical Theory.36 Core positions common to Critical Theory are that not only are the natural and human sciences very much methodologically, even epistemologically, distinct, one of the main reasons being that the study of humanity involves humans both as so-called subjects and objects and therefore necessitates reflexivity in ways that are less apparent in natural sciences.37 In the trans-disciplinary network in which literary, philosophical, cultural, and post-colonial theorists transact, often seamlessly so, this idea has become so prominent that literary critic Terry Eagleton, who, although he has convincingly argued that the moment of theory is now largely passed, can nevertheless also state that [t]hose to whom the title of this book [i.e., After Theory] suggests that theory is now over, and that we can all relievedly return to an age of pre-theoretical innocence, are in for a disappointment [. . .]. If theory means a reasonably

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Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular

systematic reflection on our guiding assumptions, it remains as indispensable as ever.38 In contrasting theories of religion and theories of physics, Crosby writes that unlike the latter, theories of religion will (at least typically) contain no deductive calculus, mathematical or otherwise.39 Of a humanist such as Said, this goes without saying. Crosby goes on to state the following: Instead of positing unobservable entities and processes as its theoretical categories, it will posit what might be termed categories of analysis. Entities and processes are posited by theories in physics in the attempt to shed light upon the inner workings of natural phenomena, and so constitute part of a causal explanation. The categories of analysis in an interpretive theory of religion, by contrast, are ways of inquiring into the distinctive character of the human interest to which religious systems, practices, and institutions give cultural expression.40 In this regard, one may begin to see some of the novelty of Saids critical theory. Instead of looking directly at religion as such as the object in need of theorizing, Saids object (or objects), if one were to generalize about the whole expanse of his oeuvre, was society, or rather, societies, and within and all about it, culture, or rather, cultures, though all, nonetheless, human, though not all always as humane as one would hope. This should come as no surprise since, as stated, Said was a literary and cultural critic, not one engaged in explicitly theorizing religion. I make this plain since some of Saids harsher critics within the field of religious studies have accused him of not having a theory of religion and of being largely incoherent in its regard.41 I would like to point out that neither student of religion who put forward such charges present their readers with their theories of literature, culture, and society, but as this book will continue to make plain, Saids expressed-thought concerning the religious and the secular is far more incisive than they have been able to see. Cultures, for Said, like societies, were conceived of as dynamic areas of ceaseless struggles to define themselves and this self-definition need not only necessarily be about a cultures perception of itself in relations to other societies and cultures.42 Because of this, criticism in societies is crucial. Here the ambivalence of the term criticism, which is most prevalent in the field of literary criticism, where criticism can be both or either appreciative or derisive, is significant. In order to theorize society, culture, and the function of criticism therein, Said would posit two forms of criticism: the religious and the secular.43 That which maintained or strengthened a dominant or hegemonic culture or society, Said would describe as religious criticism; conversely, that which challenges the dominance or hegemony of a society or culture, thus creating discursive spaces for alternatives to the status quo, Said terms secular criticism. The secular also emerges in Saids work as that which is, and is regardless of, remaining beyond and resisting ideological reductions (or

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aggrandizements) of it. From this cursory description, not only does one see that some of the ways Said used the notions of the religious and the secular not only seem, initially at least, eccentric, and overtly rhetorical, aiming at convincing his readers of something, but that it is not primary religion as such that is being theorized, but culture within societies, both within the still wider network of the world of nations as Vico would put it. However, because a notion of the religious is being deployed within a greater framework, it is obvious, especially in the light of post-Saussurian thought, that meanings are attached to this notion by virtue of its place and function within the wider field of analysis. For example, one notes that religious criticism and secular criticism are being played off one another. However, as I will go on to show, it is crucial to keep in mind that the notion of religious criticism does not overlap seamlessly with conceptualizations of religion or the religions. The same can be said of his use of the notion of the secular. Because of this fact of Saids rhetoric, one needs to be cautious not to conflate what Said meant by religious criticism and secular criticism and what is more commonly meant when speaking of religion and secularism. This conflation, one that Said generally resists against, is the main flaw of Harts important efforts, both in his Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture, but even more clearly in the doctoral dissertation out of which the former emerged.44 In fact, I would submit that Hart needs this conflation to make his case against Said; without it, the main thrust of Harts religious criticism is unsuccessful. Establishing the relations that can be said to exist between these complex notions within the patterns of Saids expressed thought will be crucial, not only for an understanding of his critical theory of society and culture, but also of religion, the religious, and the secular. The primary purpose of this work aims at creating greater recognition and understanding of this critical theory of the religious and the seculars presence in Saids work for its own sake. Secondary purposes are that once acknowledged and better understood, this critical theory of the religious and the secular may not only then be utilized in attempting to interpret and explain various forms of religious phenomenon, but it may also find its place in concert with other theoretical standpoints vis--vis human religiosities. It may also enable one to see certain recent trends or longer standing patterns in Religious Studies in a different light. From the onset, a point worth re-emphasizing, again as a form of warning against possible misunderstandings of this books title, is that the greater portion of what I will be calling Saids critical theory of the religious and the secular is not aimed at critiquing religion qua religion, but rather, generally aimed at critiquing certain forms of social groupings, and the mindsets these involve, as religious, even though, generally, such groupings are deemed modern, some even scientific, and therefore, as non-religious or secular.45 Among the social groupings in which Said sensed religiosity, one can count academic disciplines and intellectual movements, many of which depend on monolithic

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notions of a tradition, a canon, a discipline with a clear, even reified, method, overarched by a grand unifying theory. Both excessive nationalism as well as imperialism, which has often been dragged or driven forward by the formerboth also dependent on reified conceptions of the nation or its mission within the world of nationswere also derided by Said as dependent upon religious critics and criticism.46 Typically, however, Said scholars have focused on his critique of Orientalism as his key work, in his conception of Orientalism, his key concept. There are valid reasons why this is so. Orientalism, after all, is the individual work that earned him the most notoriety. However, as some commentators have suggested, there are negative repercussions to the fact that the great bulk of attention has been granted to Orientalism.47 The balance of his work, before as well as after Orientalism, has in a sense been sublated; the internal connections between Saids critique of Orientalism and other matters he deals with remain underexamined. In this sense then, one can say that Said has not only been a beneficiary of the success occasioned by his Orientalism, in that he has also in part been its victim; many know of Said only what they have heard or read about his Orientalism. In this vein, Timothy Brennan writes: It worries me that [Said has] attained the status of a holy icon in postcolonial circles when many grad students have not read Orientalism.48 More recently, Amir Mufti has suggested a threefold set of phases that have implicitly guided Said criticism.49 The first phase resulted from the publication of that success scandal, Orientalism, a work that by now has been translated in more than a couple dozen other languages. The second phase corresponds to the reception of Orientalisms sequel, Culture and Imperialism, which as he put it, both deepened and expanded his earlier work, but also more than tacitly critiques it.50 After these two phases (centered first around the Saidian notion of orientalism, then on the interconnected dyad of culture and imperialism), to Muftis mind among others including my own, scholarly attention emerges for Saids engagement with secular humanism, or secularism tout court, or what Mufti, drawing on a suggestion of Jonathan Arac, calls critical secularism.51 Since the balance of this book aims to begin fulfilling the demand with which Mufti ends the essay in question, in saying that scholarship is needed to clarify precisely what this challenge is, that challenge being the challenge offered by Saids articulation and exemplification of critical secularism, here, at this early stage, I shall only briefly comment upon the advantages and disadvantages of thinking about Said scholarship along these threefold lines suggested by Mufti.52 Its main advantage is that it adequately describes the history of the reception of Saids critical oeuvre. However, one must guard against thinking that Saids oeuvre only began to turn its attention more and more to the necessary secularity of criticism after these earlier phases. In fact, as this study will go on to show, there is already a more than implicit early engagement with these issues in Saids first major work, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography, and

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the terms in which it is couched there remained significant parameters for his subsequent reflections upon such issues.53 Although my work here attempts to bring these matters back to their earlier beginnings, I nevertheless make no claim to having pieced together, reconstructed as it were, the whole or total Said; in fact, much of Saids expressed thought works against such totalizing reading or representational strategies, what Theodor Adorno would have called such identity thinking. Adorno is one of the theorists whose thought most impressed that of Said, and manifestations of identity thinking are generally represented in Saids oeuvre as manifestation of what he often represents rhetorically as religious. Part of what Said implies by secular thought is the realization that our conceptualizations can never exhaust the reality they aim to represent; moreover, they are part of its shaping.54 Even in having a strong acquaintance with Saids writings beyond his wellknown Orientalism, one might find some of my claims odd in that Said stood resolutely for secular humanistic thought and never explicitly claimed that his scholarship made plain the mysteries surrounding the religious dimensions of human experience. My opening argument does not contradict this and yet nevertheless aims to make plain how problematic it is to claim that Said was simply and straightforwardly a secular thinker.55 Saids critical theory leads one to see that in order to truly qualify as secular, one would need to have worked through ones religious thought. Saids representations of the secular make plainwhen reading comprehensively and carefullythat secular humanism is integral to his critical theory of society, culture, and religion. The work of critical theorists is not necessarily represented by them as his or her critical theory but as critical theory tout court; only post hoc histories represent it thus. To make ones critical theory too explicit would make it seem object-like, objectification and reification being processes critical theory aims to understand, critique, and overcome. Critical theory, in not being wholly outside the object theorized, Saids elaborations of the secular are best understood as constituting a critical theory of religion; his critical theory of society, culture, and religion, an elaboration of secular thought. Even to the more seasoned Said readers, however, and even with these qualifications in mind, some of these claims may seem startling and yet, as I will show, a close attention to both his terms of art and his figurative uses of language enable one to see the solid textual basis of this reading. I argue that although this insight into his oeuvrethat is, that the secular is elaborated from within the religiousis to no small extent lacking within much of the secondary literature, it should come as no surprise in that Said tirelessly critiqued radical dualisms. The best known among the dualisms that Said critiqued is his critique of the distinction between the Orient and the West, or more precisely, between the Islamic world and the West. If one believes this to be by now a moot point, consider the otherwise interesting philosopher, A. C. Grayling, who in 2003 could still get away with saying: the project of

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enlightened humanism has been fighting back against [. . .] theistic transcendentalism, which, imposed on European civilization from the Orient (it is important to note that the Religions of the BookJudaism, Christianity and Islamare Oriental faiths) . . .56 As my work will make plain, readings of Saids oeuvre that interpret him as an unduly dualistic thinker should be viewed with great suspicion. Being a seasoned reader of Frantz Fanon, Said strove to avoid what Fanon terms Manichean, that is, rhetorically to be sure, radical dualism. The Manichaeism Fanon discusses is erected between the colonized and the colonizer, the Black and the White. Fanon defines this colonized worldview in saying: le Blanc et le Noir reprsentent les deux ples dun monde, ples en lutte perptuelle, qualifying this as a vritable conception manichiste du monde.57 One may recall the initial definition of Peau noire, masques blancs: un essai de comprhension du rapport Noir-Blanc, to which Fanon adds that [l]e Blanc est enferm dans sa blancheur. Le Noir dans sa noirceur.58 In a manner not unlike Fanon, the Manichaeism Said discusses is also one established between the colonized and the colonizer, but this time the Orient and the West are the instantiations of these two poles of confinement. In this respect, Said tirelessly drew out the political location of his work as well as that of others: that a scholars political location cannot be bracketed out of his or her work is after all one of critical theorys standard claims.59 Religions also provide a discursive location and so they must also be worked through and not just out.60 It is how and why they are drawn uponto what endthat makes the difference between what Said understood to be either religious or secular criticism. A crucial claim madesome might say by all critical theory properly so-calledis that beyond the natural sciences, the scholar, critic, and theorist, are not wholly outside the object of study and conversely, the object of study is not wholly without the theorist engaged with it. Not only does this have important repercussions for ones thinking about Saids views concerning secular modes of thought and expression, but it should have important repercussions for how religion is in fact studied. In what follows I argue that Saids uses of religious and secular rhetoric are consistent; his views of both religion and the secular, underpinning his customary rhetorical strategies, are as well. This rhetoric, and the convictions they aim at creating, are best understood as constituting a critical theory of religion.61 This theory of religion is equally a theory of the secular: it is elaborated, self-reflexively, from and for the sake of a willingness to become and remain secular. This involves identifying and working through ones religiosities and this for the sake of engaging and emerging within the secular world. This also relates back to the status of a critical theory: a theory that does not purport to be without (i.e., wholly outside) its object. A critical theory of the secular cannot be elaborated as if religion was something wholly alien to it. However, the complementary view is also crucial; the alienation of the student of religion from religion (and of the student of secularism from secularism) is critically

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important.62 Paying close attention to the associations formulated between key representations (e.g., the representation of religion and of nationalism, of secularity and of exile, etc.), one uncovers the grounds of this implicit critical theory of religion, which is also the grounds of a critical theory of secularity. It is important to keep in mind that Said could not articulate his views of religion freely, the world around him being shot through with political considerations and religious alignments; the two not being so distinct from one another, as he himself knew experientially, even, existentially.63 He wrote and spoke in a double bind: on the one hand, wanting to defend those all-too-often derisively branded religious (i.e., the Islamic world generally), but on the other hand, fully realizing the negative power of religious alignments can have, not the least in his own life and that of his fellow Palestinians. Palestine has largely been taken from a people, the Arab Palestinians, by a people, Zionist colonizers, aided by their not necessarily Jewish, though Zionist, supporters internationally. The common ground of these colonizing forces is and was believed to be a heritage based however secularly on religion, one embattled by persecutions suffered because of the intolerance of others vis--vis their independent, religion-based peoplehood. For example, consider the following quote from the opening lines of A Promise Fulfilled: The promise referred to in the title of this book is the one God made to Abraham in the book of Genesis to give him and his descendents a great nation and a source of blessing to all. The history of the creation of the state of Israel tells the story of the fulfillment of that promise: the return of the Jews to the land of Israel, and the establishment of a state there.64 To vividly illustrate the gulf separating thisa stark example of religious criticismfrom secular criticism, compare the previous quotes use of Abraham to the discourse regarding Abraham in Andr Lemaires Naissance du monothisme: point de vue dun historien.65 I have no intention of belaboring this point. Although it underpins much of the matters at hand, an extended venture into such matters would be beyond the more circumspect scope of this book. Though the Palestinian-born critic consistently worked from a willfully secularist stance, in quite a humane and humanistic manner, he explicitly avoided suggesting that religion, like the distinction of peoplehood, should effectively be evacuated from public debate; conversely, he does suggest that these are not, however, ultimate ends, even though in themselves they might claim to be, however religiously or secularly. The key words for Said as I read him are that these identity generating social institutions (religions, cultures, nations, etc.) could only be worked through; for example, through national consciousness toward broader social and political consciousness, this being a key argument taken up again from Fanon, and by extension, through a religious consciousness toward a more global secular ethos that is not however mud in the eye of religions qua religions since these are taken to be fundamentals of ascribed as well as the ensuing self-fashioned identities; identities that, for Said,

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must not only be negotiated together as opposed to erected against one another, but also always remain, in the final analysis, human creations, subject to change, potentially to be remade otherwise. Speaking of national belonging, which, as Bruce Robbins has suggested, is the religious sentiment Said understood and struggled with most overtly, Said says that this cannot simply be set aside but can only be worked through.66 Though Said generally avoided speaking prescriptively about religious matters, one of this books central claims is that his work can be read as suggesting that the sense of belonging born of overtly religious traditions is no different; it is crucial in certain respects and yet also a potential limitation.

2. The Works Methodology and Structure


Having described the so-called object of study, the questions raised, and the hypotheses I work from, I should also like to describe some of the methodological considerations that have guided this critical study before making note of what the work aims to contribute. My methodology is one that is greatly indebted to that of Edward Said. It may also be significant to consider the following methodological adage, mentioned earlier, drawn from the work of Giambattista Vico with which Said began his book titled Beginnings: Intention and Method: Doctrines must take their beginning from that of the matters of which they treat. Because of the nature of this work, or rather, because of the nature of the oeuvre in question, it would be an error to invest too much significance to a strictly adhered to prefabricated methodology. Part of what I aim to show is that from a Saidian perspective, disciplinary doctrines, that is, systematized doctrines concerning method and theory, when adhered to too strictly, become, as his own rhetoric would have it, religious. Therefore, in discussing my own methodological positions, I wish to make plain that my methodology has emerged largely in dialogue with the works themselves, and is not a reified dogma that I have applied to the matter at hand, like one would a hoe in a garden. Said in this sense is not entirely different from W. C. Smith insofar as their humanism is concerned, though the obvious anti-methodologist precursor Said draws on is Adorno (among others) and not so obviously W. C. Smith.67 It is well-known that Adorno incisively critiqued the identity thinking of what he called methodologism. In saying that my methodology has been informed to no small degree by that of Said, I mean, principally, that via close textual reading, I attempt to highlight the linkages between texts, as well as between these texts and their worldly contexts.68 However, since I am primarily dealing with the work of one scholarcritic, my approach is largely hermeneutical, abiding by a classical hermeneutic touchstone that in approaching a piece of writing, one must strive to understand it in relation to the whole oeuvre of which it is a part and not in isolation from it.69 My approach pays great attention to the rhetorical strategies Said customarily

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adopts throughout his work. I am specifically interested not only in his terms of art, but possibly as, or even more, importantly, his figurative uses of language. A close examination of his terms of art and his figurative language, although not to the exclusion of others forms (e.g., more literalistic uses of language), will bring into focus patterns of expression that I argue are best understood as Saids rhetoric of the secular. Underpinning this rhetoric of the secular is a pattern of thought that begins to constitute Saids implicit critical theory of religion. I consider his view of religion a critical theory, even if Saids view of religion is generally acknowledged to have been a negative one, because most of his exegetes largely fail to see that he implicitly acknowledges that secular humanism can only properly develop by working through the religious. Between the religious and the secular, there is a relation worth examining; this relation in Saids thought is not simply disassociation. I have approached Saids major works, read closely and chronologically, paying close attention to the literal and figurative use of religious and secular language therein. However, to grasp Saids oeuvre in its specificity, one must study not only his biography and his expressed self-understanding along with the historical contexts in which they are couched, but also the theoretical influences that shape his self-understanding as well as his scholarship. It is also crucial to view his scholarship not only as reflecting these contexts, but also as a means of affecting them (i.e., thesis eleven). Therefore, my approach to this topic also comprises a look at the history into which Said was thrown, or situated, two expressions from existentialism that still ring true in discussing the relation between Saids life and his work. One need also examine the major theoretical influences that Said works with (and at times against). Both of these discussions, the historical and biographical background to his intellectual biography, could easily become unmanageable unless they are always guided by the fact that they are examined in the first place, in the proverbial beginning, only insofar as they help to illuminate Saids emergent critical theory of religion and secularism.70 Chapter 1 examines some significant dimensions of Saids biography as well as some significant dimensions of Middle Eastern history, both deserving to be kept in mind when considering his views of religion and secularism. Chapter 2 examines the policy-oriented responses of Bernard Lewis on the one hand and Martin Kramer on the other. These responses do not directly address the question of religion in Saids work and yet, as I show, are related to this nonetheless. Lewis response denies the grounds of Saids critique of Orientalism and in so doing reaffirms the Wests own religiously triumphalist view of itself. Kramers response is different in that he would wish to amplify the chasm between the West and the Islamic world because, as he sees it, the Islamic world does threaten the West. Chapter 3 examines the responses of two scholars of religion, namely, William D. Hart and Carl Olson. Although Harts work is often very subtle, he does aim to undermine Saids strategic use of the distinction between the religious and the secular. Because of this agenda,

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Hart underestimates the subtleties of Saids secular humanist program. Olsons critique of Said aims to whitewash Religious Studies of any hand in imperial matters by whitewashing one of Religious Studies earlier incarnations: that of Orientalism. I show why Olsons view of Orientalism and of Said are untenable. Chapter 4 begins to reconstruct, if not the, at least an emergent conversation concerning Saids view of the secular and the religious. Chapter 5 intervenes into a debate within Said scholarship concerning some of his major intellectual influences. I have entitled this chapter, a cursory mapping of some of Saids intersecting influences, Theoretical Travelogues, because in a set of celebrated essays, Traveling Theory and Traveling Theory Reconsidered, Said makes another significant contribution to our thinking about intellectual influence; of paramount importance for this discussion is that Said thought his examinations of traveling theory enabled a more secular manner of thinking about influence.71 In Traveling Theory, he also emphasized that he wished to secularize our thinking about originality, namely, by emphasizing the role of recontextualization in influence, narrative, and textual productions. The secular multiculturalism or interculturalism of Saids oeuvre is to no small extent concomitant with this espousal of traditions fluidity, their dynamism beyond imaginary stabilities. Chapter 6 examines two representative essays from Saids oeuvre, both of which aim to represent the underrepresented; on the one hand, Arab Muslim secularists, and on the other, anti-imperialist Americans. This leads into Chapter 7, in which I make the case that Said thought of the essay as a critical secular form of writing and that the essayistic may therefore be thought of in Saids work as a trope both for secular and anti-imperial. I should like to provide some clarifications regarding the methodological considerations that have led me to structure as well as limit this study in this manner. The structure aims to provide an incisive and far-reaching approach to the study of Said on the question of religion and secularism, and to reflect the state of recent Said studies; I begin first via Saids expressed selfunderstanding of his biography in the context of contemporary history. I then proceed via critical writings that now overlay Saids life-work, specifically regarding religion and secularism, same and other. I adopt this somewhat archeological approach for one main reason: I not only wish to give credit where it is due, but also dispel some of fallacious readings found in this archive. In this sense then, I begin rather descriptively, working my way toward the prescriptive. I start by showing how Said has been read only to then argue how he can be, possibly even should be, read. Although my own project is consciously a study of rhetorica point I have alluded to and shall return toit is also archeological. This book represents a struggle to dig up the many layers of commentary that have surrounded Saids oeuvre, for better and for worse, enabling as well as limiting and distorting, so as to better grapple with Saids oeuvre itself.

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However, the amount of writings that have emerged concerning Saids work is massive by any account.72 Therefore, selectivity has been imperative; without such circumspection, this study could have resulted in a multi-tome work. Although Saids view of the religious and the secular are integral to his views concerning literary creation, culture, criticism, Orientalism (among other academic disciplines), the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, mass media representations of Islam, the world of nations and nationalism, empire and imperialism, the role of intellectuals in the modern world, and even music, I do not believe anyone could or should have to read all that has been written about Said and his work before speaking; such a work would not result in a polyphonic symphony, but would rather sound like an orchestra as it tunes its instruments before a recital. Said transgressed many sacred academic boundaries and so he earned himself the backlash of many academic boundary-keepers; nevertheless, many others found such transgressions both refreshing and enabling. I have selected, thoroughly analyzed, and discussed only the texts of Said critics, and of Saids as well, that are most relevant to the topic at hand and ventured beyond this only when necessary in dealing with this topic. In this books conclusion, the pertinence of both this rhetoric and this critical theory will be discussed, not only in their own terms, but also as they can inform ongoing debates concerning the so-called key words here in question (i.e., the religious, religion or religions, secularism, the secular, secular humanism, secularity or secularities, etc.). Said consistently opted to speak and write about secular criticism and secular humanism, these expressions being chosen over that of secularism; I attempt to make plain the reasons motivating these rhetorical choices, ones that again further illuminate his implicit critical theory. This will enable a still broader discussion since not only is this debate critical for Religious Studiesthe distinction between religious approaches to religious phenomena and secular approaches is integral to many students of religions vision of this entire area of scholarshipbut more importantly, this debate is critical for international relations, or rather, for the encounter between major civilizations, such as Islam and the West, since the roles of religion, or of the religions, or of the religious, and of secular humanism are still very much in play, both within and in-between them all. Therefore, I conclude by offering a brief apology (in the classical sense) for Saids critical theory of the religious and the secular, by highlighting what functions it fulfilled for his understanding of himself, of the history into which he was thrown, of his role as a critical intellectual dissident within both the republic of letters and the world. To do this more fully, I also draw on the work of certain theorist of either religion or secularism or both, to show that although one can justly have reservations about Saids perspective, it is nevertheless one worthy of attention and due consideration. This work then is not only a critical examination of Saids discourse concerning religion and the secular, but also of some of the varied prior readings of this discourse. My work, methodologically, is not simply close textual reading, nor

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simply close textual reading attempting to reconcile (or rather, make plain the tensions between) texts and contexts, although these constitute weighty tasks in themselves. Methodologically, this work is also one that attempts to make the implicit explicit, letting what, for various reasons, could not be spoken outrightly, speak more freely. This work of rhetorical, narratological, and reconstructive criticism aims to contribute to both the history of the study of religion as well as to the further elaboration of critical theories of religion and secularism. However, such work also straddles a few boundaries, bridging a few divides between several disciplines (or sub-disciplines) that make religion their subjectmatter; in this my contribution is an interdisciplinary one. Typically, the history of the study of religion has been understood as a sub-discipline of the general history of religion.73 Theory of religion has typically been understood as within the philosophy of religion sphere.74 This contribution, therefore, constitutes itself in the interstice of history and philosophy of religion. However, one of the key issues this work raises concerns the distinction between the religious and the secular. From the point of view of ordinary language, it seems odd to think that a theory of religion must also be a theory of secularity, and yet, insofar as this work is concerned, this would appear to be the case. Thus this contribution begins in the traditional disciplinary frameworks of history of religious studies and theory of religion, and yet, by virtue of the subject-matter and the questions it raises within these frameworks, these open themselves up toward forms of both philosophical anthropology and the sociology of knowledge. This works main contribution then is a reading of Saids oeuvre, one that, via what the poetess Emily Dickinson called a certain slant of light, will literally begin elaborating a more explicit critical theory of religion and secularism, figuratively from within Saids oeuvre, from the implicit critical theory religion and secularism that I read therein. I have consciously chosen this formulation to counterfrontallya charge that is often leveled against such hermeneutical endeavors, namely, the charge of reading something into a text. After this reading initially arose, from my sustained engagement with Saids oeuvre, I went on to consciously reread this into the text to see if it is there to be found, just as to see if it is raining I may stick my hand outdoors. No one would say I have made it rain. Similarly, I do not claim to have created Saids critical theory of religion and secularism ex nihilo. Rather, it became more and more apparent to me, so much so that I felt compelled to continue to draw it out more systematically. The result of this process is this book. A close attention to the religious and secular rhetoric that permeate his work, with a close attention especially to the affiliations these rhetorical tropes make between one another and with the world via analogy and metaphor, reveal not only that Saids oeuvre can be read as making coherent claims concerning religion and secularism, but that these claims, when viewed as a whole, constitute a way of thinking about the secular that does not needlessly reify it, as the utter opposite of religion; rather the secular may be understood as a possible

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development ofeven a boon forreligious traditions in the modern, rapidly globalizing world.75 Therefore, religious traditions and secular humanism may possibly exist in the world in a healthier, productive tensionthough not wholly in symbiosiswith one another. To see this clearly within the work of an intellectual who consciously adopted the interstitial space in between mutually demonized Others, the Islamic world and the latest reigning imperial power of the West, the United States of Americathe former stereotypically standing in supposedly for Palestine, the latter, for the so-called Zionist entity, Israel is a timely contribution, one that the author of this humble work hopes may in some way help to further Saids own program, namely, to humanize the demonized Others on both sides of divides made by human agencies.

Chapter 1

Being and Not Being a Mere Book: History, Memory, and Self-Understanding

[T]he production of a theory is rooted in historical and social circumstances, sometimes great crises, and therefore, to understand the theory, its not important to see it as a kind of abstract thing but rather to see it as something that emanates from an existential need. And then, of course, it gets used again. Once it becomes appropriated by others, of course, it loses that particular charge, but therefore, its the job of the intellectual and the historian to try to understand it in terms of that early beginning. Edward W. Said

1. Toward Self-Fashioning Identities


It would be wrong to suggest that Edward Saids oeuvre needs to be studied autobiographically more so than any other great creative and critical mind. However, not only did he emphasize the great importance of what has been called intimate critique, he would also emphasize the import his own lifes particulars had exerted on his life of the mind.1 Although it is true that Saids oeuvre is a major contribution to our collective thinking about what Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor aptly calls the politics of recognition, Saidwhose oeuvre also emphasizes the critical importance of reflecting on such issues also in a variety of ways expresses profound frustrations with the limitations to thought and feeling imposed by identity politics.2 Orientalism, to take his bestknown text as an example, can be read as an extended critique of limitations Western scholars imposed on themselves as well as on their work, because of largely internalized identity politics; that such identity politics have impacted subjects is plain enough to readers of Saids oeuvre and of Postcolonial Studies. In his essay The Politics of Knowledge, Said writes: At the heart of the imperial cultural enterprise I analyzed in Orientalism and also in my new book, [Culture and Imperialism] was a politics of identity. That politics has needed to assume, indeed needed firmly to believe, that what was true about Orientals or Africans was not however true about or for Europeans. When a French or German scholar tried to identify the main characteristics

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of, for instance, the Chinese mind, the work was only partly intended to do that; it was also intended to show how different the Chinese mind was from the Western mind.3 A few lines later in the same essay, he adds: Today a fantastic emphasis is placed upon a politics of national identity, and to a very great degree, this emphasis is the result of the imperial experience. For when the great modern Western imperial expansion took place all across the world, beginning in the late eighteenth century, it accentuated the interaction between the identity of the French or the English and that of the colonized native peoples. And this mostly antagonistic interaction gave rise to a separation between people as members of homogenous races and exclusive nations that was and still is one of the characteristics of what can be called the epistemology of imperialism. At its core is the supremely stubborn thesis that everyone is principally and irreducibly a member of some race or category, and that race or category cannot ever be assimilated to or accepted by othersexcept as itself. Thus came into being such invented essences as the Oriental or Englishness, as Frenchness, Africanness, or American exceptionalism, as if each of those had a Platonic idea behind it that guaranteed it as pure and unchanging from the beginning to the end of time.4 What Said elsewhere calls religious criticism are forms of criticism that build and/or maintain what he here calls a Platonizing epistemology of imperialism, and therefore, to understand Saids metaphorical and polemical use of seemingly anti-religious, secular rhetoric, one must remember what he aims at critiquing. Moreover, unless one wishes to argue that religious epistemologies are necessarily imperialistic, and to my knowledge Said never does make such an argument explicit, one need not conclude that the religions or the religious, properly so-called, need be ramparts of epistemological imperialism. Elsewhere, Said acknowledges that the religions can be, often having been, better secular critics than these polemical terms would lead one to believe. As I read the passages quoted earlier, as well as the wealth of comparable passages from Saids oeuvre, it is much more enabling to think of Saids life and work as dealing with identity politics but not taking such politics and their ends to be ultimate ends in themselves. To take passages, again from his essay The Politics of Knowledge, as exemplary of Saids clear acknowledgment of the limitations of identity politics, consider the following, in which Said discusses the work of Frantz Fanon, a figure whose intellectual influence upon Said I return to in subsequent chapters: Inattentive or careless readers of Frantz Fanon, generally considered one of the one or two or three most eloquent apostles of anti-imperialist resistance, tend to forget his marked suspicion of unchecked nationalism. So while it is

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Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular appropriate to draw attention to the early chapters on violence in The Wretched of the Earth, it should be noticed that in subsequent chapters he is sharply critical of what he called the pitfalls of national consciousness. He clearly meant this to be a paradox. And for the reason that while nationalism is a necessary spur to revolt against the colonizer, national consciousness must be immediately transformed into what he calls social consciousness, just as soon as the withdrawal of the colonizer has been accomplished. Fanon is scathing on the abuses of the postindependence nationalist party, on, for instance, the cult of the Grand Panjandrum (or maximum leader), or the centralizing of the capital city, which Fanon said flatly needed to be deconsecrated, and most important, on the hijacking of common sense and popular participation by bureaucrats, technical experts, and jargon-wielding obfuscators.5

A few lines further, Said adds: Fanon also prophesied the continuing dependency of numerous postcolonial governments and philosophies, all of which preached the sovereignty of the newly independent people of one or another new Third World state and, having failed to make the transition from nationalism to true liberation, were in fact condemned to practice the politics, and the economics, of a new oppression as pernicious as the old one. At bottom, what Fanon offers most compellingly is a critique of the separatism and mock autonomy achieved by a pure politics of identity that has lasted too long and been made to serve in situations where it has become simply inadequate. What invariably happens at the level of knowledge is that signs and symbols of freedom and status are taken for the reality: you want to be named and considered for the sake of being named and considered. In effect this really means that just to be an independent postcolonial Arab, or black, or Indonesian is not a program, nor a process, nor a vision. It is no more than a convenient starting point from which the real work, the hard work, might begin.6 That real work Said goes on to discuss in terms of the reintegration of all marginalized people with the rest of the human race, quoting the closing lines of Aim Csaires Cahier dun retour: no race possesses the monopoly of beauty, of intelligence, of force, and there is a place for all at the rendez-vous of victory.7 Beyond and beneath his concern for the politics of identity, be it more or less ascribed or self-fashioned, is a greater concern, namely, to changing ideas about the nature of the self, since changing ideas about the self and its elaborations of identities could begin or further processes of global social change.8

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One may study Saids biography in tandem with his oeuvre both for the sake of understanding what insight is gained into his oeuvre via an understanding of his biography, and vice-versa, for the sake of understanding what insight is gained into his lifes story via an understanding of his oeuvre. In pursuing such ends, it is crucial to keep in mind that Said was himself interested in biography and autobiography. His first major work, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography, examines the arduous process through which Conrad creates and negotiates his personas; that of a Pole, that of a mariner, that of an Englishman, that of a man of letters.9 Said argues that Conrads writings be read as a testimony of his struggle to build character, to create himself, as both a public and a private figure, and that this struggle with himself is also central to his writing, both public (i.e., his creative writing) and private (i.e., his letters).10 In Beginnings: Intention and Method, his second major work, Said again delves into the study of biography and autobiography.11 For example, he examines the life of T. E. Lawrence, whose writings testify to his attempts at not only creating himself, but as he saw it, also, or more so, the national consciousness of Arabs.12 The lines between these ends, writing, self-fashioning, and raising national consciousness in a people, get quite blurred in the writing of Lawrence of Arabia as Saids readings suggest. It may be worth noting that in Beginnings, Said also briefly discusses the Arabic autobiographical literary tradition as this tradition was then understood by literary comparativists.13 Although the foregoing examples might suffice to underline the textual basis of the point I am making concerning Saids work as well as his style of thought, other significant examples from his now classic works deserve attention. As previously observed, an important dimension of his Orientalism concerns how the selffashioning of Western civilizations self-identity impacted its so-called non-Western subjects, not the least in their own civilizations self-defining processes. Saids concern for peoples, cultures, nations, and civilizations then may be described as analogous to, as an extension of, his concern for biography and autobiography.14 This is indeed a broad expansion of these terms semantic fields and yet not etymologically unsound insofar as one understands bio-graphy as life-writing, the writing of life, be it that of a person or of a people.15 In this, the two subsequent volumes to his Orientalism trilogy, The Question of Palestine and Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World, are no different: they are concerned with the life processes of peoples (i.e., the Palestinians and Israelis as well as the Islamic world and the West). As we shall see in greater detail in what follows, The World, the Text, and the Critic is a pivotal text in certain key respects. As other critics before me have suggested, in it one finds what is arguably Saids most open and unabashed stance for a secular orientation to scholarship as opposed to a religious one. The scare quotes around both the words secular and religious is not simply for the sake of emphasis; I wish to call attention to and emphasize the not so canny manner in which Said uses these terms. In this chapter, I specifically wish

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Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular

to emphasize their relation to biographical and autobiographical themes. For Said, religious criticism, to use his exact words at this stage in his oeuvres development, serves the status quo; such criticism serves its culture (and/or religion) religiously. The idea of status quo is an important one in Saids work. Status quo, as I mean to use these words to describe my reading of Saids work, is present in his work as a concern, in that he everywhere makes strong distinction between established and emergent cultural and socio-political formations.16 Religious criticism serves to unify, essentialize, and eternalize, or give the impression of unity, quintessence, or eternity, to established cultural and sociopolitical formations. Religious criticism, willingly or not, underemphasizes, or outrightly undermines, the dynamism of subversive (and in this sense secular) cultural and socio-political formations. Said describes secular criticism as both non-coercive and life-enhancing, hence their association with the emergent, as in emergent or novel forms of life.17 Secular criticism aims then at cultivating novel forms of existence. In Orientalisms sequel, Culture and Imperialism, as well as in his 1993 Reith Lectures, Representations of the Intellectual, the emphasis on mix-ity is greater; the voices that resist against colonial discourses are also represented. A greater balance is struck between a focus on the struggle for and the struggle against freedom.18 Recognizing the reality as well as the actual and potential strengths of the mtissage of what some still take to be hermetically sealed off, mutually exclusive groupingsbe they academic disciplines isolated from each other or from the world of politics, or cultures, nations, or civilizations, isolated from each other, or from shared taints of barbarismbecomes much more the main tasks of the secular scholar-critics and public intellectuals as Said envisions them. Since Said routinely broke these very broad and ambitious discourses down to his own personal and intimate life-narrative level, to the level of himself as an incarnate being, one can see that the two widely disparate levels of analysis are not divorced from one another; there are many convergences between them, not solely disjunction. For these reasons then, in studying what Said tells us about himself (be it in his memoir, Out of Place, or at various points scattered throughout his major works, essays, and interviews), it is important to remember that his life very much informs his work, and his work, his life. In this chapter I make no comprehensive attempt to re-narrate Saids lifestory. Said was acutely aware of the problems involved in telling ones own story (especially if Palestinian). How much more telling someone elses stories? Moreover, not only has Said related much about himself, other scholars have tried their hand at making sense of the relations between Saids life and his work.19 Therefore, in this chapter, I have made a selection from the wealth of great (and at times difficult) stories that in part literally made up Saids life.20 I have selected stories that contribute to a better understanding of the personal and social matrix from which his views of the religious and the secular emerge.

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2. The Recurrent Dream of Being a Book


Child! Do not throw this book about; Refrain from the unholy pleasure Of cutting all the pictures out! Preserve it as your chiefest treasure. Hillaire Belloc, Bad Childs Book of Beasts

In his Memoir, Said mentions a curious occurrence from his childhood. The Palestinian intellectualwho would later go on to be so closely identified with his book Orientalism above all othersas a child, dreamt of being a book.21 The passage from Saids Memoir deserves to be quoted at length, and the context in which the recollection arises also deserves notice. Said is discussing his familys home movies taken between 1939 and 1952, some in Cairo, some in Jerusalem. After his mother passed away in 1990, these films went to him; years later, when he viewed them, he recounts how he was struck by the manner in which the films were shot. He writes: the films exclude so much, seem contrived and rigid as they positively ban any trace of the effort and uncertainty of our lives. The smiles on everyones faces, the impossibly cheery and at times even sturdy presentation of my mother (whom I remember as more slender and moody), highlight the artificial quality of what we were, a family determined to make itself a mock little European group despite the Egyptian and Arab surroundings that are only hinted at as an occasional camel, gardener, servant, palm tree, pyramid, or tarbushed chauffeur is briefly caught by the cameras otherwise single-minded focus on the children and assorted relatives.22 Said later adds the following: In their seemingly limitless repetitiveness the films of course are, and for my father seem to have been, a kind of regulated prerehearsed scene, which we performed in front of him as he recorded indefatigably. My father wanted us always to appear face-front. There are no side views in the films, and consequently there was no risk of giving any of us the unwanted exposure of an unguarded look or unpredictable trajectory. The camera was always there when we left the house for a walk or drive. It must also have been my fathers way of capturing as well as confirming the ordered family domain he had created and now ruled. I remember that as I grew oldercertainly by age eleven or twelveI felt the ritual of doing the same thing over and over in front of my fathers camera was becoming more and more disconcerting. This awareness coincided with my wish somehow to be disembodied.23

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It is at this stage in his narrative recollection that Said mentions this dream, one that would seem quite nightmarish to many, especially in the manner Said describes it. The passage reads as follows: One of my recurrent fantasies, the subject of a school essay I wrote when I was twelve, was to be a book, whose fate I took to be happily free of unwelcome changes, distortions of its shape, criticism of its looks; print for me was made up of a rare combination of expression in its style and contents, absolute rigidity, and integrity in its looks. Passed from hand to hand, place to place, time to time, I could remain my own true self (as a book), despite being thrown out of a car and lost in a back drawer.24 I introduce these passages because once they are understood in the context of Saids oeuvre (and the oeuvre in its historic and existential context), they may serve as personal as well as uncannily poetic images that can guide the reading of much of Saids works, in which he refined, elaborated, pushed forward, and also reacted against concepts and images such as these, concerned as they are with textual matters. Saids use and understanding of secularity is closely bound up with these recollections insofar as they are closely related to his expressedthoughts concerning worldliness, especially the worldliness of text, its being in and of this world.

3. The Worldliness of Text


What is the use of a book, thought Alice, without pictures or conversation? Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

To briefly introduce Saids concept of worldliness and the use he makes of it, I can think of no better way than to quote from the opening of Bill Ashcrofts essay Edward Said: The Locatedness of Theory. Ashcroft writes: Edward Said is probably most familiar to readers as the author of Orientalism and for his seminal role in the growing study of postcolonial cultures. But this better known aspect of his cultural theory can be understood fully only in the context of his view of the role of the intellectual in contemporary society and the function of criticism itself. More far reaching, perhaps, than his work on orientalist representation, has been the concept of worldliness which underlies his view of the public intellectuals relevance to society and the locatedness of texts in their particular world. Worldliness is a fascinating aspect of a theory developed during the rise to prominence of poststructuralism, because it is so manifestly contrary to the general trend of critical theory over the last few decades. Despite the widespread celebration of Orientalism,

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and its pivotal place in postcolonial theory, it is the concept of worldliness which stands as Saids most significant contribution to critical theory. Worldliness underlies the project of Orientalism itself, and perhaps more important, represents a view of the text, of the material situation of writing, of the location of literature, which will outlast the poststructuralist anxiety which often haunts contemporary critical practice. Worldliness is curiously appropriate to Saids work since his paradoxical identity as a Palestinian, [. . .] cannot be easily separated from his critical theory.25 This passage, when reflected upon in conjunction with the rather nightmarish dream of being a book, enables one, with thinking based in figurative-language, to discuss much about Saids out of place situation in the world. In reading Saids textual productions, his oeuvre as his metaphorical book, the reading is best when this metaphorical book is kept in, of, and for this world. It is a book conversant with the world; a book constituted of many windows onto the world. Metaphorically speaking, as a book, Said would want to be read as he read, that is, in a worldly, secular fashion. This implies that the historical events that precede his life and the historical occurrences that also occurred during it, partly, possibly even largely, make this life; they are the stuff, the matter, the contents his mind formed into an oeuvre; the mind in question itself was making itself via the oeuvres formation; this lifes works are intimately related to this process of historically bound self-reflection and self-creation. The deeper significances of worldliness, one of the numerous facets through which one may access the semantic and critical import of Saids programmatic anti-program of secular scholarship, cannot be fully appreciated without one of its more obvious backdrops, namely, that of literary studies. Said suggests time and again that certain texts, like other artistic artifacts, get dislodged from their social and historical context because of an adoration of them as somehow transcendent, escaping time, history, and other such determinant conditions. Here one might think of the base and superstructure distinction of left criticism. This base cannot be simply ignored in having conditioned that which now requires the critics attention (the critics attention itself so conditioned), be it a text, highly literary or otherwise, or another worldly situation, having both its worldly and other-worldly textual dimensions, and yet, always retaining its worldliness beneath or above it all. Regardless how purportedly other-worldly a text would have us read it, the secular critic without denigrating the texts claim to other-wordliness, its claim to transcend the worldwill let the time, history, and society implied and/or excluded by the text speak, so that both text and world may find each other, text not trampling world, world not denying the deep mythic and historic role the text fulfills in human histories. The obvious literary and humanist aim in this is to free the text for the world, and free the world for the text. However, Saids thought is often agonistic or anti-nomic as he at times stated. In some of the interstices

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of text and world, reconciliation cannot yet arise. Only in heightening our awareness of the contradictions between them can better understanding ensue. In this Saids critical theory belongsthough not exclusivelyto Jerusalem and Jerusalem longs for Saids critical theory, although again surely not exclusively, since Jerusalem is a hyper-textualized place if ever there was one. The same could be said of all mythopoetized places. Via human agency, texts have interpenetrated the world, and the world, texts. To forget none, to listen for the voices, in the texts of this world, and also in this world made in part of such texts, is to practice secular criticism; its theoretical underpinning is that the religious always involves the secular already; no religiosity can wholly take it away: at times, possibly despite itself, it binds us to it. For some, scriptures, like other literary forms, contain visions of actual or possible worlds. A world is always presupposed by texts. The text is nothing without some relation in and to the world; without it, it could not be intelligible. In time, the text, be it written or oral, can be read or remembered, in short, interpreted, in so many different ways that the resulting discursivity can be described as both or either for and against life. To be clearly for life, clearly for new life, one must struggle to get beyond the self-limitation of seeing old texts as the only transcendent texts, nor wish to claim world-transcendence for new texts. Only insofar as a text is again made to live anew, in an ever-evolving context, is it both text in the noble sensea weaving of times, places, peoplesand secular in being of and for this world, addressing it, thus incarnating the weaving of times, places, and peoples together. The overlapping maps literature (in a broad sense) provides, when read secularly, provide a way of thinking critically about human interrelations and the resulting emergent inter-subjectivities. The inter-subjectivities generated by thinking of at least two civilization narratives in tandem is a core aspect of the style of thought Said promoted as humanitys only as well as best hope. This style of thought, according to Said and like-minded intellectuals, must be actively cultivated both in the public sphere as well as within the Humanities more specifically, though Said thought the latter should become increasingly concerned with the former.

4. Links between Palestinian History and Biography


Saids time and place had a particular thickness. In his view, and that of many others, his people had been made secondary because of interests other than their own; they had been betrayed by history so to speak and yet to say so, that is, to express this view was to transgress a taboo of the Western worldview. Arab Palestinians have been collectively made to suffer.26 This suffering was justified in the stereotypic Western mind in two interconnected ways: one, that in light (or rather, because of the dark inhumane example) of the Shoah, the world Jewry obviously needed and/or desired a homeland of their own, and two, that this homeland should be the land with which they were religiously

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identified.27 Both facets of this supposed justification are steeped in secular and religious history. The Jews had been persecuted in European as well as throughout all-too-much of world history, and this persecution was linked to religious ways of defining belonging and not belonging, social processes that have had powerful and too often very ugly effects within the world, that is, the secular world. I do not purport to deal with enough of the historic events that took place in Palestine shortly before and during Saids lifetime and that would arguably deserve a more sustained focus in this book. I only wish to make plain that Saids life was deeply affected by contemporary Middle Eastern history. Among Saids major contentions concerning this history is that it is much more of a global affair than most Westerners tend to think and that still too little of these stories, these histories, especially the Arab Palestinian ones, are widely known. To be related, stories need both speakers and the openness of an audience. In 1934, the year prior to Saids birth, Musa Kazem al-Husseini died.28 Said was born, in Jerusalem, in 1935.29 During this same fateful year, Hannah Arendt, having already in her young life fled Germany after having been apprehended, taken into custody, and interrogated by German officials, accompanied a group of young Jewish immigrants to Palestine.30 By this time, several national and international conferences, not to mention several bloody fits of unrest, had already taken place as a result of the growing problematic tensions between native Arab Palestinians and the steadily increasing Jewish settlers.31 Within the first year of Saids lifetime, another revolt took place.32 Before Said turned a half-decade old, George Antonius published his rightly famous work, The Arab Awakening, in 1938.33 Many years later, Said would discuss this early benchmark of Arab national conscientization.34 Regrettably, in more cynical moments, one may feel as if the efforts of Arab Palestinian leaders have mostly been in vain. Although a unified Arab Kingdom had been promised by Western powers to Arab leaders for their support in struggling against the Ottomans, and although Britain repeatedly denied that a Jewish state would be created at the expense of the Arab Palestinian native population, this is what took place. Israel was officially declared a sovereign state in 1948. In Blaming the Victims, Said writes: Whereas for the Israeli Jew it has long been possible to describe the agonies of the Holocaust and the restitution provided by the return to Zion, for the Palestinian there is no vast historical tragedy of apocalyptic proportions to draw on, and certainly no vindicated return. The Palestinian disaster (or nakba) is human: the destruction of a society, the dispossession and painfully secular, mundane exile that followed, the loss to Zionism of the right even to have a history and a political identity. Most of all the Palestinian has suffered because he or she has been unknown, an unacknowledged victim, and worse, a victim blamed not only for his or her disasters, but for those of others as well.35

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In 1948, the Saids lost their family home in Jerusalem. To add a further irony to the sad truths of exile, an otherwise almost, one might say, saintly figure, Martin Buber, along with his family, moved into that same home in 1948.36 Saids father, a man he describes as a great businessman, had established the center of his commercial undertakings in Cairo; to there, Saids family moved.

5. A Talismanic American Passport


Said was not only lucky to have been born to an economically well-off family, he was also born under the auspicious sign of an American passport.37 Saids father had been instructed by his own father (a Palestinian German-speaking dragoman) to leave Palestine in 1911 so as to avoid being forced to fight for the Ottoman Empire in Bulgaria.38 Saids father left the region to come to America. Said mentions that his father in fact came to Canada because he had heard it was preparing troops to go fight against the Ottomans.39 When no such war effort materialized, he left Canada and returned to the United States of America. This story is one of many concrete examples why Said would later ceaselessly repeat that the Islamic world is not homogeneous, that is, it is not identical to itself; there is no one-to-one relation of identity between it and the airtight concepts scholars would have it neatly fit into. Saids father, an Islamicized though non-Muslim Arab, wished to fight against the established politico-religious institution (i.e., the Ottoman Empire) of the early-twentiethcentury Islamic world. Such internal strife translates practically and theoretically as dynamism, not the stasis of the Orientalists unchanging East. Saids father would develop his great aptitude for business in the United States, but he also fought for the United States (and the so-called free world) in France during World War I. In so doing, he was granted U.S. citizenship, which in due course he would pass on to his children. That the family, with the exception of Saids mother, had these papers, these texts, facilitated the freedom of movement they enjoyed, which would have otherwise been greatly curtailed due to what Palestinians regard as the catastrophic loss of their customary link to their national homeland, its management and development. Said would repeatedly mention the frustrating problems, both symbolic as well as very concrete, due to the fact that his mother, like too many fellow Palestinians, had to arrange to get papers from some other country since Palestine could not issue such documents; they had left what became Israel officially (though documents issued by Israel to a Palestinian would not have specified her nationality either).40 That Said was able to become the best-known American spokesperson for the Palestinian cause in the American public sphere is due, to no small extent, to his having been born with an American passport, a worldly text of some undeniable power, especially when compared to the less than humane treatment generally afforded those who are literally sans papier, that is, without proper documents.

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6. Tensions between Edward and Said in his Name and his Memoir
In his Memoir, Said muses on the disjunction within his very name. A very English sounding first name, Edward, was given to him because the Prince of Wales had left a strong impression on his parents.41 To this very English sounding name is conjoined a very Arabic sounding last name, Said. Moreover, Said also acknowledges that he is unsure which language, either Arabic or English, he spoke first as a child. In this regard, he writes: The basic split in my life was the one between Arabic, my native language, and English, the language of my education and subsequent expression as a scholar and teacher, and so trying to produce a narrative of one in the language of the otherto say nothing of the numerous ways in which the languages were mixed up for me and crossed over from one realm to the otherhas been a complicated task.42 Late in life, Said would return to this latter theme in an essay in which he discusses the problems he would at times experience in the Arabic sphere because his Arabic was not that of a speaker whose thought and expression was primarily that of a classical Arabic-speaking intellectual. Saids split, as he understood it, was original; it disabled exclusivity out of hand. In his excellent essay Living in Arabic, in discussing the importance of rhetoric in the Arabic language, Said recalls: when I gave my first speech in Arabic (in Cairo again) many years ago, and after years of speaking publicly in English and French but never in my own native language, a young relative of mine came up to me after I had finished to tell me how disappointed he was that I hadnt been more eloquent. But you understood what I said, I asked him plaintively, since being understood on some sensitive political and philosophical points was my main concern. Oh yes, of course, he replied dismissively, no problem: but you werent rhetorical or eloquent enough.43 To this he later adds: I mix colloquial and classical idioms pragmatically, with results (I was once amiably told) that resemble someone who owns a Rolls Royce but also likes to use a Volkswagen. In this regard, Said goes on to say: Because Arabic and English are such different languages in the way they operate, and also because the ideal of eloquence in one language is not the same as in the other, a perfect bilingualism of the kind that I often dream about, and sometimes boldly think that I have almost achieved, is not really possible. There is a massive technical literature about bilingualism, but what

34

Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular Ive seen of it simply cannot deal with the aspect of actually living in, as opposed to knowing, two languages from two different worlds and two different linguistic families. This isnt to say that one cant be somehow brilliant, as the Polish native Conrad was in English, but the strangeness stays there forever. Besides, what does it mean to be perfectly, in a completely equal way, bilingual? Has anyone studied the ways in which each language creates barriers against other languages? So I often find myself noting aspects of the experience and gathering evidence from around me that reinforces both the tantalizing imperfection (for me) and the dynamic state of both languages, their perfect inequality, that is, which is so much more satisfying than a frozen, completed, but in the end only theoretical attainment.44

Underlying Saids nominalist musings concerning his own name and his differentalthough not mono-lingual, though still language-basedway of relating to the world is the awareness of his own hybridity. This hybridity had to no small extent caused him some significant difficulties throughout his life. Saids oeuvre does testify to his having struggled throughout his life and work with questions related to what might be called the seductive human desire of belonging. However, this same problematic hybridity also afforded him much. Although Said would begin to construct himself via representation as organically linked to the struggle for Palestinian nationhood, he never wholly gave up on his equally important remove from it.45 The same, more or less, can be said about his relation to the United States or to so-called Western civilization more broadly. He worked from a position both within and beyond the fold of these supposedly monolithic social constructions. That he could do so itself went some distance to show that these social constructions were not and are not as monolithic as some would have us believe.

7. Elite Colonial Education


In a later chapter, I will return to the topic of Saids early education in comparing some of Saids impressions of the elite colonial education he received, to those of Frantz Fanon, one of Saids own intellectual heroes. For the time being, it deserves to be noted here that Said never denied the important role played by his education in being able to go on to complete a PhD in English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and to teach in this field at Columbia in New York City, which, to be sure, are two factors that enabled and also posed some particular problems for Said in his later efforts as a dissident intellectual. In recalling his early school days, Said gives his readers the impression that the deep conflicts of the elite colonial education he received are in certain ways what stayed with him the most powerfully. Indeed, judging from what Said tells his readers in his Memoir of his early life, a major theme of Saids oeuvre, that is,

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of tracing the relations between cultural imperialism, understood most broadly, and the grosser, more concrete, actions of Empire in the world, begins to arise in various ways and via varied occasions during Saids early life. What Empire taught the so-called natives about themselves, about the supposedly superior civilization, for example, were not only crucial for maintaining Empire in its outposts but also, and this is one of the main thrusts of Saids work, how these stories are told is crucial to maintaining support for Empire in its center, within the metropolitan centers of the Empire. In his Memoir, Said focuses largely on two or three facets of his so-called elite colonial education: language, history, and violence. In the British colonial education system Said experienced, the only language was English and the only history worth study was a glorious (rhetorically religious) version of English history. Said observes that this leads to the native language, in this case Arabic, becoming the language of resistance to Empire. In Living in Arabic, Said writes: Arabic is Islam and Islam Arabic at some very profound level.46 In this respect then, it is not surprising that Islam, here understood too reductively as a religious and cultural resource, so closely bound to language as a means of expression, should become so central in the struggle against Western colonialism and in resisting the neocolonialism of the postcolonial era.47 Said saw religion and secularism as already intermixed in language. This much is clear in the following passage, also from Living in Arabic, in which he discusses the relation of Arabic and the Koranic text. He writes: This is not to say that what has come to be called modern standard (i.e., modern classical) Arabic is exactly the same as that of the Korans, fourteen centuries ago. It isnt the same, and although the Koran remains a much studied text, its language [. . .] is an antique, even stilted, and, for daily life, unusable one. Compared to the modern prose used everywhere today, it resembles a very high sounding prose-poetry. The modern classical is largely the result of a fascinating internal modernization of the language that began during the last decades of the nineteenth centurythe period of the Nahda, or renaissance. This modernization was carried out mainly by a group of men in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Egypt (a striking number of them Christian), who set themselves the collective task of bringing Arabic as a language into the modern world by modifying and somewhat simplifying its syntax, through the process of Arabizing (istirab) the seventh-century original. That meant introducing such words as train and company and democracy and socialism that couldnt have existed during the classical period. It also meant excavating the languages immense resources through the technical grammatical process of al-qiyas, or analogy [via which] Arabics grammatical laws of derivation were mobilized by the Nahda reformers to absorb new words and concepts into the system without in any way upsetting it. In a sense, these men forced on classical Arabic a whole new vocabulary, which is roughly sixty percent of todays classical standard language. The Nahda

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Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular brought freedom from the religious text, and surreptitiously introduced new secularism into what Arabs said and wrote. Thus contemporary complaints by the facile Thomas Friedman in the New York Times and tired Orientalists like Bernard Lewis, who keep repeating the formula that Islam (and the Arabs) needs a reformation, have no substance. Their knowledge of the language is superficial, their use of it nonexistent. They show no acquaintance with actual Arabic usage, in which the traces of reformation in thought and practice are everywhere to be found.48

For a literary scholar such as Said, one can hardly overemphasize the crucial role of language in the formation of societies and in their constant reformation. Moreover, his early awareness of language as a revolutionary instrument is also crucial. Said argues that a linguistic revolution has already taken place at the heart of the Arabic language and that since this language is the language par excellence of Islam, the Islamic world is far more secular than is commonly thought, especially in the West.

8. Cairos Cosmopolitanism
For Walter Benjamin, Paris, like Berlin, became more than just a city among cities; it became something akin to a metaphor, standing for something novel, and yet, something fundamental nonetheless about himself and as reflections of human society, something to which Benjamin wished to call attention.49 Several cityscapes can be viewed similarly as framing Saids worldview. I have already alluded to Jerusalems place. Another such place is Cairo. Others that would need to be examined as further examples of the specific urbanities of Edward Said would be Beirut as well as that city that supposedly never sleeps, New York City. To be sure, the Cairo Said knew is not that of the Muslim Brotherhood stereotype, in which one imagines hearing the near constant call to prayer. The Cairo Said recalls is rather that of the ballets, that of the opera house. Saids Cairo, as he remembers it, was a more European, and in this at least, cosmopolitan, place.50 As some of the previous passages of his quoted thus far in this chapter make plain, Said was very critical of the attempt to deny locality its multiplicity of textures. He was very critical of reactionary forms of nativism, which, for example, would deny a place for opera and ballet in a so-called properly Islamic environment. Said was also quite critical of the other end of this reactionary position, namely one that would deny that such creations of so-called high Western culture also belongs to the so-called Islamic and/or non-Western world.

9. Early Traumas of Colonialism


Although Saids youth may have been safer on account of his familys wealth, colonial conditions nevertheless found their way into the foreground of

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Saids young life. Recollecting his earliest memories of the post-1948 period, Said recalls: What overcomes me now is the scale of dislocation our family and friends experienced and of which I was scarcely conscious, essentially unknowing witness in 1948. As a boy of twelve and a half in Cairo, I often saw the sadness and destitution in the faces and lives of people I had formerly known as ordinary middle-class people in Palestine, but I couldnt really comprehend the tragedy that had befallen them nor could I piece together all the different narrative fragments to understand what had really happened in Palestine.51 Said narrows the focus from the wider circles of his extended family and friends, to his recollections of his mother and father, what he remembers of them, after 1948, or rather, as Said grew to understand what this meant for Palestinians and what it would mean for him: My mother never mentioned what had happened to all of them. I did not ask my father; I had no available vocabulary for the question, although I was able to sense that something was radically wrong. Only once in a typically sweeping way did my father elucidate the general Palestinian condition, [. . .] they had lost everything; a moment later he added, We lost everything too. When I expressed my confusion as to what he meant, since his business, the house, our style of life in Cairo, seemed to have remained the same, Palestine was all he said. It is true that he had never much liked the place, but this peculiarly rapid monosyllabic acknowledgement and equally quick burial of the past was idiosyncratic to him. What is past is past and irrevocable; the wise man has enough to do with what is present and to come, he often said, quickly adding Lord Bacon as an authoritative seal to close a subject he didnt want to discuss. I never failed to be impressed by this unblinkingly stoic turning of his back on the past, even when its effects remained in the present.52 Cairo, where the Saids remained after 1948, was not a place free from anticosmopolitan tribalisms either. Said was at times made to feel the brunt of this and such dislocating experiences left deep impressions. Consider this recollection, from Saids Memoir, of a very acute and very explicit, colonial encounter: Coming home at dusk across one of the vast outlying fields of the Gezira Club [a private leisure club of which Saids family were members], I was accosted by a brown-suited Englishman with a pith helmet on his head and a small black briefcase hanging from his bicycle handlebars. This was Mr. Piley, known to me in writing as Hon. Secy of the club, and also as the father of Ralph, a GPS [Gezira prep school] contemporary of mine. What are you

38

Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular doing here, boy? he challenged me in a cold, reedy voice. Going home, I said, trying to be calm as he dismounted from the bicycle and walked toward me. Dont you know youre not supposed to be here? he asked reprovingly. I started to say something about being a member, but he cut me off pitilessly. Dont answer back, boy. Just get out, and do it quickly. Arabs arent allowed here, and youre an Arab! If I hadnt thought of myself as an Arab before, I now directly grasped the significance of the designation as truly disabling. When I told my father what Mr. Piley had said to me he was only mildly disquieted. And he wouldnt believe that we were members, I pleaded. Ill speak to Piley about this, was the noncommittal answer. The subject was never discussed again: Piley had gotten away with it.53

The wounds resulting from experiences such as this, Said would later attempt to work through publicly, as an intellectual and also as an activist, in his published work and in his public appearances. Said never got a proper apology from Piley, nor has the so-called postcolonial world received just reparations from the so-called first world.

10. American Studies


From his father, Said relates, he picked up some American lore while still in the Middle East before ever having traveled to America.54 This, however, had not prepared him for what he would have to deal with. Regarding Mount Hermon, the New England prep school that Said attended early in the 1950s, he writes: While I was at Mount Hermon I was never appointed a floor officer, a table head, a member of student council, or valedictorian (officially designated as number 1 in the class) and salutatorian (officially number 2) although I had the qualifications. And I never knew why. But I soon discovered that I would have to be on my guard against authority and that I needed to develop some mechanism or drive not to be discouraged by what I took to be efforts to silence or deflect me from being who I was rather than becoming who they wanted me to be. In the process I began a lifelong struggle and attempt to demystify the capriciousness and hypocrisy of a power whose authority depended absolutely on its ideological self-image as a moral agent, acting in good faith and with unimpeachable intentions.55 Not unlike another Sayyid, (i.e., Sayyid Qutb) had learned some two decades earlier in coming to the United States, Said learned that the United States is not in practice the egalitarian society it purports to be ideally; racial prejudice, not to mention the pseudo-science of racial and/or ideological profiling, was alltoo-present in American society then and even now.56 The end of the passage

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quoted earlier provides a precise self-definition of Saids self-understanding of his intentionto demystifyand the method implied for itdemystification. In this passage, Said defines demystification as the questioning of the moral agency of authority, stripping it of its absolute dependence on its own uncritical and apologetic mono-logical self-representation scheme. Nevertheless, Said returns his Memoirs readers back to the particulars in which this process of growing selfunderstanding arose, its new American context. Of this he writes: Its unfairness, in my opinion, depended principally on its prerogative for changing its bases of judgment. You could be perfect one day, but morally delinquent the next, even though your behavior was the same. [. . .] But what developed in my encounters with the largely hypocritical authority at Mount Hermon was a newfound will that had nothing to do with the Edward of the past but relied on the slowly forming identity of another self beneath the surface.57 I cite this passage to underline that Said consciously held that identities at times must choose to elaborate themselves, surface, emerge, and begin saying what needs to be said, speaking truth to power as he would put it.58 Said would, in principle, support this view for all under-heard minorities. On the other hand, however, at the other end of Saids view of America, he does write of another recollection, involving a writing assignment, assigned by the forceful and articulate English teacher (also the golf coach), Mr. Jack Baldwin.59 Of his recollections of the writing assignment, Said writes: Baldwin assigned us an essay topic of a very unpromising sort: On Lighting a Match. I dutifully went to the library and proceeded through encyclopedias, histories of industry, chemical manuals in search of what matches were; I then more or less systematically summarized and transcribed what I found and, rather proud of what I had compiled, turned it in. Baldwin almost immediately asked me to come and see him during his office hours, which was an entirely novel concept, since VCs teachers [Victoria College, an English colonial school that Said had attended in Cairo] never had offices, let alone office hours. Baldwins office was a cheery little place with post-card covered walls, and as we sat next to each other on two easy chairs he complimented me on my research. But is that the most interesting way to examine what happens when someone lights a match? What if hes trying to set fire to a forest, or light a candle in a cave, or, metaphorically, illuminate the obscurity of a mystery like gravity, the way Newton did? For literally the first time in my life a subject was opened up for me by a teacher in a way I immediately and excitedly responded to. What had previously been repressed and stifled in academic studyrepressed in order that thorough and correct answers be given to satisfy a standardized syllabus and a routinized exam designed essentially to show off powers of retention, not critical or imaginative facultieswas

40

Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular awakened, and the complicated process of intellectual discovery (and selfdiscovery) has never stopped since. The fact that I was never at home or, at least at Mount Hermon, out of place in nearly every way, gave me the incentive to find my territory, not socially but intellectually.60

In reflecting on this passage for resonances within Saids oeuvre, one thinks of his insistence that stereotypes persist because they are all too often mindlessly repeated, that is to say, old ides reus go unchallenged, closed off far away, sealed off and sheltered from fresh eyes. One might also think of his insistence on the essayistic spirit of criticism (as in The World, the Text, and the Critic), or the willed amateurism of the public intellectual (as represented in Representations of the Intellectual), defying the cult of expertise and hyper-specialization. Part of what awoke in Baldwins office was Said the academic boundary-crosser, equal measure literary scholar as philosopher of language, viewing language as a tool in structuring social space, student of culture and civilization but equally critical of them; critical from a position paradoxically both within and without, though neither wholly so. Of his undergraduate studies at Princeton and graduate studies at Harvard, Said writes: My humanities courses were unreflectingly historical in organization, taught by men of the utmost competence and philological rigor. My readings in the history of music, of literature, and of philosophy formed the foundation of everything I have done as a scholar and teacher. The sedate comprehensiveness of the Princeton curriculum gave me the opportunity to let my mind investigate whole fields of learning, with at that time a minimum of selfconsciousness. Only when that learning came into contact with the energizing criticism [. . .] or the visionary empowerment of [the better teachers] did I find myself digging deeper, beyond the level of formal academic accomplishment, and beginning somehow to fashion for myself a coherent and independent attitude of mind. I was conscious during the first few weeks of my second year of further developing an early fascination with complexity and unpredictabilityespecially, and lastingly, in the multiple complexities and ambiguities of writing and speech.61 Generalizing about his early impressions of Americans, he writes: I felt that there was no depth, no ease, to the Americans, only the surface jokiness and anecdotal high spirits of teammates, which never satisfied me. There was always the feeling that what I missed with my American contemporaries was other languages, Arabic mainly, in which I lived and thought and felt along with English. They seemed less emotional, with little interest in articulating their attitudes and reactions. This was the extraordinary homogenizing power of American life, in which the same TV, clothes, ideological

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uniformity, in films, newspapers, comics, etc., seemed to limit the complex intercourse of daily life to an unreflective minimum in which memory has no role. I felt myself to be encumberingly full of memories . . .62 Later Said adds the following: To my increasing sadness, by early December 1951 I had become Americanized as Ed Said [. . .] as more and more of the past seemed to slip away, worn away slowly but ineluctably by the American modalities of our routinized days and evenings. [. . .] With no close friends, I battled my way through, trying more and more successfully to hold on to and develop the sensibility that resisted the America leveling and ideological herding that seemed to work so efficiently on so many of my classmates.63

11. The June War of 1967 and Early Political Writings Reconciling Two Lives
Of Said, Tariq Ali writes: His quarrel with the political and cultural establishments of the West and the official Arab world is the most important feature of Saids biography. It was the Six Day War of 1967 that changed his lifeprior to that event, he had not been politically engaged.64 Indeed, after the June War of 1967, Said writes that he was no longer the same person. 1967 brought more dislocations, [. . .] for me it seemed to embody the dislocation that subsumed all the other losses, the disappeared world of my youth and upbringing, the unpolitical years of my education, the assumption of disengaged teaching and scholarship at Columbia, and so on. I was no longer the same person after 1967; the shock of that war drove me back to where it had all started, the struggle over Palestine. I subsequently entered the newly transformed Middle Eastern landscape as a part of the Palestinian movement that emerged in Amman and then in Beirut in the late sixties through the seventies. This was an experience that drew on the agitated, largely hidden side of my prior lifethe anti-authoritarianism, the need to break through an imposed and enforced silence, above all the need to draw back to a sort of original state of what was irreconcilable, thereby shattering and dispelling an unjust Established order.65 No longer could he take for granted the scholars neutrality. In the 1994 New York interview with Tariq Ali, Said described his early years [as a professor] at Columbia between 1963 and 1967 as a Dorian Grey period. Ali asked him: So one of you was the Comp Lit professor, going about his business, giving his lectures, working with Trilling and others; yet at the same time, another

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character was building up inside youbut you kept the two apart? To this Said answers: I had to. There was no place for that other character to be. [. . .] I was a foreigner in both places [i.e., the U.S. and the Middle East]. I had no interest in the family business, so I was here [in the U.S.]. Until 1967 I really didnt think about myself as anything other than as a person going about his work. I had taken in a few things along the way. I was obsessed with the fact that many of my cultural heroesEdmund Wilson, Isaiah Berlin, Reinhold Niebuhrwere fanatical Zionists. Not just pro-Israeli: they said the most awful things about Arabs, in print. But all I could do was note it. Politically, there was no place for me to go. I was in New York when the Six Days War broke out; and was completely shattered. The world as I had understood it ended at that moment.66 What shattered Saids more comfortable worldview was his realization that at that time there was in America little compassion for Arabs. Moreover, he felt this lack of sympathy was largely socially constructed, to no small extent by certain scholars as well as the media. Said writes: I had been in the States for years [i.e., since 1951] but it was only now [after 1967] that I began to be in touch with other Arabs. By 1970 I was completely immersed in politics and the Palestinian resistance movement.67 Said entered the Palestinian movement, becoming un intellectuel engag. In this, as he puts it, he drew on an aspect of himself that had been a largely hidden side of my prior life. He characterizes this dimension of himself as anti-authoritarian and as the need to break through an imposed and enforced silence.68 This alchemical process, via which Said transforms himself, began to harness two aspects of Saids life, yoking them, and narrowing the gap between them: one, his scholarship, and two, his conflicted identity as a person who could identify (and be identified) with both Western culture and a so-called Oriental culture, that of the Arabs, that of Palestine, and the Islamic Orient more generally. Recalling his parents hatred and distrust of politics, Said writes: [w]hen I began to be involved in politics both my parents strongly disapproved. It will ruin you, said my mother. Youre a literature professor, said my father: stick to that. His last words to me a few hours before his death were: Im worried about what the Zionists will do to you. Be careful. My father and we children were all protected from the politics of Palestine by our talismanic U.S. passports, as we slipped by customs and immigration officials with what appeared to be risible ease compared to the difficulties faced by the less-privileged and fortunate in those war and postwar years.69 Because of his political involvement, Said was branded; he was labeled Arafats Man in New York, the Professor of Terror, his office at Columbia was

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firebombed, and although the FBI was building an immense file about him by tracking his activities, they also nevertheless had to provide him with a direct line, so obviously in danger was he because of his outspoken political engagement. Such worldly drama in the life of a scholar may seem odd, but not so of an activist, especially one who could be called, partly in jest, the sword of Islam, as he was to the Abu-Lughod family.70 Nearing the end of his life, Said preferred to speak irreverently not just as a politically engaged intellectual, but as a mind in exile, as the last Jewish intellectual, here representing Jewish intellectuality as one might think of the Frankfurt school, as thought that takes nothing of this world for granted.71

12. On Writing a Memoir


In 1991, Edward Said learned he had chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Since June of 1992, Dr. Kanti Rai treated Said for this condition. In this same year, Said, with his wife and children, traveled to Palestine, Saids first visit back to his initial homeland in forty-five years, his wifes and childrens first visit. In 1993, Said was in Cairo once again. During this time he was monitored regularly by Dr. Rai, who knew and had informed Said that eventually he would need chemotherapy in order to survive the illness that was besieging him. He began treatment in March of 1994. He writes that it was at this stage that he realized that he was entering if not the final phase of my life, then the periodlike Adam and Eve leaving the gardenfrom which there would be no return to my old life. Two months later, in May of 1994, Said began to write his memoirs, now published and entitled Out of Place: A Memoir.72 Said was very careful to avoid writing an autobiography, suspicious of even our own grasp of ourselves, he noted that he felt that in his memoir he was writing to a younger generation.73 Even though he has lived much of his later life in the United States as a American citizen, Said still recounts that [t]o this day I still feel that I am away from home, ludicrous as that may sound, and though I believe I have no illusions about the better life I might have had, had I remained in the Arab world, or lived and studied in Europe, there is still some measure of regret.74 Reflecting upon his fathers plan to have him educated in the United States, Said writes that the more I think about it, the more I think he thought the only hope for me as a man was in fact to be cut off from my family. He writes that his own quest for self-knowledge could only have resulted from such a rupture, and therefore, regardless of all the loneliness and unhappiness endured when first ostracized, Said understood himself to have been quite fortunate. He writes, [n]ow it does not seem important or even desirable to be right and in place (right at home, for instance). Better to wander out of place, not to own a house, and not ever to feel too much at home anywhere, especially in a city like New York, where I shall be until I die.75

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Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular In concluding his memoir, Said writes: I occasionally experience myself as a cluster of flowing currents. I prefer this to the idea of a solid self, the identity to which so many attach so much significance. These currents, like the themes of ones life, flow along during the waking hours, and at their best, they require no reconciling, no harmonizing. They are off and may be out of place, but at least they are always in motion, in time, in place, in the form of all kinds of strange combinations moving about, not necessarily forward, sometimes against each other, contrapuntally yet without one central theme. A form of freedom, Id like to think, even if I am far from being totally convinced that it is. That skepticism too is one of the themes I particularly want to hold on to. With so many dissonances in my life I have learned actually to prefer being not quite right and out of place.76

To my mind, these are among some of Saids finest autobiographical fragments; they are also some of the most patently honest words of self-disclosure. I cannot think of a better way of concluding this constellating of themes from Saids written recollections of his life, especially since this last passage itself leads one to think that one can never wholly recollect all of ones self, or selves, dimensions of these always escaping definitions.

Chapter 2

The Empire Writes Back: From Bernard Lewis to Martin Kramer

The modern world is marked by the ease with which taboo topics can be generated from the interface of scientific research and public policy. Steve Fuller, The Intellectual

Saids work has solicited innumerable responses. In this and the next two chapters, I want to examine responses that are incontrovertible for the sake of understanding some of the ongoing academic discussions into which this book intervenes. Some of these responses to Saids work, I have already alluded to. Here I would like to discuss some of these more explicitly. In so doing, I hope to construct a broad backdrop in which to later foreground my reading of Saids oeuvre as a critical theory of the religious and the secular in later chapters. Via this and the next chapter, I examine four critiques of Saids work that to no small extent see his work as failing to make good on its main claims. All four are quite different from one another and so can be imagined as representing more general positions antagonistic to Saids project. The first is that of Bernard Lewis. I briefly examine one key aspect of Lewiss response to Saids Orientalism simply to show that the critique of the religious basis of Orientalism, which I argue is an important underlying aspect of Orientalisms rhetorical force and philosophical challenge, is utterly missed (or at least minimized to inconsequentiality) by Lewis. Second, I examine a more recent attack on Saids work, that of Martin Kramer, who, as I show, would have his reader think Said somehow responsible for 9/11 no less. Obviously, the sheer dmesure of such a polemic might lead one to acknowledge a religiosity of sorts involved throughout the subtexts that constitute this archive. I then move on to examine the most helpful of these critiques, William D. Harts Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture. Harts work is also polemical but it is far more subtle and nuanced. Nevertheless, I argue that even though Harts response to Said may hold true from his vantage point, it nonetheless does not do enough justice to the position Said sought to develop. Hart claims Saids view of the secular to be a failure generally and yet, in the end, I would argue that it is Harts view of Saids secularism that falls prey to this charge since

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it lacks much of the subtlety and nuance of Saids own work, subtleties and nuances without which it is not the dynamic nomadic movement of critical thinking that it can be interpreted to be. Last, I examine a critique of Said put forth by historian of religion Carl Olson. My criticism of Olson finds him to have been overly uncharitable in Saids regard, to the point of seeming to fall in line with imperialistic patterns of thought and expression, not surprisingly in religiously defending the lineage of his academic discipline. My examinations of Hart and Olson constitute Chapter 3.

1. Bernard Lewis, or How Denying a Rift can Re-Enforce One


With gentleness the fracture is repaired. Arabic proverb

In the first part of this chapter, I examine some aspects of late Edward Saids contribution to narrative theory. I do so in order to make plain that from a Saidian point of view, civilizations are largely constructed and maintained via narratives. All civilization narratives attempt to construct and maintain monolithic versions of themselves, from their origins, teleologically through to their current states and beyond into projected futures. If much of our times issues seem to be due to what Samuel P. Huntington describes as the Clash of Civilizations, and that, as suggested, civilizations can largely be understood as narratives, then much of our worlds strife can be understood as involving what may be called a clash of narratives.1 From this initial discussion, I move on to consider not only Said and the book that earned him a large measure of his renown, but also the reaction of one of his better known critics, Bernard Lewis. Once the relevant aspects of Saids Orientalism have been briefly discussed, I proceed to examine an aspect of Bernard Lewis response, a response that he entitled The Question of Orientalism.2 The aspect in question is the hypothetical storyline Lewis presents as an analogy between Classicism and Orientalism. Lewis believes this analogy reflects reality; however, I argue, it sadly does not. The reason for the examination of these matters is that they are symptomatic of some of the concealments inherent within Lewiss version of the Wests civilizational narrative. I would like to highlight some of what this version of the Wests civilizational narrative generally, and Lewiss analogy more specifically, conceal. What is concealed is that neither the Western nor the Islamic civilizations are mutually exclusive monoliths. The overall purpose of this examination is to open up critical terrains in which counter-narratives may take root, narratives recounting the encounter between Islam and the West not simply as one of confrontation, but also as one of exchange and dialogue.3

The Empire Writes Back

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A. On the importance of good stories


In the introduction to his book Culture and Imperialism, Said acknowledged that [a] great deal of recent criticism has concentrated on narrative fiction, yet very little attention has been paid to its position in the history and world of empire.4 He goes on to state that narrative is crucial if one hopes to understand the mechanics of empire in world history. Said states: that stories are at the heart of what explorers and novelists say about strange regions of the world; they also become the method colonized people use to assert their own identity and the existence of their own history. The main battle in imperialism is over land, of course; but when it came to who owned the land, who had the right to settle and work it, who kept it going, who won it back, and who now plans its futurethese issues were reflected, contested, and even for a time decided in narrative. As one critic has suggested, nations themselves are narrations. The power to narrate, or to block other narratives from forming and emerging, is very important to culture and imperialism, and constitutes one of the main connections between them. Most important, the grand narratives of emancipation and enlightenment mobilized people in the colonial world to rise up and throw off imperial subjection; in the process, many Europeans and Americans were also stirred by these stories and their protagonists, and they too fought for new narratives of equality and human community.5 If I have quoted this passage extensively here, it is due to the fact that, along with his earlier essay entitled Permission to Narrate,6 this key passage is one of the best articulations of Saids position regarding the relevance of studying both power and narrative critically, that is, in tandem. The critic who Said mentions as having argued that nations are narrations, Homi K. Bhabha, articulates this understanding in the collective work that he edited and introduced, entitled Nation and Narration.7 What I would like to suggest is that this notion may be extended so to speak, so as to shed light on another possibly greater problematic. Samuel P. Huntingtons use of the phrase the clash of civilizations is a well-known one since it is understood as descriptive of the source of many of the worlds current major conflicts.8 Huntington draws on Arnold Toynbees understanding of civilizations.9 Toynbee thought that the notion of civilization describes a social fact (to borrow Durkheimian terminology), somewhere between the nation-state and humanity as such. Bhabha, like Said, suggests that we think of the nation as involving no small measure of narrative. Said makes note of the role of the grand narratives of emancipation and enlightenment, these being largely narratives of and for humanity as such.10 Therefore, it is no huge leap to think of that which lies in between the nation-state and humanity as suchcivilizationsas also having their own share of narrativity. Robert Fulford makes a similar point in The Triumph of

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Narrative, when he says that stories are how we explain, how we teach, how we entertain ourselves, and how we often do all three at once. They are the juncture where facts and feelings meet. And for those reasons, they are central to civilizationin fact, civilization takes form in our minds as a series of narratives.11 Here Fulford speaks of civilization in the singular; pluralizing it does not however change the core of his point. Accordingly then, one could read Huntingtons The Clash of Civilizations, to take this well-known example, not only as being largely a narrative, but also as a purported meta-narrative about diverse so-called sub-narratives, all having meta-narrative pretensions. When world conflicts occur, histories inform them, permeate them, and are drawn out of them transformed. Furthermore, our understandings of history are linked to the writing of history, which is partly factual, though as the work of Hayden White, for example, has aptly demonstrated, the writing of history is also invested with and informed by narrative conventions.12 In the context of the so-called hard sciences, one might express this truth differently: a theory is what enables us to observe certain facts. The United States, that is, the so-called epicenter of the West, is currently the lone superpower.13 This is an aspect of its reality and its own narrative. If it is a reality today, it must also be understood as in part due to past narratives as well as current ones, which in turn project this would-be reality into the future.14 Huntington diagnosed the Islamic and the Confucian civilizations as the only potential rivals of the West at present.15 What keeps these three civilizations distinct is in part our focus on their own respective narratives, which represent them as largely distinct and even monolithic. Said, for example, states that every society forms an image of itself and of its citizens in order to maintain a coherent identity.16 Should we shift the focus to how, where, and when these historical narratives intertwine, we may begin to see the flawed character of seeing civilizations as mutually exclusive monoliths. In this regard, Said critiques the view Huntington promotes as one that assumes that the West and Islam are watertight categories, and basically ones in which every Westerner and every Muslim is somehow completely at one with his or her respective civilizational category.17

B. Orientalism and the question of Orientalism


A good example to better see these issues greater complexity is the debate that surrounds both Edward Said and Bernard Lewis. In 1978, Said published Orientalism, which critiques the Wests representations of the Orient. He argues that the Western colonial administrators, creative writers, and scholars that study the non-West are part of a still greater cultural (as well as economic) system. One may read Said as describing ways in which Western writers and scholars constructed and maintained positions vis--vis the Orient that latently or manifestly supported the Wests own civilizational narrative as opposed to

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encountering the Orients civilizational narratives on shared human grounds.18 In response, Bernard Lewis wrote one of the better known critiques.19 In beginning his critique, Lewis articulates a hypothetical story in the form of a what if? type scenario. Tersely summarized, Lewis asks the following: what if a group of modern Greeks created uproar aimed against Classicism?20 This figurative narrative device is meant to lead the reader to see the purported absurdity of modern Greeks being dissatisfied with Classicism, and further, by comparison, to see the purported absurdity of so-called Orientals being dissatisfied with Orientalism. This hypothetical story and the comparison it implies is a good fulcrum or prism through which to approach the issues raised thus far: first, it is by way of this figurative rhetorical device that Lewis sets off his response; and second, this story-telling acts as something akin to a guiding metaphor throughout his text and is the most general point he develops in order to express his negative judgment of Saids work. Initially, the criticism leveled via this comparison may seem strong. However, some points may be formulated to show the limitations of Lewis comparison, which is not entirely misguided, though the analogy is far from perfect. Ancient Greece and Rome are conceived as foundational cornerstones of Western Civilization. Most survey courses in the history of philosophy (often termed the history of Western philosophy) are taught ahistorically, starting with ancient Greece and proceeding through to the contemporary period without any note of the Ancient Civilizations that predate that of Greece, such as Ancient Egypt or Ancient India, for example, which furnished more cultural matters to the Ancient Greeks than contemporary Westerners tend to acknowledge, or of the Arab Muslims who played such a pivotal role in passing on and refining ancient Greek thought to Europe.21 In his book, The Influence of Islam on Medieval Europe, islamicist W. Montgomery Watt suggests that Europe was drawn to ancient Greek thought, not just because of its inherent strengths; it was thought that it belonged in a sense to their European tradition and that the central position assigned to it, must be understood as one aspect of the European assertion of distinction from Islam.22 This assertion runs counter to the fact that Avicenna and Averrroes were the main philosophical influences on European philosophers during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.23 Watt argues that the feeling of inferiority with which Western Europe confronted Islamic civilization had various facets, one of which is that it belittled the influence of the Saracens and exaggerated its dependence on its Greeks and Roman heritage.24 Anyone unsure that Ancient Greece and Rome are understood as foundational cornerstones of Western Civilization need only visit the Smithsonian Institute in the Washington D.C. to see Horatio Greenoughs monumental sculpture of George Washington (the sculpture is dated 18321842). In order to give Washington the proportions he had come to represent in the minds of his citizenry, the sculptor depicted Washington in a toga as if he were Zeus seated on his lion throne. The massive marble Washingtons upwardly

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pointing finger is a discernible quotation of Raphaels Plato in his The School of Athens (which dates from 15091511). Raphaels work itself is meant to mimic Phidiass Early Classical sculpture of Zeus in the temple at Olympia, a work that is now lost, although considered one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.25 To give his representation of Washington the foundational quality the artist desired, the artist felt he had to depict Washington as a figure combining ancient Greek philosophy and ancient Greek divinity. In short, my point is to underscore the fact that Washington was depicted as an ancient Greek and not, for example, as an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, nor as an ancient Arab chieftain. The ArabMuslim link between the Ancient Greek thinkers and the West is more or less systematically obscured from view in the Western social imaginary. The Islamic world is rarely regarded as an integral part of the history of the Western civilizations emergence. This reality has been discussed by some scholars, Montgomery Watt being one that I have already noted.26 One author was so impressed by the Wests benefits due to contact with the Islamic world that she entitled her study Allahs Sun Shines on the West.27 Most Westerners, even those with some general grasp of important moments in world history, largely ignore the ArabMuslim bridge between the ancient Greeks and the West. This might bring to mind what Umberto Eco reminds his audience (and subsequently his readers) when he stated the following: Latin rationalism adopts the principle of Greek rationalism but transforms and enriches them in a legal and contractual sense. The legal standard is modus, but the modus is also the limit, the boundaries. The Latin obsession with spatial limits goes right back to the legend of the foundation of Rome: Romulus draws a boundary line and kills his brother for failing to respect it. If boundaries are not recognized, then there can be no civitas. Horatius becomes a hero because he manages to hold the enemy on the bordera bridge thrown up between the Romans and the Others. Bridges are sacrilegious because they span the sulus, the moat of water delineating the city boundaries: for this reason, they may be built only under the close, ritual control of the Pontifex. The ideology of Pax Romana and Caesar Augustuss political design are based on a precise definition of boundaries: the force of the empire is in knowing on which borderline, between which limen or threshold, the defensive line should be set up. If the time comes when there is no longer a clear definition of boundaries, and the barbarians (nomads who have abandoned their original territory and who move about on any territory as if it were their own, ready to abandon that too) succeed in imposing their nomadic view, then Rome will be finished and the capital of the empire could just as well be somewhere else. Julius Caesar, in crossing the Rubicon, not only knows that he is committing sacrilege but knows that, once he has committed it, then can never turn back. Alea iacta est.28

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Most significant is not only the sacredness of boundaries, but as significantly, if not more so, is its link to what we may call the the bridge taboo. Huntingtons work in this sense largely concerns the sacredness of good fences. His latest book Who are We? conforms to this pattern; it reads like an abject lesson in how to use an identity (obviously, largely a narrative construction) as an exclusionary tactic.29 The debate between Said and Lewis is somewhat different in this sense then; it does not initially focus on the need for fences as Huntingtons latest work does; rather, it largely concerns purported bridges and thus concerns what I have called the bridge taboo.30 Modern Greeks are not generally offended by British, French, or American scholars studying the Greek classics because they do so quite reverently already; expressed otherwise, there are cultural bridges that are deemed to be there (and to have always been there?) already. Contemporary Westerners, students of history and high culture, feel their own nations and their own civilization to be the heirs of the ancient Greek and Roman. This is not the case regarding Oriental classics. Islamic texts do not generally inspire the reverence Plato or Aristotle does in Westerners. Western medical doctors take a Hippocratic Oath. They do not swear to emulate Avicenna. If we are to do justice to the respective influences of Hippocrates and Avicenna, the former seems to have become the mascot of modern, so-called Western, medicine, again for less than apolitical reasons. Montgomery Watt notes that, statistically speaking, the numbers of references in the standard early European works show conclusively that Arab influence was much greater than the Greek. For example, in the works of Ferrari da Grado, whose works are among the first printed medical books, Avicenna is cited more than three thousand times, Rhazes and Galen a thousand times each, and Hippocrates only a hundred times; in short, according to Watts estimation, European medicine in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was still little more than an extension of Arab medicine.31 Philosophy and medicine were not the only two areas in which Western civilization benefited greatly from Islamic learning. Mathematics and architecture, astronomy and cartography, ship-building and sea-faring, fine cuisine and fashion, music and musical instruments such as the lute, the ancestor of the guitar, poetry, and although paper was invented in China, it was via the Muslim world that the West came by it. And yet, to most Westerners today, it is modern Greece that is a part of the modern Wests socially constructed sense of self. Even though Turkey was much more of a major power in the not-so-distant past, it is still generally considered in the West much more culturally peripheral than a much smaller power like Greece. Not only does the West perceive ancient Greece as an integral part of its past, it also sees modern Greece as belonging within its current fold. This is not yet the case with Islamic lands, nor is it yet the case with other Far Eastern lands. A final counterclaim worth formulating against Lewis comparison is that Classicists are not asked to explain modern Greece to the world; Homerians

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study Homer, that is, the work attributed him, and not the impact of globalization, for example, in contemporary Greece. However, one of Saids arguments is that those he considered Orientalists have been and still are routinely asked to account for the current situation of the contemporary Orient. In this light, one may ask: Why then is a Koranic scholar more entitled than any other expert to generalize about the relative health state of the Islamic world. As Gayatri C. Spivaks Death of a Discipline makes plain, however, ideally a scholar integrates both textually based humanism and familiarity with the actual terrains, the horizons, peoples, and cultures imaginatively bound to the texts, understood most generally.32 Generally speaking, one would not think to ask a scholar whose expertise is in the study and translation of ancient Roman manuscripts (text-based scholarship) to explain the contemporary dynamics of Italian political-economy, at least not titre dexpert, that is, as an expert in the latter. This is significant in that the heirs of Orientalism still produce much of the Wests representations of the Orient. In concluding this examination of the limitations of Lewis hypothetical story, one can say that in principle it is an interesting one since there are historical links between the impetus of Classicism and Orientalism. These two disciplines do share similarities. However, their similarities must not overshadow their differences, as I have attempted to show. Hellenism and Latinism were firmly entrenched into the Wests socially constructed civilizational narrative, as a means of overcoming what at one time was perceived as its inferiority vis--vis Islamic civilization. Still today, ancient Greece is considered by Westerners as a foundational dimension of their own civilizations genesis. This dynamic within the Wests narrative has obscured, and continues to obscure, the positive influences Islamic civilization has and has had in the West. Furthermore, as observed, modern Greece is seen by most as a part of the contemporary Western civilization. No Islamic land can be said to have this status in the stereotypical Western geopolitical imaginary. I, like Said, propose a move beyond the all-too-stereotypical and unimaginative. Finally, one of Saids points is that the Orientalists heirs, the Area specialists of so-called Oriental lands, either have similar formative backgrounds as the Orientalists once did (mainly ancient or classical language credentials or at least text-based) and/or they have inherited and reproduce old Orientalist conceptions of the East, that is, the East conceived via the Wests own narrative. The relation between Classicism and modern Greece and Italy is quite different. Whether Classicism does or does not mainly perceive ancient Greece and Rome through its own (i.e., Western) narrative is besides this essays scope; even if it did, this would not lead to ancient Greece and Rome being represented in largely negative hues and colors. Furthermore, no Classicist is expected to be able to enlighten the general public concerning contemporary dynamics of modern Greece or modern Italy more so than other relevant disciplines. All of these points serve to highlight the limitations of Lewis clever, yet flawed, hypothetical analogy; these points also serve to show that Lewis analogy can nonetheless be useful,

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namely, for the sake of reflecting critically about what the analogy manages to obscure. Now, it is clear that Said hoped that in becoming conscious of the clash of civilizations as rooted in what I have called the clash of narratives, alternative versions of these long-standing intercivilizational storylines will emerge, gaining footholds in popular imagination; hopefully, these intercivilizational storylines can bring to light what has been ignored or under-acknowledged, namely, that these intercivilizational storylines are not merely made up of conflict, hate, or denial, but that throughout, there have been intersections and convergences in the form of borrowings, positive influences, exchanges, and growth. Even if the civilizational inter-relations have been made up of too much conflict, hate, and denial, all underpinned by dehumanizing forms of Othering, such realities are nevertheless human constructions, and so, these can now be deconstructed and remade otherwise, namely, more humanely. And if an Arabic proverb informs us to take the book by its title; or, take the letter by its address, then, as this essay serves to suggest, heed should be paid to what Georges Corm has called, in the title of one of his recent works, OrientOccident, la fracture imaginaire, that is, that the East and the West are indeed an imagined or imaginary division, and as this essays epigraph suggests, only with gentleness can a fracture be repaired.33 No civilization can be wholly isolated; that which isolates, limits the potential scope of all civilization(s).

2. Martin Kramer: Ivory Towers or Tower of Babel?


Was this the face that launchd a thousand ships, And burnt the topless towers of Ilium? Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus In the popular mentality . . . if things go wrong, its always someones fault. One can identify the evildoer and act against him . . . retribution often has the sense not only of punishing a wrong, but of purging a noxious element. Charles Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries

Martin Kramers book Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America should not be ignored even though it is stereotypical of many responses Saids work has received.34 The critical exercise involved in thinking through ones reasons for rejecting much of this would be conclusive polemic can help to better understand what one thinks the whole academic edifice must stand to represent. In order to do this, I focus first on the main arguments of Kramers book. Second, I focus on one of the victims of his polemic, namely, Edward W. Said. I also focus some, albeit limited, attention on two of Kramers other

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targets, John L. Esposito and Richard Bulliet, since this grants one a better understanding of what it is that Kramer feels he is opposing when he critiques Said. Finally, I will develop two points, building upon the foregoing: one point concerns the implicit notion of politics that animates Kramers work; the second contrasts this notion of politics at the heart of Kramers view of scholarship with the ends of scholarship as expressed by Wilfred Cantwell Smith, which, I suggest, is also exemplified by the work of Said (as well as Esposito and Bulliet to boot), albeit each admittedly in his own respective and distinctive way.35

A. Kramers main line


Ivory Towers opens by evoking the tragic events of 9/11 as well as the medias subsequent call on experts for an informed response to these events; some of these responses he deems informed, whereas others he judges wrong.36 The question that initially acts as the books premise is rhetorical: Are Middle Eastern studies in America in trouble?37 This is a rhetorical question, as the text bears out; Kramer has a definite parti pris. According to the numbers, as he puts it, the answer to his rhetorical question is no. For example, the reader is informed that the American Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA), which was founded in 1966, had at least 2,600 members in 2001.38 In 2001, 125 colleges and universities in the United States were offering Middle Eastern programs. Since that time, the demand for students, or rather specialists, of Islam has only increased. New journals devoted to this field of research have emerged, and the number of articles and books published within this field constitutes an endless stream.39 Kramer describes how each fall, MESA convenes an annual conference that surpasses any comparable gathering anywhere in the world. Noting that every three years the MESA conference is held in Washington, D.C., as it was again the case in 2008, the author speculates that the rationale motivating this is much like that of a routine check-up, that is, the fields health routinely is brought home to the capitol, which subsidizes it to no small extent. Kramer gives more figures to support his view that the financial backing for Middle Eastern studies is not what is lacking. Nowhere does he ask himself, however, if possibly its share of the funding is disproportionately large in comparison to other highly significant fields of research. At this stage, the author moves past the numbers to tell the so-called real story. Tersely stated, Kramer says that there is a profound (and as of yet largely under-acknowledged) crisis within Middle Eastern studies. Again though, the broader context is not brought into the light of his analysis; nowhere does he ask if there is not similar crisis in other interrelated fields of study, that is, within the human sciences broadly conceived. Kramer quotes a few scholars who, over the past decade, have suggested a crisis, or at least some trouble, afoot within Middle Eastern studies. For example, he misquotes James Bill, who in 1996 said that over the last fifty years, regardless of the efforts, disturbingly

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little has been learned about the entire region.40 This is misquoted in that Kramer neglects to add that Bills reference was to the failure of politicians and the media to learn from scholarship. Kramer contends that admissions of failure in academe are rare occurrences, and are usually made only when the fact of failure is indisputable.41 The indisputable factuality of this purported failure is itself disputable. Consciously or not, Kramer blurs the distinction between the descriptive and the prescriptive. He wants his readers to think that American Middle Eastern studies are a failure; however, to say this is a fact is another matter altogether. Establishing the factuality of a proposition such as the sun is shining is different from establishing the factuality of the proposition American Middle Eastern studies are a failure. Not only the sheer quantity but also the type of interpretation involved in the latter proposition makes it quite distinct, different from the former. However, the author of Ivory Towers on Sand cares little for such self-consciously reflexive modes of thought. He has a case to make, and examples of self-critical reflexivityalthough this is what he purportedly is demanding of American Middle Eastern studies as a fieldare not to be found in his study, obviously due to his overall rhetorical strategy; self-critical reflexivity would only weaken his hardnosed polemical style. This style I am also here, rather ironically, adopting (such verve not absent in Saids oeuvre, nor is it in those grappling with it). Even though Kramer clearly is saying that American Middle Eastern scholars need to take a critical look at themselves, Kramer does little along such lines himself. According to Kramer, the last time this field went through such a process of self reevaluation was in the 1970s. This was due, he says, to three main factors: first, the turmoil within the Middle East itself; second, the radicalization of certain academics; and third, harder economic times, which meant budget cuts within the American Middle Eastern studies establishment.42 And what was the result of this first war at the heart of American Middle Eastern studies? According to Kramer, it resulted in an academic power shift.43 Regarding this academic power shift, Kramer says that it has involved the emergence not only of new leaders in the field but also of new paradigms that the new leaders purportedly claimed were better than the old ones.44 As far as Kramer can see, it has been these new leaders and their paradigms that [f]or more than twenty years [. . .] have interpreted and predicted Middle East politics with supreme confidence in their own powers.45 It is important to notice that the notion of prediction has been introduced into the mise en scne here, since, as we shall see, what some might call crystal-ball gazing becomes the fulcrum of Kramers whole argument. It is important to note that implicit within Kramers view of scholarship is this dogma, this ide reue, that scholarships highest end is what may be called futurology. Nowhere does Kramer clearly argue that this is a realistic goal for scholarshipit being simply assumedand this is why I refer to this as one of his implicit dogmas. To be sure, this naturalistic and positivistic view of social sciencewhich must be interpreted as dependent upon an essentialist anthropology and a deterministic cosmologyhas seduced

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many.46 Kramers view of scholarship in this regard is not indefensible; what is utterly indefensible is to suggest, as he does, that it is the only valid form scholarship can take. Others have suggested, quite rightly, that social sciences are snapshot sciences in that they can tell us what is happening, and so also can sketch out possible future courses, but not determine positively which of these (if any) will occur.47 However, these debatescentral not only to the philosophy of social science but more importantly for this discussion, central to the point Kramer is attempting to makeare not examined or even alluded to by Kramer. Regarding possible powers of prediction, Kramer states the following: It is no exaggeration to say that Americas academics have failed to predict or explain the major evolutions of Middle Eastern politics and society over the past two decades. Time and again, academics have been taken by surprise by their subjects; time and again, their paradigms have been swept away by events. Repeated failures have depleted the credibility of scholarship among influential publics. In Washington, the mere mention of academic Middle Eastern studies often causes eyes to roll.48 Explicitly, Kramer states that his books aim is to figure out why American Middle Eastern studies is at what he reckons is a low point and what is to be done about it. Kramer wants to place the blame on a group of scholars and those influenced by them. More via insinuation than by clearly elaborated argumentation, he in effect is blaming them for 9/11, suggesting that because of them, Americas fortune-telling powers were weakened, having fogged up its potentially all-powerful and thus all-knowing crystal-ball. Kramer is harshly critical, and unduly so, of Edward Saids work; he basically succumbs to the illusion of believing that academics and intellectuals have more political clout than they in effect generally do. In his interview about the debate MESA sponsored on November 22, 1986, and in which he participated, along with Bernard Lewis, Leon Wieseltier, and Christopher Hitchens, Said states: Lewis, at the beginning of his statement . . . asserted that very little of our discussion would have any effect on reality, on the way business was conducted, on the way the Middle East was represented and seen, and the way policy went. That was the only thing he said that he was absolutely right about. From this alone, one might conclude that Said saw the academy as marginal to power, but he added, He [i.e., Lewis] knew that power, as it were, was on his side and that the establishment was listening to him no matter what he said, whereas Hitchens and myself were upstarts who command the interest of the audience but very little else.49 Said understood that academics and intellectuals

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who dissented from the official foreign policy line had virtually no impact on the formulation of foreign policy whereas those who supported the official line were accorded greater respect by the political establishment. Beyond influencing policymakers, Kramers concern also extends to the influence academics such as Said have, somewhat more indirectly, via the minds of the young they help educate, as well as through that fabulous creature, the general reader, even though such channels do not translate into direct political power. In fact, in his Representations of the Intellectual, for example, Said argues that academics and intellectuals should distance themselves from political power to better critique it,50 whereas Kramers Ivory Towers calls for a rapprochement between the Middle Eastern studies scholars and the wielders of direct political power. In this respect, Saids engagement is in a distinct (i.e., secular) public sphere, whereas Kramers view, willingly collapsing the public sphere with political power, places itself on that slippery slope which, in the extreme, becomes totalitarian. To understand this, it is crucial to keep in mind a certain key Weberian understanding of political power, namely, that it monopolizes the legal means of physical violence. However, who or via what process are the ends determined? The public sphere is to be free of these violent means for the sake of properly guiding political power, which, in effect, is a means, not an end.51 Nevertheless, to claim that Middle East area scholars should constitute a de facto non-governmentally organized national security association, as Kramer seems to do, is in fact to further prove Saids claim that many Western scholars not only are nation-bound in their thinking and feeling but also are tools of the state. Kramer quotes Jacques Berque as saying it was regrettable that Said portrayed orientalists as tools of Western imperial nation-statism.52 However, Berque was trying to say that such portrayals did not help to further mutual understanding, which is needed. Scholars such as Wilfred Cantwell Smith, for example, have deemed mutual understanding among the highest ends of good scholarship. To turn our perceptions of scholars or the scholars themselves into tools of the state results in less rather than more mutual understanding. Clearly, then, Kramer has not understood what Berque aimed to convey or he inappropriately quoted him. One can see from the examination thus far that the books main argument is simply this: if 9/11, then failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America. Therefore, as we can see, the books subtitle is in effect the conclusion of a syllogism, the premise of the argument being the horrific events of 9/11. This is a classical fallacious argument: because the work of these scholars precedes 9/11, therefore it must be its cause; because 9/11 occurred after their work, therefore 9/11 must somehow be its effect. The actual titlethat which precedes the subtitleis something of a figurative evocation of academia and 9/11. The so-called ivory tower is the supposed hideout of learned folk.53 In the title to Kramers book, tower is plural. The plural towers brings to mind the ill-fated Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, and Sand, implicitly

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contrasted here with the solidity of rock, suggesting edifices falling due to bad foundations. Sand is also evocative of the desert, which is a stereotypical image one associates with the Middle East. This is the titles fit with the works main argument. Kramer argues that if 9/11 occurred, then there must be a problem with the so-called American Middle Eastern establishment. Although Kramer states that his main interest is in fixing the problem, the lions share of his book and (we can only assume) his efforts are devoted to placing the blame somewhere, on someone or on a group of people. This blame oddly enough falls squarely, in Kramers account, on the scholars. I say oddly enough because according to Kramers account, power is listening for the truth, and, again according to Kramer, if only a few influential false prophets could be cast out of the kingdoms good graces, the truth then could get a fair hearing. The lions share of the blame, according to Kramer, falls on the so-called Professor of Terror himself, the late Edward Said.54 According to Kramer, all of the works by scholars Said reputedly influenced, such as John L. Esposito and Richard Bulliet, are in a sense derivatively flawed.55 To read Kramer, every Middle Eastern scholar and Islamicist in the Western world had been hypnotized by Said, that is, except the handful of clear-eyed political realists who realized that Islam is a grave threat to the Western world. And what was it in Saids approach to Middle Eastern issues and to questions concerning Islam that so baffled Western Middle Eastern scholars? According to Kramer, the root of all this confusion is Saids notion of representation, because representation places a wedge between the academic mind and reality; this wedge between the mind and the world is the bane of the political realism that Kramer believes must orient all scholarly work. However, the notion of representation is not new, having enjoyed quite a long history; for example, one finds this notion in the work of John Locke (i.e., already in the seventeenth century). Paraphrasing Locke, one can say that representations are ambassadors between the external world and our understandings of it. This notion keeps us from assuming that we know the world directly, that is, without mediation, since this point of view leads us to entertain that we may only know the world indirectly, as it were, via the mediation of ideas which represent the objects that constitute the objective world.56 This notion of representation leads us back to the cover art on Kramers book. There, one sees a cube in the desert: by simple association, a not very subtle allusion to the kabbah in Mecca. However, the kabbah-esque cube appears on the cover with archways on all four sides. Moreover, the cube lacks its usual black covering. Thus, as it appears on the cover, one can see into it from all of the four cardinal directions.57 Because of the four openings, one can see a crystalline sphere within the kabbah-like cube; symbolically, this alludes to a crystal ball, that is, a gazing ball. Again, these elements can be (or rather must be) read as an argument. According to this then, the point of Middle Eastern scholarship (and of Islamology more specifically) is to see directly into what

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symbolically is held most sacred, even if this means tearing off the veil and building physical entrances where there had been only spiritual ones.

B. Targeting Edward Said


As I have noted, the author of Ivory Towers on Sand blames scholars, specifically scholars of the Middle East and Islam, for 9/11, chief among them, Said (even though Said only ever claimed to be a scholar of English and Comparative Literature). Kramer even suggests that the politicization of scholarship inherent in questions of the politics of representation were (and presumably still are) used as a pivot by scholars of Middle Eastern and Muslim descent to de-authenticate etic perspectives and to authenticate their own emic perspectives, thus getting them ahead in the job hunt, and in so doing, according to Kramer, jamming the proverbial radar.58 In fact, he writes about Said the Palestinian, as if this aspect of his being was somehow a scholarly flaw, something that could be put aside for the sake of scholarly objectivity and other-worldly detachment. In short, this aspect of Kramers argument seems to betray a symbolic violence done against certain aspects of Said both as a human being and as a scholar. That Kramer seems quite calm and unaware of this betrays the ugly deafness that surrounds the Palestinian people, a point tirelessly reiterated by Said throughout his oeuvre. Kramer makes long lists of big name scholars who have critiqued Said, betraying a guild- or govern-mentality (to borrow a phrase from Foucault) that Said aimed at describing and critiquing. In this respect, according to Said, [t]he least encouraging impact of Orientalism, though, was in Middle East studies. There the reaction was uniformly defensive.59 Said often noted that in Orientalism, he wasnt trying to resolve the question of what the Orient is, or what the real Islamic world is, but rather to raise questions.60 He contrasts his attempts to raise questions with his perception of Middle East studies: [they] seem to be governed the most by [. . .] pragmatic and policy-oriented issues. No one pays attention to the larger question of what it is that one is doing [. . .]. The whole theoretical dimension is completely absent in Middle East studies.61 And that is the point of Kramers Ivory Towers: to ignore the theoretical and reinstate pragmatic and policy-oriented govermentality; this book, therefore, makes Saids point seem that much more descriptive of what still operates under the banner of Middle East studies. In order to make plain Kramers lack of good faith in not having seriously dealt with Saids work, I shall point out one example of how Kramer quotes from Said without the proper contextualization needed to give him even a modicum of justice. Kramer quotes Said in stating that every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric.62 The endnotes refer the reader to the page in question from Saids Orientalism, where one finds a better picture of the more nuanced

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complexity of Saids analysis. Just for the sake of goodwill, let us add just the prior sentence and the sentence that follows to see Kramers bad faith journalistic cut-and-paste approach for what it is. The complete passage reads as follows: For any European during the 19th centuryand I think one can say this almost without qualificationOrientalism was such a system of truths, truths in Nietzsches sense of the word. It is therefore correct that every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was consequently a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric. Some of the immediate sting will be taken out of these labels if we recall additionally that human societies, at least the more advanced cultures, have rarely offered the individual anything but imperialism, racism, and ethnocentrism for dealing with other cultures.63 The first point to make would be the century-specific qualification the statement has in its original context (i.e., the nineteenth century). Then one should note that Said says almost without qualification, meaning some qualifications need to be recognized. Next, one should note that Saids idea concerning the notion of truth in this specific context is a Nietzschean notion. Truth for Nietzsche involves forms of will to power. One might conclude that Kramer is wholly ignorant of Nietzsches epistemology. His index has no entry for Nietzsche or epistemology. Rather, the index is filled with names and institutions only; there are no concepts (like epistemology) at all, nor are there any references to historical events. Kramers most important omission concerning the aforementioned mis-quote is the latter sentence. Said makes quite clear that the West, broadly speaking, is not somehow different, decadent in a manner wholly unlike anything else ever seen on the planet; his point here is more subtle. Said critiques the West not because it is the West, but rather because it has become extremely powerful and has used this power in ways it and others neither completely understood nor managed to utilize for the benefit of all. This is still largely the case. In making the latter statement concerning the most militarily advanced civilizations the world has seen, Said subtly calls attention to the fact that this type of critique could be made to apply to past major powers, other current major powers, and also future ones.64 He mainly is concerned with the West because a critique of Western discourse qua imperial discourse is what is most pressing now. This type of discourse analysis and criticism is nonetheless important regardless of the context; the want and surfeit of unchecked imperial endeavors deserve to be critiqued, regardless of the location from which they emerge or their source. Inequity is to be fought; justice sought. Kramers gross misrepresentation of Said and his work includes the following charge: Said argues Orientalism hides or smothers the forces of change within the Middle East.65 Said did see Orientalism as obscuring progressive elements within the Middle East, but the great significance of this tendency for him was

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that Orientalism makes it all the more likely that Westerners continue to think of the Middle East as a yellow horde of backward people. If the progressive voices in the Middle East were heard, Said argues, this helps this cause.66 Said also believed that by emphasizing the glories of the past, Orientalism in effect devalues the present. One must remember the influence of Frantz Fanon on Saids work, especially the notion that the Oriental was largely a Western creation.67 Orientalism, like many forms of so-called Islamic fundamentalism, holds that Islams greatest achievement is in the past; this knowledge became self-understanding, partly under duress, and now is used as the opposite of what proponents of Westernization may have intended. That is to say, if contemporary Islam is decadent, then a return to the past will mean another ascent; this is what is often suggested within non-polycentric Islamic discourses. For this vision to become a central part of certain modern Islamic social imaginaries, it had to have some precedents to be intelligible; thus the grasping onto prior instances (e.g., Wahabism) as intermediary models. Kramers other main charge against Said is that under his sway, American Middle Eastern studies became entirely fixated on social science theories, and the main trend has placed theory above data.68 Said did oppose exclusive focus on ancient texts, and in this sense was open to the contribution of social science, not only for Middle Eastern studies but for the humanities in general.69 However, all Saids writings demonstrate his opposition to idolizing theories, especially reductionistic and totalizing. Said perceived the processes by which people make what Vico calls the world of nations as too complex to be neatly packaged into a bite-sized theories. That Kramer has missed this essential attribute of Saids own style of thought indicates that he has not read Said closely enough. Kramers generalizations, however, are intended to oversimplify for the sake of making two loosely, if at all related, facts appear to be causally connected: (a) that Said was open to theory (which he was, but not uncritically); and (b) that Middle Eastern studies mimics his purported theory centered scholarly approach.70

C. The lesser targets


Next on Kramers hit list, is the founding director of Georgetown Universitys Center for MuslimChristian Relations, John L. Esposito, who is charged with having concluded his book The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? with the suggestion that there is no small measure of myth involved in this question as in the initial perception of a so-called Islamic threat.71 For Kramer, 9/11 invalidates Espositos conclusion. However, Esposito never claimed the perception of a threat lacked any real basis. Rather, he explained that within the Islamic world, the violently anti-Western Islamists were not (and still are not) as influential as some fear-mongers claimed, nor is the backward-looking march of extremists certain to be victorious. Since 9/11, Esposito has contributed at least two

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equally important (and again telling) works, namely, What Everybody Needs to Know about Islam and Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam, which, as he puts it in this latter work, sadly addresses many of the same questions his book The Islamic Threat had tackled a decade earlier.72 Retrospectively, Esposito writes that The Islamic Threat had been written in response to the growing propensity among senior government officials, political commentators, and the media to see a new evil empire replacing the communist threat. For Esposito, however, [i]t is not a time for provoking a clash of civilizations or for the self-fulfilling prophecy that such a clash is inevitable.73 Kramers real objection to Esposito, as well as to Said and Richard Bulliet also, is that all are engaged in substantive scholarly research that attempts to do something fresh, namely, to bring into dialogue what Kramer and many others have considered to be radically distinct civilizations; such research enables both civilizations to see their shared humanity. Obviously their research is not a gentlemanly form of military intelligence, which is what Kramer implies scholars should be doing; for Said, Esposito, and Bulliet the greater goal is to create beyond past allegiances, though possibly all the more based in them nonetheless. Bulliets latest work entitled The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization is another example of a book that goes against the grain, running counter to Kramers views.74 In this book, Bulliet begins making the case that just as many have accepted the idea that important bridges, even a common civilization, exists between Judaism and Christianity, we now must come to realize that a common civilization exists between Islam and Christianity as well. He remarks that this argument is one that he has longed to make for many years but put off doing until the end of his scholarly career out of fear of how such an argument would be perceived.75 Again one might compare Bulliets conception of a common civilization with one of Saids previously quoted remarks, most important for the slant of light I aim to impart here: I consider Orientalisms failure to have been a human as much as an intellectual one; for in having to take up a position of irreducible opposition to a region of the world it considered alien to its own, Orientalism failed to identify with human experience, failed to see it as human experience.76 It is well known that Said was not espousing apolitical scholarship.77 However, his notion of scholarships relation to politics should be contrasted with the notion of politics implicit within Kramers view of scholarship. The latter is startlingly close to that of Carl Schmitt, in viewing the real point of politics as distinguishing between friends and enemies.78 In contrast with Said, one might say that Kramers view of the distinction between friends and enemies, like Schmitts, is something akin to a religious distinctionseparating the sacred from the profanewhereas Saids work attempts to view collective identities not as a given, but as a social construction always already involved with its

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equally socially constructed Other. Bulliets point can be understood as also building upon this truth of the matter. At this point it is useful to bring together a few last pieces of this puzzle, to observe the constellation I call a tragic clich. I have noted that Kramer refers to Said as the Palestinian. His book really is about who should get to influence Washington. In fact, its content first was presented in Washington and subsequently published there. These details add up to what may be called, borrowing Bill Ashcrofts apt Said-inspired phrase, the locatedness of theory.79 In 1993, in an essay entitled The Other Arab Muslims, Said mentioned Kramer, describing his views of Islamic militants in Lebanon as hysterical overreactions and characterizing him as an Israeli polemicist.80 What is tragic and clich is that Kramers entire endeavor, in the end, is just another brick in the wall, borrowing here a phrase from popular culture that today has great edge to it still. Kramers work, unlike that of Said, Esposito, and Bulliet, is not a bridge between great divides; it is no olive branch; its main purpose, to divide, cutting down efforts of bridge-builders, erecting walls upon the rubble.

D. Political realism versus humanity?


In this examination of issues Kramers anti-Said polemic raises, I have drawn attention to numerous interconnected aspects of Kramers book, all of which must be read not only as straightforwardly polemical but also as efforts to build walls to quarantine specific ways of doing scholarship, thus containing and excluding certain ideas as well as certain people. The work trades on the high levels of fear and patriotic sentiments that were the result of 9/11.81 Kramers text trades on these sentiments and in so doing seems to advance, consciously or not, a very conservative, or rather, totalitarian-esque, political agenda; adherence to an allegiance being the criterion for inclusion or exclusion. What McCarthyism was to communism and socialism generally, Kramerism would be to politically radical Islam and Islam in general, because he willingly or not appears to be opening a Pandoras Box by not acknowledging this distinction itself strongly enough, nor the positive dimension, both actual and potential, of human religious traditions, Islam included.82 The following quote, therefore, drawn from one of Saids numerous interviews, still seems particularly apt: still, there are other questions to be asked. To pose them in the present context, which is so confining, is impossible. You are seen either as a loyal American, or some kind of terrorist.83 Said, Esposito, and Bulliet, as I have suggested, should not be judged on what appears to be Kramers self-serving scale. Unlike Kramer, they did not view their own respective vocations as a servile martial art, but rather as liberal arts properly so-called, or to borrow W. C. Smiths phrase, as Humane Sciences.84 Their work was not a mere means to some other end; their work aimed equally, in a staunchly deontological manner, to be an end in itself as well. They did not

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work for merely national (i.e., blatantly sectarian) interests, but also worked to serve the cosmopolis, that is, the peoples of the world at large. The fact that Martin Kramer is more concerned with wooing his way into the corridors of power than he is of promoting humane ideals and of working toward understanding the shared humanity of all, the world over, speaks volumes about the amorality, if not to say immorality, underpinning his vision not only of politics, but also of scholarship. In concluding, it must be noted that the Schmitt-inspired friend versus enemies realpolitik view of scholarship that Kramer implies should be espoused is not the only legitimate vision of scholarship. When faced with stark perspectives such as Kramers, it is good to seek alternative visions, namely, those of trusted and time-honored scholars such as W. C. Smith, who, inspired by and drawing on the equally powerful work of Martin Buber, suggests that academics (and all humans) steer clear of the I-it relation, moving from the us and them view toward spaces in which to say you and I and we together.85 When faced with the apocalyptic Manichean rhetoric still far too prevalent at this time, intellectuals must, as Said put it, speak truth to power, and, to paraphrase Charles Taylor, to do so fully realizing that this is not an exercise of power, but one that aims at guiding it to greater varieties of freedom.86 If I entitled this section, rhetorically to be sure, Ivory Towers or Tower of Babel? it is to suggest that Kramers view simply builds up another patently false artifice, yet another wall or tower, causing more confusion rather than less, whereas much of the point of scholarship is the figurative hope of moving toward a new pre-Babel-like state of mutual understanding in which our discourses are not mutually exclusive and demonizing but aim at understanding, accommodating, and possibly altering certain differences so as to make a better place of this world many cannot yet call home. A new global pre-Babel-like state may seem almost as mythical as the biblical tower itself, and yet, as a guiding light, it may very well be a necessary one, illusory or not. Readers of Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy will have by now realized that what I here called a pre-Babel-like-state in the Biblical context is a postBabel-fish-in-the-ear-like-state in a Hitchhikers Guide context.87

Chapter 3

Scholars of Religion and the Return of the Repressed: William D. Hart and Carl Olson

People in exile are richrich with the accumulated sum of their contradictory identities. The truth is that all of us have multiple identitiesif only because all of us were children once, then teenagers, and are these things no longer, yet are them still . . . To be in social exile is to be ontologically divided in two. Nancy Huston, Losing North: Musings on Land, Tongue and Self

1. Hart, Said, and the Critical Import of Small Differences


In 2000, American philosopher of religion William D. Hart published a book, entitled Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture, which has proven important not only because influential and this, for the sake of religiologic and secular humanistic studies of Saids oeuvre as well as for Said inflected studies of religious, religiological, and secular humanistic discourses.1 Since that time, at least two articles have been published, one by Alain Epp Weaver and one by Darren Dahl, that, I would argue, uncritically accept Harts reading of Said, or, at least, do not question it enough.2 Harts reading is both a necessarily partial and not entirely charitable one; both Epp Weaver and Dahl accept a large measure of Harts reading, a fact that in itself might lead one to accept that Harts reading deserves more critical attention, there being more critical terrain to be discovered. This said, my own reading is also necessarily partial and less than wholly charitable reading (being finite beings after all). Nonetheless, I do point out important nuances that have been missed, thusly contributing to the elaboration of fresher, sharper perspectives. Said at times seems to imply that misreading is inevitable and that much that is produced is produced derivatively. Although teasing out these threads of Saids thought is not this chapters focus, it is clear that Said did not think these were the only important ways of considering reading or writing. Here I shall focus on Harts text as opposed to thosealso, like all writing, produced derivativelyby Epp Weaver or Dahl. If I can point out lacunas, that is, areas of underappreciation and/or of misunderstanding, in Harts interpretations of

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Saids work, I will take for granted that the implications for our two other authors will be clear enough for their interpretations to also be largely questioned on the basis of arriving at the most charitable and challenging views one can develop of Said, and of the polarities his work sought to question, namely, self and other, orient and occident, or any two polarized entities or concepts, be it deemed more theoretical or real, monolithic or porous, one or many, and so on. This section begins with a largely descriptive treatment of Harts reading of Said. In order to show more explicitly how Harts reading is a partial one, I continue delineating Saids implicit critical theory of religion. Said was no programmatic system-building social philosopher, and yet, his thought, which has distinctive patterns to it nonetheless, is best understood as not only literary theory, but also as critical social and cultural theory. Nationalism and exile, as social facts and as terms of art, find their way into the discussions foreground both topics that I return to again in the books next chapters. I begin by showing that Said thought of secular humanism as a metaphorical exile that had ethical implications. He also thought of exile as a concrete reality. Although we should not wish it concretely upon anyone, its metaphorical forms could help begin or further the processes by which one may realize the existential truths of secular humanism. In concluding this critical and yet also openly reflective examination of Harts Edward Said, I highlight that the perspective of Said here developed suggests key secular humanist perspectives also shared by Goethe and Max Mller, expressed in their maxim that to know one is to know none.

A. Harts necessary (mis)readings of Said


If I am suggesting that Harts reading is partial and less than fully charitable, I do want to make clear that I have attempted to read not only Said carefully and charitably, but Hart as well. I do see great significance in Harts work, namely, in having clearly identified this thoroughgoing tension within Saids work between notions of the religious and the secular. Hart does illustrate this well; for example, he says, on the one hand, that Saids work reflects a powerful skepticism regarding Marxs claim that with Feuerbach, the criticism of religion is largely complete, and on the other hand, that Said aligns himself with another well-known position of Marx, namely, that the basis of all criticism is the criticism of religion.3 These perspectives, however, are only partially correct, in that Said did not spend much time critiquing religion qua religion, but rather, he mainly critiqued what might be called pseudo-secularisms. In this sense then, for Said, the criticism of religion as such is taken to be largely completeor a task indefinitely put off since prior groundwork upon which different groups could engage one another with some greater measure of balance is still needed whereas the criticism of secularisms that are veiled religions, keeping groups

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from engaging the points of view of others, is deemed a largely unfinished task. These albeit crucial nuances aside, Harts starting-block is a good one. However, what Hart does with this starting-block is what I would like to challenge. Among the interpretive shortcomings within Harts reading of Said, I will focus on two major ones. First, Hart argues that Said is univocally negative in regards to religion; for example, the theologian Epp Weaver, who explicitly takes Hart to have provided the authoritative reading of Saids purportedly total disregard of religion, characterizes Said in the following terms: given his relentless critique of religion, his stark opposition between religion (bad) and secular (good) criticism, and his desire to keep religion in proper bounds, [Said] might appear an odd thinker . . .4 One should keep in mind that this is Epp Weavers reading of Harts reading of Said. The telephone game has indeed begun. Before losing sight of this rather aberrant view, I would like to address it. It would be too strong a statement to declare that Said had very little to say about certain world religions and religion as such, and yet, he had much more to say about the slippages that occur within purportedly secular institutions (such as ethnicities, cultures, nations, states, civilizations, academic disciplines, or schools of thought, and so on) such that they become, from the standpoint he elaborates, more religious than secular. To add to the complexity, if not to say confusion, sparked by this first aspect of Harts misreading, Hart also adds a second one; he pigeon-holes Said in claiming that Said was a radical dualist in believing that the religious and the secular were always mutually exclusive realities. For example, Hart writes that [t]he idea that one can be both religious and secular would never occur to Said.5 Based on such a misreading (or what I will show to be a totalizing misrepresentation of Said based on a very partial reading of him), Epp Weaver qualifies Said as an aggressive, even dogmatic, secularist . . .6 At this stage, I would like to move on to show why such positions are untenable.

B. Saids implicit critical theory of religion


It is odd that these aforementioned scholars have not considered the nature of Saids engagement in defending the Islamic world from the Wests all too prevalent misconstrued images of it. In thinking that Said was only negative regarding religion, they may have thought that Said only defended the Islamic world as a cultural and civilizational entity, never as a religious one. However, this proposition reifies to what extent Islam can be understood merely as a culture, or merely as a sociopolitical framework, entirely distinct from Islam as a vibrant religious heritage. By reify in this context, I mean either making Islamvia representationsseem as if it is, and can only be, understood solely as a religion, and this only in a certain rather unchanging manner, or making Islam seem as if it can be understood solely as a civilizational framework, thus radically divorcing it from the ethico-religious concepts permeating it. Both

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versions are judged reifications. Moreover, few thinkers as Said have expressed so much contempt for what can be called myths of purity. A large measure of my argument is that it is quite false to think that his contempt for such myths breaks down in his thinking about religion and secularism. Religious frameworks are intertwined with ethical, cultural, and civilizational dimensions. The converse is equally true. The crux of the matter for Said (as for secularists more generally) is what is the best focus and direction for ones intentional efforts. To publicly debate religious matters in explicitly religious terms is not for the secularist the best use of attention. From a rhetorically Saidian perspective, to allow a system to entirely determine the way in which one approaches it is to fall prey to its religion. To wholly discount that the insiders perspective is not at all worth consideration would also be deemed a religious system of thought, a system based largely on an inhumane exclusion of concerned voices. In the end, Said was criticizing misrepresentations of Muslims, people however variously associated with a specific religion, specific cultures, and civilization. Moreover, Said was critiquing the occlusion, from the Wests purportedly allseeing eye, of the faces and voices of Muslims who do not fit the stereotype of Muslims used to quiet the Wests conscience as it continues to violently intervene in affairs the Muslim world must work out largely through its own lights. I am arguing here that Saidhaving invested an inordinately large amount of time and effort defending the Islamic worldhad a more highly developed understanding of religion, and that this understanding is more nuanced than the monosyllabic bad that Epp Weaver would have us accept as Saids main view of it. I am suggesting that although Said was no apologist on religions behalfhaving maintained critical distance regarding religion throughout his public life and published workhis understanding of religion can be understood subtly, as not entirely negative if the reader remains aware of key alignments within the analogical matrix formed by Saids oeuvre. The key to this is, first, to distinguish Saids metaphorical uses of the notion of religion from when he speaks of religion more literally. When Said speaks of religion metaphorically, he uses the notion of religion as an inherently negative one. However, when Said speaks of religion literally he is more nuanced. I would argue that he had more than one point of view regarding religion. He is often negative, and yet, it is as important to see the locations within his oeuvre where he adopts a different critical stance vis--vis religion, one that sees more in it than mere uncritical dogmatism and herd-minded xenophobia. In order to see this properly, I will formulate six propositions, or theses, and argue that if we keep these in mind, we cannot then treat Saids overall view of religion in such a reductive and dismissive manner.7 The first thesis is that although a staunch secular humanist, Said did not disassociate himself from the Islamic world insofar as he acknowledges belonging to it. In his essay The Other Arab Muslims, he explicitly utilizes Marshall Hodgsons terminology to acknowledge that he felt he was a part of the Islamicate.8 If Said self-identified with Hodgsons notion of the Islamicate as

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well as with the reality the notion attempts to underline, this is because he deemed Hodgsons Islamological terminology subtle enough to translate a less reified, less essentialist, understanding of Islam. Hodgsons term, the Islamicate and Saids avowed self-identification with it convey a fluid conception of Islams role in the Islamic world, describing, as it does, how a religious framework can be (and generally is) an ethical, cultural, and civilizational one. It is, I would argue, a miscalculation of this concepts subtlety to view it as unduly totalizing. By cultural and civilizational, one must also see the latent and manifest workings of ethico-religious concepts that can guide human interrelations, not simply humanitys relation to god (or gods, whatever the given case may be). Therefore, we must acknowledge that Said expresses his affiliation with a civilization centered on Islam, a religion civilizationally inflected and vice-versa. Some may think, and not without a strong case, that there are tensions between traditionally normative religious traditions (e.g., Islam, Christianity, etc.), cultural and civilizational heritages with deep roots in religious traditions, and secularism. For Said the libre arbitre had to come first, thus relativizing the normativity of religious traditions; to this he was everywhere committed. Thus, the libre arbitre need not be without guidance, but it must, in the end, be free. This does not however make Said solely negative regarding religion since religions are not and need not solely be dogmatically normative traditions. Moreover, interpretations of the religious traditions that affirm individual freedoms such as that of conscience are also possibilities. Nowhere does Said deny this. The second thesis that, in a manner of speaking, follows from the first is that he did not see Islam as one single thing. This was something like a mantra of much of Saids life and work, one that he reiterated to the end.9 For him, Islam meant many different things to many different people. Some of these Said thought better, some worse. Islam itself though was neither entirely good nor bad insofar as it depends on what people chose to make of it. The third thesis is that Said did not see Islam as necessarily antidemocratic, praising Islamic political figures and public intellectuals who attempt to interpret and reform their religious tradition, in accordance with democratic and secular political principles such as human rights. This position of his is crystal clear in his article The Other Arab Muslims.10 Obviously, this blatantly contradicts Harts main concluding claim that I described earlier, namely, that for Said, according to Harts reading of him, religion and secularism cannot mix. That Hart is blind to the fact that Said does acknowledge (and even praises) such possibilities truly undermines Harts conclusion. Before going further, it is important to draw this out in greater detail. What is crucial for Said, regarding the hybridizations of religion and secularism, is what we might simply call priorities. Religion and secularism can and do mix. What we must be aware of is what is given priority, either solidarity or critical free thought. If and when solidarity with a given group is given uncritical priority, the religious is taken to be winning over the secular. Obviously, for Said, it is the converse that must be strived for and this by working through the groups we are

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bound to by birth and/or later choices. If one were to describe Saids ethical ideal in deontological terms, the duty to think critically (and act accordingly) must always be our primary task; this task must never play second fiddle to the demands of any groups sense of solidarity. For example, Said affirms that the dictum solidarity before criticism means the end of criticism.11 But this visionan integral aspect of what I have called Saids implicit critical theory of religionbelongs more to his usage of the term religion as metaphor (which we shall examine in more detail in this chapters next section). And yet, where literal meaning and metaphor meet, bleeding into one another, is fuzzy; there is no absolute border. This is not a flaw, in that this discursive dynamism contributes to the paradoxical quality and dialogical power of Saids expressed thought. Regarding these issues, two more points need consideration; the first concerns Harts own reductionism regarding secularism; the second point concerns how Saids expressed thought leads one to think critically about certain hybridizations of religion and secularism. Regarding the first point, Hart claims that since Said only saw the distinctions between religion and secularism, he could not, according to Hart, have realized that secularism was just another way of being religious, as Hart believes it is.12 It is odd that many past scholars of religion have tried to avoid being too reductionistic vis--vis religion, whereas here, Hart is plainly and disingenuously reductionistic vis--vis secularism. If Freud and Hart, for example, are simultaneously correct, then secularism is an illusion born of an illusion. But this is not what Hart seems to have in mind. At times, Harts clever mis-readings of Saids work seem to want to serve a so-called higher purpose or power, namely, Harts desire to undermine the notion of secularity. A good example of this in Harts work is where he claims that [w]here religion does cause harm, that harm is indistinguishable from injuries that occur in secular life.13 Indeed, violence is violence. One should always be critical of all forms of violence, regardless if they operate under purportedly secular or religious banners. This, however, is not all that Harts statement implies. He claims that so-called religious violence and so-called secular violence are indistinguishable; they cannot be told apart. This is not so, however, especially from a social point of view. When an individual of religious group X harms another individual from the same religious group with no apparently religious motivations, generally we will look at this harm as patently secular. However, the converse is quite often not the case. When an individual from religious group X harms another individual from religious group Y, all too oftenalthough this is not and need not always be sothis harm will take on religious dimensions in the minds of the communities involved, even when the offending individual may not have had religious motivations propelling his or her harmful behavior. Therefore, Harts oversimplified vision of religion and secularism as one and the same must be viewed very critically. In order to undermine the notion of secularity, Hart is willing to go even further; he makes the notion of religion itself a totalizing concept, one that, as

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we have seen, secularists cannot escape, and this even though Hart chastises scholarly others who would define religion in ways that make it mean anything and nothing.14 In affirming that secularism is just another way of being religious, as Hart does, humankinds religiosity is made out to be an entirely all-encompassing concept. This human creation then is conceptualized as one that humans, even though they create religion, cannot escape. Religion is understood as a Frankenstein of sorts, one that can always catch up to and outrun its creator, the mad professor. Clearly, there is a residual theologizing in such claims; a pan-theologizing, or better still, a pan-religio-logizing.15 And yet again, when Hart makes such claims, he is again ignoring certain key passages within Saids work such as the following three quotations drawn from a chapter of Saids work that he entitled Secular Criticism. Said clearly states that [i]t is not practicing criticism either to validate the status quo or to join up with a priestly caste of acolytes and dogmatic metaphysicians.16 Further he states that criticism modified in advance by labels . . . is . . . an oxymoron.17 One of the single most detailed passages in this regard is the following: Were I to use one word consistently along with criticism (not as a modification but as an emphatic) it would be oppositional. If criticism is reducible neither to a doctrine nor a political position on a particular question, and if it is to be in the world and self-aware simultaneously, then its identity is its difference from other cultural activities and from systems of thought or of method. In its suspicion of totalizing concepts, in its discontent with reified objects, in its impatience with guilds, special interests, imperialized fiefdoms, and orthodox habits of mind, criticism is most itself and, if the paradox can be tolerated, most unlike itself at the moment it starts turning into organized dogma. Ironic is not a bad word to use along with oppositional. For in the main and here I shall be explicitcriticism must think of itself as life-enhancing and constitutively opposed to every form of tyranny, domination, and abuse; its social goals are noncoercive knowledge produced in the interests of human freedom.18 Said, therefore, clearly implies that by secular, or oppositional, or ironic (in this, sounding quite Socratic), he does not mean a standpoint made and maintained dogmatically, that is, rigidly. As he puts it, such terms do not modify the means and ends of criticism; they give it an emphasis and, one might add, dynamic fluidity. And so, we should not be surprised when Hart declares himself to be a part of a particular guild (or club as he himself puts it) when he says that we pragmatists enjoy comic relief.19 The comical, though it is far from a relief, is the fact that what is pragmatic about Harts book is not at all clear. If the pragmatists truth is what works, one must then ask the following question: What practical consequences result from Harts book? Briefly stated, the result is more darkness at the heart of the issues Saids scholarship engages and more religious apologetics parading under the false banner of academic

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philosophy; more solidarity with the largely apologetic view of religion, typical of orthodox American civil religion (with American pragmatism in tow to boot), and far less clarity and critical free thought regarding the crucial issues Saids work brings forth. If Hart tries to show that intellectuals such as Said have uncritically relied on secularism, Hart does the opposite; he relies on a straw man version of the secularists, one that is of Harts own creation.20 This leads to the fourth thesis, namely, that Said did not condone the antidemocratic elements within the Islamic world.21 To my knowledge, he never attacked these in saying they were not true Islam. True Islam and false Islam would both be considered socially constructed labels from a Saidian perspective. Rather, he attacked these antidemocratic elements as inhumane, and as my second thesis brings out, Said continually wished to argue that no version of Islam (or any other collective endeavor) was the only form it could possibly take. The fifth thesis is that Said acknowledged that within Islam there exist powerful resources that have been and can still be harnessed for the sake of social criticism and resistance against oppression.22 He himself did not, however, wish to use overtly religious means to attain counter-hegemonic ends; a staunch secular humanist he remained. One reason for avoiding religious discourse is that the Middle East appears as if torn by religious factionalism and war. Part of Saids point is that these conflicts are not really the result of inherently religious differences. Rather, religions are utilized as existing social groupings, with strong in-dwelling feelings of belonging. Furthermore, Said argued that these feelings of belonging often override the need to think critically, that is, in a secular humanistic manner. These differences between groups are made and emphasized as religious in order to summon collective passions, and the religiosities that result are construed in mutually destructive terms.23 This brings us to the last of the six theses, namely, that Said did not see Islam as necessarily antagonistic to the West.24 He did think that non-antagonistic, even mutually complementary relations between these seemingly distinct civilizations were possible. Furthermore, Said attempts to undermine the apparent distinction between these two civilizations.25 At this stage, I wish to impress that all of these points are vital if one hopes to deal with Saids overall understanding of religion justly. Any characterization of Saids position that does not involve these six theses must be understood as incomplete and therefore inadequate. These six theses especially belong to Saids thinking about religion concretely, as an epistemological realist would.26 Now I would like to turn to his more figurative thinking about religion, which, as I begin to show, is in certain profound and yet eclectic ways Conradian.

C. The religiosity of nationalism and the secularity of exile


Said was, first and foremost, a Conrad scholar. His first book, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography, published in 1966, was a distillation of his doctoral

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dissertation. In it one finds two quotes from Conrads oeuvre that are central to understanding Saids rhetoric of the secular and the implicit critical theory of religion it exemplifies. One of the two passages, Said would quote again in four more key locations throughout his oeuvre, namely, in Orientalism,27 in its sequel, Culture and Imperialism,28 in his essay Traveling Theory Reconsidered,29 and again in his second of three critiques of Huntington, the Clash of Definitions.30 This first quote, from Conrads Heart of Darkness, creates a comparison between religion and imperialism: The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking away of it from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the ideasomething you can set up, and bow down to, and offer sacrifice to.31 It is not too strong a statement to say that this may be the single most important textual fragment, drawn from anothers work, that one needs to keep in mind when reading Saids oeuvre. In his study of Conrad, Said also quotes the following statement Conrad made: with us [Poles] religion and patriotism are closely akin.32 It is clear that such perspectives as these have inflected the language Said uses to express his thought, that is, the language that made up his thinking. My gambit, and this is Saids gambit also, is that one can have a culture without succumbing to what Ninian Smart described as cultural tribalism.33 Furthermore, one can have a nation without a state, nationhood without nationalism, and statehood without imperialism.34 In his essay Reflections on Exile, Said makes plain that if pressed to choose between the two evils of nationalism and exile, he would take the lesser evil of the two, namely, exile.35 This is also why he quotes Adorno, when he writes that it is ethical to not be at home in ones home.36 Along this Adornoian line, Said wrote the following: the interplay between nationalism and exile is like Hegels dialectic of servant and master, opposites informing and constituting each other. All nationalisms in their early stages develop from a condition of estrangement. The struggles to win [. . .] independence, to unify [. . .], to liberate [. . .] were those of national groups separatedexiledfrom what was construed to be their rightful way of life. Triumphant, achieved nationalism then justifies, retrospectively as well as prospectively, a history selectively strung together in a narrative form: thus all nationalisms have their founding fathers, their basic, quasi-religious texts, their rhetoric of belonging, their historical and geographical landmarks, their official enemies and heroes . . . [furthermore] successful nationalisms consign truth exclusively to themselves and relegate falsehood and inferiority to outsiders (as in the rhetoric of capitalist versus communists, or the European versus the Asiatic).37

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One sees that these reflections are not far from the framework elaborated in his Orientalism. As noted, Said acknowledged the role estrangement played in fueling nationalism and asks: [h]ow, then, does one surmount the loneliness of exile without falling into the [. . .] thumping language of national pride, collective sentiments, group passions? He goes on to ask: [w]hat is there worth saving and holding on to between the extremes of exile on the one hand, and the often bloody-minded affirmations of nationalism on the other? From this, Said argues that: [t]hese are questions that cannot ever be fully answered because each assumes that exile and nationalism can be discussed neutrally, without reference to each other. They cannot be. Because both terms include everything from the most collective of collective sentiments to the most private of private emotions [. . .] there is hardly language adequate for both.38 Said further qualifies this in saying that there is certainly nothing about nationalisms public and all-inclusive ambitions that touches the core of the exiles predicament.39 Said goes on to write that [t]he crucial thing is that a state of exile free from this triumphant ideology [i.e., nationalism]designed to reassemble an exiles broken history into a new wholeis virtually unbearable, and virtually impossible in todays world.40 Even if this is a rather narrow road, Said does entreat us to live up to Adornos exilic ethic, thus stand[ing] away from home in order to look at it with the exiles detachment.41 Said sees value in this insofar as one may note the gaps between reified ideas and their products. Nationalists, since they are principally aware of one culture, one setting, one home [tend to] take home and language for granted, [letting their] underlying assumptions recede into dogma and orthodoxy.42 Conversely, the exilic figure has an awareness of at least two [worldviews], and this plurality of vision gives rise to an awareness of simultaneous dimensions.43 Obviously, the compatibility with Goethe and Max Mller in this regards goes without saying. The exilic figure (who knows more than just one possible worldview) also knows that in a secular and contingent world, homes are always provisional. Borders and barriers, which enclose us within the safety of familiar territory, can also become prisons, and are often defended beyond reason or necessity.44 This is true both physically and psychologically. Moreover, [e]xile is never the state of being satisfied, placid, or secure and therefore inasmuch as [e]xiles cross borders, break barriers of thought and experience, they are more praiseworthy than those who would rather imprisonments.45 Said states that such powers are achieved by working through attachments, not by rejecting them.46 It is clear that for Said the exilic perspective has redemptive qualities; he also warns that one must not make a fetish of it either.47 In these passages, exile is associated with the secular in Saids expressed thought. Earlier we saw that he associates the secular with criticism. What I have termed his exilic ethic is a form of critical secular humanism, one that he warns must resist reification.

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Earlier I noted that we must not confuse Saids figurative use of the notion of religion with his more literalistic uses when discussing religion concretely. Similarly, we must not conflate nationhood with nationalism, thinking that Said was entirely negative regarding nationhood as well. Indeed, Saids expressed thought points to the importance of working through nationhood toward a cosmopolitan awareness.48 This is another mistake Hart makes, thinking that Said only had vitriol for everything associated with nationalism, including nationhood.49 Said wrote extensively in support of the Palestinian national struggle for self-determination. Said critiques the aggressive excesses that national consciousnesses fall prey to when they lose sight of secular humanistic ideals.50 Groups, relegating critical thought to a secondary role, thus placing their faith in a doctrine, in a sense of belonging (to an ethnic, national, cultural, or civilizational identity) are religious and not secular in Saids figurative uses of these terms; thus Saids insistent call for freethinking, which in Saids terminology is not only exilic but secular also.51 Before concluding, I would like to quote another passage Said was fond of, drawn from the work of Hugo of St. Victor, a twelfth-century monk from Saxony: It is [. . .] a source of great virtue for the practiced mind to learn, bit by bit, first to change about invisible and transitory things, so that afterward it may be able to leave them behind altogether. The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign land. The tender soul has fixed his love on one spot in the world; the strong man has extended his love to all places; the perfect man has extinguished his.52 Nevertheless, Said was no world renouncer.53 His reading of this passage by Hugo of St. Victor has a particular this-worldly inflection.54

D. Concluding remarks on Harts approach to Said


In the first part of this discussion of Harts Said scholarship, I described two major problems within Harts reading of Said, namely, that the Said Hart constructs is not only entirely negative in regards to religion, but also a radical dualist, deeming that in between religion and secularism, never the twain shall meet. In this subchapters second part, I enumerated six points of view Said adopts regarding religion that bring home the untenability of Harts reading. I noted that these perspectives of Said are his more concrete and literalistic discussions of religion, whereas elsewhere in his oeuvre, he adopts a different discursive strategy, largely when discussing the religiosities that inhere within purportedly secular institutions. This discursive strategy is not only more polemical but also metaphorical. Because of this characteristic of Saids work, I have suggested that he be read with an eye for these two distinct levels of discourse.

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Said and Hart do not share a common reading, neither of how to conceive of religion, nor of how to conceive of secularism. This is not a problem in principle, and yet, Harts differences with Said inflect his reading of Said, even on the merely descriptive level. Harts reading never lets Saids theorydefinitions and allget out of the starting blocks. If Hart will not even let Said define his own use of terms, then Hart is in no position to see what insights Saids thought produces. Harts dialogue with Said is largely, as a common French expression would have it, un dialogue de sourd. Said did enjoy seeing religious traditions literally transgress against what he figuratively describes religion to be. Those who think religion is lost via such transgressions must come to terms with the fact that they hold an implicit substantialist, that is, essentialist definition of religion. Saids thought aims at non- or even anti-essentialism, and therefore is not to be held accountable to such an other-worldly definition of religion. In order to illustrate Saids metaphorical use of the notion of the religious and the secular, I have examined some of his views concerning nationalism and exile. Among these, I highlighted that he associates nationalism with religion, whereas exile he associates with secularism. These associations are accomplished via metaphoric uses of language and yet are not meant to be whimsical; they are descriptive of human realities. Said must be read carefully, in that he warns, on the one hand, that exile can also become something of a fetish, that is, it may take on religious dynamics, and on the other hand, that his contempt is with nationalism and not with nationhood as such, nor with national self-determination. This is clear from Saids engagement in the Palestinian national struggle for self-determination. His core point is that when we think, feel, and act like ideal ethical exiles, we are not likely to assume that our conception of reality (or the status quos) is the only possible one; thus we may compare Saids ethic of exile to Goethes and Mllers understanding of comparativism. It is no small irony that in the present context, I have included the passage written by a twelfthcentury monk no less, which Said quoted more than once.55 He repeatedly quoted Hugo of St. Victor since what he wrote resonates well with how Said felt, thought, and acted. The irony is that Hart would have us think Said saw no value in religion, and yet, the quote itself can be understood as descriptive of a quest, which, understood in a Saidian perspective, progressively leads us toward a disenchantment from the other-worldly, one in which thought strives to be emancipatory, and therefore is not a mere handmaiden to the so-called identities that are grafted onto us by accident of birth, or that we graft onto ourselves or have grafted upon us, motivated oftentimes by petty cultural and religious politics.

2. Children of Orientalism and Children of Said: Fathers, Sons, and Carl Olson
I was in a printing house in Hell, and saw the method in which knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation. William Blake, Memorable Fancy

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It should by now be a well-known fact that the academic study of religions has emerged to no small extent from the disciples formerly known under the same rubric: Orientalism. For example, Mircea Eliade wrote in 1965 that [t]he history of religions constituted itself an autonomous discipline shortly after the beginnings of Orientalism, in some respects relying on the researches of the Orientalists.56 Orientalism is one of Religious Studies mythic forefathers, albeit this recollection is often repressed. Disciplines or fields of study, much like people generally, do not like to hear others criticizing their good old dad, regardless if he is alive and well, or dead and buried. Like any real family, disciplines have closets and skeletons. Many still fear what would result if we were to frankly begin acknowledging what Joseph Conrad describes as the Heart of Darkness, the insidious horror that went and still goes hand in hand with colonialism. Many still wish to keep closets closed, perceiving these not as mere closets, but rather, as a Pandoras Box not to be opened. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that scholars of religion adopt reactive stances in order to defend their overly romantic idealizations of their own disciplines imagined past. This subchapter is a response and a corrective to one such reactionary re-mythologizing of Religious Studies history, namely, that of Carl Olson.57 Olsons essay is a stereotypical example of this all-too-human tendency of avoiding hard facts and difficult questions in order to save a comforting myth. Needless to say, in a field such as this, that is, within the context of Religious Studies, it is doubly important that we think through our own self-aggrandizing mythology and get beyond it. If we cannot look at our own academic traditions founders critically, how can we claim to do so regarding the founders of other traditions? Of the problems of Olsons essay that deserve criticism, I focus only on a select few. If I can convince the reader regarding these points, the reader will read points Olson attempts to make, not examine here, with greater suspicion. I have selected four points concerning Olsons essay: (1) the flippant tone adopted vis--vis not only postcolonial scholars, but, more importantly, the harsh realities of colonialism; (2) his main criticism of Saids view of Orientalism, which amounts to what Ivan Strenski might call a Tu Quoque Ad Hominem,58 that is, Olson claims that what Said criticizes of Orientalism, Said replicates in his treatment of Orientalists; (3) Olsons limited understanding of Saids oeuvre; and (4) Olsons re-mythologizing of Religious Studies foundations, namely, his re-mythologizing of Orientalism. I take up these points in this same order.

A. Reopening a colonial archive and airing the dirty laundry therein


Olson refers to postcolonial scholars as Saids children. This may seem a patronizing manner of talking about postcolonial scholarship in representing it as largely derivative of Saids own work. Olson is not entirely to blame for this; the well-known Postcolonialist, R. J. C. Young, having referred to Said, Spivak,

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and Bhabha as postcolonialisms Holy Trinity, thus acknowledges and grants Said a god-the-father-like stature.59 However, in previous work, drawing explicitly on that of Vincent Descombes, Young acknowledges that it is not uncommon or unheard of for almost a whole generation of scholars to be working with and against the paradigmatic thinkers of prior generations.60 If Olson wishes to take postcolonial scholars and their work seriously, he might avoid hastily concluding that they are merely mimicking their purported master. Was Plato merely Socrates parrot, Aristotle, Platos ape? Moreover, R. J. C. Young has also made note of the postcolonialist rite of passage: to critique Said.61 Unwittingly, Olson is simply walking a by now well-trodden path, one where, by now, little fresh grass grows. More worrisome is the flippant tone Olson adopts to describe the existential realities the postcolonialists work attempts to grapple with. For example, he writes that [a]ccording to some scholars, colonialism was a time of subjugation by western powers, whereas postcolonialism is a period during which those formerly subjugated critically respond to their trials.62 There are a few problematic dimensions to such a seemingly straightforward statement. First, and I think most strikingly, is the distance Olson creates between himself and the representation of colonialism as subjection (i.e., [a]ccording to some scholars implies but not according to other or to all scholars). I hope this is not the reading Olson intended and yet nevertheless it is clearly a possible one, suggested by the manner in which his text is written. Moreover, this is an early sentence in Olsons essay, one that sets the overall tone. Already, one may have the sense that he doubts, and may want his readers to doubt, that colonialism was as bad as postcolonialists claim it was. Or rather, one should say, that colonialism is as bad as the Postcolonialists claim it still is, which brings up the second point, namely that postcolonialism has resisted being understood as a strict periodization; the trials of the colonized, to use Olsons own term, go on far past the colonial period, having deeply impacted the cultures both of the colonizer and the colonized, not to mention the peoples these cultures create.63 Although history is an area of contest within Postcolonial scholarship, it is contested in and for the present. Olson brings up the past for the sake of the past, and for todays and tomorrows sake his view of it deserves correction. It is hard to tell from Olsons essay, the breadth of his reading of historical studies concerning colonialism, since his essay and his bibliography mention few. However, I am quite convinced that it would be much more difficult to claim that the colonial period was rosier than the postcolonialists purport if one were to consult some of the available literature. For example, and to name but a few that immediately come to mind, C. L. R. James The Black Jacobins, in which, in describing the first successful slave revolt in Haiti, James describes, in painful detail, the regime of terror instituted to keep the slaves subjugated and against which some bravely choose to revolt; Frantz Fanons descriptions of the torture inflicted by the French against colonized subjects in both his Peau noire, masques blancs, and his Les damns de la terre, the torture in question resembling that of the French in Haiti much earlier in modern colonial history to a

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sickening degree.64 It will be important to keep in mind that Said repeatedly discusses these works at various points throughout his career. If these two examples do not suffice, one may also consult Marc Ferros Histoire des colonisations as well as Le livre noir du colonialisme.65 Such reading is sure to make plain the fact that it should be discomforting to hear one insinuate that colonialism was not all that bad. Has Olson forgotten that the Americas were and are an integral part of this? One need only read a few pages of Tzevtan Todorovs account of the conquest of America, maybe even just its epigram to begin withthe epigram recounting how a beautiful Mayan woman who refused to be ravaged by a conquistador was literally fed to the dogsin order to begin acknowledging the ongoing human tragedy.66 If Olson does in fact wish to downplay the horror of colonialism, he has to wake up and, as Robert Nesta Marley put it, analyze the stench.67 Possibly, I have read too much into an oddly expressed would-be critical stance; Olson wanting to sound objective, comes off as unduly cold? Possibly. But the balance of his essay does not help his case.

B. Reduce, reuse, recycle


The main thrust of Olsons argument against Said is by now a tired one. Bernard Lewis in essence argued the same point over twenty years ago, namely, that although Said criticizes the Orientalists as having represented the Orientals as both monolithic and inferior to Western peoples, he represents the Orientalists as constituting a monolithic failure.68 Not only is there nothing novel about this countercharge but it is not a valid criticism of Saids Orientalism because within that work he himself acknowledges that it is a polemic; he was not aiming at a balanced and objective account of Orientalism as such.69 To criticize Armstrong for not having walked on Mars is not a valid criticism; the aim was the moon, not Mars. When Said wrote Orientalism, many important accounts of Orientalisms pearly white greatness were available (and many more have been added since). Saids point was to describe the dark side of this proverbial moon. The fact that Olson refuses to acknowledge much of the roundness of this moon, its non-onesidedness, again, should come as no surprise. For many, myth is more comfortable than reality. Olson also repeats many arguments from Lewis arsenal, never stopping to look at Lewis political agenda as it were, although Olson does think Saids is worth uncovering. Said the Palestinian becomes the focus of Olsons attention, but Lewis, the ideologue of a British, American, and Israeli axis, does not. Let us not forget that the clash of civilization thesis was not first proposed by Samuel P. Huntington, but by Lewis in an essay in the Atlantic Monthly, provocatively entitled The Roots of Muslim Rage.70 Does Olson think such a title, in such a popular forum sounds objective, and detached? Of the many points repeated by Olson, drawn from Lewis work, the most farcical is surely Lewis jab at Saids readjustment of the semantics of the word Orientalism, as if words, like natives, must stay in their proper places.71 Dont rock the boat, right?

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C. The risks of metonymy, or mistaking the part for the whole


Anyone familiar with Saids intellectual productivity since Orientalism will recognize just how limited Olsons contribution is to Said scholarship. Olson writes as if the only significant book Said ever wrote was Orientalism, leading one to believe that the only book of Saids he read (although it is also clear that he did not read it closely) is Orientalism. In a book review of Ashcroft and Ahluwalias Edward Said: The Paradox of Identity, the first full length account of Saids life and thought, Neil Lazarus criticized the fact that the authors had spent far too much effort still in dealing with his Orientalism, thus suggesting that Saids thought had developed, transforming itself, and that to continue to focus exclusively on Orientalism leads one to miss the crucial nuances and insight that have been arrived at since.72 Just like the proverbial Oriental of the Orientalist imagination, Said was not timeless either, and yet, scholars still persist in representing him as though he was. For example, Olson writes that Saids view of culture is one that only sees it as repressive, and since, according to Olson, it is narrowly one-dimensional, Said neglects the way in which a culture can act as a bearer of symbols, values, customs, institutions and meanings for his adherents.73 This is a patent misreading and misrepresentation of Said, one that would not be a lost one on W. D. Hart, whose book Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture, to Harts credit, does deal with the fact that Said did also work with an Arnoldian view of culture, namely, as the best of what has been written and said, and not only as the worst and the meanest as Olson would have it.74 Olson mentions neither Hart, nor Matthew Arnold, and yet claims to have mastered the slippages of Saids polyvalent views of culture and to be able to describe it as if it were one homogenous thing without inner tensions and dynamism of its own. Furthermore, the book that Said saw as Orientalisms sequel, Culture and Imperialism, figures in Olsons bibliography and yet Olson makes little to no clear use of it, except to largely reduce this nearly four hundred page work to a two word catchphrase.75 The book in question was written partly to show some of the ways domination was and is resisted, specifically via cultural productions, such as Saids own. Again a nuance lost on Olson. In having ignored much of the later developments of Saids thought (since 1978 no less), Olson misses the fact that Said was repeatedly called upon to clarify his intellectual relationship to Foucault.76 Olson makes a lot out of this relation, calling Foucault Saids hero. In actuality, Olson makes far too much of this, as Said himself would repeatedly point out to those similarly infected with the American obsession for all things pertaining to so-called French Theory.77 Because Olson wants to push the familiar poststructuralist reading of Orientalism to its seemingly illogical conclusions, he repeatedly states that for Said there was no real Orient. In short, Olson misses that Said uses Foucault eclectically and should not be imagined to have been blinded by Foucaults lights. For

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example, consider the following lines drawn from Saids Orientalism: There wereand arecultures and nations whose location is in the East, and their lives, histories, and customs have a brute reality obviously greater than anything that could be said about them in the West.78 This does not sound like a man denying the reality of his homeland or of a large portion of the globe generally. This places Said more in line with critical realism epistemologically than with the nihilistic social constructivism of the poststructuralist bad-dream Olson seems stuck in. What Said denies is what the West has deemed this other part of the worlds essential Orientalness, as something specific to it, and a fortiori, as something less than fully human since in general, the West has taken for granted that it constituted the only fully human universal norm. On a similar plane, Olson critiques Said among others for having suggested that all human knowledge is political. Flippantly again, Olson suggests that since mathematics and cellular biology are not political, this claim is to be rejected.79 However, Saids thought was influenced by that of Vico and abides by a guiding distinction within Vicos thought, distinguishing between that which humans have created and that which humans have not, namely the products of nature. For Vico, human knowledge is best when concerned with human creations, such as history, custom, culture, religion, and so forth. These for Vico, we can truly know because we have made them what they are; furthermore, we know that these could have been and can be made otherwise. The agency involved in such matters is not lost from view via such an approach. Conversely, natures productions will always retain some mystery. Cellular life was not originally created by humans and still retains some of its mystery. Some might say that mathematics is a more problematic case since in a sense it is an abstract human creation. However, if one thinks of what Plato favored, that is, geometry, it can serve as a good illustration. Pi still evades us because circularity is not wholly a human creation in that nature produces much that is spherical. Moreover, and potentially more importantly: Is Olson suggesting that the study of culture and religion is closely akin to mathematic and pure science? I do not think this is what he wishes to suggest but since his engagement with his subject matter is so dismissive of it, he is unclear about what he is suggesting. Olson simply asserts that even though mathematics and pure science have political application, this by no means makes them political. To bracket out the potential political implications of ones work, acting as if this was of no importance is itself profoundly political. This is such a basic point, one common to critical theorists in general, that I shall not rehearse it further here.80 The fact remains that although Olson is dealing with a set of scholars whose work is engaged with the critical theory tradition, Olson prefers the un-reflexive comforts of positivism, and yet persists in thinking that he can serve as a useful exegete of their thought. One needs a modicum of empathy, of sympathetic imagination, a sense of social justice and of political engagement, in order to even begin properly dealing with such work, all qualities all-too-rare in Olsons essay.

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D. Whitewashing Orientalism again


I have already suggested that Said acknowledges that Orientalism was not as monolithic or as far from humanistic standards as he purports within his polemic, that is, even before his critics could miss this nuance and level their less than valid charge. Since Olsons reading of Saids oeuvre is meager, he represents Saids view of the Orientalists as if his Orientalism was the only document worthy of attention. However, Saids view was more complex, more polyvalent than Olson acknowledges, within that single work itself as elsewhere. Consider the following quote drawn from one of Saids late interviews: If we examine this notion of noncoercive knowledge systematically in the context of problems such as globalization, corporate intervention, violence, the politics of identity, the end of the Cold War, then is it possible to speak about a humanistic, language-based vocation? I think it is. Ive never felt that my own interest in literature and literary issues has been a hindrance to me. Ive never longed to have been a political scientist. Literary study entails a kind of rigor. There exists an old, interesting, and very rich tradition that doesnt have any value today. By tradition I dont mean only in the past, back in the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, but a tradition that continues through the work of the great philologists of the nineteenth century: Alexander von Humboldt, Silvestre de Sacy, Mommsen, and later, people like Curtius, Spitzer, and Auerbach, and the great French scholars like Massignon. I think that it is important to renew that tradition.81 For those with little background in the history of Orientalism, it is important to note that de Sacy and Massignon are two celebrated French Orientalists, two that Said does critique at other points within his oeuvre.82 To critique the underexamined political blindness and/or co-optation of scholarship is not however the same as saying it is all rubbish, as this last quotation makes more than abundantly clear. Olson however does not simply wish to establish a balanced account of the relative human worth of the Orientalist archive: he wants to whitewash it. For example, he paraphrases David Smith to the effect that there is no evidence that Orientalists doing linguistic and textual study served colonial purposes, whereas the conquerors and exploiters did not have any interest or sympathy for such scholarly work.83 Although there are problems in Olsons work on Said, this one is in the hunt for the prize for the most blatant. The fact that the East India Company employed William Jones and benefited from his work is not evidence in Olsons court. How else does one explain the shift in the British colonial administrations policy, from one in part led by Orientalists, which wished to maintain the rule of law through native traditionsJones being a key player in translating and interpreting this native legal traditionto the McCauley Minute on Education inspired view, one that wished to go forth with

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a program of Anglicization? Recall that McCauley in essence claimed that a British schoolboys library had more worth than all the Sacred Books of the East; how else could he make such a claim unless he felt his people had already done their work and found nothing worth working with? And this administration had translators and interpreters, did it not? Was this not one of the main benefits of having mastered the languages? Silvestre de Sacys biographer is quite clear on this point.84 Silvestre de Sacy did translate materials for the French government, specifically that of Napoleon, materials that Napoleon hoped would excite Muslim fanaticism against the enemies of France.85 From this, we can see that this strategy, reused by America in the late Cold War period against the Soviets in Afghanistan, is older than is commonly thought.86 In short, this points to the legacy of Empire that runs through the histories of former great powers to newer ones; this common legacy is a large part of what Saids entire oeuvre is getting at. Another point to note is that one of de Sacys students, Amde Jaubert, had been Napoleons main interpreter during his famous Egyptian expedition. Jaubert wrote to de Sacy during the so-called expedition that none of the Egyptians mastered Arabic quite like he did. Jaubert even writes that linguistically de Sacy would be their master, that is, the Arabs master.87 Obviously, in Olsons court, none of this amounts to much, all simply coincidence and nothing more, that is, nothing that should disturb the tranquility of our good conscience. On this general point, the fact that Olson makes no mention of important contributions by David Chidester, Wendy Donniger, Gavin Flood, Richard Horseley, Richard King, Charles H. Long, Peter Van der Veer, to name but a few, specifically regarding the relation of colonialism, postcolonialism, and the study of religion, in itself speaks volumes.88 These examples of important contributions born of Religious Studies serious engagement with Postcolonial Studies are chosen almost at random and therefore are far from being an exhaustive list of what has begun to make itself available. A related issue is that Olson belabors Saids relation to Foucault and yet makes no mention of Saids post-Orientalism reflections concerning his intellectual relation to Foucault (mentioned earlier), nor does Olson note that even within the context of Religious Studies, Foucault is read in a variety of ways, often even mutually antagonistic ways.89

E. Concluding remarks on Olsons approach to Said


Olsons essay does not acknowledge its own stake in this debate and yet, in the end, it is yet another polemic, and at that, not a very subtle one. In effect, he seems to wish these Orientals would just quiet down again so as to resume a more pacifying, and Western, monologue about them. He surely will say this is not the case, but in not taking Saids work, nor the work of his so-called children seriously, actually arguing that it is not serious and should not be taken

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as such, he is in effect pacifying the rebellious natives; he pronounces an imperialistic business as usual. The sad fact is that even imperial historians, such as Dane Kennedy, for example, have been able to give Said and the postcolonialists much more of a fair shake.90 Why then is this stance lacking nuance among scholars of religion? Olson is not alone in this; not only does he feel he is writing for an audience, but other scholars of religion have adopted similarly untenable views.91 Obviously, such a reflexive afterthought would necessitate an extended treatment. Such a treatment would likely bring to the foreground that routinely certain scholars lapse back into wanting simple comforts over complex problem-ridden situations. Some may even see in thisin these lapses, that isa popular, and populist, religious impulse. If our disciplines forefathers were gods among men, then we must be, at the very least, the sons and daughters of divinities, and so long as we uphold their honor, walking in traces left by their superhuman footsteps, our future will be equally unblemished. Sadly, for those who would prefer Olsons easy answers, the fact is that these answers do not hold water. They are based on a straw man version of Said and straw man versions of the scholars inspired by his trailblazing work. Scholars who admit that Saids work is trailblazing in certain respects, and so deserves engagement, can rightfully see themselves as his children. Olsons answers are those of one who has missed the better part of a continuing conversation, and very much after the fact, he demonstrates neither a willingness to catch up, nor even really begin listening in the first place. If I have entitled this piece Children of Orientalism and Children of Said, it is to suggest, not without some irony, the place of the scholar of religion and culture at present: the child of both Orientalism and the criticism thereof.

Chapter 4

Emergent Conversations: Working with and through Saids Religious Questions

How can anyone accuse me of denouncing dead white men? Everyone knows I love Conrad. He [i.e., Said] would then go through a list of post-modernist critics, savaging each of them in turn for their stress on identity and hostility to narrative. Write it all down, I once told him. Why dont you? came the reply. From Tariq Ali, Conversations with Edward Said

An emergent body of literature is beginning to question the roles religion and the religious, secularism and the secular, play within the work of the regrettably late and sorely missed Columbia University professor Edward W. Said. The religious and the secular are not only key concepts within his oeuvre; they are also within that of many of our times seminal thinkers, such as Talal Asad, Rajeev Bhargava, and Charles Taylor.1 In itself, and I say this somewhat ironically, this intellectual trend testifies to the crucial roles the notions of religion, religions, the religious, and the secular have had within recent history as well as within ongoing contemporary debates.2 In what immediately follows, I provide a highly selective overview of some of the theorists who have attempted to restate Saids views of the religious and the secular. I am not only very selective here, but aim to not get too overburdened by detail, since my aim is to outline the contours of patterns or progressions beyond the single author, and not merely digress within the work of any single one. A good, relatively short, although densely written text is Bruce Robbins essay Secularism, Elitism, Progress, and Other Transgressions: On Edward Saids Voyage In, one of the initial essays that attempt to highlight that nationalism is often what is gestured at via the rhetorical foil of religion and the religious within Saids works.3 Amir R. Muftis essay Auerbach in Istanbul: Edward Said, Secular Criticism, and the Question of Minority Culture focuses on the proverbial flipside, the role of exile as a potential antithesis to nationalism, in the lives and expressed-thoughts of both Erich Auerbach and Edward Said.4 In this sense then, if religion is at times a foil for nationalism, exile operates in part as a foil for secularity. These aforementioned essays are crucial steps forward, that is, steps toward a better, more nuanced interpretation of Saids critical thought.

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However, two important points must be kept in mind: first, one must remember that these are descriptions of Saids views, hinging on key passages within his oeuvre; second, one must also be on guard against thinking that Said only had contempt for any and all forms of nationalism, only flowers for the life of an exile. At times in his work, Said did acknowledge the historical importance of nationalism.5 He reiterates a point Fanon puts forward, namely, that nationalism is or must become a step in its own self-transcendence, a self-overcoming arrived at largely from the creation of a within, a center, a self, an identity, which is, to be sure, also to be self-transcended, not mistaken for an end in itself. National consciousness must contribute to the emergence of a broader and deeper sociopolitical consciousness; it can, from this perspective, only do so once both national consciousness and independence have been arrived at. To illustrate, one may recall the following two passages, drawn from two different interviews, the first given in 1986, the second, in 1992. In the 1986 interview, Said observes that what is totally missing, and what he was striving to elaborate, is a connection between Fanon and Adorno, which he characterizes in saying the following: In other words, activism, nationalism, revolution, insurrection on the one hand, and on the other, the excessive kind of theoretical reflection and speculation of the sort one associates with the Frankfort Schoolwhich in the end becomes resignation . . . Somehow, we need another dimension which involves, in fact, thinking about the future in ways that are not simply insurrectionary or reactive.6 In the 1992 interview, he states: One ought to be able to talk more interestingly [. . .], to make more precise the interpretations of various political and intellectual communities where the issue is not independence but liberation, [which is] a completely different thing. What Fanon calls the conversion, the transformation, of national consciousness into political and social consciousness, hasnt yet taken place. Its an unfinished project, and thats where I think my work has begun.7 With these passages, I want to underline two things. First, that nationalism gets included in the first passage as something partly positive, something still worth combining with another intellectual stream of equal (or at least comparable) worth, a dialectical combining that Said felt expressed the general drift of his own efforts.8 Second, even within Fanons work, Saids focus is on that which should have followed the emergence of national consciousness and independence. It is worth noting that Said is not writing here, he is speaking, not quoting, rather paraphrasing off the cuff. In so doing, he initially speaks of conversion, then of transformation of that which is for some of his critics what Said knew best in terms of religiosity.9 If nationalism and religion are closely akin in Saids

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thought, the conversion or the transformation of national consciousness giving way from within to a broader political and social consciousness suggests, at least analogically, that a secular consciousness may arise from within a religious one. The notion of conversion alerts one to the fact that not all is different between the two, conversion being a notion predominantly associated with religion, whereas transformation does alert one to the fact that substantial, or rather, procedurally deep, changes must occur.10 The emergence of a broader political and social consciousness does not, however, mean that the nation and/or state need to be held in utter contempt; it does mean, however, that it must not be believed to be the nec plus ultra of its citizenrys whole existence. Therefore, Saids cosmopolitanism is not groundless; its roots are national.11 Following the inherent logic of this argument then, Saids secular criticism is not groundless, admitting the power of the political religions created in the notions and practices associated with families, homes, homelands, tribes, nations, cultures, religions, civilizations, and so on.12 Saids critical theory and practice is rooted in the critique of the excesses of these political religions, in the critique of the styles or systems of thought that legitimize the excesses of these political religions.13 In this respect, it is of hermeneutical concern to properly engage the catachresis of Saids usage of the notions of religious and secular. The catachresis of his use of the religious is rendered aphoristically in the passage he repeatedly quotes from Conrad: The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking away of it from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the ideasomething you can set up, and bow down to, and offer sacrifice to.14 This quote, from Conrads Heart of Darkness, creates a comparison between religion and imperialism, one that leads one to realize that Said is not operating in such a different view of culture to that of T. S. Eliot. The relation between religion and culture in Eliots thought is of great significance; in fact, he suggests that they are sides to the same coin and that therefore it is not insightful to even speak of their relation. The repetition effect of Saids use of this quote from Conrad within his oeuvre leads one to see religion, culture, literature, criticism, and politics, such as imperialism, as flipsides of the same coin. Said was radical in certain ways. However, he was also a brilliantly astute and often quite conservative scholar of literature, literary theory, and criticism. Saids use of the quote from Conrad underscores the deep cultural and religious roots of empire. W. D. Hart has argued, in his dissertation more clearly than in his later book, that Said is oddly dependent on such Christian thinkers as Eliot and this, for Hart, weakens or taints what Hart sees as Saids would-be anti-religious stance.15 But to read Said as anti-religious is to miss the catachresis, the

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uncanny use and potentially deeper meaning he gets out of notions such as the religious and the secular. Moreover, his use of Eliot is eccentric; he is using insights into cultural processes arrived at by Eliot and culled from his oeuvre, but he is using them against the grain, against much of the usage previously put to them. It is well known that Eliot barely even makes note of the fact that a bloody and disastrous war had ravaged peoples and lands the world over as he wrote much of Notes towards the Definition of Culture.16 Saids oeuvre leads one to see the religious criticism of Eliot, when read against the grain, as an illuminating backdrop, a building block for secular criticism. In short, the absence of worldly matters speaks volumes. The catachresis of Saids use of the idea of secularity is also summed up rather well by a passage he quoted time and again, a passage drawn from a medieval monk that Said likely culled initially from the work of Auerbach. The passage, also one I have previously included in this work, is as follows: It is [. . .] a source of great virtue for the practiced mind to learn, bit by bit, first to change about invisible and transitory things, so that afterward it may be able to leave them behind altogether. The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign land. The tender soul has fixed his love on one spot in the world; the strong man has extended his love to all places; the perfect man has extinguished his.17 As with the passage he repeatedly quotes from Conrad, it is crucial to note the catachresis, the willful misuse of an underlying key word or concept. Said uses the first passage to get at his misuse of the idea of the religious, oft aligned with liberation and the soteriological more generally, though used by him differently. The second key passage is utilized by Said to uncannily spin his idea of secularization as a largely individual struggle to become conscious of, and then to free ones self from, largely unconscious historical and sociocultural determinisms.18 The freedom is made to make another history, one that would be other than the unenlightened repetitions of age-old fear and greed generated blood feuds. He is calling for a type of renunciation, a renunciation of a type of worldview but this for the sake of all of the worlds many peoples, not one above any others. Although Said did develop the analogy that secularism is something akin to an exile of the mind, citing Theodor Adornos moral maxim that it is unethical to be at home in ones home, Said does nevertheless warn against making a fetish of exile, and again, if the logic of this analogy is followed, this would apply to secularism also.19 Still within the aforementioned emergent body of critical literature, one need also underline Bill Ashcrofts more recent essay in which he discusses Saids secular trinity, namely, the interrelated realities designated by the title of one of Saids major works, The World, the Text, and the Critic.20 Ashcrofts attention to Saids secular trinity may be understood as

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setting itself off from the so-called holy trinity of postcolonialism, which is said to include Said himself (among two other key figures in postcolonialisms genesis, Gayatri C. Spivak and Homi K. Bhabha).21 Ashcroft attempts to restate the secular core of Said studies, namely, that authors, texts, and the theories they bring into the world are worldly, even despite their best efforts; therefore, such theories are best served when understood as well within the world and its many worldly entanglements. What all of these works have in common is a still too uncommon, though here shared, value, namely, that they all take Saids rhetoric of the religious and the secular seriously, thus displaying that his perspectives on such questions matter. From this perspective, his rhetoric of the religious and the secular is no mere rhetoric as popular parlance would have it. Another vein, one in which the main thrust involves negatively judging the ways in which Said expressed himself concerning the religious and the secular, is exemplified well by W. D. Harts Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture, as well as the essays of Darren Dahl and of Alain Epp Weaver.22 The essays contributed by the latter two largely derive their view of Said from that of Hart. In order to redress these issues, in a prior chapter, I critique all three by focusing mainly on Harts work.23 In so doing, I have located myself within the former vein. Although a fair measure of the mis-representations of Saids views within the work of Hart, Dahl, and Epp Weaver stem from a hermeneutic of not quite wholly (or integral) charity and too narrowly focused readings of Saids work, it is also clear that some of the potential contradictions that they highlight within Saids thinking are nonetheless important, thus warranting critical attention. However, where such critics see such contradictions as fatal to his oeuvres overall coherence and worth, I argue that these apparent contradictions are better understood heuristically, as constitutive tensions, tensions that enable, rather than undermine, Saids thought. Moreover, these tensions inform Said readers about his expressed experience of the world and, borrowing Wittgensteinian terms of art, what this expression displays; to speak truth to power is no small display of this. Insofar as one can relate to such expressed experiences, one might go on, arguing that such tensions within the elaboration of the situation as it is experienced and thusly articulated are constitutive of our all too rather embattled world, caught up as it is in ongoing struggles involving both the secular and the religious.24 Among other even less than wholly charitable critics of Saids work on religion and the secular, one should also note the work of Philip Mellor and Carl Olson, which take the charge of incoherence to the extreme.25 An altogether different example is that of W. J. T. Mitchell, which, despite itself, exemplifies the importance of reading theory with an acute sense of history: one must travel the theorys route back to its roots.26 Mitchell claims that Saids view of the secular is flawed in being based on that of Giambattista Vico. In Mitchells estimation, since Vicos work is itself based on a flawed secular/ sacred distinction, Saids must be also. Those familiar with the history of Vicos epochas narrated, for example, in Frank Manuels The Eighteenth Century

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Confronts the Gods, a work that Said discusses in one of his early essays on Vico will undoubtedly realize that Vicos secular/sacred distinction may have been somewhat of a safety feature that he deploys to safeguard his thought (and quite possibly his safety and that of those near him) from the worldly powers religious institutions wielded in his day and age.27 Furthermore, Saids use of Vico, like that of all of his intellectual champions, is eclectic: certain aspects of Vicos view of sacred or revealed history are not of crucial importance to Saids work on Vico, nor to his working with Vicos view of the secular, whereas others are; as philosophically minded critics, it is important, however, to make these distinctions. It is clear that Said would have his readers apply hermeneutics akin to Vicos treatment of secular history to all narratives, either mythological or historical or to that which is a hybrid of both; most, I would venture, belong in this last category of messy mixity.28 This is in part what is meant by Canaanite reading: reading mythology as a secular critic, that is, reading myth with an eye for political history and reading political history with an eye for the ways in which mythology is used politically and how political history is made mythic.29 Keeping Vico in mind, one might even think of this as always potentially a cycle, if not always, in a manneristically Baudelairian tao (way), a vicious cycle. Myth may serve in the formations of peoples and yet beyond a certain point, such myth-making and mythic beliefs may hamper a peoples freedom. Said never took on the religious mythology of the Abrahamic faiths crudely head on: in this he is in a sense quite Vichian. Why did he not? Though this is basically speculative, a likely explanation is political exigency. To do so would have sidetracked, even likely derailed, the more grounded issue he did wish to take on: the supposedly secular mythologies underlying far from humane political and cultural hegemonies. For Said, within the secular world already, everything is there for the so-called wretched of the earth to make our case, for our own peoples sake, but through it, for the sake of an emergent global humanism that admits all.

Chapter 5

Theoretical Travelogues: A Slight Return from Foucault Back to Fanon and Sartre

The truth is rarely pure, and never simple. Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Said is commonly understood to be a pivotal figure, if not the pivotal figure, in postcolonialisms emergence. Robert J. C. Young, for example, argues this point in stating that [a]lthough the genealogy of postcolonial theory is historically complex . . . it was Edward Saids critique in Orientalism of the cultural politics of academic knowledge . . . that effectively founded postcolonial studies as an academic discipline. For Young, it is above all the idea of Orientalism as a discourse in a general sense that made possible the emergence of what Young calls a general conceptual paradigm through which the cultural forms of colonial and imperial ideologies could be analysed. Furthermore, from Youngs standpoint, it was this same realization, that Orientalism could be conceived of as a discourse in a general sense, that enabled Orientalism to be so outstandingly successful and to establish a whole new field of academic inquiry.1 Regarding Saids use (or mis-use) of Foucauldian concepts (e.g., the notion of discourse, the focus on confinement, etc.), which purportedly belong to an anti-humanists tool-kit, it has often been suggested that these contradict Saids own purportedly residual humanism.2 And so, postcolonialism is left to deal with certain key questions. If Said is to be understood as the model, one may still wonder if this model should be understood as more of a humanist or an antihumanist, a social constructivist or an epistemological realist, something of a nationalist or entirely as a cosmopolite. When one reads Said with a heavily Foucauldian bent, one might conclude that Saids secular humanism is out-of-place, whereas if one reads him from a secular humanist perspective, then his Foucauldianism may seem to be out-of-place. And so, for the poststructuralist postmoderns, Foucault appears to be the guardian angel that

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hovers ever so lightly over Saids right ear, whereas an old guard figure like Chomsky, to take up the familiar contrast sketched in the introduction to The Foucault Reader, is the demoniacal voice in Saids left ear, keeping him from sticking with the emergent paradigm.3 The converse is also the case. For the secular humanists, Chomsky is a guardian angel, Foucault, a seductive devil. It may be the case, however, that Foucaults influence on Said has been overemphasized in much of the secondary literature, and potentially by Said himself in some of his earlier writings and interviews.4 This may lead one to argue alternatively that as early as Orientalism, if not earlier, Saids work must also be read closely as Fanonian scholarship, if not more so than as Foucauldian. This chapter attempts to demonstrate this on three different, yet interdependent levels. The structure of this chapter will reflect this threefold task. First, this argument will find its initial footing via the observations of certain theorists whose work already points (although somewhat indirectly) in this direction. Second, some of Saids own remarks, especially those contrasting Foucault and Fanon, will be considered. Since these remarks are linked to some of Saids own theoretical contributions, namely, his notion of originality as eccentric repetition and his examination of instances of traveling theory, that is, how theories are appropriated and recast, these theoretical contributions will be examined as concepts by which to better understand Saids working with and through his reading of Fanon.5 Last, I examine what a close reading of Fanon and Said serially, that is, side-by-side, or dialogically, can lead us to see. Before moving into this first section, one crucial point need be made. Said took pride in not being anyones disciple, and so my aim is not to suggest, rather crudely, that Said was a Fanonian in the masterdisciple sense.6 This would amount to replacing a widely held misreading for a rarely held one. In fact, a fair amount of Saids attention was directed toward elaborating a more satisfactory account of the reality of influence.7 When Said discussed theories that traveled, from Hegel, through Marx, through Lukcs, to Lucien Goldmann, Raymond Williams, and to Frantz Fanon, he did not suggest that the latter group were mere disciples. As Said suggests, their respective historical contexts, and their own individual eccentricities, are just as significantwithin the processes by which they elaborate their oeuvres and within any sound understanding of themas are the common threads woven into and throughout their respective works. For Said, originality artistic or criticalis in part existential (and therefore an environmental and perceptual nexus is in play). It is also bound up with individual eccentricity (which brings up psychological factors as well as the invention and agency of self-creation and performance). In the end, however, it is also largely, or in part, derivative, and, therefore, a matter of repetition, although most often (or at least, most interestingly for Said and like-minded intellectuals) this repetition occurs in out-of-place, de-contextualized/re-contextualized situations.

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1. Initial Footing
[W]hat is imitation but the traveling of the mind? Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance and Other Essays

The initial footing of this chapters main arguments are supplied by the elaborations of certain theorists who have come startlingly close to making this point concerning the Fanonian dimensions of Saids scholarship. Although this is not meant to be exhaustive, four authors have been selected, their work briefly examined, lending credence to the argument here deployed. The first piece comes from a revealing source. Dane Kennedys article Imperial History and Post-Colonial Theory attempts an ironic, polemical, and yet fairly balanced assessment of what Postcolonial Studies have contributed (and still might) for imperial historians, that is, literally historians of empire.8 Kennedys brief overview of Postcolonial Studies emergence is revealing in that the author is quite positive vis--vis the contribution postcolonial thought may continue to make upon the historiography of empire, and so the marginality of Postcolonial Studies must consequently be relativized somewhat, at least insofar as certain Western academics are concerned.9 Within the brief overview this piece supplies, Kennedy lists the many theoreticians that postcolonial scholars have drawn upon within their work. Foucault is noted first among the list, then Gramsci, followed by a general taxonomy that includes Althusser, Bakhtin, Barthes, Benjamin, Derrida, de Man, Fanon, Heidegger, Lacan, and so on.10 Kennedy notes that Marx is generally considered irredeemably Eurocentric, which Kennedy sees as rather ironic in light of the fact that, except for Fanon, none of the names cited . . . ever exhibited the slightest intellectual curiosity in the issue of European colonialism or the concerns of non-European peoples.11 This last point is more or less an arguable one, at least in regards to some of these figures, and some omitted figures, such as Sartre, for example; had he been included, Sartre would have been more difficult to gloss over in such a fashion, and yet one can see Kennedys overall point.12 From this, what needs to be noted is simply that within what might be called postcolonial thoughts backdrop, only Fanon is wholly concerned with the questions Postcolonial Studies would take up again. Another point to note is that Fanon had foreseen something akin to these types of objections concerning Marx and Western scholarship generally, when, in Peau noire, masques blancs, he says: Quand un ngre parle de Marx, la premire raction est la suivante : On vous a levs et maintenant vous vous retournez contre vos bienfaiteurs. Ingrats! Dcidment, on ne peut rien attendre de vous. Et puis il y a aussi cet argument-massue du planteur en Afrique : notre ennemi, cest linstituteur.13

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The second piece that must be included in this context is Nadira Regrags article about Fanon and postcolonialism, in which she argues that Fanon should be [c]onsidered as the founding father of postcolonial theory.14 It is obvious that this claim flies in the face of a prevailing dogma about the fields emergence; Robert J. C. Young having described Said, along with G. C. Spivak, and H. K. Bhabha, as constituting Postcolonialisms Holy Trinity.15 Either Regrag is right, and there are reasons for thinking so, or somehow wrong, insofar as Fanon does not figure in the commonplace account of Postcolonialisms trinity. A third or middle way, somehow reconciling the truth of Regrags stance with that of Young, might be sought, though such considerations are beyond this chapters purview. Of the general points concerning Fanon that Regrag raises, which have also been covered in greater detail by other historians and exegetes of his thought, a few points are important to introduce here. Chief among these is that Fanon articulates the notion that imperial impositions were internalized such that colonialism was not only, nor even most significantly, an external reality (i.e., economic, sociopolitical, military, etc.). These impositions also constitute an internal reality that inflected, if not to say infected (which does admittedly sound more Fanon-like) ones sense of self.16 Second, Fanon argues that the colonizers made little distinction among the colonized, considering them all as natives. Fanon argues that the colonized should utilize the colonizers monolithic categorization schemes to advance the aims and ends of decolonization. This is in part why Fanon thought working from the level of the nation was a strategically vital nexus. The whole of Africa, and contiguously, the whole of Asia and of Latin America could also be utilized as prime locations for the struggle in which nations, and through them, whole continents, could mutually strengthen one another against the economic and sociopolitical oppressions of Western imperialism and neo-colonialism. The third and last general point here considered is that Regrag places her articles emphasis on the radical criticism of the values of Western humanism since Fanon knew that it was from within this axiology that the dehumanization of colonized subjects found its justification.17 This last point, as prescient commentators of Fanons work have pointed out, is both true and yet far more problematic than such straightforward claims make Fanons thought seem. This leads me to discuss the work of the third theorist considered here, namely, Anthony Alessandrini, who has also suggested a manner by which to view the closeness between Fanons work and that of Said. In his essay, Humanism in Question: Fanon and Said, Alessandrini observes that the close association between postmodernism and postcolonialism in the minds of some is not such a simple matter of fact.18 Alessandrini argues that this close association has made the humanism of both Fanon and Said seem to be something out of place. His argument constitutes an alternative account of postcolonialism, one in which it does not need to confine itself within the dogmas of postmodernism, especially

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regarding the radical rejection of humanism. Alessandrini is not suggesting that what Regrag, for example, points out concerning Western humanism is untrue, but rather that Fanon wished to critique humanism without taking a reactionary stance toward it, without claiming to be entirely outside of it. Furthermore, Fanon worked toward formulating what Alessandrini aptly calls an emergent humanism. Alessandrinis point of view is particularly significant for this particular discussion in that he suggested that Said is quite comparable to Fanon in this.19 If the FanonSaid dyad is a significant one for Postcolonial Studies, one might say, with a Sartre inspired phrase, that Postcolonialism is a humanism. The last of the four contributions noted here is a piece written by Neil Lazarus.20 Lazarus main aim in the essay is to push postcolonial scholars to rethink one of their most commonly held dislikes: nationalism.21 One specific passage in Lazarus text is most significant here. In critiquing the work of certain scholars who have misrepresented Fanons positions, Lazarus enters into a discussion of Fanons thought concerning colonial culture, often closely linked to his interest in internalization processes, which in a contemporary idiom might be understood as his version of a socio-constructivist approach to psychology. Lazarus writes that in a significant sense Fanon does not regard the culture of the colonized in Africa as African culture at all! He goes on to say that [o]n the contrary, the culture of the colonized is for him a starkly colonial projection, bespeaking a colonial logic that, from the standpoint of the colonized masses themselves, cannot be redeemed except through the destruction of colonialism itself. Further, Lazarus adds this key passage: like Edward Saids concept of the oriental or Gayatri Chakravorty Spivaks concept of the subalternfigures within colonial discourse that are imposed upon and, subsequently, taken up under duress and lived by colonized populationsFanons concept of the native or the Negro is not to be thought of as merely descriptive of independently existing (African) subjects. This is a point absolutely insisted upon by Fanon: he notes time and again that the figure of the native is not autochthonous, but is rather a construction of colonialism.22 Although the notion of discourse, which, as previously noted, is generally, or at least is often directly associated with Foucault, somehow sneaks into the passage just quoted, the passage itself, nevertheless, can be read as displacing some of the Foucauldian and the Derridian backdrops of Saids and Spivaks work, respectively, only to better focus on the Fanonian dimension their work implicitly shares. To sum up this phenomenon, which Lazarus reads in Said, Spivak, and back into Fanon, one of Saids last formulations is wonderfully succinct, lapidary even, in redeploying this key notion his work shares with that of Fanon: Imperialism is the export of identity.23

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2. Contrasting Foucault and Fanon


[I]n all unbalanced minds, the classification is idolized, passes for the end, and not for a speedily exhaustible means, so that the walls of the system blend to their eye in the remote horizon with the walls of the universe; the luminaries of heaven seem to them hung on the arch their master built. They cannot imagine how you aliens have any right to see,how you can see; It must be somehow that you stole the light from us. They do not yet perceive, that light, unsystematic, indomitable, will break into any cabin, even into theirs. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance and Other Essays Within the context of his discussion of Fanons and Saids emergent humanism, Alessandrini makes the important observation that even prior to the publication of Orientalism, as early as an interview conducted in 1976, Said had already begun expressing his admiration for Fanon. In two other separate interviews, these conducted in 1985 and 1986, respectively, Said was asked to compare and contrast Fanon and Foucault. In the first of these interviews, he was specifically asked this in relation to Fanons The Wretched of the Earth on the one hand, and Foucaults Madness and Civilization on the other. Said acknowledged that the common motif in both [authors works] was that whatever was done in the way of violence to the subject was justified in the name of reason or rationality civilization and yet, nonetheless, Said felt that for him, Fanons work was more significant than that of Foucault. The reasons he supplies to justify this stance are significant. For one, Said admired that Fanons work was part of a collective struggle. He understood it to be the more powerful because it was rooted in, as he put it, a dialectics of struggle, whereas Foucaults work was, in Saids estimation, that of an individual scholarresearcher. Said goes on to observe that for him, Fanons most powerful image in the book is of the colonial city; the native casbah surrounded by the cleanliness, the well-lighted streets of the colonialist town, violently implanted in a native society. Said recalls the Foucault/ Chomsky debate held in Amsterdam in 1972, and in so doing, he implicitly aligns Chomsky with Fanon in contrast to Foucault, saying that Fanons commitments to revolutionary change, solidarity, and liberation were very powerful and appealing to such as myself, whereas apparently Foucaults avowed nihilism was not.24 Later in this interview, Said would observe that what is totally missing is a connection between Fanon and Adorno, which he characterizes in saying that [i]n other words, activism, nationalism, revolution, insurrection on the one hand, and on the other, the excessive kind of theoretical reflection and speculation of the sort one associates with the Frankfort Schoolwhich in the end becomes resignation . . . Somehow, we need another dimension which involves, in fact, thinking about the future in ways that are not simply insurrectionary or reactive.25

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In the second of these two interviews, Said again discusses what he deemed major contrasts between Foucault and Fanon. Concerning Foucault, Said states the following: [his] trajectory as a scholar and researcher noted for his interest in sites of political intensitythe asylum, the hospital, the prison, the academy, the army, and so onmoved from what appeared to be insurrectionary scholarship to a kind of scholarship that confronted the problem of power from the position of someone who believed that ultimately very little resistance was possible to the controls of a disciplinary or carceral society. There is a kind of quietism that emerges at various points in Foucaults career: the sense that everything is historically determined, that ideas of justice, of good and evil, and so forth, have no innate significance, because they are constituted by whoever is using them.26 In contradistinction to this, Said states the following: the whole of Fanons work is based upon the notion of genuine historical change by which oppressed classes are capable of liberating themselves from their oppressors. This is an important difference; its one of the things I still find especially valuable in Fanon. He not only talked about historical change, but was also capable of diagnosing historically, psychologically, and culturally the nature of the oppression and addressing ways of removing it.27 Said goes on to articulate a further point concerning Fanon in stating that the solidarity which is implicit in Fanons work is solidarity with an emergent class, an emergent movement, rather than with an established one. Said goes on to speculate in this regard, saying that had Fanon lived on into the first few years of Algerian statehood, his position would have been a very complicated one, and I dont think that he would necessarily have stayed on; he might have moved on to some other region.28 In another interview, dating from 1992, Said affirms that [o]ne ought to be able to talk more interestingly [. . .], to make more precise the interpretations of various political and intellectual communities where the issue is not independence but liberation, [which is] a completely different thing. What Fanon calls the conversion, the transformation, of national consciousness into political and social consciousness, hasnt yet taken place. Its an unfinished project, and thats where I think my work has begun.29 To bring forth the rather radical contrasts still further, on another occasion, in yet another interview, one dated 1993, Said states that Foucault always seems to align himself with power. He is like a scribe of a kind of irresistible, ineluctable power. And I was writing [Orientalism] in order to

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Further on in this interview, Said describes the temperamental and yet, as he puts it, very real difference between himself and Foucault. He describes this difference as the Gramsci factor.31 Said refers to the well-known passage from Gramscis Notebooks that he quotes in Orientalism.32 He paraphrases it thus: The starting point of critical elaboration is the consciousness of what one really is, and is knowing thyself as a product of the historical process to date, which has deposited in you an infinity of traces, without leaving an inventory. Therefore, it is imperative at the outset to compile such an inventory.33 Said goes on to say, [y]ou see? That was the difference. It is saying not just, there it is [meant to characterize the main thrust of Foucaults work as descriptive], but then, by you making an inventoryand this is where the influence of Vico was very importantyou give it a kind of structure that allows you then to confront it, dismantle it. And that is what was terribly important for me in Orientalism.34 An aspect of what I am suggesting here is that Said could have just as meaningfully affirmed, its the Fanon factor, as the previous interviews suggest. In an interview conducted in 1996, by Saids former student Gauri Viswanathan, Said spoke of becoming more interested in ways in which theories are borrowed, and used again and made even more radical.35 The example Said uses is most noteworthy in that he returns to an example he first examined in his well-known essay Traveling Theory, in which his main point, as he put it retrospectively, was that the production of a theory is rooted in historical and social circumstances, sometimes great crises, and therefore, to understand the theory, its not important to see it as a kind of abstract thing but rather to see it as something that emanates from an existential need. And then, of course, it gets used again. Once it becomes appropriated by others, of course, it loses that particular charge, but therefore, its the job of the intellectual and the historian to try to understand it in terms of that early beginning.36 The example Said goes back to is that of Georg Lukcs, about which he says the following: One of the examples that struck me very powerfully was the insight that Lukcs had of the subject and the object. The tension between them, in History and

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Class Consciousness, is used by people like Lucien Goldmann and Raymond Williams and made slightly softer. It becomes an academic, if you like, purely intellectual, as opposed to a social and political issue. But in the case of somebody like Fanon, I discovered fortuitously that Fanon had read a French translation of Lukcs Hegelian idea, and introduced it into the colonial context, in which the conflict and the contrast, the opposition, is between the settler and the native, and Fanon, then, shows that it has to explode: Theres no way of reconciling the two. So there, a theory in which Lukcs, in the beginning, shows how the subject and the object can be reconciled to each other, is transformed into something much more radical, but most of the time that doesnt happen.37 Before looking at the following exchanges, a few points may be added. Not only does Alessandrini weave Saids Traveling Theory and his Traveling Theory Reconsidered into his considerations of the commonalities between Said and Fanon, but another contemporary Fanon scholar, Nigel Gibson, also sees in it an important theoretical and practical framework for considering Fanons work.38 The reason why Saids notion of traveling theory has found its way into Fanon scholarship is due to the fact that in reconsidering his notion of traveling theory, Said overturned it, largely, due to the example furnished by Fanon. As stated, the main idea of Saids initial formulation of traveling theory is that theories, like all else, are born within a specific historical context, and that when they are taken up again in other contexts, the theory is generally weakened insofar as the context to which it was in part an existential response is now largely stripped away from it.39 In Fanon, Said came to see something of the opposite of this diffusive tendency (being the more generalized traveling theory phenomenon). Au contraire, Fanon appropriated theory from other authors, and yet managed to redeploy these in such a fashion as to not lose but rather alter and augment the theorys charge. Like Saids interest in Fanon, his interest in Traveling Theory has an intellectual history within the development of Saids thought. Abdirahman A. Hussein has correctly observed that much of Saids later thought can be traced back to earlier roots that began taking shape in his Beginnings: Intention and Method.40 In Beginnings, Said suggests [that] we consider literature [here understood in its broadest sense] as an order of repetition, not of originalitybut an eccentric order of repetition, not one of samenesswhere the term repetition is used in order to avoid such dualities as the original versus the derivative, or the idea and its realization, or model/paradigm versus example; and where eccentric is used in order to emphasize the possibilities for difference within repetition and to signify that while authors, works, periods, and influences are notions that pertain to writing in specific cases, they are really terms used to describe irregularities of varying degrees and qualities within writing as a whole.41

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This can be viewed as partly Foucauldian, Foucault having been seminal in our understanding of how archives gain weight within the world, this in part through repetition. Later in the same text, in discussing insights gleaned from Paul Valry, Said aligns the notion of originality with magical language, whereas the notion of eccentric repetition is meant to deal with influences in a secular manner. Said quotes the following line of Valrys: what a man does either repeats or refutes what someone else has done . . .42 This may remind one of what critical distance Said did take in Orientalism vis--vis Foucault. There he writes: Yet unlike Michel Foucault, to whose work I am greatly indebted, I do believe in the determining imprint of individual writers upon the otherwise anonymous collective body of texts constituting a discursive formation like Orientalism. The unity of the large ensemble of texts I analyze is due in part to the fact that they frequently refer to each other: Orientalism is after all a system for citing works and authors. [. . .] Foucault believes that in general the individual text or author counts for very little; empirically, in the case of Orientalism (and perhaps nowhere else) I find this not to be so. Accordingly my analyses employ close textual readings whose goal is to reveal the dialectic between individual text or writer and the complex collection to which his work is a contribution.43 The Orientalist author is obviously not dead for Said. Did Said generally believe in the death of the author (associated variously with the work of Claude Lvi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida, etc.)? I think the balance of his work since Orientalism shows that he does not. Why then state that Orientalism may have been unique as he does in this last quotation? Tersely stated, one must always keep in mind that his Orientalism is explicitly a polemic and that many choices are in fact rhetorical strategies adopted for the sake of political polemic. Orientalism did get to ride the wave in part propelled by the Foucault cultural fashion. Having this in mind enables one a better, more focused, look at the following exchanges of the same aforementioned interview, since they are also crucial. They are crucial in order to understand Saids disenchantment with, and demystification of, Foucault. Viswanathan asks Said if he had hoped to do something similar to what Fanon had done with Lukcs, but with Foucault. Said answered that he was much more interested in the material than . . . in theories and that [b]y that time, that is, by the time he began writing Orientalism, he had already begun to lose interest in Foucault.44 Further, his former student asks him to respond to the reading of his Orientalism, which sees it as rendering . . . discourse as power and that sees it as really interested in how that power is constituted rather than how it impacts on the subordinated peoples.45 Said accepts this as a fair criticism and goes on to make the following points: I think I was very limited in what I was trying to do, that is to say, I was trying to look at the way in which a certain view of the Orient was created and

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accompanied, or perhaps was used to subordinate the Orient during the period of imperialism beginning with the conquest of Egypt by Napoleon. And thats all I was trying to do. I had nothing to say about what the Orient was really like. I said nothing about the possibility of resistance to it.46 It is at this juncture that Said moves to contrast this view of his work with his view of Foucaults work. About this he states the following: one of the things that I think Foucault is very wrong about is that he always writes from the point of view of power. Its strange, most people think of him as a rebel, but he had this side to him which James Miller writes about in his book on Foucault, suggesting that all of Foucaults work is really an exemplification of his peculiar form of homosexuality and his interest in sado-masochism . . . Foucault is always talking about power from the point of view, on the one hand, of the way power always wins; and then, succumbing to that power, he talks about the victims of power with a certain amount of pleasure . . . [T]hat always struck me as wrong, and my attitude to power, in Orientalism and elsewhere, has always been deeply suspicious and hostile. It took me another ten years to actually make that more explicit in Culture and Imperialism, where I was very interested not only in talking about the formation of imperialism, but also of resistances to it, and the fact that imperialism could be overthrown and wasas a result of resistance and decolonization and nationalism. But in Orientalism, I never talk about discourse the way Foucault does in The Archaeology of Knowledge, for example, as something that has its own life and can be discussed separately from the realm of the real, or what I would call the historical realm . . . one of the things of which I am most proud of is that I try to make discourse go hand-in-hand with an account of conquest, the creation of instruments of domination, and techniques of surveillance that were rooted not in theory but in actual territory.47 One could spend a good deal of time and energy debating the relative pertinence or impertinence of these readings of Foucaults oeuvre. However, this is not this chapters focus. The fact remains that Saids perceptions of Foucault were, at this stage, as he describes them earlier. Another possibly crucial dimension of this progressive disillusionment that should be kept in mind is that Millerinforming his readers that in this regard Said is literally his informantnotes that a decisive factor in the undoing of the close ties that Foucault and Gilles Deleuze once shared was the fact that Foucault was staunchly pro-Israeli, whereas Deleuze, staunchly pro-Palestinian.48 Although, as far as I have been able to tell, this has never been adequately discussed in the secondary literature about Saids life and thought, especially in their relations with Foucault, one may very well wonder if this was not an equally decisive factor in his own disenchantment with Foucault.49

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As we have seen, Said arrived at an understanding of himself as in stark contrast with Foucault. We have also noted that Said equally saw Chomsky and Fanon as being in stark contrast with Foucault. Therefore, from this it is evident that the observations made by the theorists examined in this chapters previous section dovetail well with Saids expressed thought, examined earlier, thus warranting a more sustained comparison of Said and Fanon.

3. Fanon and Said Side-by-Side


Each generation must . . . discover its mission, or betray it. Frantz Fanon

To begin with, both Fanon and Said received a similarly elite colonial education. Both observed how they were schooled in a colonial language and that a consequence was that other languages, Arabic in Saids case, Martiniques Creole in Fanons, were, in a manner of speaking, forcibly displaced. Attending the lyce as did Fanon was a circumstance available only to approximately 4 percent of the black population of Martinique at that time.50 In Peau noire, masques blancs, Fanon would remark that in Martinique, [l]a langue officiellement parle est le franais; les instituteurs surveillent troitement les enfants pour que le crole ne soit pas utilis.51 In his memoir, Said states that he is unsure which language, either Arabic or English, he spoke first.52 At age five, Said began attending the Gezira Preparatory School. Said places great emphasis on the fact that the teaching given at Gezira Preparatory School, its lessons and books, were mystifyingly English, describing this as lessons in English glory, stating that we were all treated as if we should (or really wanted to) be English.53 In 1946, Said entered the Cairo School for American Children. The American approach to education in Egypt was different. For one, part of the American approach in this context was to institute the teaching of Arabic for all children. Up until this point, Saids formal education had been in English, and so he recollects remarkable difficulty formally studying Arabic.54 In 1949, at age fourteen, Said went to Victoria College.55 Cairos Victoria College was less posh than its Alexandria parent, which had been in existence three decades and had a much more imposing roster of students (King Hussein of Jordan, among others).56 In remembering his initial impression of Victoria College, Said recalls how a little pamphlet entitled The School Handbook immediately turned [him and his Arab classmates] into natives. He writes that [t]he students were seen as paying members of some putative colonial elite that was being schooled in the ways of a British imperialism that had already expired, though we did not fully know it. Said goes on to state that he and his classmates were never given proper instruction in our own language, history, culture, and geography. He states that he and his classmates were tested as if we were English boys, trailing

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behind an ill-defined and always out-of-reach goal from class to class, year to year, with our parents worrying along with us.57 Of his experiences at Victoria College, he states that they had irreversibly severed my links with my old life . . . [W]e all felt that we were inferiors pitted against a wounded colonial power that was dangerous and capable of inflicting harm on us, even as we seemed compelled to study its language and its culture as the dominant one in Egypt.58 Saids choice of words itself, a wounded colonial power, brings to mind A Dying Colonialism, the English title given to Fanons Lan V de la rvolution algrienne.59 Said goes on to state that the first rule laid out in The School Handbook is that English is the language of the school. Anyone caught speaking other languages will be severely punished. He writes that because of this rule Arabic became our haven, a criminalized discourse where we took refuge from the world of masters . . . who lorded it over us as enforcers of the hierarchy and its rules. He says that because of this rule, he and his classmate spoke Arabic more as opposed to less. Speaking Arabic became for them an act of defiance.60 Much of the underlying basis of such conflictual situations, Fanon describes in Peau noire, masques blancs. Ironically phenomenological, he writes, le Noir Antillais sera dautant plus blanc, cest--dire se rapprochera dautant plus du vritable homme, quil aura fait sienne la langue franaise . . . Un homme qui possde le langage possde par contrecoup le monde exprim et impliqu par ce langage. On voit o nous voulons en venir : il y a dans la possession du langage une extraordinaire puissance.61 The power of language Fanon described in the following terms: Parler, cest tre mme demployer une certain syntaxe, possder la morphologie de telle ou telle langue, mais cest surtout assumer une culture, supporter le poids dune civilization.62 Furthermore, although Fanon acknowledges that this notion itself is not originally his, he makes note of the fact that [t]out idiome est une faon de penser.63 One might here also be reminded of Saids claim that Orientalism be understood as a style of thought.64 In the first sentence of the key chapter, entitled Le Noir et le langage, Fanon states that he attributes une importance fondamentale au phnomne du langage.65 Not only is this, at the very least, comparable to the Foucauldian focus on discourse, as I shall go on to discuss, but one might also wish to remember the study Fanon had explicitly projected for himself in Peau noire, masques blancs, and yet never completed, namely, a study that he had wanted to entitle Le language et laggressivit.66 As is well known, Fanons program did not aim at assimilation; on the contrary, on Peau noire, masques blancs opening page, Fanon states that to speak is to exist absolutely for others; parler, cest exister absolument pour lautre. He also quotes Marx: Il ne sagit plus de connatre le

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monde, mais de la transformer.67 Obviously, Fanons aim was beyond mere selftransformation for the sake of assimilative integration; his high aim was, after all, a collective transformation. Fanon also observes that il y a un rapport de soutnement entre la langue et la collectivit. Parler une langue, cest assumer un monde, un culture.68 Here, le langage is understood as linstrument culturel.69 This idea is linked with affirmations such as the following: Ce que nous affirmons, cest que lEuropen a une ide dfinie du Noir.70 On comprend . . . que la premire raction du Noir soit de dire non ceux qui tentent de le definir.71 One significant way of seeing this is to note that Fanon is able to do much of what Said would later do in his Orientalismalthough concerned with distinct peoplesthough without the notion discourse. Looking at Saids Orientalism with this also in mind, one might begin to think that discourse was used by Said only to further problematize, methodologically, politically, and morally, certain widespread uses of language, and yet one also sees that Fanon had been doing something akin to this, well before the notion of discourse became a sine qua non of critical thought. These last two quotes drawn from Fanons work bring one closer to another of Fanons key comparisons, namely, of colonialism with Manichaeism, and this via a core topic operative within Saids work as well, namely, that of representations. The Manichaeism Fanon discusses is erected between the colonized and the colonizer, the Black and the White, as when Fanon defines this colonized worldview: le Blanc et le Noir reprsentent les deux ples dun monde, ples en lutte perptuelle,72 qualifying this as a vritable conception manichiste du monde.73 One may recall the initial definition of Peau noire, masques blancs: un essai de comprhension du rapport Noir-Blanc,74 to which Fanon adds that [l]e Blanc est enferm dans sa blancheur. Le Noir dans sa noirceur.75 Indeed, Said is correct then to emphasize that Fanons work is about confinement in a manner not totally unlike Foucaults work. Like Fanon, the Manichaeism Said discusses is also one established between the colonized and the colonizer, but this time the Orient and the West are the instantiations of these two poles of confinement. Saids Orientalism is both a more and a less politically correct work than Fanons, and this even with the dust that has settled since their respective initial printings. Orientalism is more politically correct in that Said does not manifestly try to show his readers how existing Orientals are the result of representations constructed by and for the West. On this front, Said does not yet advance overtly. This is a significant point when thinking of Lazaruss discussion of how some of Fanons critics entirely miss Fanons bitingly ironic social constructivism. Fanon did write powerfully; for example, just before concluding his introduction to Peau noire, masques blancs, Fanon distinguishes the Black who wishes to be White from the Black who wishes to discover the meaning of Black identity, both of which he will show to be problematic. Fanon proceeds to say that White civilization has imposed an existential deviation on Blacks. Then Fanon writes that souvent ce quon appelle lme noire est une construction du Blanc, that is, to use Jock McCullochs rendition, what is often deemed Black Soul is White

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Artifact.76 Said choose to steer clear of such weighty claims to some extent by stating that he did not doubt the Orients reality.77 He doubted the realism of the Wests representations of the Orient and he doubted that it had no impact upon the Orient. He did not doubt the Orient in itself so to speak; neither did he doubt the strategic advantages procured for the West via what he deemed orientalist representations of the Orient. In so doing, he could remain explicitly (although not implicitly) on the level of representations only. But this choice has a flip side. Saids Orientalism can and has been judged a less politically correct work becauseas Gauri Viswanathan observesthe text does not really depict the so-called Empire writing (and fighting) back, but rather, to use a Wittgensteinian phrase, it merely displays one instance of this resistance. He had not discussed the means adopted to circumvent the power of Western representation. Some of Saids critics have read this as not giving voice to the voiceless.78 One of Saids main aims was to not detach the Orient from the West, but to show that via its representations of the Orient, the West attempted to create a certain civilizational self-image for itself. Keeping this in mind, one might recall the following words of Fanons: Linfriorisation est le corrlatif indigne de la supriorisation europenne. Ayons le courage de le dire : cest le raciste qui cre linfrioris. Par cette conclusion, nous rejoignons Sartre : Le Juif est un homme que les autres hommes tiennent pour Juif : voil la vrit simple do il faut partir . . . Cest lantismite qui fait le Juif .79 At this juncture, one might wish to note this theorys traveling and its symbolic return. Sartres reflections on the Jewish question are taken up by Fanon who constellates an association between how Jews are made to remain confined in a purportedly monolithic identity by anti-Semitism, on the one hand, and on the other hand, how colonized peoples are made to remain confined to a purportedly monolithic category of entities, also of an inferior state, by racist imperialists and colonizers. And so, via Fanon, Sartres ideas concerning anti-Semitism and Jewish people are appropriated and aptly redeployed by Said, not only regarding Orientalism and Oriental peoples in general, but more specifically, in relation to the Palestinians and the questions surrounding their plight.80 Said also focused on how Orientalism creates the West; just as Fanon notes in this last passage, belittling aggrandizes the belittler. Before concluding, a look at some of Fanon and Saids more conclusive thoughts, in Peau noire, masques blancs and in Orientalism, respectively, is also warranted. In critiquing Mannonis work on the psychology of colonialism, Fanon states that he is unlike Mannoni for the following reasons: Je crois sincrement quune exprience subjective peut tre comprise par autrui; et il ne me plat nullement de venir en disant: le problme noir est mon problme, moi seul, puis

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de me mettre ltudier. Mais il me semble que M. Mannoni na pas essay de ressentir par le dedans le dsespoir de lhomme de couleur en face du Blanc. Je me suis attach dans cette tude toucher la misre du Noir. Tactilement et affectivement. Je nai pas voulu tre objectif. Dailleurs, cest faux : il ne ma pas t possible dtre objectif. En vrit, y a-t-il donc une diffrence entre un racisme et un autre? Ne retrouve-t-on pas la mme chute, la mme faillite de lhomme?81 It is especially the second sentence and the last sentence of this passage that should be closely scrutinized, so as to place them side-by-side with one of Saids concluding sentences in Orientalism: I consider Orientalisms failure to have been a human as much as an intellectual one; for in having to take up a position of irreducible opposition to a region of the world it considered alien to its own, Orientalism failed to identify with human experience, failed to see it as human experience.82 The closeness in content, and even in tone, is remarkable to say the least. In this respect, one might wish to add into the melee of this comparative framework the following quote from Sartres work on anti-Semitism, in which he states the following: [pour lantismite] . . . [l]e Juif nest ici quun prtexte : ailleurs on se servira du ngre, ailleurs du jaune. Son existence permet simplement lantismite dtouffer dans luf ses angoisses en se persuadant que sa place a toujours t marque dans le monde, quelle lattendait et quil a, de tradition, le droit de loccuper. Lantismitisme, en un mot, cest la peur devant la condition humaine. Lantismite est lhomme qui veut tre roc impitoyable, torrent furieux, foudre dvastatrice : tout sauf un homme.83 Much more would need to be said about Saids eccentric repetitions of key notion found in Fanons works (and in that of Sartre).84 An innumerable list of passages from Fanons oeuvre seem to cry out for comparison with passages the latter articulated (always again as it were) within Saids oeuvre. Saids insistence on the secularity of the humanism he envisioned and tried to exemplify would be aptly compared, for example, with the central thrusts of the following passage of Fanon: [l]e recours un langage technique signifie que lon est dcid considrer les masses comme des profanes. Ce langage dissimule mal le dsir des confrenciers de tromper le peuple, de le laisser en dehors. Lentreprise dobscurcissement du langage est un masque derrire lequel se profile une plus vaste entreprise de dpouillement. On veut la fois enlever au peuple et ses biens et sa souverainet. On peut tout expliquer au peuple condition toutefois quon veuille vraiment quil comprenne.85 In this, much so-called French Theory and much that is influenced by it, is rather unlike Said; much of the prose one associates with French Theory being

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rather inelegant or unclear, or as Said put it, rebarbative and inaccessible.86 Insofar as Fanon sees something religious in this, one might wish to add that il est vrai que la dmarche de lintellectuel colonis prend quelquefois les aspects dun culte, dune religion.87 In this, the very notion of a postcolonial holy trinity is telling.88 For Said, again neither originality nor influence are magical and his view of secular humanism aimed to avoid such further complications within the already complex colonial/postcolonial situation.

4. In the Disguise of a Conclusion


Perhaps the best is always cumulative . . . I would not give a straw for that person or poem, or friend or city, or work of art, that was not more grateful the second time than the firstand more still the third. Nay, I do not believe any grandest ever comes forth at first . . . (no absolute rule about it, however). Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: Selected Poetry and Prose

In this chapter, I have noted that Said, considered by many as postcolonialisms founder, came to adopt a stance at odds with the theoretical backdrop through which he has generally been read. I have also shown that the work of certain theorists, as well as some of Saids own expressed thoughts, suggests that he be interpreted as more Fanonian than Foucauldian. In comparing these two seminal figures, Fanon and Said, I have highlighted areas of their work that display not only an affinity on the level of content, but also on the level of the works more subtle tonalities. Both Fanon and Said were powerful social and cultural critics, and the basis of their respective critical praxis shares a common criterion, namely, their respective humane hope and longing for both a new humanism, and, consequently, a new humanity; for what Aim Csaire once called The Rendez-Vous of Victory.89 Although some critics have begun to argue along some of these same lines, one of this chapters main objectives has been to further elaborate the claim that Fanon is also a pivotal figure in the genesis of postcolonialism; its genealogy is indeed historically complex, as Robert J. C. Young rightly suggests and yet, in order for more of this complexity to be acknowledged, Said scholarship as well as postcolonial scholarship will also need to look beyond Foucault (though I do not wish to claim that he should be forgotten). The question of whether the so-called general conceptual paradigm constituted by postcolonialism, not to mention Saids Orientalism, stands or falls, entirely depending on the validity and soundness of the Foucauldian notion of discourse, still remains to be addresses more comprehensively. In the foregoing, I have provided some indications suggesting that postcolonial scholarship is rooted in questions that emerge at deeper layers of its historical archive than the relatively recent layers of Said and Foucault, and for this reason then, postcolonialism is not as

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dependent on either as is typically thought. Here I have begun to move down a layer, archeologically speaking, to that of Fanon and Sartre, for example. By drawing on Descombes work, one might go further, suggesting that because postcolonial thought has been largely shaped by one greatly impressed by key ideas found in Fanon and Sartre and that their whole generation, so to speak, was in the grips of a key chapter of Hegels Phenomenology (i.e., chapter 4), then, when viewed from this angle, postcolonialism is not so startlingly novel or foreign. This is not to say that in Hegel lies all of the true novelty and strangeness either.90 Cusset more than tacitly suggests, in part drawing on Saids notion of traveling theory, that it is through the transfer beyond cultural fault-lines that at one time the likes of Hegel and Husserl became such catalysts of French philosophical thought and that later, the likes of Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida, and so on became catalysts of North American critical reflection. After all, one might say that the fourth chapter of Hegels Phenomenology can readily be understood as taking up concerns found in prior works, like that of Diderot or Rousseau, to take two examples that spring immediately to mind. Aspects of these questions could even be brought at least as far back as the so-called cradle of Western Philosophy, to ancient Greece; one obvious example being Platos Meno.91 In the Meno, not only does Socrates demonstrate that slave and master both share in reasonbegging the question concerning the distinction between slave and freeman if not found in the innate capacity for reasonbut also, another key scene is that in which Meno asks the paradoxical question how one is to recognize the face of the one sought, if the one sought is not previously known to the seeker. Although in the Meno this paradox is very much an epistemological one, today, in an academic setting informed by the recent historical and intellectual struggles described by the likes of Descombes and Cusset, as well as by the works of the likes of Sartre, Fanon, Foucault and Said, epistemological dilemmas of Platos Meno cannot help sound as if presaging a deeply ethical one: the will to approach the other without violently reducing him or her to the order of the same or to a strategic self-aggrandizing function within the sames imaginary life-world.92 Only by acknowledging the historical depths of the questions re-actualized by postcolonial thought will its out-of-place location be secured for it to continue making less secure the belief that ones place in the world is given, by nature, by tradition, or by divine decree. Postcolonialisms voice must not be wholly lost within the polyphony of todays academy, nor in todays world; the former not being a reclusive ivory tower but rather a critical reflection of, on and very much invested in, the latter.

Chapter 6

Convergences: The Other Arab Muslims and The Other America

It is not every spirit that enters the glass bottle. Arabic proverb

One of the last pieces Said published is an essay entitled The Other America.1 The essays title brings to mind an earlier piece, which he wrote ten years prior, entitled The Other Arab Muslims.2 The convergences merely begin with their respective titles.3 Both essays sketch what Said deemed the proverbial flipsides of these realities, the aspects of both these groups which all-too-often remain hidden or under-acknowledged. In this sense, his task in both these pieces is to challenge the prevailing stereotypes, that of the Muslim Arab world on the one hand, and that of America on the other. In this chapter, I take up Saids view of the Arab worlds relations with Islamism and secularism as expressed in his The Other Arab Muslims essay. I draw out some of the contexts of the essays production. This step specifically draws out two points. First, that this piece belongs to a general group of texts within Saids overall production that I describe as polemical portraiture; I argue that this description is an apt one in that it highlights this styles similitude to that of both Albert Memmi and Frantz Fanon, for example. The rhetorical similarities these authors share is a point I will return to. The second point, one that needs to be kept in mind while reading this essay, is that it is a response to Samuel P. Huntingtons initial formulation of his by now infamous clash of civilization thesis. Once these points are made plain, I move on to examine Saids view of Americas relations with religionfundamentalist religiosities includedas well as with forms of secularism as expressed in his The Other America. Last, I draw attention to the commonalities between these two contexts: one Middle Eastern and one American. Saids main point here, as I read him, is that these are not entirely two disparate sets of issues, nor are they reducible to one. In the chapters conclusion, I not only reconnect The Other Arab Muslims with Huntingtons clash of civilization thesis, which it critiques, I also make connections between Saids view of America, as found in his essay The Other America, with that of Huntington, namely, via the latters recent book Who are

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We? The Challenge to Americas National Identity,4 a work that reads uncannily like a paradigmatic example of what Said had attempted to ward off in his essay The Other America. In concluding, I draw attention to the fact that these two intellectual adversaries, Huntington and Said, prove by exemplification some of each others most staunchly held critical positions.

1. The Text in the World of The Other Arab Muslims


As noted, the essays in question deconstruct stereotyped images of people and place, and this by representing the so-called underrepresented, or rather, by promoting underrepresented representations of themselves. Central to Saids The Other Arab Muslims are those who might be thought of as the silent secularists of the Arab Muslim world. However, this is not an apt description. According to Said, it is largely due to the fact that, in the West, the lions share of the medias and of policymakers attention is on the so-called anti-secularists, on the radical politics of certain fundamentalists, such that we tend to not see, nor hear the secularists. In this sense, Said writes that [i]n the obsession only with rabid fundamentalists [. . .], there has been a quite significant blotting out (avoidance and ignorance perhaps) of the many quite well known Muslim interpreters all across the Arab world who dispute the literalism and dogmatism of the orthodox.5 Said categorically states that [t]he point about all of them [about the secularists], however, is that they are not marginal or frightened figures cowering in the wings as ulama take over center stage, but men and women who have large audiences and speak bravely and openly.6 In having granted fundamentalists the lions share of attention, their so-called program gets amplified, thus drowning out that of the under-acknowledged secularists of the Arab Muslim world. It is no mystery how this happens; in general terms, the media is in the business of always having sensational cover-stories. Actual or would-be policy-gurus are likely to focus on deeply entrenched problems to the exclusion of less attention grabbing solutions already in the process of addressing them.7 It is to these less attention grapping solutions challenging the so-called challenge of fundamentalism that Said draws our attention, in discussing the already existing struggles for democracy and secularism in the Arab world.8 Saids The Other Arab Muslims begins by discussing two essays that appeared in the spring of 1993 edition of Foreign Affairs, one claiming that an Islamic threat exists, the other viewing this position as largely contrived. This brief discussion acts as Saids initial pretext to then discuss his point of view vis--vis the Arab Islamic world. He begins by admitting the overt signs of an extraordinary social and political ferment in the Arab Islamic worldwith Irans simmering Islamic Revolution dangerously adjacentare there for everyone to see.9 He briefly highlights the contours of internal strife within Egypt, Sudan, Algeria,

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the West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and so on. He then moves on to make note of the fact that due to our ingrained habits as citizens of a superpower [. . .] we tend to process all [. . .] disturbing bits of information through an us-versus-them filter.10 After briefly alluding to this rather Manichean habit of mind, Said moves into a brief discussion of Huntingtons clash of civilization thesis, which had been initially published earlier that very same year, again in Foreign Affairs, and was already gaining converts. About the Huntingtonian worldview, Said says the following: There is now [. . .] a new attention to what the Harvard former Vietnam War expert, Samuel Huntington, has called the clash of civilizations: Thus, Islam and the West are seen as irreconcilably at odds. This of course assumes that the West and Islam are watertight categories, and basically ones in which every Westerner and every Muslim is somehow completely at one with his or her respective civilizational category.11 Said goes on to state that [t]he fact is that neither Islam nor its alleged opposite is homogenous or all-inclusive. Diversity is a reality that has to be acknowledged.12 It is this diversity, this under-acknowledged heterogeneity, that Said wishes to bring further into the light. In both casesin his 1993 essay describing the Islamic civilizations non-identity with itself, and ten years later, in 2003, describing Americas non-identity with itselfSaids main point is largely the same: the dominant stereotypes not only do not do justice to the deep inner struggles going on, but the stereotypes have harmful effects. Foreshadowing these comparisons between these two essays, Said writes in the earlier of the two pieces, that obviously, to be a citizen of Egypt or of the United States is not the same thing; but what if at present everyone happens to share in the difficulty of the question, what does it mean to be an American (or an Egyptian), and what is the relationship between tradition and present identity?13 Later in the essay, Said develops this parallel in saying that: at a time when tremendous political change seems to have occurred everywhere on earth, there has also been a sudden closeness felt between cultures and peoples that have usually been distant and distinct. The worldly culture of electronic communications, consumerism, transnational commerce and business that has transformed countries like Egypt and Jordan, for example, has also sent many people in them back into themselves to ask, Who are we, and what does it mean now to be Arab and Muslim? In a different way, Europeans are asking themselves the same question, especially since in France and Britainto name only two casessociety now includes large numbers of postcolonial African, Caribbean, and Asian immigrants (many of them Muslim) who have broken the old homogeneity of Smiths and Duponts.14

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To concretize these cross-civilizational comparisonsto adapt the terms of Huntingtons nomenclatureSaid draws his readers attention to a phenomenon that at the time was very much on the mind of many North American (or North Atlantic) academics and intellectuals, and subsequently came to be known as the culture wars. It is important to remember that Allen Blooms surprisingly popular book The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Todays Students had appeared only six years prior, in 1987.15 Said characterizes the so-called culture wars as tremendously contentious debates between advocates of multiculturalism and the canon.16 He goes on to say the following: This is not only an academic question [. . .] since every society forms an image of itself and of its citizens in order to maintain a coherent identity, which in a democracy is supposed to be fulfilled or realized or at least managed by the nations government. But as more and more social and ethnic differences appearas an immigrant culture the United States is particularly liable to the discontent of minority groups who do not feel that Columbus, Jefferson, and Emerson represent their experiencesthe dangers of fragmentation or disunity, in Arthur Schlesingers phrase, are evident. In other words, we need to regard society as the locale in which a continuous contest between adherents of several ideas of the national identity is taking place.17 In this regard then, consider Jacinta OHagans characterization: Saids conception of cultures is [. . .] dynamic in that he perceives them as constantly in the process of reconstitution, influenced by contemporary needs.18 Regarding these ceaseless reconstitutive struggles, Said says I think this is exactly what is occurring in Arabic Islamic countries today.19 He states that the unfortunate thing is that in the West we tend to think of that contest as already decided in favor of Islam as a war against us, and adds as if the most significant thing to take place in Egypt or Saudi Arabia has had to do only with attitudes toward the West. The contest is deeper, more interesting, and far less determined that that.20 Said did see that there is a real internal contest in Arab Muslim societies between various interpretations of Islam and that this context is going on and remains undecided.21 This was and is a contest over the meaning of Islam.22 The Palestinian-born literary comparativist adds that [c]ulture and the discourse of everyday life have now become a major battleground between the Muslim acolytes and their secular opponents23 and that many Muslims [. . .] resent the dogmatic mindlessness gradually insinuating itself everywhere.24 During the summers (of 1992 and 1993) that led up to the writing of The Other Arab Muslims, Said traveled broadly in the places, he tells us, he knew best, that is, the Arab Muslim Middle East, especially Egypt, Lebanon, and the Occupied Territories. He notes the extraordinary richness and many-layered

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quality of the terrain, going on to say that [t]he Arab world today remains turbulent and interestingly unpredictable and, in my opinion, quite resists any neat attempt to compress it into little boxes labeled Islamic or non-Islamic25 Said goes on to observe that from his point of view, countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan were still secular despite the clamorings and debates.26 He lists odd things like post offices, public transit, electricity, the TV, and so on that he deems worldly, secular, with a small s, which from his vantage point are not simply the result of the Wests Empire but rather of willing adaptation, education, and history.27 Said then focuses on education, which from his angle is largely secular and national.28 He states that we will have to acknowledge that ongoing life in the Arab world is itself a dense secular information system that deters and inhibits the alternative, otherworldly views provided by theocrats.29 He clearly states his opinion that to completely de-secularize is as feasible a goal as the wish to roll back the sea.30 Agreeing with Middle East scholars who also make such points, Said observes that political Islam has largely attached itself to matters of public morality and have no precise, coherent, and viable overall program on matters such as economics, industry, agriculture, and so on. In regards to the use of Islamic idioms for political ends, Said says that that is precisely that, presumably meaning that that is not a particularly religious or spiritual form Islam could take, adding that it constitutes no more than a party still involved, but by no means victorious, in the cultural and existential contest over identity and secular power.31 He expresses the view that even though the extreme fundamentalists do share some areas of belief and tradition with the majority, nevertheless they are in the end felt to be too reductive, ascetic, and unyielding for [the] mainstream.32 Said discusses a misunderstanding concerning fundamentalism in the Arab Muslim Middle East, namely, that a great gulf exists between the loud and boisterous fundamentalists and the so-called silent secularists. Ironically, Said suggests that the manner in which the West represents Islamic fundamentalism for itself makes it seem as if it emerges out of an isolated quarter, as if a tribe of aliens suddenly appears over the horizon and invades a placid generic village or town.33 Said sees the reality as being very different; after all, all of these countriesLebanon being the exceptiondeclare Islam as the state religion in their respective constitutions. Said states what to students of religion and culture may seem obvious, that Islam of course is a religion, but it is also a culture, and that this culture, as well as the language in which it is lived have deeply affected or inflected all Arab peoples, Muslim, or Christian, believer or not.34 He discusses his own belong[ing] to one of the distinctly Christian traditions inside the Islamic world and suggests that, for him, it is grossly inaccurate to think of them [i.e., the aforementioned Arab Christian traditions] as separate and outside Islam, which, as he puts it, includes us all.35 Earlier in the essay, Said confesses that as an Arab Christian, he never felt himself to be a part of an aggrieved or marginal minority.36 For Said, Islam is something all Arabs share in, and is

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an integral part of our identity.37 Said concludes this section of his essay by saying that any attempts at severing the tie [i.e., between Arab and Muslim identities] are, I believe, doomed to failure.38 As he puts it later in the essay, [t]he point to be kept in mind, therefore, is that the terrain is Islamic to begin with.39 To the first misrepresentation of Islamic fundamentalism he initially discussesthat it arises from the marginsSaid adds another, namely, that it erupted onto the world scene, like Athena, fully formed. Fundamentalist Islam is not without its local histories. He notes that [f]or at least a hundred years, the Arab nationalist movement and the Islamic reform movement have been intertwined.40 For Said, one could not have addressed Arabism without also addressing Islam.41 Said states that [t]here is simply no way of disassociating the two, even though the new debate about secularism (al-almanah), a relatively unfamiliar word in Arabic, has been gathering momentum here and there in the Arab world.42 In this regard, one should consider the following quotation drawn from Bernard Lewis The Political Language of Islam, in which he highlights one side of the coin, stating: In classical Islam there was no distinction between Church and state. In Christendom the existence of two authorities goes back to the founder, who enjoined his followers to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesars and to God the things which are Gods. Throughout the history of Christendom there have been two powers: God and Caesar, represented in this world by sacerdotium and regnum, or, in modern terms, church and state. They may be in harmony, they may be separated; associated, they may be in conflict; one may dominate, the other may dominate; one may interfere, the other may protest, as we are now learning again. But always there are two, the spiritual and the temporal powers, each with its own laws and jurisdictions, its own structure and hierarchy. In pre-westernized Islam, there were not two powers but one, and the question of separation, therefore, could not arise. The distinction between church and state, so deeply rooted in Christendom, did not exist in Islam, and in classical Arabic, as well as in other languages which derive their intellectual and political vocabulary from classical Arabic, there were no pairs of words corresponding to spiritual and temporal, lay and ecclesiastical, religious and secular. It was not until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and then under the influence of Western ideas and institutions, that new words were found, first in Turkish and then in Arabic, to express the idea of secular.43 Lewis also observes the following: The Turkish word was a neologism, ladini, with the literal meaning of nonreligious. This term, coined by the famous sociologist and nationalist theoretician Ziya Gkalp, was often taken to mean irreligious or even antireligious, and these interpretations further increased the hostility with which

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the notion was received. Later it was replaced by lyik, a loanword from the French. Arabic adopted a term from the usage of the Christian Arabs, who needed to express this notion long before it aroused the interest or concern of Muslims. The word they created was lam n, from alam, world, thus meaning worldly, as opposed to other-worldly or spiritual. In modern times, it has been revocalized and is pronounced ilm n, and it is taken to mean scientific, from ilm, knowledge or science, as opposed to religious. This is entirely a mistaken etymology and interpretation.44 Since the late 1980s, Lewis perspective on this question has changed very little. It seems clear that he would argue that this is for good reason, the Islamic world not having changed significantly from his vantage point. In the chapter Secularism and Civil Society, in his more recent work, What Went Wrong? The Clash between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East, he writes that there is no sense at all in which one can speak of a laity among Muslims, that Islam is characterized by both [t]he absence of a native secularism and by the widespread [. . .] rejection of an imported secularism.45 I have already noted that this is indeed one side of the coin, implying another, and yet I believe it would be far too polemical to deny that these points of view, which Lewis here develops, do not have many adherents within the Western and the Islamic world. However, there is a flipside. Consider the following from the beginning of Fouad Zakariyas powerful and underexamined book Lacit ou islamisme, les arabes lheure du choix: Tout un dbat a lieu, dans le monde arabe, sur la question de savoir si le terme de lacit (almniyya) est un driv de ilm (science) ou de lam (monde). A ce propos, il est intressant de noter que la thse dominante, chez ceux que lon rattache au camp laciste comme chez les thoriciens de lislamisme, est celle de la drivation partir de lam (monde). De fait, cest au premier abord lhypothse la plus satisfaisante : comme lindique langlais secularism, traduction du franais lacit, la notion renvoie au sicle, cest-dire aux chose de ce monde, qui changent selon les poques, par opposition aux valeurs religieuses, ternelles par dfinition. Pourtant, il ny a pas loin de lintrt pour le monde lintrt pour la science : on sait en effet que lapparition de la science moderne est lie au mouvement de rcupration, par la puissance politique, de la gestion des choses temporelles, au dtriment des institutions ecclsiastiques. La science est par nature temporelle : loin de prtendre lternit, sa plus haute vrit est dtre constamment modifiable et perfectible. Elle est de plus directement lie ce monde en ceci quelle ne prtend pas dcrire ou expliquer les mondes surnaturels ou transcendants : elle fait lhypothse que nous pouvons accder une connaissance prcise du seul monde dans lequel nous vivons, et laisse dautres expriences cognitives, religieuse ou mystique, le soin de dcouvrir ce qui est au-del de ce monde. Autrement dit, la querelle philologique voque plus haut na pas

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grand intrt, puisque les deux explications en prsence sont complmentaires et non contradictoires.46 After noting that debates concerning secularism were prevalent in the Arabic and Muslim world, Said states the following: Western polemicists about Islamand this includes some venerable Orientalistshave emphasized the conjunction in Islam between religion and state (din wa dawla), as if the various Koranic precepts suggesting their correspondence with each other were somehow absolute.47 Some readers may have difficulty interpreting this passage; the standard account of the Koran is that it is the word of God for Muslims: phenomenologically, one cannot get words more absolute. However, the next passage grants a slightly better sense of what Said means. He says that [t]his is a textual fiction, since throughout Islamic history rulers generally acted like rulers everywhere else and not according to some endlessly consulted text.48 Said argues that the power wielded by rulers in Islamic history, as elsewhere in world history, has largely been a secular worldly affair and not entirely (nor even largely) guided by and through a given text only. This is meant as a descriptive statement. This is still, however, not without its problems, hermeneutically, for the student of religion, due to what we might call, in French, our dformations professionnelles, that is, our professional deformations. To get at this it is important to keep in mind the distinction we find in the work of Wilfred Cantwell Smith, for example, distinguishing between the ideal (what a religious person tends to see in his or her own religion, i.e., his or her religion as it ought to be) and the real (what a person tends to see about another persons religion, i.e., the Others religion as it is).49 An idealized construction of a textbased religion would be one in which not only is there endless consultation of the text, but even stronger, the text is learned literally by heart. However, Saids point is not one suggesting a need for more idealizations; ideals yes, but not idealizations of the past, which make realistic and pragmatic applications of ideals in the present (and for the future) more difficult. Although W. C. Smiths desire to discuss so-called Other religious traditions in terms they would see themselves in was (and still is) a laudable aspect of Religious Studies, there is clearly an argument here in Saids work that leads one to see that the internal struggles within a religious community are such that a description suiting everyones wishes is as unlikely as there being no internal struggle within a given religious community. Furthermore, unless one wants to get right down to the theological level, to battle out what is true religion X or Y, one can only accept that a given religion is only what its adherents make of it.50 Again noting the links between Orientalism and Islamic fundamentalism, Said adds the following: [t]here is indeed a curious similarity between recent Western polemics about Islamic fundamentalism and what the fundamentalists themselves say: Both argue as if the early Islam the fundamentalists wish to reinstate was in fact the

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rather simplistic, not to say Pollyanna-ish confection they have so violently been fighting for, and they seem to believe that a return to primitive origins in the late twentieth century is actually possible.51 He adds, again rather point blankly, that [o]f course it is not. According to him, [p]olemics in the Arab world today effectively use Islam as an emotional, attention-getting force to compete with governments and other contestants in the struggle for secular political power. This is not to say that questions of belief, piety, and interpretation are not also very much at stake. They are. . .52 Already within the text in question, Said suggests that globalization has been accompanied by an equally global self-reflexivity, one that has lead many to ask what it means to be X or Y at present. But our purported new closeness to one another in the global village is not the only significant factor to keep in mind. Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart argue, in Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide, that (although many do not want to sound like Marxists anymore) the fact remains that the economic well-being and the existential security of populations greatly effects their religiosities.53 In a compatible light, Said writes: For many Egyptian and Jordanian men and women, with economic insecurity a horrifically persistent fact of daily life, there is some immediate security to be had in dressing demurely, going to prayers, reciting Koranic verses. Those comforts have always been available, but now they are part of a more general and ambitious process of intellectual and political self-questioning. What is modernity for a Muslim? What is our heritage (turath)? Who has and ought to have authority? These are major epistemological problems that now occupy a lot of attention among intellectuals and scholars, even though their equivalents among the populace are a much less finicky and more obvious sort of behaviour.54 He goes on to state that there is a paradox to be observed, namely, in the interactions or overlap between the secular and the religious. He writes that commentators and critics who are (of course) usually Muslim, as well as modern and secular, see no difficulty for them in the mere statement of belonging to the Islamic community . . .55 Said gives examples of intellectuals who claim to be, on the one hand, secularists, and yet quite easily identify with women who adopt pious dress or men who seemed to have re-espoused Islamic ways . . . This was a form of self-expression, somewhat playful and carnivalesque, in a dreary time of drabness and even despair. In any case it has to do with regaining a sense of security.56 He continues in this vein, in stating the following: With perhaps 58 million out of 60 million people in Egypt waking up each day worried about how they are going to get through the day with enough food for themselves and their children, falling back into simple patterns of

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Islamic conformitya scarf over the head, long-sleeved dress, a cap, a beard, frequenting mosques and prayer groups, attachments to a local sheikh seems easy enough to do if a measure of emotional comfort is achieved. I think it would be foolishly wrong to mistake this for the fundamentalism that throws bombs and attempts murders in broad daylight in the name of Islam. That both derive from assertions of an Islamic identity does not mean that they are the same thing at all.57 This said, the Palestinian American cultural critic goes on to discuss that nevertheless, [t]hey are related, however, in one very important way, and this is an additional level of concern.58 Some secular and modern Middle Easterners reject the notion that the Islamists are anything more than a vast oppositional and protest movement.59 Some have suggested that the radical Islamists are the result of an almost unimaginably corrupt and mediocre government, which according to some, have little to no ideas, no vision, no values.60 Said states that in the Middle East, he spoke to no one who argued anything very different about the ruling elites and that [t]his, far more than the terrorist threat, is the core of the problem. Said considers it the core problem in that from his point of view the terrorist threat is only its outgrowth, a symptom; a greater systemic problem, at the level of governance, being the cause. In further articulating this point of view, one that Said calls the central secular argument about the rise of Islamic sentiment everywhere in the Arab world, he places great emphasis on the fact that [f]or most citizens the governments indifference and brutality provokes in them a retreat into a relatively inviolate zone of religious observance. A few take the next stepout into the streets.61 For Said and for those with whom he discussed these problems, Islam was (and is) considered a natural identity to adopt.62 Conclusively, Said states that this prevalent sense of alienation, from the secular world of governance, has therefore been best alleviated for many by Islam, as a communal or oppositional force.63 Here is not the place to debate or judge the Middle Eastern regimes in question. It will suffice for the purposes of this chapter to observe what Said seems to have thought about them then. One point arising in his discussion is that [w]hat matters for many regimes is not [. . .] improving the lot of its people but at its own perpetuation and profit, regardless of the people it is supposed to be serving.64 From his discussions with novelist Gamal Al-Ghitani author of the novel Al-Zayni Barakat, and whom Said considers probably the best known of the Egyptian writers whose generation immediately follows Naguib Mahfouzs, considered by some as Mahfouzs heirSaid characterizes the struggle within the Arab Muslim world as one between those with a sort of forced, sometimes violently applied, and constricting orthodoxy, as formulated by men and women of decidedly mediocre cultural talents, and adherents of a national and Islamic culture that was basically resistant to even the most strenuous pressures of the new, strident orthodoxy. Said goes on to say that there is

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something profoundly unconvincing about the Muslim fundamentalists, and that although they offer a devastating rejection of Egypts dreadful economic and social quandaries, nevertheless they scarcely [offer] an alternative or anything resembling an efficient, real worldview.65 Ghitani told Said in a formulation that expressed the deeper inner quandary felt by many Arabs: In the battle between a religious extremism and terrorism seeking to bring down a corrupt and basically repressive government the choice for many of us, lamentable though it may be, is to side with army and regime. Said observes that implicitly, within this at best qualified support for an unpopular government and a potentially repressive army against theocrats is the absence of a third alternative.66 From his conversations with Gamal al-Ghitani about Islamic resurgence, Said transcribes these words of Ghitanis: We are well known for the constant presence in our life as a people commanded by a pharaoh, or sultan, or some grandiose, larger-than-life ruler like Nasser or Sadat, he began. But things have always changed after the death of a onetime pharaoh. Take the Rifai mosque, built in the midnineteenth century by Khedive Tawfiqs mother. It was supposed to be a memorial to her power and celebrity, but there was also a very poor man, Ahmad Abu Shibak, in the area who used to come to the mosque for shelter and rest. As he had a saintly reputation it was a matter of only a few years before the mosque became known for his corner in it; people come here to pray and in order to be near him. Although five rulers of Egypt, plus the late shah, are buried there, no one visits their graves, whereas candles are kept lit where Ahmad is buried. Even the mosque is named for the Rifai Sufi order (whose founder is buried in Iraq) to which Ahmad belonged. Thats one thing to remember. The other is something that Islamists who have been inspired by desert kingdoms (i.e., the Saudi Wahhabis, whose version of Islam is extremely austere and most unlike Egyptian Islam, which is extremely heterogenous) tend to forget. For us, death and lifetombs and homes, for instancecoexist, nourish each other, are visited with equal familiarity by the people. We are inclusive Muslims; they are exclusivist ones. A persons grave for them is just a hole in the ground, without even a marker next to it. For us its a recognized part of our daily life.67 Much deserves to be said about this passage; revealing is the tone Said finds for their inclusion in his essay. Had Said had absolutely no appreciation for such expression, he simply would not have included this in his essay. Two key points are clearer. One, Said does have more than a modicum of respect for facets of Islamic life such as these (and in this sense, of religion in general). It is a heartwarming story, one that brings to mind the traditional stories told about Sufi figures such as Rabia of Basra, for example. The second point is that once again, the inclusion of these words of Ghitanis within Saids essay makes it evident

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that the heterogeneity within the Islamic world is a point that Said thought could not be emphasized enough.68 Consider the following story Said relates concerning his dialogues with Ghitani. On my last visit, he [Ghitani] was particularly anxious to take me to the Qaitbay district just at the citys eastern outskirts. A desperately poor area, it nevertheless contains two great mosques, one a jewellike house of worship adjoining the mausoleum of Qaitbay, a Mameluke king; the other a rather more imposing structure, the mosque of Ibn Barquq, also a Mameluke ruler. After showing me a few splendid vistas afforded by Ibn Barquqs skillful architect, Ghitani drew me to a stone slab covered with faint hieroglyphic characters that adorn the floor of the mosques entryway. Then he quickly took me to the courtyards central podium, on which a striking birdlike ornament rested. Both the slab and this ornament draw directly and without embarrassment on Egypts pre-Islamic past, which these later Muslim rulers have casually reappropriated for their purposes, Ghitani said. The mixture is here but isnt much acknowledged by most Muslims today, especially because theres been so much controversy about the so-called purity of Islamic culture stirred up by todays Muslim demagogues. Ghitanis examples were, of course, relatively modest, but they rang true and addressed the larger question of identityMuslim and Arabwithout the anger and resentment that has characterized so many recent debates.69 It is significant to note what Said sees as the more important implications of Ghitanis vision. He makes the following observations: But there was a deeper, perhaps even theological, point being made by Ghitani. One of the major polemical themes constantly elaborated on in the discourse of the new Islamic enthusiasts is the idea of jahiliyya. The word derives from the root j-h-l, to be ignorant; jahiliyya means the state of ignorance, but in the Islamic context it has a very powerful traditional significance as referring to the condition of the Arabs before the Islamic revelation was vouchsafed to the Prophet Muhammad. [More recently,] jahiliyya has now taken on the force of religious condemnation, applied wholesale to contemporary politics, culture, and society [and now,] some of the Muslim preachers [. . .] were pronouncing sentences of excommunication against the theatre, film, dancing, and other arts. The use of blanket charges of takfir (or excommunication) [. . .] had roused the cultural community.70 In this regard then, one cannot say that Said had only contempt for religion, for as this makes plain, he even had an ear for the implicit theological implications of the religious architecture his tour-guide and friend put before him; the theological implication being the relative weakness of the view of the supposed complete ignorance of all Arab peoples prior to Islam, and by extension, the

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relative weakness of those who would attribute the label ignorant wholesale onto modernity. Said states that it is not just because economic survival in a difficult local environment is the first order of business, nor simply because the Arab world is far too involved in the secular everyday for even the most redoubtable of militant preachers to take it back into the seventh century. The core point of Saids essay is that [m]any Arabs do say, Let them try, but with the proviso that all sectors of the population, and not just an unpopular, frequently violent government, be given some credit and support by Western governments, academics, and journalists for opposing such takeovers, in the unlikely event that they should occur. In this sense, it is quite clear that Said is attempting to give voice to the Middle Eastern secularists whose voices are underappreciated, lacking the support of the Western world. It is the agencies of the Arab Muslim secularists that, according to Said, keep the extremists at bay. A point to ponder, as this discussion begins to shift its focus from the Arab Muslim Middle East to that of America, is developed in the following: I know of no U.S. policy that supports local human rights movements, or women activists, or independent and critical thinkers. Our allegiance is to the house of Saud, the Kuwaiti Sabahs, Mubaraks Egypt, and so on pretty much down the line. In Cairo and Amman, I heard rumors that the U.S. embassy personnel had been meeting with [Muslim] Brotherhood leaders, doubtless because American policymakers had cautioned against being surprised as they had in Iran. So choked is the official and academic United Sates with fundamentalist projects and books, pamphlets and endless studies of the Islamic threat, that there can be no real dialogue of discovery between Islam and the West. There has simply been too much emphasis on confrontation and incoherent generalization, by which Islam and the West produce caricatures of each other and live off them far too long. Or there is the strategic concept by which Islam is looked at as a contender for power and, therefore, now better courted surreptitiously, just in case one of the militant parties does come to power. Not being a strategist or a politician, I find all the current alternatives basically insufficient and impoverishing. For by supporting the present governments the United States seems like the accomplice, prolonging their incompetence, repressiveness, survival. By starting to cultivate potentially successful political Muslims (as the United States did during the Afghanistan war, with Shaikh [Omar] Abdel Rahman [. . .]), there is the even graver danger not only of giving them unearned stature but of disheartening their secular opponents to whom attention and encouragement needs to be given. But looking at the history of U.S. relations with the Third World, during the past five decades, one can scarcely be optimistic, since only in rare instances have we not opted for local oligarchies and their satellites, like the Muslim fundamentalists, who are unthinkable without the corruption and lack of

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democracy in so many of the Arab countries whose leaders the United States is close to.71 To this, Said adds conclusively that in effect, Western powers, journalists, academic opportunists swing from the perspective of the status quo to its most extreme opponents, ignoring the vast middle ground of people who share and are prepared to fight for democratic values that we say we support. Said adds a difficult and yet blatantly rhetorical question: Could it be that addressing the large number of secular or, at least, nonextremist Muslim Arabs is not so palatable for us because they would require a dialogue of equals, whereas we want outright servants like latter-day versions of Marcos, Sadat, the shah; outright enemies like Khomeini or Saddam Hussein?72

2. The Contextual Worldliness of The Other Arab Muslims


I take it to be natural, for lack of a better word, that after a period of immersion within an authors oeuvre, via a Gestalt-like process, one arrives at classifications of the types of texts constituting the oeuvre in question. Saids The Other Arab Muslims belongs to a group within Saids overall production, one beginning with his essay The Arab Portrayed.73 Again, I would argue that the title recalls certain texts by authors within similarif not to say identicalliterary genres. Parallels jump to mind; first, The Arab Portrayed, as both a title and as an initial example of this genre within Saids production, and Albert Memmis Portrait du colonis as well as Portrait dun juif.74 To better characterize this genre, one can add to this list two other authors work, one preceding Memmis, namely, Sartres Rflexions sur la Question Juive, in which Sartre portrays the anti-Semite, as well as one somewhat contemporaneous, Fanons first and last major works, Peau noir, masques blancs and Les damns de la terre.75 All of these exemplify the mise en pratique of some of critical theorys core claims: purported political neutrality is a politically unexamined position; an unexamined politics is an intellectual weakness; and finally that the only way to examine ones politics is by working through them. This is significant for the study of Saids work in a twofold manner; first, his work cannot be properly understood (or done justice to) outside of this more general framework, and second, to read Said and this literary movement according to other scales, namely, those of so-called political neutrality or political correctness, will generally tend to make it seem lacking in a quality it could not and ultimately would not lay claim to.76 Readers familiar with Frantz Fanons work, for example, will remember a key passage in Peau noir, masques blancs, in which Fanon states that it is not that he did not want to be objective, but rather that the worlds current states-of-affairs have made it impossible.77 Readers familiar with Saids Orientalism will remember passages in which he explicitly writes his world into the text, and this for the

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sake of worldly, secular criticism; in so doing, this displaces the texts otherworldly textuality, thus making it explicitly worldly and self-critical.78 Compare these examples to one from The Other Arab Muslims. Said writes: as someone who grew up in and still has very strong ties to the Arab world (even though I live and work in the United States), I feel much more like a participant in the contest than a self-indulgent spectator. I am not alone in believing that the prospects of an Islamic takeover are highly unlikely, and therefore grotesquely exaggerated in the West, nor am I alone or unrepresentative in my conviction that for all their vociferousness and enthusiasm the Islamic parties are not a coherent or viable alternative for the future. My interests therefore is in personally assessing not so much the grisly results of Islamic upheaval on the streets of Cairo but rather the strength of what opposes their efforts. Who and what is not interested in and, in some cases, prepared actively to resist the march toward Islamic government?79 Saids rhetoric unambiguously places him within the struggle against religious government. The next point to reemphasize is the importance of reading The Other Arab Muslims as a response to Huntingtons initial formulation of his by now infamous clash of civilization thesis. As many critics of Huntington note, one apparent asymmetries within his thinkingthis asymmetry not being an unwanted one on Huntingtons partis between the Islamic civilization and Western civilization, the former evoking a religion, the latter, it is implied by contrast, being generally secular. Saids response to Huntington challenges both the purported absence of secularism in the Arabic Middle East as well as the purported backward-looking stance of some forms of its religiosities.

3. The Jihads Hidden within The Other America


The Other America also begins with the dovetailing of two seemingly anecdotal items; both of these concerning Prince Ibn Al-Walid of Saudi Arabia and the United States. The first news item is that Prince Al-Walid had given ten million dollars to the American University in Cairo, in order to fund an eventual Centre of American Studies.80 The second story recounts how Prince Al-Walid, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, gave ten million to the city of New York; however, the then mayor, Rudolph Guiliani, returned the check. About this Said said that what New Yorks mayor did in response to the young Saudi Arabians gift was completely predictable. Said accounts for this, arguing that [e]ven though the money was intended, and greatly needed, for humanitarian use in a city wounded by a terrible atrocity, the American political system and its main actors put Israel ahead of everything, whether or not Israels amply

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endowed and highly mobilised lobbyists would have done the same thing. In any case, no one knows what would have occurred if Guiliani didnt return the money; but as things turned out he had nicely preempted even the welloiled pro-Israeli lobbying apparatus.81 Via these two short, seemingly anecdotal, stories, Said begins discussing what he deems the United States hopelessly contradictory support for the Saudi monarchy on the one hand and, on the other, with the state of Israel.82 He then moves on to observe that For at least three generations, Arab leaders, politicians, and their more often than not American-trained advisers have been formulating policies for their countries whose basis is an almost completely fictitious and quite fanciful idea of what America is. Far from coherent, this idea is at bottom all about how the Americans really run everything, even though in its details the notion encompasses a wide, not to say jumbled, range of opinions, from on the one hand seeing America as a conspiracy of Jews, to theories on the other stipulating that America is either a bottomless well of benign good feeling and help for the downtrodden, or that it is ruled from A to Z by an unchallenged white man sitting like an Olympian figure in the White House.83 Said recalls the many times in which he tried to impart the complexity of American society to Yasser Arafat during the twenty years he knew him. He states quite matter-of-factly that the Palestinian leadership has had an almost caricatural knowledge of America (based mainly on hearsay and cursory readings in Time magazine) and that Arafats single-minded obsession was to make his way personally into the White House and talk to that whitest of white men Bill Clinton: in his view that would be the equivalent perhaps of getting things done with Mubarak of Egypt or Hafez Al-Assad of Syria.84 The post-Oslo situation between Israel and Palestine has caused much despair.85 The opinions of Arab Muslims in regards to Israel and America, it is safe and sad to say, have not greatly improved.86 Said comments that [m]ost people throw up their hands in despair like disappointed lovers: America is hopeless, and I dont ever want to go back there, they often say, though one also notices that green, permanent residence cards are much in demand, as are university admissions for the children.87 Such generalized misapprehensions concerning America lead Said back to his first point (now seemingly less anecdotal than initially perceived), namely, concerning a Center of American Studies in the Middle East. This for Said is a more hopeful side of the story, since, as he observes, apart from a few courses and seminars on American literature and politics scattered throughout the universities of the Arab world, there has never been anything like an academic centre for the systematic and scientific analysis

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of America, its people, society, and history, at all. Not even in American institutions like the American Universities of Cairo and Beirut.88 This point is one that Said repeatedly makes throughout his career. For example, in his Orientalism, one of his points was that nothing like its mirror image, Occidentalism, existed in the Orient.89 Said reaffirms this in stating the following: The point I am making is that to live in a world that is held in the grip of an extraordinarily unbound great power there is a vital need for knowing as much about its swirling dynamics as is humanly possible. And that, I believe, also includes commanding an excellent working command of the language, something few Arab leaders (as a case in point) possess. Yes, America is the country of McDonalds, Hollywood, blue jeans, Coca-Cola and CNN, all of them products exported and available everywhere by virtue of globalisation, multinational corporations, and what seems to be the worlds appetite for articles of easy, convenient consumption. But we must also be conscious of from what source these come and in what ways the cultural and social processes from which they ultimately derive can be interpreted, especially since the danger of thinking about America too simply or reductively and statically is so obvious.90 Here one can see classic Said, moving from the supposed worst to the supposed Arnoldian best, economic globalization (or imperialism) to the undersides, involving cultural globalization (or cultural imperialism), but also potentially a better understanding of a society that may not be wholly bent against its Others, and in this sense, not so different from any and every Other society. An important aspect of Saids essay to keep in mind is that it was written when Americas so-called alliance of the willing was formed and was about to unleash its war engines on Iraq and the now late Saddam Husseins regime. Said notes the popular protests held in many major urban centers the world over. In this respect, he writes that contested as it is by so many Americans as well as Europeans, Asians, Africans and Latin Americans who have taken to the streets and to their local newspapers at least suggests that at last there is an awakening to the fact that the United States, or rather the small handful of Judeo-Christian white men who currently rule its government, is bent on world hegemony. What to do then?91 Interestingly, Said does not answer his own rhetorical question directly; rather, he states his intention concerning his essay, which one can then see as a kind of implicit response to his own rhetorical self-questioning. About his essay, he states that it offers a rapid sketch of the extraordinary panorama presented by todays America, as seen by someone who is American and has lived comfortably in it for years and years, but who by virtue of his Palestinian origins, still retains his per-

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spective as a comparative outsider, but a kind of insider also. My interest is simply to suggest ways of understanding, intervening in, and if the word isnt too inappropriate, resisting a country that is far from the monolith it is usually taken to be, especially in the Arab and Muslim worlds. What is there to be seen?92 Said begins his analysis by distinguishing between America and the classic empires of the past.93 According to Said, all empires have deemed themselves more original and more capable of continence than those that preceded them on the world stage. This is also the case with America, Said argues, and yet America does so with an astonishing affirmation of its nearly sacrosanct altruism and well-meaning innocence.94 Said observes how many Left or liberal academics and intellectuals, who generally argue against foreign occupations, fell into line in viewing America as the virtuous empire.95 Said acknowledges that [t]he events of 11 September play a role in this volte face, but what is surprising is that the Twin Towers-Pentagon bombings, horrible though they were, retreated as if they came from nowhere, rather than in fact from a world across the seas driven crazy by American intervention and ubiquitous American presence. He goes on to say that [t]his is of course not to condone Islamic terrorism, which is a hateful thing in every way. But it is to remark that in all the pious analyses of Americas responses to Afghanistan and now Iraq, history and proportionality have simply dropped out of the picture entirely.96 These observations act as the backdrop to Saids sketch of the American panorama. He goes on to make arguments few care to: What the liberal hawks specially dont refer to, however, is the Christian Right (so similar to Islamic extremism in fervor and righteousness) and its massive, indeed decisive presence in America today. The qualities of that vision derive from mostly Old Testament sources, very much of a piece with those of Israel, its close partner and analogue. A peculiar alliance between Israels influential neoconservative American supporters and the Christian extremists is that the latter support Zionism as a way of bringing all the Jews to the Holy Land to prepare the way for the Messiahs Second Coming; at which point Jews will either have to convert to Christianity or be annihilated. The bloody and rabidly anti-Semitic teleologies are rarely referred to, certainly not by the pro-Israeli Jewish phalanx.97 This initial point, the Christian Right and Islamic extremism as analogous phenomena, strengthens this reading of Said as having seen many points of comparison between American society and Arab Muslim society. Furthermore, this comparison extends to include a third set of elements, namely, Judaism and Israel, the missing elements of what Noam Chomsky famously called The Fateful Triangle, between America, Israel, and the Arab Muslim Middle East.98 Again Said affirms the analogies between the three. Quite interestingly, Said

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gets into under-acknowledged, not to mention utterly unattractive, aspects of so-called Christian Zionism, namely, that it is not Judeo-philia at all in the end.99 After having initially and explicitly raised the question of religions participation in the current world (dis)order, Said goes on to make the following important points: America is the worlds most avowedly religious country. References to God permeate the national life, from coins to buildings to common forms of speech: in God we trust, Gods country, God bless America, and on and on. George Bushs power base is [or now was] made up of the 6070 million fundamentalist Christians who, like him, believe they have seen Jesus and are here to do Gods work in Gods country. Some sociologists and journalists (including Francis Fukuyuma and David Brooks) have argued that contemporary American religion is the result of a desire for community and a long-gone sense of stability, given the fact that approximately 20 per cent of the population is moving from home to home all the time. But the evidence for that desire is true only up to a point: what matters more is religion by prophetic illumination, unshakeable conviction in a sometimes apocalyptic sense of mission, and a heedless disregard of small-scale facts and complications. The enormous geographical distance of the country from the turbulent world is another factor, as is the fact that Canada and Mexico are continental neighbours with little capability of tempering American enthusiasm.100 This is also a perspective about American society arguably under-acknowledged in much of the reflection on world affairs. It may be significant to recall that Huntingtons dueling dyad, Islam and the West, seems to imply a religious entity versus a non-religious one. Saids statements here relativizes this other side of the coin; if the Arab Muslim world is not without its secularists, the purportedly secular West is not without its own gamut of ferventif not to say fanaticalreligious folk. Furthermore, this is a dimension of America itself; American-ness is itself a religiosity. Said acknowledges some of the possible causes that account for Americas overwhelming religiosity. Attributing the cause to nostalgia for mythic time when the whole village cares about all its children is not a new argument, and indeed, this type of romantic myth of lost origins does carry weight. However, Said is correct to not be entirely satisfied by it. Said in effect argues that many Americans have willed themselves into believing that they are an integral part of a cosmic history, one in which they are solely the good side. This might bring to mind Joseph Campbells discussion of Stars Wars in the The Power of Myth.101 However, this myth is not at all playful as Campbell was in his discussions of myth; it hardens into dogma; this is what Said implies. Although this is also an illuminating and demystifying reading of Americas myth of power, it is important, I would argue, to remember the core points argued by Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, mentioned earlier, namely, that high

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religious levels are correlative to low levels of economic and existential security.102 Although America is in some respects weighty economicallyregardless of this, likely temporary, current global market crisisstill enjoying more than its fair share of millionaires, it does not take that seasoned a tourist (such as I am when in America) to observe that America is also overflowing with far from rich folk, and as a society it is, and has been, riddled with grave problems of inner city violence, and has an alarmingly high, and racially disproportionate, incarceration rate. All of this, not to mention the absence of universal medical care and ludicrously expensive establishments of higher education, contribute to lowering the levels of economic and existential security.103 Furthermore, the fact that America is unpopular abroad, and has recently seen just how serious this reality can get, has done nothing to increase the existential security of Americans.104 It is to be hoped that the election of Barack H. Obama to the presidency of the United States of America will translate into higher levels of economic and existential security across the board, both within and beyond America, and especially for those social strata most in need. Greater existential security already seems to be the case, leaving greater economic security the apparent current core issue; both, however, as stated, go hand in hand and cannot be attained in isolation from the international scene. Regardless of the causes, [a]ll of those things, that is, the symptoms of deeper causes, converge around an idea of American rightness, goodness, freedom, economic promise, social advancement that is so ideologically woven into the fabric of daily life that it doesnt even appear to be ideological, but rather a fact of nature.105 Said proposes the following formula as a caricature of this style of thought: America=good=total loyalty and love.106 He goes on to observe the following points of convergence: Similarly there is an unconditional reverence for the Founding Fathers, and for the Constitution, an amazing document, it is true, but a human one nevertheless. Early America is the anchor of American authenticity. In no country that I know does a waving flag play so central an iconographical role. You see it everywhere, on taxicabs, on mens jacket lapels, on the front windows and roofs of houses everywhere. It is the main embodiment of the national image, signifying heroic endurance and a beleaguered sense of fighting unworthy enemies. Patriotism is still the prime American virtue, tied up as it is with religion, belonging, and doing the right thing not just at home but all over the world. Patriotism is also represented in retail consumer spending, as when Americans were enjoined after the events of 9/11 to do a lot of shopping in defiance of evil terrorists. Bush and employees of his like Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice and Ashcroft have tapped into all of that to mobilise the military for war 7000 miles away in order to get Saddam, as he is referred to universally. Underlying all this is the machinery of capitalism, now undergoing radical and, I think, destabilising change.107

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Said acknowledges that [t]his is a crude summary of the American consensus, which in fact politicians exploit and try endlessly to simplify into slogans and sound bites. But, Said adds, what one discovers about this amazingly complex society is how many counter-currents and alternatives run across and around this consensus all the time.108 And this is where Saids essay clearly converges with the essay examined previously, namely, in their shared focus on the softer underbelly of supposed mega-monoliths. Said returns to the issue of the growing resistance to war that, he observes, is minimized by both the current White House administration and mainstream media.109 Saids attention returns to one of its familiar themes, one in line with Vico, for whom human history is a human construction: Because it is a managed and constructed thing the consensus operates in a sort of timeless present. History is anathema to it.110 This leads Said to discuss, once again, the struggle about history, which, as noted earlier, has become widely known as the culture wars. His discussion serves to highlight that those who opposed a canon opened to not only historical revision but also to the contributions of other cultures, contribute to the mythologized America by promoting, quite dogmatically, the idea of American history as a heroically unified national narrative. This leads him to describe what he saw as a set of narrathemes: a set of narrative structures that package and control discussion, despite the appearance of variety and diversity. Said lists four such narrathemes.111 First among the narrathemes is that there is a collective we, that is, a monolithic national identity that one can argue from and not to.112 About the collective we rhetoric, I would like to begin articulating a few points. First, Said taught his students to worry about its use because from a postcolonialist perspective, one should always be concerned about who gets to speak for who. This does highlight how problematic is the not un-Saidian humanism of the Buber-inspired point W. C. Smith repeatedly made, namely, that dialogue, be it interpersonal and/or intercivilizational, ought to seek ways of beginning to say we. It is interesting to observe just how powerfully President Obama harnessed these key words during his election campaign as well as the night he was elected, November 4, 2008, utilizing the words Yes, we can like a mantra; the phrase implies much, including yes we can create progressive change. From a Canadian and bilingual perspective, it also has a truly moving ring to it, we sounding exactly like oui, French for yes, ergo, the openness to translation, that is, understanding beyond so-called preexisting boundaries. Second among these narrathemes is the irrelevance of history, and the inadmissibility of illegitimate linkage. The examples Said gives are the United States former links with both Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, neither link considered very important, or worthy of reflection at present.113 The third narratheme is the unexamined conviction that opposition to our policies is anti-Americanism which is based on jealousy about our democracy, freedom,

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wealth and greatness or, as the current obsession with French resistance to an American war against Iraq has it, plain and ordinary foreign nastiness. This is the narratheme of America as the honest broker, the impartial adjudicator, the entirely well-intentioned international force for good, [which] has no serious competitor to it; what we have therefore is a strand of thought that has little place in it for issues relating to power, or financial gain, or resource grabbing, or ethnic lobbying, or forcible and/or surreptitious regime change.114 The fourth narratheme, quite interconnected with the last (although they all are), is that of unchallenged moral wisdom as represented in figures with official authority.115 About this Said says that [t]his sort of blind appreciation of authority past or present, pure or sullied, occurs in many different forms, all the way from the respectful, even abject forms of address used by commentators and pundits, to a total unwillingness to see anything in the authority figure except his or her polished appearance [. . .] unscarred by anything in the past record that might be incriminating to a serious degree. Interestingly, Said correlates this last narratheme and the American philosophical milieu, observing that the former strengthens the American belief in pragmatism, which he defines as a philosophic system of dealing with reality that is anti-metaphysical, anti- historical and, curiously, even anti-philosophical, adding that [p]ostmodern anti-nominalism of the kind that reduces everything to sentence structure and linguistic context is allied with this, and is a very influential style of thought existing alongside analytic philosophy in the American university.116 Why does Said elaborate on this set of myths? According to his point of view [i]t is this amazingly persistent set of master stories that the newly organised and mobilised American information effort (especially in the Arab and Islamic worlds) is designed by hook or crook to spread. What gets deliberately obscured in the process are the stunningly obstinate dissenting traditions Americas unofficial counter-memory that stems in large part from the fact that this is an immigrant societythat flourish alongside, or at the interior of this handful of narrathemes. Few commentators abroad take much notice of this forest of dissent.117 This forest of dissent is of interest because, as Said puts it, [i]f one were to examine the components of the impressively strong resistance to the proposed Bush war against Iraq, for example, a very different, highly mobile picture of America emerges, one that is much more amenable to foreign cooperation, dialogue and significant action.118 The question remains: Who does Said consider to be the healthier branches within this forest of dissent?

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Said clearly lists seven main pockets of resistance worth observing as well as supporting, although not all are diagnosed as being well and so not all hold the same promise at present. First, Said notes the Left, but says that given that anything like an organised parliamentary Left-wing or socialist movement has never really existed for any length of time in post-World War Two America, so powerful is the grip of the two-party apparatus [. . .] the Democratic Party today [. . .] is in a shambles from which it will not soon recover. The recent election of 2008 would have uplifted Saids estimation of the Democratic Partys strengths. Second, Said lists a still fairly radical wing of the African-American community, that is, those urban groups who agitate against police brutality, job discrimination, housing and educational neglect, and are led or represented by iconic or charismatic figures such as Rev Al Sharpton, Cornel West, Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson (faded as a leader though he is) and several others who see themselves as continuing in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. The dovetailing of this perspective and the former point is also important in that President Obama, like the heroic figures here evoked, is also broadly regarded as a defender and promoter of civil rights and liberties, again giving many reason for renewed hope in the present and for the future. To the radical wing of the African American community, Said associates numerous other activist ethnic collectivities, including Latinos, Native Americans, and Muslims.119 Said also mentions Ralph Nader and his loyal supporters in the protesting but still struggling Green Party, and in this respect, environmentalists might be added as a third group to this list. Said makes note of the womens movement as a fourth major asset to the dissenting current in American society. Fifth, he notes that sectors of the normally sedate, interest- and advancement-oriented professional groups (physicians, lawyers, scientists, academics in particular, as well as a number of labor unions, and a sector of the environmental movement) feed into the dynamic of counter-currents I am listing here, even though of course as corporate bodies they retain a major interest in the orderly functioning of society and the agendas that derive from them. To the list, Said adds that the organised churches themselves can never be discounted as seedbeds of change and dissent. About this sixth group or branch, he states that [t]heir membership is to be clearly distinguished from the fundamentalist and televangelist movements.120 Although Said mentions Catholicism and certain mainline Protestant churches, when he comes to Judaism, he writes that although [h]istorically there was always a segment of the organised Jewish community involved in progressive minority rights causes domestically and abroad, but

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since the Reagan period the ascendancy of the neo-conservative movement, the alliance between Israel and the religious Right in this country, and feverish Zionist-organised activity equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and even fear of a new American Auschwitz, have reduced the positive agency of that force quite considerably.121 Finally, Said also includes a large number of groups and individuals sought out for rallies, protest marches, and peaceful demonstrations, which he says, has stood out of the mind-deadening patriotism in the post-9/11 period.122 According to Said, one of their main rallying points is civil liberties (including free speech and constitutional guarantees), which are threatened by the Terrorist and Patriot Acts. Other related issues are capital punishment, the abuses represented by the detention camps at Guantanamo Bay, and so on. In effect, Saids panorama sketches what he calls both the official and unofficial Americas.123 In concluding his The Other America essay, he asks [i]s America indeed united behind this president [at the time, G. W. Bush], his bellicose foreign policy, and his dangerously simple-minded economic vision? Regarding this question, Said says that it is another way of asking whether American identity has been settled once and for all and whether for a world that has to live with its far-reaching military power (there are American troops now in dozens of countries) there is something monolithic that the rest of the world that isnt willing to be quiescent can deal with as a sort of fixed entity lurching all over the place with the full support of all Americans.124 Since this chapter was written, not only has Professor Said passed away, but his first question has received at least two types of answers: G. W. Bush did have enough support to be reelected for a second term in office; however, the 2008 election runs counter to this, electing a democrat, who would incarnate both new hope and positive and progressive social change. Nonetheless, it remains important for Americans and non-Americans alike to pay heed to Saids vision of America, namely, as indeed a troubled country with a more contested actuality than is usually ascribed to it. As he describes it, it is more accurate to apprehend America as embroiled in a serious clash of identities whose counterparts are as visible as similar contests throughout the rest of the world. America may have won the Cold War, as the popular phrase has it, but the actual results of that victory within America are very far from clear, the struggle not yet over. For Said, political power ignores the internal dialectics that continue and are nowhere near being settled.125 In concluding he writes: The great fallacy of Fukuyamas thesis about the end of history, or for that matter Huntingtons clash of civilisation theory, is that both wrongly assume that cultural history is a matter of clear-cut boundaries or of beginnings, middles and ends, whereas in fact, the cultural- political field is much more an arena of struggle over identity, self-definition and projection into the

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future. They are fundamentalists when it comes to fluid, turbulent cultures in constant process, trying to impose fixed boundaries and internal rules of order where none really can exist. Cultures, especially Americas, which is in effect an immigrant culture, overlap with others, and one of the perhaps unintended consequences of globalisation is the appearance of transnational communities of global interests, as in the human rights movement, the womens movement, the anti-war movement and so on. America is not at all insulated from any of this, but one has to excavate beyond the intimidatingly unified surface to see what lies beneath, so as to be able to join in that set of disputes, to which many of the people of the world are a party. There is hope and encouragement to be gained from that view.126 In concluding, Said returns not only to critique Huntington, but also to reaffirm that America is struggling with itself and that this ongoing struggle will define (and in fact, does define) its identity; in this sense, it is no different from other societies at present. Those who would have us see America as an exception to this worldwide trend, ascribing to America an internal coherence it does not have (nor needs to have), are not neutral, but are also a party to this ongoing process.

4. Conclusion: Huntington and Said, or Who Is This America Anyway?


As I have drawn attention to, quite early on in his essay The Other Arab Muslims, Said alludes to the alarming currency Huntingtons clash of civilizations had already gained more than a decade ago. In leading into his brief, although explicit discussion of Huntington, Said begins by noting that the style of thought that accompanies hyper-power is Manichean; it is an us-versus-them filter.127 This so-called political realism has found many influential mouthpieces in the modern West. In his last poke at Huntington, Said adds that these practices of boundary-keeping are analogous forms of thought and behavior to that of fundamentalists; boundary makers and keepers, like fundamentalists, fear fuzzy logic, and the ambiguities borne with it. No one doubts the necessity of a moderate appreciation, a quiet passion, for the orderly. But will to order found in the strict boundary making of geopolitical strategists such as Huntington (as within fundamentalist worldviews) is excessive. It wants orderliness now and is prepared to get along with anything, even if ugly and alarming, so long as it purports to be for the sake of a proper re-ordering to come. Huntingtons latest book, published after Saids The Other America, reads both like a Christian fundamentalist, and also a religiously American textbook. Consider just this passage from the books opening pages: Americans should recommit themselves to the Anglo-Protestant culture, traditions, and values [. . .] that have been the source of their liberty, unity, power, prosperity, and moral

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leadership as a force for good in the world.128 The book is full of this type of jingoistic un-self-critical drivel; it reads as the flipside of Saids essay, not only indulging in all of the narrathemes Said diagnoses, but arguing so forcefully that one can see through it, having therefore to acknowledge that America is internally struggling and rightfully so. Although this causes Huntington to fear for the sanctity of his myth of America, this can cause, in the likes of Said, not to mention in a large part of the worlds population, a glimmer of hope. Witnessing President Obamas recent election, a shining example of hope to be sure, nonetheless reminds us that a battle won is not the war and that much honest work remains, both within America, its social imaginary, and beyond.

Chapter 7

The Essay as Form of Resistance: On the Essayistic Spirit in Said and Adorno

Before getting too far into this brief essay on the essaya literary form in part recognizable because of its own brevityI begin with a few introductory apologies or disclaimers, not included here simply to seem pro forma. I am aware that this topic has traditionally been dealt with by students of literary forms, not typically dealt with by students of religion and secularism.1 In reading Northrop Fryes work, I am struck by how a propos these lines from the beginning of his The Great Code are; Frye writes: A scholar in an area not his own feels like a knight errant who finds himself in the middle of a tournament and has unaccountably left his lance at home.2 Frye was describing himself, a student of literature, dealing with material normally, or at least largely, the preserve of biblical scholars and students of religion. What I have quoted from Frye holds true in my own case, although the disciplinary contexts are the converse: student of comparative religions, beginning, with trepidation, elaborations of a topicthe essaywhich as subject-matter has typically been conceived of as primarily a literary affair. In this respect, Frye goes on to add: In such a situation, one needs encouragement and help. Written before interdisciplinarity became the key word it has since then, it is clear that Frye, in this, like Said, sought to promote dialogue and discovery beyond intellectual boundaries, not the maintenance of their rigid divisions. My topic and the chapters title, The Essay as Form of Resistance, are uncanny ones, and so I would like to approach this similarly. In Martin Jays The Dialectical Imagination,3 readers find a curious and fascinating story, noted by Jay more or less as an aside, about Max Horkheimer going to see a psychoanalyst in order to overcome his fear of delivering a lecture without a preprepared text. Very quickly Horkheimer was able to speak publicly free from the tyranny of the text and so discontinued his psychoanalysis. Now, what is this about? Surely, this is about more than one thing and yet, clearly it is about freedom from the need or compulsion to feel totally in control of a situation ahead of time, in a priority. This freedom will be important to keep in mind in thinking about the freedom exemplified by the essay. Here I want to talk about the essay as a textual form that in critical ways also counters certain tyrannies associated with epistemologies of imperialism,

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which, as previous chapters have made plain, are key terms from the work of Edward Said. I want to discuss what Theodor Adorno and Edward Said claim for the essay as form. Moreover, I want to begin constellating some of these thoughts with some of what Said as well as Charles Taylor tell us about their conceptions of the secular. I here begin elaborating a perspective of the essay as form akin to the secular, and since many see something uncivilly religious in Empire, one can conclude that in underexamined ways, the essay is a form of resistance to it. In the essayist and the essay, one witnesses something that runs against the grain of Empire. Now, the essay in English does not carry the same connotation as it actively still does in the French as an attempt, a try, an effort, a trial run, one making no claim to having attained total success, manifesting a pre-existent perfection; it makes no claim to exhaust the object in and through representation. An essay then does not claim to be the final dispensation; it does not claim to be both the alpha and the omega and the continuum in between. Earlier, I evoked the notion of the tyranny of the text. I would like to give this contrast. Adornos view of the essay aims to impart a view of it as a form of critical writing shaped not only by historical social forces, but also by the uniqueness of ones approach to an object of study. For Adorno then, the essayists form of expression is not entirely determinable. It is in play; dynamically, it struggles on. Adorno ceaselessly reminds his readers that identity-driven consciousness involves arguments from a supposedly given identity as opposed to arguments toward an emergent sense of novel selves. For Adorno, positivist consciousness can never wholly exhaust, nor do total justice to, the subjectmatter. He writes: The essay, however, does not permit its domain to be prescribed. Instead of achieving something scientifically, or creating something artistically, the effort of the essay reflects a childlike freedom that catches fire, without scruple, on what others have already done. The essay mirrors what is loved and hated instead of presenting the intellect, on the model of a boundless work ethic, as creatio ex nihilo. Luck and play are essential to the essay. It does not begin with Adam and Eve but with what it wants to discuss; it says what is at issue and stops where it feels itself completenot where nothing is left to say.4 A few lines later: The person who interprets instead of unquestioningly accepting and categorizing is slapped with the charge as if with a yellow star; his misled and decadent intelligence is said to subtilize and project meaning where there is nothing to interpret. Technician or dreamer, those are the alternatives.5 Before I get to Saids most explicit statements about the essay, it should be noted that he stated that his book Orientalism alone had been written in more

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or less one single effort (and therefore, although essayistic, it may, in this, be regarded as possibly the least so of his major works). He has also admitted that that study was more content-driven than theory-driven, remaining, in the end, quite helter-skelter as he once put it, and so, I suggest that in this also, it too can be thought of as quite essayistic in spirit and form. In passing, it is also worth noting the similarity between Adornos dichotomizing technician and dreamer and Said dichotomizing the expert from lamateur (in his Representations of the Intellectual).6 Saids oeuvre is also working to overturn what Adorno terms identity or positivist consciousness or what Said at times calls epistemologies of imperialism. Saids three most explicit critiques of the clash of civilizations thesis can again serve in this context as applied examples of Saids critique of this style of thought. In Saids posthumously published book On Late Style, as we have seen, he offers his readers this brilliantly lapidary formulation: Imperialism is the export of identity. Said adopts a critique of religion rhetoric in order not only to critique Empire but also to do so in underscoring the underpinning uncivil religiosity, a strategy resonant with the passage from Conrads Heart of Darkness that Said oft quoted, and that can be described as bringing together these elements: Empire and the religion-like epistemology of identity-thinking. In The World, the Text, and the Critic, one finds both some of Saids most explicit statements concerning the essay and some of his main arguments in favor of what he there calls secular criticism. In the books title piece, Said writes: I shall concentrate now on the essay, which is the traditional form by which criticism has expressed itself. The central problematic of the essay as a form is its place, by which I mean a series of three ways the essay has of being the form critics take, and locate themselves in, to do their work. Place therefore involves relations, affiliations, the critics fashion with the texts and audiences they address; it also involves the dynamic taking place of a critics own text as it is produced.7 The three ways, or what Said also calls modes of affiliation, that he enumerates, are as follows: 1. the essays relation to the text or occasion it attempts to approach. How does it come to the text of its choice? How does it enter that text? What is the concluding definition of its relation to the text and the occasion it has dealt with? 2. the essays intention. Said asks of a hypothetical essay, its ideal-type, if it attempts to identify or identify with the text of its choice? He asks if it stands between the text and the reader, or to one side of one of them? He

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asks [h]ow great or how little is the ironic disparity between its essential formal incompleteness (because after all it is an essay) and the formal completion of the text it treats? 3. the essay as a zone in which certain kinds of occurrences happen as an aspect of the essays production. He asks of the essays consciousness of marginality to the text it discusses. The method by which the essay permits history a role during the making of its own history, and [w]hat is the quality of the essays speech, toward, away from, into the actuality, [i.e.], the arena of nontextual historical vitality and presence that is taking place simultaneously between texts, an intensification of the notions of textuality, or a dispersion of language away from a contingent page to occasions, tendencies, currents, or movements in and for history?8 Readers of Saids oeuvre will recognize in these modes of affiliation, elements first developed in his book Beginning: Intention and Method, in which Said also emphasizes the distinction between origins (deemed religious, of predetermined and predetermining placements, and in this, imperial) and beginnings (deemed secular, nomadic or exilic, and in this, essayistic).9 The essayist institutes ways of relating to the text, or occasion, or phenomena approached. Both the essayist and his or her essayism can be made to figure within the essays interpretive purview. In rejecting the voice from nowhere pitch, Said and the Frankfurt School critical theorists converge. All three modes of affiliation concern ways of relating (e.g., critic and criticism to text, and all of these in the world). Said made great efforts not only to map the overlaps between the world, the text, and the critic. In the same essay, he writes: I want to discuss [. . .] metaphorically, the closeness of the worlds body to the texts body [which] forces readers to take both into consideration.10 Later in the same essay, Said states: Essays are concerned with relations between things, with values and concepts, in fine, with significance. Whereas poetry deals in images, the essay is the abandonment of images; this abandonment the essay ideally shares with Platonism and mysticism.11 In this passage, one can see a complexity not yet acknowledged fully by the secondary literature that would have us see Said as anti-religious in some form or another. In the passage in question, we may see his view of the secular critic as religiously grounded (if such apparent paradox may be tolerated). Earlier in The World, the Text, and the Critic, Said notes the presence, in Erich Auerbachs Memisis, of a key passage from the work of the medieval monk Hugh of St. Victor. The passage in question also illuminates what Said means when he states that the essay is in ways Platonic and mystical. This also serves to show that even to say Said was nonreligious rather than anti-religious is still to say too little (or too much?). This would need further qualifications so as to underline, as I have been attempting here, that Said could see and did at times acknowledge a secular mysticism to his thinking and acting in the world.

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In Modern Social Imaginaries, philosopher Charles Taylor describes secular society as one in which its foundations, the sources of itself as an imagined community (to mix well-known keywords), are not external to it, not beyond criticism and re-interpretation.12 Remaining well within the secular public sphere, these foundational sources may be, or rather must be, questioned, debated, struggled for and against. Secularity as both worldview and practice involves not letting prior patterns rule over the determination of current and future ones, simply on the grounds that these are once and for all the established rules or rigid dogmas. The secular critic must listen for the emergent that the established stifle. The essay is a literature that would be a listening in itself, of the listener and the one listened to, also listening, though not always heard. These perspectives inspired of Charles Taylor and Edward Saids philosophies of secularity invite comparison because of complementary. To conclude, I offer a few reflections on these ideas that I have begun constellating. Taylor is both a proponent of secularism, but also one of what is called in the French, laccomodation raisonable. As I read Saids oeuvre, one may develop a reading that stresses elements within his oeuvre that support reasonable accommodation. Bruce Robbins, in an essay published in 1994, as we have seen, suggests that religion in Saids rhetoric is really largely a foil for nationalism. Again, however, Neil Lazarus, for example, has essayed to remind postcolonialists of the critical role played by nationalism during struggles for decolonization. More than a few passages of Saids oeuvre (e.g., many of those quoted thus far) make plain that he too readily acknowledges this. Moreover, Said was a Palestinian nationalistboth because of his origins, but more importantly for Said, because he choose to not just forget about what was happening to Palestinians; he gave thought to shaping his work to enable his politics, and vice-versa, for his particularly geopolitical points of reference, polarized as they were by religions and secularisms, to begin emerging in his work so that these seemingly extreme poles may again begin to recognize their common grounds, not just their foreign-ness, as in Terences nothing human is alien to me. Said attempts to incarnate a would-be cosmopolitan (i.e., a postnational) nationalism, resonant with Fanons late discussion of nationalism. Nations must be brought up to a common level of justice and this on the world stage. This must be reached independently, and in granting each other this, together. Being brought up to the world stage of peace and justice is the transformation of nationalism, through its own self-determination, though not in isolation, nor molested, by the world. Only the nation can struggle itself free of itself. External interventions can only retard fitna. A fellow nation must wait, esprer, listening; to be sure, that is, listening and responding to actual human needs such as human right violations, poverty, impoverishment, as well as insecurity. Critical secularism is a metacriticism beyond the criticism of religion qua religion. Religion as religion cannot be wholly publicly translated; it can no longer be itself except with itself and therefore cannot remain identical to itself;

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nor is it able to survive in perfect isolation; such social change emerges through dialectics of self-translation. For Said, as I read him, all start from a national or group-bound point of view; we must make filiation more affiliative, that is, based on debate, dialogue, and agreement. With Frantz Fanon, however, he affirms that once attainedonce nationhood is attained in consciousness, institutions, and practicethis must be converted to a broader sociopolitical consciousness, presumably with equally broad sociopolitically conscious practices. In this, one must again grant that Robbins is in part correctthe excessive nationalism of established nations is largely where Said sees kinship between imperialism, colonialism, nationalism, and the religious. In Said, one is tempted to suggested that the will to appear or imagine ones self complete, established as it were, would be rhetorically religious, an imperialism of the self, an imagined identity. Lazarus, however, is also partly correct. I am suggesting we can read Said as suggesting (again with Fanon) that the religious tribalism foundational in ones imagined sense of an original home or an original self has not only been grossly accentuated by Empires epistemology, but was also foundational to empire-building, like nation-building. This suggests that empire emerges or is enabled by earlier forms of imperial epistemologies: the religiously tribal as ur-phenomena. In the end, however, both these thinkers, Fanon and Said, agree with Adorno when he writes in Minima Moralia that it is unethical to be at home in ones home. One must become conscious of the family, the nation, and so forth, in order to better serve as well as find support in them. Ties cannot remain as if simply natural. Distance, even alienation, must balance tried and time-honored perspectives. One must guide ones nation through the use of ones metaphorical distance from it. The secular critic is not solely in solidarity with this or that, is not reducible and struggles not to be reducible to prior points of origin, to prior totalization, but rather chooses to associate with this or that emergent movement in, and for, this world, not one of the past, historically or imaginatively. To take for granted such things as a constitution, which we are told guarantees our civil rights and liberties, in this sense then, is yet another opiate; a constitution is nothing if not the ever-renewed beginning of a struggle within the society it purportedly constitutes. A constitution and all its interpretations (like scripture and exegetical literary traditions) remain but essays in need of still more hermeneutical essays.

Chapter 8

Out of Place: A Conclusion

[T]here is properly no history; only biography. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance and Other Essays There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey We are all in the gutter, But some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermeres Fan Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.) Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

In this book, an interconnected set of studies, I have read Said in order to stress questions raised by the secondary literature on the question of religion in his expressed-thought. In so doing, I have begun constellating themes that run through the texts that make up Saids oeuvre. Among ideas associated with the religious, rhetorically, which is not to say simply superficially, one finds power, a power that would be absolute. From this focus, one may begin to focus on instantiations of more or less absolutist power; various humanly made forces, from the military, to nation, and/or state government, to its fine art museums; where to limit such analysis, and if such limits exist, are crucial questions. Saids program of secular criticism proposes to study human creations as historical and political, to demystify why and how the world has so often been structurally lopsided, and in so doing, begin de-lobotomizing two of the globes civilizational hemispheres (be it east-west or south-north). In Chapter 1, I presented narrative fragments from Saids recollections of his early life. Albeit fragmentary, this montage served to highlight the backdrop from which Saids expressed-thought emerges, the conflict-ridden social and political space between Jerusalem and New York City, between Mecca and Washington, D.C. One may begin clearly seeing the linkages of religion, language, race, with culture, namely, colonial culture, as well as the less cultured,

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more crudely political ways that accompany colonialism, both of which make the civilizing mission possible. In Chapter 2, I examined two examples of policy-oriented responses to Saids work. Bernard Lewiss response attempts to undermine the deep and complex relationship of Islam and the West, a relationship not quite analogous to the relation between ancient Greece and the West. This is not to say that a relation such as that which is cultivated between the West and its inspiration, ancient Greece, could not be cultivated, so as to similarly approach all high human cultural achievements, even when from elsewhere, that is, beyond ancient Greece; these can all become human models and guiding ideals. Martin Kramers response attempts to blame Said, among other professors of terror, for having preached dtente, even rapprochement, between Islam and the West, disabling the prevalent American paranoia of this all too well mediated, yet still all too silenced, so-called Yellow Horde. Chapter 3 examined the work of two important scholars of religion who have significantly treated aspects of this question, concerning religion and secularism in Saids work. William D. Harts response attempts to undermine the subtle rhetoric, as well as the equally subtle and yet bold vision of secularity that Saids work proposes and exemplifies. My own work is most intelligible if read as largely a response to the Said Hart represents. To my mind, other Saids, other than Harts, will be constructed, deconstructed, and again reconstructed, from his oeuvre. Because Saids writing about the religious involves the interpreter in interpreting its relation with so many other forms of social construction, one cannot overemphasize the intricacies, the slippages between the religious, its rhetorical foils (and as itself a rhetorical foil), and the equally rhetorical localization represented as one of opposition. As I have tried to show, Saids stance vis--vis the religious is more complex and less reactionary than Harts admittedly interesting and highly suggestive reading suggests. Carl Olsons work tries to belittle Said for having complicated the memory of disciplinary forefathers and for complicating scholarship with representations such as the notion of representation. Denying past limits of foundational humanistic scholarship is not the best way of promoting greater, more and more global as well as specificity embracing, open-ended humanism; re-mythologizing origins often serves only to stifle emergent creative and/or critical forms. In Chapter 4, I examined work on Said and the question of religion that responds to Saids thought in different manners. Many of the ideas and realities that constellate the content of Saids critical theory of the religious and the secular emerge as foci of Chapter 4s discussion: the religious, the nationalistic, the fetishistic, the secular, the exilic, the renunciation of ever really belonging even among secularists. In Chapter 5, I suggested that through Fanon and Saids shared understanding of the relation of nation to the wider world, through their shared nationalist-internationalism, one finds a heuristic relation through which to think the implicit relation of the religious to the secular in Saids work and elsewhere.

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As we have seen, Said abhorred stereotyping, narratives of self-aggrandizing other reduction. Stereotypes are among the false idols the so-called sword of Islam liked to cast aside the most strongly. Chapter 6 aims at making plain Saids use of the essay as a medium via which to deconstruct the hardened dogmas of stereotype. In the essays examined in Chapter 6, one finds Said representing fellow intellectuals in their common struggle to better their respective worlds. The intellectuals, like Said, from two societies often told they are so different they are at odds. Said re-presents these as not so different, so as to deconstruct the reasons given for their being at odds. He wishes them not to be so crudely (i.e., grossly or all-too-physically) at odds as the LewisHuntington clash of civilization thesis would have and arguably has had it. In Chapter 7, I return a glance at a rhetorically secular form, namely, that of the essay. In Chapter 7, I began to develop a reading, clearly indebted to Said and Adorno, of The Essay as Form (i.e., The Essay as Form of resistance to established epistemologies of empire). Empire as represented here is maintained all too often by force, it is true, but also by a conformist political ideology that too easily collapses into a political theology or political religion.1 These individual chapters are not simply expository treatments of Said, of his work and his times. These chapters are also consciously beginnings, attempting to not think a theory out of this world but in it. As the last chapter suggests, the chapters then are essays, attempts at resisting closing Said into something, a system, against his own self-definition, his own narrations, since these processesof self-assertion and of criticismas we have seen, are how Said hoped to liberate social space of divisive false idols, of religious forms of identification and imaginary belonging that still dominate the minds of fellow humans. As he summarized his memoir Out of Place, and through these words, one sees (or hears) an emergent secular humanist philosophical anthropology: identity is a set of currents, flowing currents, rather than a fixed place or a stable set of objects.2 Before bringing this still emergent discussion to a merely apparent close, I would like to include a last quotation from Said, so as to signal his students and friends shared desire to literally and figuratively continue the conversation even if for this intellectual community, Said has, like a Shia Imam, become occulted. In 2001, he stated: Several weeks ago I was interviewed by a Danish journalist who told me that she wanted to read the Koran, and I said, Why on Earth would you want to do that? and she said, To understand. To understand what? September 11th. But she couldnt buy the Koran in Copenhagen because it had sold out. So I said, In a sense you should be relieved. But then she said, rather earnestly, Dont you think its a good idea?

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Its a terrible idea. She looked rather puzzled. Let me put it this way, would you say that in order to understand Denmark we should read the Bible, or Hans Christian Andersen? Oh, Hans Christian Andersen! Exactly. Why not read a novelist? So there is an interest, but its the wrong kind. The idea is that every Muslim wakes up, reads the Koran every morning and goes out and does it. Whatever it is. Im really talking from an American perspective, where we have these awful, ponderous pundits on TV giving the wrong ideathat the Muslims have failed . . . We need to move away from huge generalizations, look toward literary work, and the multiplicity rather than the sameness of things.3

In Lieu of a Postface: An Appreciation of Edward W. Said


Vivek H. Dehejia

One of my greatest regrets is that I did not have a chance to meet Edward W. Said in person and form his acquaintancefriendship with one of the iconic intellectual figures of the last century, when I was a mere graduate student, that too in a culturally downmarket field such as economics, seemed impossible even to contemplate. During my time at Columbia, from 1990 to 1995, he was a towering, Olympian figure on the Morningside Heights campus, whom I would occasionally catch a glimpse of, as he strode purposefully across College Walk, tall, dark, handsome, impeccably dressed, cutting against the grain of the stereotypical rumpled and disheveled academic. Fitting, I suppose, as cutting against the grain really summarizes as well as any metaphor I can think of the essence of his lifes work, whether in the scholarly, cultural, or political spheres, or, indeed, in many of his activities, which cut across all of these categories and more. Sometimes Id see him at Ollies noodle shop, at the corner of Broadway and 116th Street, which is just across from the main gates to the campus, and a few steps away from where I learned later he lived, on Riverside Drive, that wonderful, curving building that you reach by walking across 116th Street, down the gentle hill, just past the inception of Claremont Avenue, in the direction of the river, visible beyond the lush greenery (at least in the right season) of Riverside Park. One doesnt want to overdo architectural anthropomorphization, but, it is apropos, nonetheless, that the building is angular, and sinuous, not block-like and rectangular, and, what is more, it is one of the few democratic Columbia apartment buildings that houses both faculty and students. Apart from such fleeting glimpses, the merest brushes with greatness, there were a few precious occasions when I heard him either deliver a public lecture or play a piano recital. I never attended any of his classeseven though I had wanted to, and once looked into the possibility; they were restricted to students registered in the comparative literature programwhich irked me at the time, I must admit, but in retrospect seems sensibleafter all, one does not want an upper division or graduate seminar to become a public debate, or a rowdy free-for-all, which would surely have happened, given Saids celebrity and the controversy he aroused (and continues to, even in death), had they been opened up. In the philosophy lounge (which was open to all graduate students), I would, sometimes, catch, sipping my cup of tea freshly poured from the old antique samovar, reports from the front, overhearing snatches of conversation

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of breathless interlocutors, freshly discharged from class, debating further a point that the master had raised. Beyond these sketchy and disjointed impressions, however, I have nothing in the way of Saidian anecdote from my five years at Columbia. The rigors of course work, comprehensive exams, and then of dissertation writing absorbed my time and intellectual energy completely. After 1995, my life became absorbed in the professional struggles faced by every young academic, to wit, publication, and aspiring to tenure. Said receded further and further from my conscious mind, in lock step, I guess, with the retreat of my creative writing, and its replacement by the dry and arid mathematicized model-building exercises that are the stock-in-trade of the middlebrow economic theorist. Icarian, I had descended from my heady aspirations to write on matters cultural to the lower altitudes of becoming a struggling pseudo-scientist. It was only much later, indeed quite recently, that Said reentered the picture, or, rather, that I edged back toward that stratospheric sphere where speculations and reflections of a cultural bent roam freely, gliding effortlessly through the rarified air, surviving, it seems, on a hidden breathing tube of pure intellectual oxygen. The fledging first steps of that reentry were innocuous enough. It was toward the end of the summer of 2005, and I was browsing at Simon Fraser Universitys bookshop. I had been visiting there all summer, to collaborate with my friend, the economist James Dean, and paid the rent by teaching a couple of undergraduate courses as a contract teacher. Rupa had just left for India, and, my work over, the last exam paper graded, I was foraging for a few good books to read in my last few days in Vancouver and for the long flight back to Ottawa. I chanced upon Humanism and Democratic Criticism, and, spontaneously, almost unthinkingly, decided to buy it. Perhaps I had been discussing Said with my new friend, the philosopher David Zimmerman, with whom I had very wide-ranging conversations that final fortnight, sipping California Zinfandel and listening to a dizzyingly wide spectrum of music on his heart-stoppingly wondrous hi-fi system, everything from Mozart and Mahler to Bill Evans and Thelonius Monk. (It was under Davids tutelage that I plucked up the courage, and saved the shekels, to buy my first really good hi-fi system, which, with a few modifications, still serves me to this day: Krell integrated amplifier and CD/ SACD player, Transparent Audio interconnects, and Opera Quinta loudspeakers.) So, in a sense, I had been primed. I read the book, my last day, and on the plane, and found it tough sledding. It had been so long since I had read literary criticism, or any serious humanistic writing, that I felt as though I were returning to a country I had visited as a child, but that now seemed somehow strange and alien, even exotic. I had gotten used, or perhaps inured, to academic reading and writing in the social sciences, which, at its (far too infrequent) best, is sparse, parsimonious, pared down to the boneelegant in a minimalist sort of way. By contrast, reading Said, I was once again confronted, after a long absence, with a veritable baroque extravagance of words. Too many notes, Joseph II is supposed to have said of Mozarts music (actually, this is a canard, as Franz

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Szabo pointed out to me a long time ago, but its too evocative to pass up): too many words, I thought to myself, finding a spot on my overloaded bookcase for the slim and elegantly bound volume (I am sure the publisher insisted on that one) when I got home. Nothing much happened, at least on the surface, for almost the next two years. Although, subconsciously, I suspect, Said had started to work his magic, and the rusty synapses slowly, fitfully, began firing up, like the engine of an old convertible, that hasnt been driven all winter, spasmodically coming to life when you turn the ignition key that first glorious day of spring. I began making connections, mainly cross-cultural ones, between the Western music I so loved and the Indian music I was now listening to much more (a distillation of some of those thoughts may be found in the previous essay). The circle widened, to encompass literature and cinema, and, further still, to cuisine and couture (in earlier essays as well as those yet to be written). Then, this past spring, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak visited Carleton for a few days, to give a series of lectures organized by the Centre on Values and Ethics on campus. As its director, the philosopher Steven Davis, was away in Paris, I, as a member of the executive committee, had volunteered to act as host. This involved, mainly, and on consecutive days, Rupa and my shuttling her between the downtown hotel where she was staying and the university campus, from there on to a nice restaurant for dinner, and finally back to her hotel. Spivak, too, had already been at Columbia when I was a student, and, what is more, knew my aunt, Vidya, who assumed the universitys first-ever endowed chair in Indian art a few years ago. This, I thought, augured well. As things turned out, it was a charmed visit, and Gayatris company proved scintillating, provocative, and intellectually energizing, and gave me an entre into her thought that had eluded my prior baffled attempts to penetrate her prosethe armor of deliberately (I take it) rebarbative language more than enough to withstand my puny firepower, my feeble attempts at forced ingress, as I stood, fulminating in silent fury, atop the battlements. It seemed now, rather, that I had been given the keys to the city, at least for a few hours. At the closing reception, Rupa and I made the acquaintance of a young doctoral student in religious studies, completing a dissertation on Said. Acting on impulse, and on Rupas wise counsel, I invited him to join us for dinnerone faculty colleague had dropped out, so we now had a vacant seat. Along with Gayatri, he was, by far, the most interesting interlocutor at dinner, way more than my professorial colleagues who, for reasons of discretion, shall perforce remain nameless. It turned out that this bright and dashing young scholar was Mathieu Courville, who in the short time since we met him has become a fast friend, and my mentor on all matters Saidian. Reasoning that coming into contact with Mathieu, and, thus, indirectly with Said, could not be purely accidental, and must reflect karma (some ideas in the collective unconscious are notoriously hard to shake off), I decided to put myself through a crash course, and read, or reread, all of the masters major works. I began, of course, with Orientalism, thence onto Culture and Imperialism,

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then Representations of the Intellectual, Musical Elaborations, and Parallels and Paradoxes, the last, en route to Delhi in mid-April. These I devoured whole, like a wild beast that has not been fed in days. While in India, and then in Germany, Italy, and since returning, I have been slowly working my way through The World, the Text, and the Critic (Mathieus recommendation, and his parting shot at our dinner before we left for India), spare and savored, enjoying every morsel. What have I gotten from these, and what am I getting from this, now more leisurely, traversal of the great mans oeuvre? Quite apart from the content, and his scholarly contribution, on which I do not consider myself competent to pronounce, I would point to the writing itself. My initial reaction (you will recall the spurious Mozart allusion) was entirely wrong. Compared to his peers, people like Spivak or Homi K. Bhabha, Saids prose is entirely free of the jargon that he always decried, a symptom, he felt, of the ber-specialization of academe, a condition that, sadly, has not abated: academic discussions seem increasingly like debates between cardinals in the Vatican, of little interest to the laity. This is not to suggest that his writing is easy: quite to the contrary. It is difficult, but not in a pejorative sense. The ideas and arguments are intrinsically intricate and complex, and his vocabulary is literary, but not technical, if I may make that distinction. He is always clear, lucid, transparent, but never needlessly spartan: there is the relish of fine words clothing important concepts, as with fine wine in a crystal decanter or fine cigars in a burnished cedar box, and they are equally aromatic and intoxicating. One is willingly led by the hand, on a journey to a place that seems always just beyond the horizon, confident in the knowledge that he will ever be a faithful guide. It is, quite simply, an exemplar of humanistic writing at its very acme. I began on a personal note, and I would like to end on one. During the dark days, when asked what I did (a standard cocktail party query), I would, hesitatingly and haltingly, answer, I am an economist, but my furtive sidelong glance would suggest, I dont really want to be one. Now, when asked, my routine tag line is: My profession is economics. My occupation is university professor. My vocation is being a writer. For that transformation, as for much else, too inchoate to be expressed, I shall remain eternally grateful to Edward W. Said. Ottawa June 14, 2007

About the Author(s)

Mathieu E. Courville, the author of this critical study, is also the editor of The Next Step in Studying Religion (Continuum, 2007). He holds a PhD in Religious Studies (Religionswissenschaft) from the University of Ottawa, ON, Canada. He is the recipient of a Canada Graduate Postdoctoral Award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and was Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society (CSRS), the University of Victoria, BC, in 20082009. Vivek H. Dehejia is the author of An Appreciation of Edward W. Said, which is drawn from a work-in-progress entitled Scribbling in the Margins: Some Reflections on Culture, Politics, and Society. He is a Carleton University Professor of Political Economy who divides his time between Ottawa, Canada, and New Delhi, India, with as many stints in Europe in between as he can manage. His professional research centers on debates around globalization and development, while his creative writing concerns the interrelationships among culture, politics, and society.

Notes

Voyages In: An Introduction


1

I am making use of the term-of-art critical theory of religion, or of the religious. Some references on Critical Theory worth consulting are the following: David Frisbys Introduction to the English Translation, in The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology, ed. Theodor W. Adorno, Hans Albert, Ralf Dahrendorf, Jrgen Habermas, Harald Pilot, and Karl R. Popper, trans. Glyn Adey and David Frisby (1969; London: Heinemann, 1976), ixxliv; Raymond Geuss, The Idea of a Critical Theory: Habermas and the Frankfurt School (1981; Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993); David Held, Introduction to Critical Theory: Horkheimer to Habermas (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980); Martin Jay, The Dialectic Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 18231950 (1973; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996). Also see what is arguably for Said the key work of Frankfurt School Critical Theory: Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life, trans. E. F. N. Jephcott (1951; London: Verso, 2005). Other representative materials include: Simon During, ed., The Cultural Studies Reader (London: Routledge, 1993), which links Saids scholarship to Cultural Studies more broadly; Michael Payne, ed., A Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), especially in that Payne distinguishes between Frankfurt School Critical Theory and Critical Theory in a broader appellation and in linking Cultural Studies and Criticism to Critical Theory broadly understood; Stuart Hall, ed., Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices (Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1997); as well as Susan L. Mizruchi, ed., Religion and Cultural Studies (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001). Also with a focus on religion, one should see: Marsha Aileen Hewitt, Critical Theory of Religion: A Feminist Analysis (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995); as well as Rudolf J. Siebert, The Critical Theory of Religion, in Critical Theory, vol. IV, ed. David Rasmussen and James Swindal (Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2004), 361380; one should consult other works from Sieberts numerous publications as well as the work of some of his students, such as Michael R. Ott, Max Horkheimers Critical Theory of Religion (Lanham: University Press of America, 2001). Also see Matt Waggoner, Reflections from a Damaged Discipline: Adorno, Religious Radio, and the Critique of Historical Reason, Culture and Religion 5/1 (2004): 2339. Insofar as much of critical social theory hinges on holding human knowledge to be more social than less so, see Vivien Burr, An Introduction to Social Constructivism (1995; London: Routledge, 1999). In this respect, also see Steven Engler, Constructivism versus what? Religion 34 (2004): 291313. Finally, concerning theory of religion more specifically, great points of reference include the following: Wilfred Cantwell Smith, The Meaning and End of

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4 5

Religion (New York: Macmillan, 1962), which should be read alongside Raymond Williams, Culture and Society, 17801950 (1958; New York: Columbia University Press, 1983); also see W. C. Smith, Methodology and the Study of Religion: Some Misgivings, in Methodological Issues in Religious Studies, ed. Robert D. Baird (Chicago: New Horizons Press, 1975), 125; regarding W. C. Smith, also see Talal Asad, Reading a Modern Classic: W. C. Smiths The Meaning and End of Religion, History of Religions 40/3 (2001): 205222; also see The Study of Religion, in The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion, ed. Jonathan Z. Smith (New York: HarperSanFranscico, 1995), 909917; Religionswissenschaft, in A New Dictionary of Religions, ed. John R. Hinnells (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995), 461417; Donald A. Nielsen, Theory, in Encyclopedia of Religion and Society, ed. William H. Swatos Jr. (Walnut Creek: AltaMira, 1998), 520522; Jonathan Z. Smith, Religion, Religions, Religious, in Relating Religion: Essays in the Study of Religion (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004), 179196; Jean-Marc Ttaz and Pierre Gisel, Statut et forme dune thorie de la religion, in Thories de la religion, ed. Jean-Marc Ttaz and Pierre Gisel (Paris: Labor et Fides, 2002), 734. In this respect, works such as Eric J. Sharpe, Comparative Religion: A History, 2nd ed. (1975; Chicago: Open Court, 1986); J. Samuel Preus, Explaining Religion: Criticism from Bodin to Freud (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987); and James Thrower, Religion: The Classical Theories (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1999), among other such titles, still deserve attention, not just for the theories themselves, but also for the underlying idea of theory therein. I would particularly like to thank Madame le Professeur Gayatri C. Spivak for having emphasized this aspect of my reading of Saids uses of the words religious and secular, among other words and concepts associated with these. Personal communication with G. C. Spivak, February 9, 2007, Ottawa. In this respect, see Charles H. Long, Religion, Discourse and Hermeneutics: New Approaches in the Study of Religion, in The Next Step in Studying Religion, ed. Mathieu E. Courville (London and New York: Continuum, 2007), 183197, 231232. Nelson Goodman, Ways of World-Making (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1978). I should like to thank the late Camille Labossire for this particular formulations inspiration. As with Professor Said, I wish Professor Labossire had lived to see this documents completion. Their frank criticisms would have undoubtedly improved it greatly. John Carlos Rowe, Edward Said and American Studies, American Quarterly 56 (2004): 3347; quote on p. 37. The expression is quoted in Russell T. McCutcheons review essay of Jonathan Z. Smiths Relating Religion (see note 1). McCutcheons review essay is entitled Relating Smith, The Journal of Religion 86 (2006): 287297. The quote, which appears on p. 295 of McCutcheons essay, is quoted from an online essay of Smiths entitled The Necessary Lie: Duplicity in the Disciplines and posted at a University of Chicago Web site intended for incoming graduate teaching assistants: http://teaching.uchicago.edu/handbook/tac12.html. This is indeed quite telling. The quote is from the introduction to a collection of roughly eighty essays dealing with various aspects of Saids oeuvre, Edward Said, Sage Masters of Modern Social Thought (London: Sage, 2001), xxv, and the editor of the four-volume collection, Patrick Williams, is also, along with Peter Childs, the

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coauthor of An Introduction to Post-Colonial Theory (London: Prentice Hall, 1997), which also deals with Saids work. Bernard Lewis, The Question of Orientalism, in Islam and the West (1982; New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 99118. The so-called Orientalism debate occasioned wide-ranging sets of varied responses. I discuss some of these in what follows and therefore will be highly selective in listing literature found worthy of attention here. Moreover, one can consult the bibliographical points of reference provided in Michel Gardaz, Introduction: Twenty-fifth Anniversary of Edward Saids Orientalism, Religion 34 (2004): 9397. As introductory material to the debate, one should begin by consulting both A. L. MacFie, Orientalism (London: Longman, 2002), and his Orientalism: A Reader (Washington Square, NY: New York University Press, 2000), not the least for the bibliographical references they also supply; also cf. with both John M. MacKenzie, Orientalism: History, Theory and the Arts (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995); and Ziauddin Sardar, Orientalism, Concepts in the Social Sciences Series (Buckingham and Philadelphia: Open University Press, 1999). For learned overviews of the form of Orientalism to which Said paid most of his attention, that of the Arabists and the Islamicists (though with some exception), see, e.g., Henri Dehrain, Orientalistes et antiquaries. Silvestre de Sacy, ses contemporains et ses disciples (Paris: Geuthner, 1938); A. J. Arberry, British Orientalists (London: William Collins, 1943); and The Cambridge School of Arabic: An Inaugural Lecture (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1948); A. L. Tibawi, English-Speaking Orientalists: A Critique of Their Approach to Islam and Arab Nationalism, The Islamique Quarterly VIIVIII/14 (19631964): 2588; Second Critique of English-Speaking Orientalists and Their Approach to Islam and the Arabs, The Islamic Quarterly 23/1 (1979): 354; and On the Orientalists Again, Muslim World 70/1 (1980): 5661; Maxime Rodinson, La fascination de lIslam (Paris: Maspero, 1980); also see Rodinson, Situation, acquis et problmes de lorientalisme islamisant, in Le mal de voir: Ethnologie et orientalisme, politique et pistmologie, critique et autocritique (Paris: Union Gnrale dditions, 1976), 242267; Henry Laurens, Aux sources de lorientalisme. La Bibliothque Orientale de Barthlemi dHerbelot (Paris: G.-P. Maisonneuve et Larose, 1978); D. P. Little, Three Arab Critiques of Orientalism, Muslim World 69/2 (1979): 110131; Norman Daniel, Edward Said and the Orientalists, Mlanges de lInstitut Dominicain dtudes orientales 15 (1982): 211222; Jane Rendall, Scottish Orientalism: From Robertson to James Mill, The Historical Journal 25 (1982): 4369; Asaf Hussain, Robert Olson, and Jamil Qureshi, eds., Orientalism, Islam, and Islamists (Brattleboro, VT: Amana Books, 1984); P. J. Marshall, Oriental Studies, in The History of the University of Oxford, gen. ed. T. H. Ashton, vol. V, The Eighteenth Century, ed. L. S. Sutherland and L. G. Mitchell (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), 551563; the brief introductory chapter of Annemarie Schimmels Islam: An Introduction (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1992), 16; la Socit franaise dtude du 18e sicle, Dix-huitime sicle. Revue annuelle. Vol 28 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1996), which is devoted to East-West topics; Azim Nanji, ed., Mapping Islamic Studies: Genealogy, Continuity, and Change (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1997), a near complete map of national Western Islamological traditions; Bryan S. Turner, ed., Orientalism: Early Sources, vol. I (London: Routledge, 2000); cf. also with the intriguing comments in Idries

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Shah, The Sufis, intro. Robert Graves (New York: Doubleday, 1964) concerning the sufism of early Orientalists. Regarding the tradition of American Orientalism, consult Fuad Shaban, Islam and Arabs in Early American Thought: The Roots of Orientalism in America (Durham, NC: Acorn Press, 1991); Robert D. Kaplan, The Arabist: The Romance of an American Elite (1993; New York: Free Press, 1995); and the more recent massive attempt of Michael B. Oren, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present (New York: Norton, 2007). Among the interesting recent biographies of specific Orientalists, see Dane Kennedy, The Highly Civilized Man: Richard Burton and the Victorian World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005); and Daniel Meyerson, The Linguist and the Emperor: Napoleon and Champollions Quest to Decipher the Rosetta Stone (New York: Ballantine, 2004). An interesting complement to the latter work is Donald Malcolm Reid, Whose Pharaohs? Archaeology, Museums, and Egyptian National Identity from Napoleon to World War I (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002). Also cf. with some of the existing literature on Occidentalism: see Grard Leclerc, La mondialisation culturelle. Les civilisations lpreuve (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2000); Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit, Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies (New York: Penguin, 2004); also see Ian Buruma, Inventing Japan (New York: Modern Library, 2003); as well as an earlier study, Stephan Tanaka, Japans Orient: Rendering Pasts into History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); also note the recent volume of Robert Irwin, For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies (New York and London: Penguin, 2007); as well as the older, and yet still valuable, Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies, Why Do People Hate America? (Duxford: Icon Books, 2002). In connection with this last question, see William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, updated ed. (1986; Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2004), with regular doses of Noam Chomsky, e.g., The Chomsky Reader, ed. James Peck (New York: Pantheon, 1987); Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies (Toronto: Anansi, 1989); Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians, updated ed., foreword by Edward W. Said (Montral: Black Rose Books, 1999); and 911 (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2001). One should not only consult J. J. Clarke, Oriental Enlightenment: The Encounter between Asian and Western Thought (1997; London: Routledge, 1998); and Raymond Schwab, La renaissance orientale (Paris: Payot, 1950), if not also the work from which the latters title is drawn, Edgar Quniet, Le genie des religion in Oeuvres completes (Genve and Paris: Slatkine Reprints, 1989); Quinet dates the first edition 1841. Also see Ronald Inden, Orientalist Constructions of India, Modern Asian Studies 20/3 (1986): 401446; as well as Richard King, Orientalism and Religion: Postcolonial Theory, India and the Mystic East (London: Routledge, 1999); on Buddhism, Henri de Lubac, La rencontre du bouddhisme et de loccident (Paris: Aubier, 1952); and Frdric Lenoir, La rencontre du bouddhisme et de loccident (Paris: Fayard, 1999). Also see work such as Philip C. Almond, The British Discovery of Buddhism (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988) among others; on Confucianism, see Thomas Hosuck Kang, Confucian Studies in the West (Washington, DC: Confucian Publications, 1997); regarding the debate concerning Confucianisms secularity versus its religiosity, compare Herbert Fingarette, Confucius: The Secular as Sacred (New York: Harper & Row, 1972); with

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12 13

14

15 16

17

18

19

20

Rodney L. Taylor, The Religious Dimensions of Confucianism (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1990); also see Lionel M. Jensen, Manufacturing Confucianism: Chinese Traditions and Universal Civilizations (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997); though always with the classic work of Etiemble, Confucius. De -551 (?) 1985 (1956; Paris: Gallimard, 1986), in mind. With Benjamin Hoffs The Tao of Pooh (New York: Penguin, 1982) in mind, or plus forte raison David Rosen, The Tao of Elvis (San Diego: Harcourt, 2002), not to mention Herrlee G. Creel, What is Taoism? in What is Taoism? And Other Studies in Chinese Cultural History (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970), 124, see J. J. Clarke, The Tao of the West: Western Transformations of Taoist Thought (London: Routledge, 2000). Much interesting east-west material exists, which here does not get one into discussing its north-south dimensions (or the apparent lack of this discussion therein). The foregoing should be understood as an all too brief introduction to some of the existing resources worthy of further study. See Christopher Hitchens, Where the Twain Should have Met: The Cosmopolitain Edward Said was Ideally Placed to Explain the East to West and West to East. What went Wrong? The Atlantic Monthly (September 2003): 153159. Ibid., 155. This pattern of argumentation is traditional rhetorically as a form of political discourse. An illuminating parallel might be established between this reality of much of Saids oeuvre and the extensive body of research surrounding the notion of the enthymeme in the Rhetoric of Aristotle. See Peter Dixon, Rhetoric (London: Methuen & Co., 1977), esp. 14; Michael Hood, The Enthymeme: A Brief Bibliography of Modern Sources, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 14 (1984): 159162; Carol Poster, The Enthymeme: An Interdiciplinary Bibliography of Critical Studies, Journal for the Study of Rhetorical Criticism of the New Testament, found at: http://rhetjournal.net/Enth.html. James Clifford, Review Essay of Orientalism, History and Theory, 19 (1980): 204223; the review essay was later included in Cliffords The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988). Clifford, Review Essay of Orientalism, 212. Edward W. Said, Humanism and Democratic Criticism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 89. An Interview with Edward W. Said, in The Edward Said Reader, ed. Moustafa Bayoumi and Andrew Rubin (New York: Vintage, 2000), 423424. For an examination of the complex role of identity in Saids work, see Bill Ashcroft and Pal Ahluwalia, Edward Said: The Paradox of Identity (London & New York: Routledge, 1999). Rescuing meaning was already an important theme in Saids first book, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966). As Bowker notes: J. H. Leuba began his book A Psychological Study of Religion (1912), with nearly fifty of them [i.e., definitions of religion]. John Bowker, Religion, in The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, ed. John Bowker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), xviii. William Arnal has more recently reaffirmed that the relation between ones definition of religion and ones theory of religion is close and complex. William Arnal, Definition, in Guide to

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22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

the Study of Religion, ed. Willi Braun and Russell T. McCutcheon (London: Cassell, 2000), 2134. For another interesting examination of the relation between a definition of religion and a theory of religion, see Donald A. Crosby, Interpretive Theories of Religion (The Hague: Mouton, 1981), esp. 46. Bruce Robbins, Secularism, Elitism, Progress, and Other Transgressions: On Edward Saids Voyage In, Social Text 40 (1994); repr. in Cultural Readings of Imperialism: Edward Said and the Gravity of History, ed. K. Ansell-Pearson, B. Parry, and J. Squires (New York: St. Martins Press, 1997), 6787; and in Feeling Global: Internationalism in Distress (New York: New York University Press, 1999), 115125. In this respect, recent studies such as Anthony W. Marx, Faith in Nation: Exclusionary Origins of Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); and Anthony D. Smith, Chosen Peoples: Sacred Sources of National Identity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003) are highly suggestive. W. D. Hart, Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Kenneth Burke, The Rhetoric of Religion (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966), a work that Said mentions more than once, first in his Beginnings: Intention and Method (1975; New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), and again in Out of Place (New York: Vintage, 1999), nearly twenty-five years later; on both occasions, Saids statements testify to the great impression Burkes work had on his own. Said very often points out the self-referential nature of Orientalism; it supports itself from within, via self-referential discursivity, if not by explicit design, at least in its actual practice. See Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity, intro. Karl Barth, trans. George Eliot (1841; New York: Harper, 1957); The Essence of Religion, trans. Alexander Loos (1845; Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2004); Emile Durkheim, Les formes lmentaires de la vie religieuse (1912; Paris: Presses Universitaire de France, 2005). Also see Hart, Edward Said, for some discussion of Saids intellectual relations to the likes of Feuerbach, Marx, and Durkheim. On Durkheim, not only see Reappraising Durkheim for the Study of Religion Today, ed. Thomas A. Idinopulos and Brian C. Wilson (Leiden: Brill, 2002), but also older, though still suggestive, work such as Christopher Prendergast, The Impact of Fustel de Coulanges La Cit Antique on Durkheims Theories of Social Morphology and Social Solidarity, Humboldt Journal of Social Relations 11/1 (19831984): 5373. Max Weber, The Sociology of Religion, intro. Talcott Parsons, trans. Ephraim Fischoff (1922; Boston: Beacon, 1963). Saids Beginnings: Intention and Method is set off by this epigram from Vicos New Science: Doctrines must take their beginnings from that of the matters of which they treat. See Said, Joseph Conrad, 7. Phenomenology as a methodological orientation has fallen into disrepute and yet as Gavin Flood suggests in Beyond Phenomenology: Rethinking the Study of Religion (London: Cassell, 1999), it remains a pivotal starting point even if it is one the student of religion and secularism cannot be unsuspicious of. Harts Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture is especially important in that it begins revealing the centrality and complexity of religious and secular questions within Saids oeuvre. Other scholars had previously begun this task and yet

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32 33 34

35

36 37 38

39 40

Hart is the first to have begun giving these topics the broader attention and deeper reflection they deserve. For example, regarding British anthropologist E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Daniel L. Pals has written: Were he to have seen his name alongside the others in this book [i.e., Seven Theories of Religion], the modest Englishman undoubtedly would have expressed some surprise and insisted that if theories of religion are the subject, he proposed no such thing. Certain observers, in fact, might even prefer to describe him as an antitheorist of religion, for in one of his most widely noticed books, Theories of Primitive Religion (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), he takes it as his mission to dismantle the ambitious schemes of explanation put forward by the pioneering figures in anthropology and the study of religion [. . .]. Evans-Pritchards role in the enterprise of explaining religion, however, has been much larger than that of a critic whose main interest is to find fault in the work of others. Daniel L. Pals, Seven Theories of Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 198. Timothy A. Robinson, Aristotle in Outline (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1995), 3; emphasis added. It deserves to be noted that the study of literature, of literary theory, and criticism, in its willful humanism, has not cut itself off from the study of philosophy, the latter considered as integral to the Humanities as the former. For example, see David H. Richter, ed., The Critical Tradition: Classical Texts and Contemporary Trends (New York: St. Martins Press, 1989), esp. 1765, which begins its survey with Plato and Aristotle, before moving on to Latin authors and then writers of vernaculars. In so doing, the deeper backdrop, in the history of language and philosophy, continue to linger on within, informing contemporary debate. Crosby, Interpretive Theories of Religion, 45. Ibid., 17. Regarding Crosbys view of the relationship between Philosophy and Religious Studies, see Donald A. Crosby, A Students Question: Religious Studies, Philosophy, and the Examined Life, in The Next Step in Studying Religion, ed. Mathieu E. Courville (London and New York: Continuum, 2007), 199211. Although Crosby places himself squarely within the analytic philosophical stream, it may be worth observing that the four theorists of religion he goes on to deal with are Europeans (i.e., Spinoza, Kant, Otto, and Tillich), which in itself complicates any undue trust in the dichotomy of Continental and Anglo-American philosophical traditions. Crosby, Interpretive Theories of Religion, 3. Regarding the forms of othering that have gone on between the Continental and the AngloAmerican philosophical traditions as well as the reasons why one should be skeptical of leurs biens fonds, see Simon Critchley, Continental Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). Geuss, The Idea of A Critical Theory. Ibid., 13. Terry Eagleton, After Theory (London: Penguin, 2003), 12. Eagleton goes on to say that we are now living in the aftermath of what one might call high theory, and though enriched by the so-called high theorists insights, the age has also in some ways moved beyond them (2). Crosby, Interpretive Theories of Religion, 19. Ibid., 19.

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In particular, see Philip A. Mellor, Orientalism, Representation and Religion: The Reality behind the Myth. Religion 34 (2004): 99112; and Carl Olson, Politics, Power, Discourse and Representation: A Critical Look at Said and some of his Children, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 17 (2005): 317336. In this, one is tempted to speak of Saids view of culture as jihad. See Jacinta OHagan, Conceptualizing the West in International Relations: From Spengler to Said (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 191193, who, as I read her, implicitly picks up on this, though without going this far in saying so. To further contextualize Saids intervention into this debate, also consider work such as Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, ed., Religion, Ethnicity, and Self-Identity: Nations in Turmoil, Salzburg Seminar (Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 1997); and John Bunzl, ed., Islam, Judaism, and the Political Role of Religions in the Middle East (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2004). Possibly the most forceful use of these terms is to be found in Saids oeuvre in the first and last chapters of his The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 130 and 290292. William D. Hart, Religious Traditions and Secular Criticism: Edward Said as Cultural Critic, Princeton University, 1993. In this, there is significant similarities with work such as that of Albert Piette, Les religiosits sculires (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1993); or Edward I. Bailey, Implicit Religion in Contemporary Society (Kampen, Neth.: Kok Pharos, 1997), and so on, which invites further comparative work. This is also true with regard to more recent work; as examples, see Tzvetan Todorov, Totalitarianism: Between Religion and Science, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 2/1 (2001): 2842; Emilio Gentille, Political Religion: A Concept and its Critics, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 6/1 (2005): 1932; Renato Moro, Religion and Politics in the Time of Secularization: The Sacralization of Politics and Politicisation of Religion, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 6/1 (2005): 7186; Stanley G. Payne, On the Heuristic Value of the Concept of Political Religion and its Application, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 6/2 (2005): 163174, and so on. Also see examples of how these issues arise in approaches to Islam. For example, see Michael Whine, Islamism and Totalitarianism: Similarities and Differences, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 2/2 (2001): 5472; James G. Mellon, Islam and International Politics: Examining Huntingtons Civilization Clash Thesis, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 2/1 (2001): 7383; Menderes inar, From Shadow-Boxing to Critical Understanding: Some Theoretical Notes on Islamism as a Political Question, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 3/1 (2002): 3557; Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Appropriating Islam: The Islamic Other in the Consolidation of Western Modernity, Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies 12/1 (2003): 2541; and Hermann Lbbe, Religion and Politics in Processes of Modernisation, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 6/1 (2005): 5370, and so on. Such recent work also calls prior work to mind. For example, religion and politics as debated by Hannah Arendt and Eric Voegelin. See, e.g., Hannah Arendt, Religion and Politics, in Essays in Understanding, 19301954: Formation, Exile and Totalitarianism, ed. Jerome Kohn (New York: Schoken, 1994), 368390; and Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics and Gnosticism, trans. W. J. Fitzpatrick

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(Chicago: Gateway, 1968). Another such example would be the work of Raymond Aron. In this respect, see Denis Boneau, Raymond Aron, the Atlantist prosecutor at: http://www.voltairenet.org/article30054.html. In this, one sees the eccentric redeployment of Kenneth Burkes analysis of religious language, of the self-referential discursive pattern of a language centered on and around a purportedly potent god-like term. See Burke, The Rhetoric of Religion. See, e.g., Neil Lazarus review of Bill Ashcroft and Pal Ahluwalia, Edward Said: The Paradox of Identity, published in Interventions 4 (2002): 299300. Timothy Brennan, Resolution, in Edward Said: Continuing the Conversation, ed. Homi Bhabha and W. J. T. Mitchell (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005), 47. Amir R. Mufti, Critical Secularism: A Reintroduction for Perilous Times, Boundary 2 31/2 (2004): 19, esp. see p. 2; Mufti has previously made an important contribution to this emergent body of criticism with his essay, Auerbach in Istanbul: Edward Said, Secular Criticism, and the Question of Minority Culture, Critical Inquiry 25 (1998): 95125, repr. in Edward Said and the Work of the Critic: Speaking Truth to Power, ed. Paul A. Bov (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000), 229256 and 302305. Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage, 1993), esp. xixii. Mufti, Critical Secularism, 3. Ibid., 9. Said, Joseph Conrad, viiviii, chapters 4, 5, and 8. The first part of this squarely places Said in continuity with the critical tradition, described, e.g., by David H. Richter, as largely inaugurated by Plato, who held a comparable view. However, criticism for Said is not wholly removed from its objects, realizing its own potential objective effects, becoming an object in and of the world in its own right. See Richter, ed., The Critical Tradition, esp. Richters introductory chapter, 114, as well as his introduction to Plato, 1720. For example, see Alain Epp Weaver, On Exile: Yoder, Said, and a Theology of Land and Return, Crosscurrents, Winter (2003): 439461, in which Epp Weaver writes: given his [i.e., Saids] relentless critique of religion, his stark opposition between religion (bad) and secular (good) criticism, and his desire to keep religion in proper bounds, [Said] might appear an odd thinker. The theologian Epp Weaver goes so far as to characterize Said as an aggressive, even dogmatic, secularist (444); a sad fact of the matter is that Weaver takes Harts much more subtle account of Said as the grounds for his assertions. Hart cannot be blamed for Weavers misreadings and yet this fact leads one to be far more skeptical of the overall picture provided him by Hart. A. C. Grayling, What is Good? The Search for the Best Way to Live (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003), xii. Regarding Islamic humanism, one might begin with Roger Arnaldez, Lhomme selon le Coran (Paris: Hachette, 2002), and not omit work such as George Makdisi, The Rise of Colleges: Institutions of Learning in Islam and the West (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1981); and his The Rise of Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West: With Special Reference to Scholasticism (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1990); Anouar Majid, Unveiling Traditions: Postcolonial Islam in a Polycentric World (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000); Tariq Ali, The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads

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and Modernity (London and New York: Verso, 2002); Ziauddin Sardar, Desperately Seeeking Paradise: Journeys of a Sceptical Muslim (London: Granta Books, 2004); not to mention Omid Safi, ed., Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism (Oxford: Oneworld, 2003); Tariq Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); and Guy Sorman, Les enfants de Rifaa, musulmans et modernes (Paris: Fayard, 2004). In thinking about ones thoughts on Islam, one must not omit the factor present in le choix personel et social, which is as aptly represented by Imam Feisal Abdul Raufs Whats Right with Islam, foreword by Karen Armstrong (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), as it is in Khalid Sohail, From Islam to Secular Humanism (Toronto: Abbeyfield, 2001); in Mohammed Arkoune, La pense arabe, 6th ed. (1975; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2003); or in Fouad Zakariya, Lacit ou islamisme. Les arabes lheure du choix (Paris: La Dcouverte, 1991). In order to make sense of The Roots of Terrorism, and get After the Terror, one must acknowledge the critical secularity of work such as Mahmood Mamdanis Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, The Cold War, and the Roots of Terror (New York: Three Leaves Press, 2004); or Rashid Khalidis Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and Americas Perilous Path in the Middle East (Boston: Beacon, 2004). Also see Ted Honderich, After the Terror, rev. ed. (Montral and Kingston: McQill-Queens University Press, 2003). The White and the Black represent the two poles of the world, poles in perpetual struggle [qualifying this as a] truly Manichean conception of the world (translation mine). Frantz Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs (Paris: Seuil, 1952), 38. [A]n essay in understanding Black-White relations, to which Fanon adds that the White is caged in (literally enclosed in) his or her whiteness. The Black in his or her Blackness (translation mine). Ibid., 9. In this respect, see Bill Ashcroft, Edward Said: The Locatedness of Theory, in Futures of Critical Theory: Dreams of Difference, ed. M. Peters, M. Olssen, and C. Lankshear (Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), 261273. An objection to what I have stated thus far might question my willingness to work with phenomenology on the one hand and critical theory on the other, the former based on bracketing, the latter resolutely denying its possibility. However, critical theory can make the navet of phenomenology more apparent, whereas the latter can grant the former an lan vital, thus combining to aid each other beyond prior limitations. In this regard, consider the following quote from Muftis previously mentioned essay on Saids critical secularism. Mufti writes: Every world he [i.e., Said] lived in, he inhabited fully, and yet with an uncompromising critical distance. This is the great strength, the beauty, and the paradox of his life (Critical Secularism, 2). I would add it is also why Saids method and oeuvre must be thought of both in terms of phenomenology and as critical theory. See Said, Reflections on Exile, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 185. In this regard, beyond being heavily influenced by Saids work, insofar as through it one is invited to think of matter and style, content and form, dialectic and rhetoric, always in some kind of tandem, never as wholly isolated from one another, my perspective here also draws on the work of the Italian philosopher Ernesto Grassi, especially his work Rhetoric as Philosophy: The Humanist Tradition

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(University Park and London: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1980). Although I have not found any direct reference to Grassi in Saids oeuvre, it is not unlikely that their equally intense and shared interest in Giambattista Vico would have lead Said to study Grassis work. Grassis work is especially important for the sake of taking rhetoric seriously, as something much more significant than mere window dressing. For example, Grassi writes that we cannot speak of rhetoric and philosophy, but every original philosophy is rhetoric and every true and not exterior rhetoric is philosophy (ibid., 34). See David Damrosch, Secular Criticism meets the Worlds, Al-Ahram Weekly, located at: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/769/bo2.htm. Damroschs essay was delivered at the American University in Cairo as the first Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture, November 1, 2005, on what would have been Saids seventieth birthday. Also see Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic, 8. To interpret Saids view of religion and secular humanism, one might keep in mind the work of Leo Strauss, Persecution and the Art of Writing (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1952), especially this collections title piece. Howard Greenfeld, A Promise Fulfilled: Theodor Herzl, Chaim Weizmann, David BenGurion, and the Creation of the State of Israel (New York: HarperCollins Childrens Books, 2005), 11; note the publisher and year of publication. Another example would be Barbara W. Tuchman, Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from Bronze Age to Balfour (1956; New York: Ballantine, 1984); such works trade on the Wests ability to identify with Israel, to the detriment of an equally humane identification extended to Arabs, and Arab Palestinians more specifically. This said, I in no way wish to diabolize Israel, and especially not Jews, nor Judaism. Neither did Said. All parties, including the once so-called Great Powers, the new lone superpower, the United States, along with Israel, the Palestinian leaders as well as Palestines Arab or Islamic, close and not so close, neighbors, not to mention humanity as such, share failure in this tragic human reality. Moreover, no one can deny that excellent work has been produced about the Israel/Palestine impasse by Jewish scholars, Israelis, Americas, Europeans, and so on. For example, I have already noted Noam Chomskys Fateful Triangle in note 10; with respect to Noam Chomsky, see Edward W. Said, Chomsky and the Question of Palestine, in The Politics of Dispossession (New York: Vintage, 1994), 323336; also see the overview provided in the introductory chapter to Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question, ed. Edward W. Said and Christopher Hitchens (London: Verso, 1988), 119; more recently, see Tanya Reinhart, Israel/ Palestine: How to End the War of 1948, expanded ed. (2002; New York: Seven Stories Press, 2005); as well as her The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine since 2003 (London: Verso, 2006). Also see Laurence J. Silberstein, The Postzionism Debates: Knowledge and Power in Israeli Culture (London: Routledge, 1999); as well as Marc H. Ellis, Edward Said and the Future of the Jewish People, in Revising Culture, Reinventing Peace: The Influence of Edward W. Said, ed. Naseer Aruri and Muhammed A. Shuraydi (New York: Olive Branch Press, 2001), 3872; and his Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation: The Challenge of the 21st Century, 3rd ed. (1987; Waco, TX: Baylor, 2004), which, as he suggests, deserves to be read contiguously with Naim Stifan Ateek, Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1989). Other work that deserves more attention is surely Roger Friedland and Richard Hechts To Rule Jerusalem (1996;

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Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000); also, the excellent work of JeanChristophe Attias and Esther Benbassa, Isral imaginaire (Paris: Flammarion, 1998), trans. by Susan Emanuel as Israel, Impossible Land (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), this latter work deserves to be seriously studied alongside that of Thierry Hentsch, LOrient imaginaire: la vision politique occidental de lest mditerranen (Paris: Minuit, 1988); and Nassib Samir El-Husseini, LOccident imaginaire: la vision de lautre dans la conscience politique arabe (Sainte-Foy, QC: Presses Universitair du Qubec, 1998), all work clearly indebted to Said in significant ways. Also see J.-C. Attias and E. Benbassa, Le Juif et lautre (Paris: du Reli, 2002), trans. by G. M. Goshgarian as The Jew and the Other (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004). In this respect, also see works such as Michael Oppenheim, Speaking/Writing of God: Jewish Philosophical Reflections on Life with Others (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997), as well as modern classics it rests upon; e.g., Martin Buber, I and Thou, trans. and intro. by Walter Kaufmann (New York: Scribners, 1970); Between Man and Man, trans. R. GregorSmith (1947; London: Routledge, 2002); Emmanuel Lvinas, Totalit et infini, essai sur lextriorit (1971; Paris: Kluwer Academic, 1994); and so on. Such work, like Saids work, is meant to be critical and yet, borrowing a cue from a title mentioned earlier (i.e., Revising Culture, Reinventing Peace, used to describe Saidian humanism), essay in what Elise Boulding calls Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History, foreword by Federico Mayor (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2000); and in continuity with A. L. Tibawi, Jerusalem: Its Place in Islam and Arab History, in The Arab-Israeli Confrontation of June 1967: An Arab Perspective, ed. Ibrahim Abu-Lughod (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1970); and the convergences described in Janin Hunt, Four Paths to Jerusalem: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Secular Pilgrimages, 1000 BCE to 2001 CE (London: McFarland, 2002), see If You Could Be My Friend: Letters of Mervet Akram Shaban and Galit Fink (New York: Orchard Books, 1998), published in French as Si Tu Veux tre Mon Amie, trans. Ariane Elbaz and Beatrice Khadige (Paris: Gallimard, 1992). In this respect, also see Dan Cohn-Sherbok and Dawoud El-Alami, The PalestineIsraeli Conflict: A Beginners Guide (Oxford: OneWorld, 2001). Andr Lemaire, Naissance du monothisme: point de vue dun historien (Paris: Bayard, 2003). Also see Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, La Bible dvoile. Les nouvelles revelations de larchologie (Paris: Gallimard, 2004), an indispensable work. In this, also cf. with Grard Leclerc, Historie de lauthorit. Lassignation des noncs culturels et la gnalogie de la croyance (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1996), esp. chapter 13. Said, Reflections on Exile, 185. Robbins, Secularism, Elitism, Progress, and Other Transgressions. In a certain sense, Said, like Adorno, and in this respect, like W. C. Smith as well, are quite comparable to Feyerabend in being largely methodological anarchists. The best example of W. C. Smiths methodological anarchism is his essay Methodology and the Study of Religion: Some Misgivings. The breaking point, however, between Smith and Said, or Adorno for that matter, where they contrast most radically, is that whereas W. C. Smith was openly religious (which does not preclude him from also largely being a secular thinker), Said, much like Adorno, wanted scholarship to be more thoroughly secular. Regarding Paul Feyerabend, see his Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge

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(1975; London: New Left Books and Verso, 1993). Also see Steve Fuller, Kuhn vs. Popper: The Struggle for the Soul of Science (Duxford: Icon Books, 2003), which discusses Feyerabends views of science and method, Feyerabend having been one of Karl Poppers most important and influential students. I am also indebted to Richard Burris analysis of the work of Russell T. McCutcheon and of David Chidester for this particular formulation. Richard Burris, Text and Context in the Study of Religion, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 15 (2003): 2847; also see the replies of Chidester and McCutcheon. David Chidester, Primitive Texts, Savage Contexts: Contextualizing the Study of Religion in Colonial Situations, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 15 (2003): 272283; R. T. McCutcheon, Filling the Cracks with Resin: A Response to John Burris Texts and Context in the Study of Religion, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 15 (2003): 284303. Worth noting is the fact that all three of these important scholars have been influenced in their own ways by Saids work as well as that of like-minded intellectuals. In his first major work, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography, Said writes: I hope that my study of the letters and the shorter fiction together is sufficiently large in its major concerns to provide the outline for an integral reading of Conrads total oeuvre (viii). I place emphasis on the emergentism of Saids thinking and in so doing follow Anthony C. Alessandrini in his insightful essay, Humanism in Question: Fanon and Said, in A Companion to Postcolonial Studies, ed. H. Schwarz and S. Ray (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 431450. The essay, as well as emergentism, are discussed further on in this study. Edward W. Said, Traveling Theory, in The World, the Text, and the Critic, 226247; Traveling Theory Reconsidered, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, 436452. Theoretical interest in accounting for influences had emerged prior to his essays on traveling theory, namely, in his two first books, Joseph Conrad and the Autobiography of Fiction and Beginnings: Intention and Method. Cf. with some of the following: the collection of essays in Michael Sprinkler, ed., Edward Said: A Critical Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992); in K. Ansell-Pearson, B. Parry, and J. Squires, eds., Cultural Readings of Imperialism: Edward Said and the Gravity of History (New York: St. Martins Press, 1997); in Paul A. Bov, ed., Edward Said and the Work of the Critic: Speaking Truth to Power (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000); in Naseer Aruri and Muhammad A. Shuraydi, eds., Revising Culture, Reinventing Peace: The Influence of Edward Said (New York: Olive Branch Press, 2000); the eighty essays collected in the four volumes of Patrick Williams, ed., Edward Said (London: Sage, 2001), as part of the Sage Masters of Modern Social Thought series; the Essays in Honor of Edward W. Said, ed. Rashid I. Khalidi and published in a special issue of The Journal of Palestinian Studies 33/3 (2004); the papers in memory of Edward W. Said, in Nur Masalha, ed., Catastrophe Remembered: Palestine, Israel, and the Internal Refugees (London and New York: Zed Books, 2005); those found in Homi Bhabha and W. J. T. Mitchell, eds., Edward Said: Continuing the Conversation (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005). Also cf. with Ashcroft and Ahluwalia, Edward Said: The Paradox of Identity; Valerie Kennedy, Edward Said: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2000); William D. Hart, Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Shelley Walia, Edward Said and the Writing of

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History (Duxford: Icon Books, 2001); Abdirahman A. Hussein, Edward Said: Criticism and Society (London: Verso, 2002); and Mustapha Marrouchi, Edward Said at the Limits (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2004). This only begins to scratch the surface insofar as this is a selection and therefore, by definition, not exhaustive. In the preface to Raymond Schwabs Renaissance orientale, Louis Renou recounts how at the International Congress of Orientalists, held in Paris in 1948, Schwab pleaded for the creation of an oriental humanism committee, the main task of which would be to prepare a general history of Orientalism. Renou goes on to underline that [l]es orientalists nont gure pris le temps dcrire lhistoire dtaille de leurs disciplines, requis quils taient par dautres besognes (5). From these words, one may conclude that, for Renou, the task of writing Orientalisms history fell upon Orientalists themselves. Because of the sorry state of Orientalist historiography, Renou concludes that le livre de M. Schwab vient son heure, quil rpond une demande laquelle nont satisfait ni les historiens de la littrature compare, ni les orientalists (ibid.). This nuances the prior statement, opening the task of writing Orientalisms history to historians of comparative literature (such as Said). In justifying his books appearance, Schwab writes that the so-called encounter between East and West has altered our ways of thinking and yet the history of this encounter, nevertheless, is not very well understood. He writes: Cest que les historiens de la littrature et des ides croyaient ce sujet rserv aux orientalists, tandis que ceux-ci leur abandonnaient les gnralisations historiques (7). Again one finds this understanding, namely, that on the one hand, a given discipline or field must write it own history, and on the other, certain disciplineshere Schwab adds the history of ideas to the previously mentioned history of comparative literature are particularly apt to fulfill this academic function. My contention is that not only have many historians of religions devoted time and effort to writing their disciplines history, e.g., Mircea Eliade, The Quest: History and Meaning in Religion (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1969); Jospeh M. Kitagawa, The History of Religions: Understanding Human Experience (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1987); Eric J. Sharpe, Comparative Religion: A History; Jean Jacques Waardenburg, Classical Approaches to the Study of Religion: Aims, Methods, and Theories of Research (1973; New York and Berlin: de Gruyter, 1999), and so on, but that the history of religions largely remains a form of history of ideas and of institutions, from historical documents broadly understood and from the criticism of such sources, and, therefore, is particularly apt a candidate to fulfill this second (or third) order function. See, e.g., Crosby, Interpretive Theories of Religion, vii. Of the recent literature on the secular and secularization, see some of the following: Talal Asad, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), as well as Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003). Concerning Asad, see Powers of the Secular Modern: Talal Asad and His Interlocutors, ed. David Scott and Charles Hirschkind (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006). Also see Rajeev Bhargava, ed., Secularism and its Critics (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998); Charles Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004); David A. Hollinger, Science, Jews, and Secular Culture: Studies in Mid-Twentieth-Century American Intellectual

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History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997); David Martin, On Secularization: Towards a Revised General Theory (London: Ashgate, 2005); Robert A. Markus, Christianity and the Secular (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006); Vincent P. Pecora, Secularization and Cultural Criticism: Religion, Nation, and Modernity (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006); older sources, such as Nicolas Walter, Humanism: Finding Meaning in the Word (1997; Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1998), are still worth consulting. Also consult Guy Haarscher, La lacit, 3rd ed. (1996; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2004); Henri Pena-Ruiz, Quest-ce que la lacit? (Paris: Gallimard, 2003); as well as his Histoire de la lacit. Gense dun idal (Paris: Gallimard, 2005). Concerning America, see Christian Smith, The Secular Revolution: Power, Interests, and Conflict in the Secularization of American Public Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Noah Feldman, Divided by God: Americas Chruch-State Problemand What We Should Do About It (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005); which are aptly complemented by Madeleine Albright, The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs, with Bob Woodward (New York: HarperCollins, 2006); and Damon Linker, The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege (New York: Doubleday, 2006). These studies must all also be thought of in connection to broader American trajectories. In this respect, see Jeffrey F. Meyer, Myths in Stone: Religious Dimensions of Washington, DC (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); and David Chidester, Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005). Concerning Canada now, see Marci McDonald, Stephen Harper and the Theo-cons: The Rising Clout of Canadas Religious Right, The Walrus (October 2006): 4561. Regarding the Islamic world, see the foregoing references (e.g., much of Said, also Zakariyas Lacit ou islamisme, Sohails From Islam to Secular Humanism, Mamdanis Good Muslim, Bad Muslim, etc.), as well as John L. Esposito and Azzam Tamimi, eds., Islam and Secularism in the Middle East (Washington Square, NY: New York University Press, 2000); Oliver Roy, La lacit face lislam (Paris: Hachette, 2005); and Chrif Choubachy, Le saber et la virgule. La langue du Coran nest-elle lorigine du mal arabe? (2004; Paris: LArchpel, 2007).

Chapter 1
1

Diane P. Freedman, Olivia Frey, and Frances Murphy Zauhar, eds., The Intimate Critique: Autobiographical Literary Criticism (Durham: Duke University Press, 1993). See Charles Taylor, The Politics of Recognition, in Charles Taylor, Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, ed. and intro. Amy Gutmann (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), 2573; the original essay by Taylor was entitled Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition and was first published in 1992. Regarding Said, among many important statements, cf. esp. The Politics of Knowledge, in Edward W. Said, Reflection on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 372385; the essay originally appeared in the Raritan: A Quarterly Review, in its summer issue of 1991. Also see his essay Decolonizing the Mind, in Edward W. Said, Peace and its Discontents: Essays on

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3 4 5

6 7 8

10

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Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process (New York: Vintage, 1996), 9299; the later essay originally appeared in Al-Hayat, September 16, 1994. Said, The Politics of Knowledge, 376; emphasis original. Ibid., 376377. Ibid., 378. It is an irony worth noting that Charles Taylor himself replicates the stereotype of Fanon that Said here critiques. See Taylor, The Politics of Recognition, 6566. Said, The Politics of Knowledge, 378379. Quoted in ibid., 379. William C. Spengemann, The Forms of Autobiography: Episodes in the History of a Literary Genre (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980), xiii. Spengemanns study provides a broad historical overview of the study of autobiography, summarizing the body of scholarship produced during the first half of Saids own production. Spengemanns work also describes the three main forms of autobiography, i.e., the historical, philosophical, and poetic, which he sees as all being present already in the Western paradigm, Augustines Confessions, and yet which he also describes as the main characteristics of the three main historical phases of autobiographical writing and criticism. In what follows, I attempt to show in what way Saids view of the self is critical and theoretical; it gives an account of the self in a manner critical of past accounts. In this sense, his critical theory of the self must be understood in its contrasting relation to that of the traditional early paradigm: Augustine. Edward W. Said, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966). Saids Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography originated initially in the form of Saids doctoral dissertation, originally entitled The Letters and Short Fiction of Joseph Conrad (Harvard University, 1964). It focuses on the relation between Conrads collected letters and his short fiction. Edward W. Said, Beginnings: Intention and Method (1975; New York: Columbia University Press, 1985). See ibid., 153167, 233240, 263. It deserves to be noted that Said was criticized by the authors of Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition, ed. Dwight F. Reynolds (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 26, for saying the following: [a]utobiography as a genre scarcely exists in Arabic literature. When it is to be found, the result is wholly special (Said, Beginnings, 81). The authors of Interpreting the Self criticize Saids comments since they argue that there is a long tradition of Arabic autobiography. However, the authors of Interpreting the Self themselves began the process that results in their work, first by arguing about the existence of such a tradition and also acknowledge that the prevalent misconception Said also then held was due primarily to the small number of examples that have been available to scholars. See Reynolds, ed., Interpreting the Self, vii and 27. It should also be noted that Saids observation was published in 1975. In the introduction to Spengemanns The Forms of Autobiography, published in 1980, he wrote about autobiography saying: Had I written this introduction even five years ago, I could have begun, as was then the custom among critics of autobiography, by lamenting the scholarly neglect of this worthy literature (xi). Spengemann is primarily concerned here with the Western tradition. In 1975,

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if the Western autobiographical tradition was still neglected by departments of English and Comparative Literature, how much more so the Arabic tradition? In his essay The Palestinian Experience, to take an early example, Said acknowledges the dangers of such parallels and yet nevertheless proceeds in using Erik Eriksons notion of identity crisis as a theoretical model for the analysis of the post-1967 Middle East. See Edward W. Said, The Palestinian Experience, in The Politics of Dispossession: The Struggle for Palestinian Self-Determination, 19691994 (New York: Vintage, 1994), 323, esp. 1415; the essay is dated 19681969. This calls to mind statements Said makes in his very last work, On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain (New York: Pantheon, 2006), 34, on the secularity of his style of thought, especially in its concern for births, lives with duration, and ends. This leads one to see then the great significance of analyzing Said along with other important theorists of human culture and society such as Oswald Spengler, as Jacinta OHagan has done. See Jacinta OHagan, Conceptualizing the West in International Relations: From Spengler to Said (New York: Palgrave, 2002). In this respect, it is interesting to note that Saids one time friend and mentor Charles Malik, whom he discusses in his memoir Out of Place, was a student of Alfred North Whitehead at Harvard University. Whiteheads magnum opus, Process and Reality, corrected ed., ed. David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne (New York: Free Press, 1978), originally the 19271928 Gifford Lectures, is at times referred to philosophically as a philosophy of emergentism or of emergent evolution. A good basic account of emergent evolution can be found in Peter A. Angeles, Dictionary of Philosophy (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1981), 87. Moreover, as I began outlining in the introductory chapter, Anthony Alessandrini has put this dimension of Saids thought to good use in his essay on the humanism of Fanon and Said. I discuss this essay again in some detail in later chapters. Also recall Bergsonian volution cratrice. For example, see Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 29; key passages that are quoted and discussed in subsequent chapters. Of the many criticisms of Saids Orientalism, two will remain important for this discussion: (1) that Orientalism presents Orientalism as too monolithic and this even though Said charges Orientalism with having constructed monolithic representations of the Orient; (2) that in presenting Orientalism as having contributed to the silencing of the non-West, Said himself does not let it speak. I mention these criticisms to make plain what I mean in saying that his Culture and Imperialism as well as his Representations of the Intellectual are far more typical of his way of thinking in clearly emphasizing mixity rather than monolith. In Culture and Imperialism Said examines a greater wealth of non-Western responses to Western imperialism. In Representations of the Intellectual, Said tries to think both the traditional intellectual (characterized by somewhat other-worldly detachment) and the organic intellectual (characterized by organizational work for an emergent movement). Said is something of both. His thinking about such issues not only relates to his uncanny use of the notions of religious and secular as polemical and therefore rhetorical qualifiers for his views of criticism. The intellectual, as a sociological ideal-type, has emerged as an important social function at least since the Dreyfus Affair. Because our world sorely needs

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intellectual agency, this critical function deserves further study. See the important earlier work on this theme by Ben Xu, Situational Tensions of Critic-Intellectuals: Thinking through Literary Politics with Edward W. Said and Frank Lentricchia (New York: Peter Lang, 1992), in which Xu examines some of Saids view of the intellectual in relation to the sociological literature on this topic. Among the great wealth of literature on the figure of the intellectual published since that time, I have found the following works especially worth consulting: Steve Fuller, The Intellectual (Cambridge, UK: Icon Books, 2005); Grard Leclerc, La mondialisation culturelle. Les civilisations lpreuve (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2000); and Sociologie des intellectuels (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2003); Mark Lilla, The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics (New York: New York Review Books, 2001). See Bill Ashcroft and Pal Ahluwalia, Edward Said: The Paradox of Identity (London and New York: Routledge, 1999); also Mustapha Marrouchi, Edward Said at the Limits (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2004), esp. chapter 8. See Introduction: Montage, in Postcolonialism, ed. Robert J. C. Young (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 18, esp. 78, where Young describes the implied postcolonialism of the montage. Youngs view has influenced the manner in which this chapter was conceived and written. Many studies have been produced about the centrality of books in religion and culture. See, e.g., George N. Atiyeh, ed., The Book in the Islamic World: The Written Word and Communication in the Middle East (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995), for essays with which to think the centrality of the book in an Islamicized cultural context. It deserves to be underlined that the traditional view of Jews and Christians is that of fellows of the book. Said, Out of Place, 75. Ibid., 76. Ibid. Bill Ashcroft, Edward Said: The Locatedness of Theory, in Futures of Critical Theory: Dreams of Difference, ed. Michael Peters, Mark Olssen, and Colin Lankshear (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), 261273; quote from 261. For example, see Jean Baubrot, Le tort dxister. Des Juifs aux Palestiniens (SaintMdard-en-Jalles: Ducros, 1970). Do also consider its relation to Baubrots other work, namely, on la lacit. One may ask: what alternatives existed? One of the only possible answers is transforming host states from within so as to make them open to internal heterogeneity. Therefore, the answer, in Saidian terms, is continued exile and struggle for equally just worlds for all in diaspora. Because of state creation (Israel is just one of many in this) the whole world is attempting to find balance because of or despite the major waves created in international state-building. These states have abrogated, simply taken, or rather made, powers over internal and external others and now many live in exile or as if in exile, even within their worlds, realizing the possible (and all too frequent) physical alienation of not having enough control on ones destiny guaranteed real politik-ally. Musa Kazem al-Husseini had often been the chairman of the Arab Palestinian Congress and of the Executive Committee. See Dawoud el-Alami, A Palestinian Perspective, in The Palestine-Israeli Conflict, ed. Dan Cohn-Sherbok and Dawoud El-Alami (London and New York: One World, 2001), 116117.

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Edward Said was born in West Jerusalem on November 1, 1935. He was born in his parents home, assisted by a Jewish midwife of German provenance, who was known to them as Madame Baer. That Saids midwife, Madame Baer, was a European Jew should be emphasized, the reason being that the connections between Zionism and the West, Said would later ceaselessly affirm and yet, just as in this instance, he also manifestly believed that the West, Israeli Jews, and Arab Palestinians could do more together than simply struggle against one another. The familys home, at the time, was in Talbiyah, which is a part of West Jerusalem. At that time, the Talbiyah neighborhood was composed exclusively by Palestinian Christians. Today, however, the same area is an upper-class Jewish neighborhood. Said, Out of Place, xxi and 2021. See Peter Baehr, Editors Introduction, in Hannah Arendt, The Portable Hannah Arendt, ed. Peter Baehr (New York: Penguin, 2000), xiii. According to el-Alami, [t]he first civil unrest between Palestinian peasants and Jewish settlers occurred in June 1891. el-Alami, A Palestinian Perspective, 96. By 1927, seven Arab Palestinian Congresses had been organized in hopes of dealing with what was, from their point of view, an increasingly alarming situation. Several delegations had been sent to Europe to attempt to redress the situation. The British had organized several commissions. America by this time had organized at least one of its own, the King-Crane Commission. See ibid., 94126. Ibid., 119. George Antonius, The Arab Awakening: The Story of the Arab National Movement (Beirut: Khayats, 1938). See Said, Culture and Imperialism. Edward Said, Introduction, in Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question, ed. Edward W. Said and Christopher Hitchens (London: Verso, 1988), 6. See Said, Power, Politics, and Culture, 423. See Carolyn Sharp, Speak White or Paler Femme: Conversing in Contested Territories, in The Next Step in Studying Religion, ed. Mathieu E. Courville (London and New York: Continuum, 2007), 147155, 225226, which discusses the fetishization of borders and the papers that go along with these, such as passports. Said, Out of Place, 8. Ibid., 9. Regarding issues related to the nationality of Saids mother, see Said, Out of Place, 117 and 132133. Ibid., 3. Having been to Jaipur, in Indian Rajasthan, where the city was literally painted pink for the arrival of the Prince of Wales, one again finds a reflection of the figures grandeur in history and popular perception. Ibid., xixii. Edward W. Said, Living in Arabic, Raritan 21/4 (2002): 220236; quote from 233. Ibid., 234235; emphasis in the original. In this respect, there is an interesting overlap between Saids use of Gramscis distinction between traditional and organic intellectual (e.g., in

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his Representations of the Intellectual and elsewhere) and the Durkheimian distinction between mechanical and organic solidarity. Ibid., 227. In Arabic, the angel Gabriel (Jibril) is said to have recited the words (of the Koran, of the recitation) to the Prophet (PBUH); it is believed to be perfect as it is; no imitation of it is every fully satisfactory (Ijaz doctrine). Again, also see Chrif Choubachy, Le saber et la virgule. La langue du Coran nest-elle lorigine du mal arabe? (2004; repr., Paris: LArchpel, 2007). In this respect, see the now dated and yet still very useful work of Rudolph Peters, Islam and Colonialism: The Doctrine of Jihad in Modern History (The Hague: Mouton, 1979). Also see David Cook, Understanding Jihad (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005); as well as A. G. Noorani, Islam and Jihad: Prejudice versus Reality (New York: Palgrave, 2002). Said, Living in Arabic, 226. See Walter Benjamins tragically unfinished Arcades Project as well as Graeme Gilloch, Myth and Metropolis: Walter Benjamin and the City (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1996). Also Edward W. Soja, Postmodern Geographies (London and New York: Verso, 1989); Thirdspaces: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places (1996; Malden, MA And Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1997); and Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000). Said, Out of Place, 98. See Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 17981939 (1962; Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983), for an excellent study of the Arabic worlds evolutions and permutations prior to Saids birth. Also see Ulrich Beck, Quest-ce que le cosmopolitisme? (2004; Paris: Aubier, 2006) for an excellent sociological study of cosmopolitanism. Said, Out of Place, 114. Ibid., 115. Ibid., 44. See ibid., 19, 4849, 96, and so on. Ibid., 230. Regarding Sayyid Qutbs impressions of the United States in the 1920s, see John L. Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?, third ed. (1992; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). Said, Out of Place, 230. See Said, Representations of the Intellectual. Said, Out of Place, 230. Ibid., 231. Ibid., 277. Ibid., 233. Also see Saids description of the cult paid to Mount Hermons founder as his first encounter with enthusiastic mass hypnosis (233234). Ibid., 236. Tariq Ali, Remembering Edward Said, 19352003, in Conversations with Edward Said (London: Seagull Books, 2006), 5. Said, Out of Place, 293. Quoted from Ali, Remembering Edward Said, 67. Quoted from ibid., 7. Said, Out of Place, 293. Ibid., 117.

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See Lila Abu-Lughod, About Politics, Palestine, and Friendship: A Letter to Edward from Egypt, in Edward Said: Continuing the Conversation, ed. Homi Bhabha and W. J. T. Mitchell (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005), 1725; esp. 25. See Terry Eagleton, The Last Jewish Intellectual. New Statesman, March 29, 2004, where Eagleton describes this tongue-in-cheek Saidian self-description, underlining that it is meant to suggest in Judaic style, the intellectual as wandering, homeless, dispossessed. Said, Out of Place, 214216. See the opening pages of An Interview with Edward Said, in The Edward Said Reader, ed. Moustapha Bayoumi and Andrew Rubin (New York: Vintage, 2000), 419444, esp. 420; and Interview: Edward Said about His New Book Out of Place and Exile, in Interviews with Edward W. Said, ed. Amritjit Singh and Bruce G. Johnson (Jackson: University of Mississippi, 2004), 193198. Said, Out of Place, 222. Ibid., 294. Ibid., 295.

Chapter 2
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4 5

Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations? Foreign Affairs 72/3 (1993): 2249; and The Clash of Civilization and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Touchstone, 1997). Also see Edward Said, The Other Arab Muslims, The New York Times Magazine (November 26, 1993), reprinted in The Politics of Dispossession: The Struggle for Palestinian Self-Determination 19691994 (New York: Vintage, 1994), 384411; The Clash of Definitions: On Samuel Huntington, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 569590; Islam and the West are Inadequate Banners, The Guardian (September 16, 2001); The Clash of Ignorance, The Nation (October 22, 2001); and The Other America, Al-Ahram Weekly Online (March 2026, 2003), located at: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/630/focus.htm; regarding this last essay, also confer with Samuel P. Huntington, Who are We? The Challenge to Americas National Identity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005). Edward Said, Orientalism (1978; repr., New York: Vintage, 2003); Bernard Lewis, The Question of Orientalism, The New York Review of Books (June 24, 1982), repr. in Islam and the West (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 99118; and the recent restatement, On Occidentalism and Orientalism, in From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 430438. Also see his book The Muslim Discovery of Europe (New York: Norton, 1982; reprint 2001); cf. with Alain de Libera, Comment lEurope Dcouvert lIslam, in Connaissance de lIslam, ed. A. Perotti et al. (Paris: Syros-Alternatives, 1992), 3570. See Richard Bulliet, The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004). Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage, 1994), xii. Ibid., xiixiii ; emphasis in the original.

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Edward Said, Permission to Narrate, London Review of Books (February 1629, 1984), repr. in The Politics of Dispossession, 247268. Homi K. Bhabha, ed. Nation and Narration (London: Routledge, 1990). In Said, The Clash of Definitions, 572, Said notes this notion was previously put forward by Bernard Lewis, in The Roots of Muslim Rage, Atlantic Monthly (September 1990), repr. in From Babel to Dragomans, 319331. Huntington, The Clash of Civilization, 25; Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History Vols. 112 (London: Oxford University Press, 1951). Said, Culture and Imperialism, xiii. Robert Fulford, The Triumph of Narrative (Toronto: Anansi, 1999), 9. Hayden V. White, Metahistory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973). In this regard, see Samuel P. Huntington, The Lonely Superpower, Foreign Affairs 78/2 (1999): 3549. At present, some may wish to nuance this, pointing to work such as Daniel Lak, India Express: The Future of a New Superpower (Toronto: Viking, 2008); Robyn Meredith, The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What It Means for All of Us (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2007); reminiscent of older work, e.g., Philip Short, The Dragon and the Bear: Inside China and Russia Today (London: Abacus, 1982), or the Tom Clancy novel bearing the same name in reverse order, The Bear and the Dragon (New York: G. P. Putnams Sons, 2000); the totemic archetypes, or arche-typologies, bring to mind Sid Meyers Civilization in that each civilization is encapsulated, as it were, by a core symbol, e.g., the Jaguar Warrior, the Strike Eagle, and so on. The similarity of the worldviews of Sid Meyers Civilization and that of Huntington are also worth underlining. See C. L. R. James, American Civilization (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), written in the early 1950s; Richard W. Van Alstyne, The Rising American Empire (1960; New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1974), esp. ch. 1, in which Van Alstyne discusses the relation between America and the Roman idea of imperium; Robert N. Bellah, The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in Time of Crisis (New York: Seabury Press, 1975); William Appleman Williams, Empire as a Way of Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980); and insofar as America was and is still understood as the leader of the free world, that is, the Wests epicenter, see Jacinta OHagan, Conceptualizing the West in International Relations: From Spengler to Said (New York: Palgrave, 2002). Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations? esp. 45. Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 386. Ibid., 385. The overlap between Islam and the West has recently been quite ably discussed in Bulliet, The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization, mentioned earlier. Regarding the overlap between the West and that other civilization that worries Huntington, the Confucian world, see the classic accounts of Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, vol. I, 1954; vol. II, 1956), as well as that of David Lach, Asia in the Making of Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, vol. I, 1970; vol. II, 1977). More globally, consult John M. Hobson, The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004). Consider, e.g., these concluding sentences drawn from Orientalism: I consider Orientalisms failure to have been a human as much as an intellectual one; for in having to take up a position of irreducible opposition to a region of the world

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it considered alien to its own, Orientalism failed to identify with human experience, failed to see it as human experience. Said, Orientalism, 328. Also see Atif Khalil, Beyond a Western Self and non-Western Other: Edward Said and his Critics on Truth and Representation, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 33/34 (2004): 319337. Khalil defends Saids Orientalism from critiques Lewis levels at an epistemological level and goes on to formulate criticisms of Lewis that complement my own, though his do not focus attention on narrative theory, but rather on theories of knowledge. Lewis, The Question of Orientalism, 99. See Robert Bernasconi, Philosophys Paradoxical Parochialism: The Reinvention of Philosophy as Greek, in Cultural Readings of Imperialism: Edward Said and the Gravity of History, ed. K. Ansell-Pearson, B. Parry, and J. Squires (New York: St. Martins Press, 1997), 212225; in the aforementioned essay, Bernasconi writes that [m]ost philosophy departments, and this is not only true of Europe and North America, teach the history of philosophy as a narrative which begins in Greece: attempts to break from this model are at best half-hearted. That is why I believe it is important to re-examine the institutional process by which, in the late eighteenth century, philosophy came to be conceived as a preeminently European or Western enterprise, Greek in origin (213). Regarding the ancient Near Easts under-acknowledged historic role, see Martin Bernal, Black Athena: the Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, vol. I, 1987; vol. II, 1991); also see the first chapter of Klaus K. Klostermaier, A Survey of Hinduism (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1994) and the third chapter of his Hinduism: A Short History (Oxford: Oneworld, 2000), regarding ancient Indias place within this debate. For a broader theoretical framework to view these debates, see the introductory chapter to Social Constructions of the Past: Representations as Power, ed. George C. Bond and Angela Gilliam (London: Routledge, 1994). Moreover, the influence of so-called non-Western and/or Islamic philosophies and spiritualities in so-called European history is itself under-acknowledged and misunderstood, for reasons Saids work seeks to both highlight and deconstruct. W. Montgomery Watt, The Influence of Islam on Medieval Europe (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1972), 79. See, e.g., Maxime Rodinson, La fascination de lIslam (Paris: Maspero, 1980), 49, where he notes the fact that, along with some of the Ancients, Avicenna, Averroes, and Saladin are the only moderns represented by Dante as in Limbo, that is, as exempt from Hellfire. At the time, in the minds of orthodox Christians, non-Christians could not even hope for Heaven. Watt, The Influence of Islam, 84. L. Schneider Adams, A History of Western Art (New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1994), 349. Many other works could here be added. For example, see chapters VIIIX of Christopher Dawson, The Making of Europe (1932; Cleveland and New York: Meridian, 1970); Denys Hay, Europe: The Emergence of an Idea, rev. ed. (1957; Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1968); Norman Daniel, Islam and the West: The Making of an Image (1960; Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1962); R. W. Southern, Western Views of Islam in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1962); Rodinson, La fascination de lIslam; George Makdisi,

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The Rise of Colleges: Institutions of Learning in Islam and the West (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1981); as well as his The Rise of Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West: With Special Reference to Scholasticism (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1990); Alain de Libera, Penser au Moyen ge (Paris: Seuil, 1991); and Jacques Waardenburg, Islam et Occident face face: Regards de lHistoire des Religions (Paris: Labor et Fides, 1998); and so on. Sigrid Hunke, Le Soleil dAllah Brille sur lOccident, trans. S. & G. de Lalne. (1960; Paris: Albin Michel, 1983). Umberto Eco, Interpretation and Overinterpretation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 2728; emphasis in the original. Samuel P. Huntington, Who are We? The Challenge to Americas National Identity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005). See, e.g., Norman Daniel, The Cultural Barrier: Problems in the Exchange of Ideas (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1975); and the more recent work by J. J. Clarke, Oriental Enlightenment: The Encounter between Asian and Western Thought (London: Routledge, 1997), even though this work excludes the Islamic world from its discussion of mainly Eastern influence upon Western thought; also see that of Grard Leclerc, La mondialisation culturelle: Les civilizations lpreuve (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2000), which does include the Islamic world within its main discussion, namely, the Wests influence upon the intellectual elite of the Hindu, the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Islamic civilizations. This latter work should be read and understood alongside Arnold Toynbee, Civilization on Trial (London: Oxford University Press, 1948) and its French translation by R. Villoteau, entitled La Civilization lpreuve (Paris: Gallimard, 1951). Not only does Leclerc discuss Toynbees notion of civilization, but the subtitle of his book clearly gestures toward that of Toynbee. Also cf. with How to Conquer the Barriers to Intercultural Dialogue: Christianity, Islam and Judaism, ed. Christiane Timmerman and Barbara Segaert (Brussels: Peter Lang, 2005). Watt, The Influence of Islam, 68. Moreover, consider the following illustration drawn from Watts work: There is a well-known description of the crudities of European treatment [prior to Arab influences, described] by an Arab writer of the crusading period, Usama ibn-Munqidh. The writers uncle, a Muslim prince, had sent a doctor to a Frankish neighbour at the latters request. When the doctor returned after a surprisingly short period, he had a remarkable tale to tell. He had had to treat a knight and a woman. The knight had an abscess on the leg, to which the Arab doctor applied a poultice to bring it to a head; the abscess burst and began to drain satisfactorily. The woman suffered from what is called dryness, though the precise nature of this condition is not clear. The Arab doctor ordered a strict regimen, including abundant fresh vegetables. At this point a Frankish doctor came on the scene. He asked the knight whether he preferred to live with one leg or die with two. The knight gave the obvious answer, and the doctor made him stretch out his leg on a block of wood while a strong man tried to cut off the affected part with a sharp axe. The first stroke failed to sever the limb. The second caused the marrow to flow out, and the man died almost at once. [. . .] The treatment of the woman was even worse. The Frankish doctor declared that a demon had possessed her, and that her hair must be cut off. This was done, and the woman went back to her diet of garlic and mustard. The dryness increased and the doctor ascribed this to the fact

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that the demon had entered into her head. He then made a cross-shaped incision, pulled the skin apart until the skull was exposed, and rubbed in salt. The woman died at once. Thereupon the Arab asked the people whether they had any further need of him, got a negative answer and returned home (6566). Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Death of a Discipline (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003). Georges Corm, Orient-Occident: La Fracture Imaginaire (Paris: ditions La Dcouverte, 2002), which brings to mind Saids notion of imaginative geography; Said, Orientalism, 45, 54, 57, and so on. The Arabic proverb in question, like the chapters epigraph, is drawn from John Lewis Burckhardt, Arabic Proverbs (1830; repr., Mineola, NY: Dover, 2004), 7879. Martin Kramer, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America (Washington, DC: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2001). For example, and to begin with, see Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Objectivity and the Humane Sciences: A New Proposal, Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada (Ottawa: Royal Society of Canada, 1975), 81102; repr., Willard G. Oxtoby, ed., Religious Diversity: Essays by W. C. Smith (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), 158183; and in John W. Burbidge, ed., Modern Culture from a Comparative Perspective (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997), 121146; again compare with the closing lines from Saids Orientalism, where he writes I consider Orientalisms failure to have been a human as much as an intellectual one; for in having to take up a position of irreducible opposition to a region of the world it considered alien to its own, Orientalism failed to identify with human experience, failed to see it as human experience (328). Also see Saids posthumously published Humanism and Democratic Criticism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004); John L. Espositos What Everybody Needs to Know about Islam (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); as well as Richard Bulliets The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004). Kramer, Ivory Towers, ix. Ibid., 1. These are the numbers Kramer reports in 2001, having changed since. Ibid., 1. Ibid. Ibid., 2. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. For a recent critique of Kuhn and Kuhn-inspired paradigm driven views of the history of science, see Steve Fuller, Kuhn vs. Popper: The Struggle for the Soul of Science (Duxford, UK: Icon Books, 2003). In this insightful work, one significant argument Fuller deploys is that the key concept of the Kuhnian view of good science, that of the paradigm, in bracketing out extra-paradigmatic questions, has served to protect scientific research from ethical and political considerations. Kramer can be described then as supporting a Kuhnian view of Middle Eastern studies (in that he has a narrow view of its ends, deplores its politicization, etc.), whereas those he critiques can be described as working

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against an older dominate paradigm, characterized by its political realism, positivism, and policy-oriented pragmatism. Kramer, Ivory Towers, 2. Neither J. S. Migdal, nor F. G. Gause III are seduced by Kramers criterion of good social science. See J. S. Migdals review of Kramers Ivory Towers in The International Journal of Middle East Studies 35 (2003): 201203; and F. G. Gause IIIs brief review essay Who Lost Middle Eastern Studies? The Orientalists Strike Back, in Foreign Affairs 81/2 (2002): 164168. For example, Midgal concludes his review of Kramers work by stating the following: To my mind, Kramers critique is akin to dismissing seismological studies for missing the next earthquake. Seismology still has plenty to tell us about how the world is constructed, even if it repeatedly falters in calling the next big one. Practicality and relevance should be measured in Middle East studies, not by scholars capacity to predict the next political earthquake, but by their ability to provide keys to understanding culture, politics, and society in the region as unpredictable events unfold. Kramers disservice to the field lies in his diverting attention from a serious assessment of how well Middle East scholars have done that. In an interview conducted in 1979, Said explicitly distances himself from so-called historical determinism in saying that what will prevail in the end is the sense that is common, that is, the position that accrues to it the most loyalties, the greatest sense of justice, the greatest sense of commitment. Edward Said, Palestinian Prospects Now. Interview by Mark Bruzonsky (1979). World View, May 1979, 410; repr., in Edward Said, Interviews with Edward Said, ed. Amritjit Singh and Bruce G. Johnson (Jackson: The University of Mississippi Press, 2004), 31. Kramer, Ivory Towers, 2. Edward Said, Orientalism Revisited: An Interview with Edward Said. Interview by James Paul (1987). Middle East Report, JanuaryFebruary 1988, 3236; reprinted in Interviews with Edward Said, 49. The MESA debate here in question, which appeared in the Winter 1987 issue of the Journal of Palestinian Studies, is reprinted in Edward Said, Power, Politics, and Culture: Interviews with Edward W. Said, ed. Gauri Viswanathan (New York: Pantheon, 2001), 291312. Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual (New York: Vintage, 1994). In this regard, see Charles Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004). Kramer, Ivory Towers, 30. However, cf. with H. T. Wilson, No Ivory Tower: The University Under Siege (Richmond: Voyageur Publishing, 1999). As many will recall, this slanderous epithet was coined by Edward Alexander, then professor of English at Tel-Aviv University, in an article published by the American Jewish Committee in the pages of Commentary, August 1989, 4950. Some contributors to this publication have not significantly revised their position vis--vis Said. In this regard, see Efraim Karsh, Columbia and the Academic Intifada. Commentary, JulyAugust 2005, 2732. Karsh not only blames Said for Columbias supposed fall from grace, but sites Kramer to buttress his equally shallow examination of the conflicts at hand. Karshs recent essay adopts the very same rhetorical strategy, only his object is Columbias Middle East scholars, whereas Kramers is Americas at large.

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D. D. Runes, ed., Dictionary of Philosophy (Totowa, NJ: Littlefield, Adams & Co., 1962), 271. This brings to mind Saids Foucault inspired discussion of the Benthamite panoptics of Orientalism. See Said, Orientalism, 127; as well as Michel Foucault, Surveiller et punir: naissance de la prison (Paris: Gallimard, 1975). See Russell T. McCutcheon, ed., The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of Religion: A Reader (London: Cassell, 1999), for a good frame of reference to interpret this political as well as sociocultural debate. Said, Orientalism Revisited, 47. Ibid. Ibid., 4748. Kramer, Ivory Towers, 28. Said, Orientalism, 204. In this regard, even though his own critique of Said is also a largely facile one, see the otherwise important work of Leclerc, La mondialisation culturelle. Kramer, Ivory Towers, 121. In these regards, see Edward Said, The Other Arab Muslims, The New York Times Magazine (November 26, 1993), repr., in The Politics of Dispossession, 384411. See Neil Lazarus, Disavowing Decolonization: Fanon, Nationalism, and the Question of Representation in Postcolonial Theory, in Frantz Fanon: Critical Perspectives, ed. Anthony C. Alessandrini (London and New York: Routledge, 1999), 161194, esp., 169. Kramer, Ivory Towers, 122. Again in this one sees a complimentarity between Saids views and those of Gayatri C. Spivak, as expressed in Death of a Discipline (see earlier). Regarding (a), a few words of Amritjit Singh and Bruce G. Johnson seem apt: for Said, the possibility of resisting authoritative regimes and institutions is linked to his resistance to theoretical criticism as it has been produced during the last several decades. Amritjit Singh and Bruce G. Johnson, Introduction, in Interviews with Edward Said, xv. This leads one to see that Middle East Studies theory centeredness, that is (b), is not so easily tied to (a), that is, Saids purported theory centeredness, if Said himself was critical of theorycentricity. John L. Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?, 3rd ed. (1992; New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), xi; and What Everybody Needs to Know about Islam. Esposito, Unholy War, xii. Richard Bulliet, The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004). Ibid., viii. Said, Orientalism, 328. This is to underline the root in secular humanism; to be sure, varieties of occidentalism, like of orientalism, are yet another reduction of humanitys fullness, and so, are viewed as a lack of humanism, as lacking in the identification with human experience. For example, in discussing the MESA sponsored debate, The Scholars, the Media, and the Middle East, of November 22, 1986, during its twentieth anniversary meeting, and more specifically regarding the prevalent absence of

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theory in Middle Eastern Studies, Said admits that he believed that we can see the beginnings of a new kind of scholarship which Orientalism was incapable of developing. Part of this new beginning was more frank admission on the part of a lot of people in Middle Eastern studies that the field is highly political in nature and therefore the likely site of open contests. People take sides much more openly. People are known, in terms of their scholarly work in Middle Eastern studies, to be openly Zionist or anti-Zionist, or openly imperialist or antiimperialist. Said, Orientalism Revisited, 48. Said points to critical realism: that one somehow become both, nationalistic and cosmopolitan, though not through the denial of ones beginnings, and not as if this entails one being against another, but rather for each other, seeking greater varieties of wholeness. It should be remembered that Said had supported the idea of a bi-national state and taught his readers to read the great English novels of the colonial period (among others) in such a way as to see just how constitutive colonization is for both colonized as well as colonizer (among other diametrically or dialectically opposed concepts, entities, or even species). In this sense then, tribalism and the myths of purity, which they involve, are not only human creations but patently false ones, i.e., ultimately untenable ones. Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, trans. and intro. George Schwab, comments by Leo Strauss (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1976), 26; and although his concluding chapter is unconvincing, see Mark Lilla, The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics (New York: New York Review of Books, 2001), 4976, which discusses Schmitts life and thought. It is worth noting that Lilla omits many politically engaged intellectuals whose examples would not be so easy to dismiss as largely reckless ones; for a few examples among many, one might think of Croce, Sartre, Fanon, as well as Chomsky or Said. In this regard, cf. with the latters Representations of the Intellectuals, as well as his more recent Humanism and Democratic Criticism, esp. ch. 5. Bill Ashcroft, Edward Said: The Locatedness of Theory, in Futures of Critical Theory: Dreams of Difference, ed. M. Peters, M. Olssen, and C. Lankshear (Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), 261273. Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 402. For a text that reads like a post-911 American patriotic tract, see Samuel P. Huntington, Who are We? The Challenge to Americas National Identity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005), bearing in mind that exaggerated patriotism itself bears witness to an underlying insecurity, one that may result more from a Fitna at the heart of America, than from a so-called global Jihad. Concerning the notion of Fitna, i.e., internal strife, see Gilles Kepel, Fitna: Guerre au coeur de lIslam (Paris : Gallimard, 2004); Kepel also makes interesting parallels between the Islamic world and America in this regard. Joel Migdal also sees and fears the specter of McCarthyism at the heart of Kramers work; see his review of Kramers Ivory Towers in The International Journal of Middle East Studies, 35 (2003): 202203. Edward Said, Arabesque, interview by Edward Ball, New Statesmen, September 7, 1990; repr., in Interviews with Edward Said, see 67. Again see Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Objectivity and the Humane Sciences: A New Proposal, in Modern Culture from a Comparative Perspective, ed. John W. Burbidge (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997), 121146.

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See Martin Buber, I and Thou, trans. and intro. Walter Kaufmann (1923; New York: Chales Scribners Sons, 1970); Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Comparative Religion: Whitherand Why? in The History of Religions: Essays in Methodology (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1959), 3158; repr., in Oxtoby, ed., Religious Diversity, 138157; and his essay Objectivity and the Humane Sciences, Modern Culture, 121146. Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries, 89. Douglas Adams, The More Than Complete Hitchhikers Guide (1979; New York: Wings Books, 1989).

Chapter 3
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3 4 5 6 7

10 11

William D. Hart, Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Darren Dahl, Criticizing Secular Criticism: Reading Religion in Edward Said and Kathryn Tanner, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 31/34 (2002): 359371; Alain Epp Weaver, On Exile: Yoder, Said, and a Theology of Land and Return, Crosscurrents, Winter (2003): 439461. Hart, Edward Said, ix, 15. Epp Weaver, On Exile, 444. Hart, Edward Said, 165. Epp Weaver, On Exile, 444. I base my six theses on key passages from specific texts within Saids oeuvre. The texts are: The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage, 1979); The Other Arab Muslims, in The Politics of Dispossession: The Struggle for Palestinian SelfDetermination, 19691994 (New York: Vintage, 1994), 384411, originally published in The New York Times Magazine (November 26, 1993); The Clash of Definitions, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 569590; as well as Impossible Histories: Why the Many Islams cannot be Simplified, Harpers Magazine (July 2002). However, such positions can be found throughout Saids oeuvre. Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 389. Marshall Hodgsons technical terminology is presented by him in his The Venture of Islam, 3 vols (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1974), vol. 1, 95. He justifies his use of neologisms in the books opening paragraphs. A recent discussion of Hodgsons terminology can be found in Grard Leclerc, La mondialisation culturelle: Les civilizations lpreuve (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2000), 29. Said, Impossible Histories, 70. Regarding the plurialization of the notion of Islam, from Islam to Islams, Said makes note of Aziz Al-Azmehs work Islams and Modernities (London: Verso, 1993). Furthermore, this understanding of Islamic pluralities is analogous to Saids point of view vis--vis the Orient [in Orientalism (1978; New York: Vintage, 2003)]. Islam, like the Orient, is a single term that seems to imply an essential unity obscuring the great plurality involved in the actual matters-of-fact. Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 402403, 405, 406. Edward Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 28; Moustapha Bayoumi and Andrew Rubin, An Interview with Edward Said, in The Edward Said Reader, ed. Moustapha Bayoumi and Andrew Rubin (New York: Vintage, 2000), 440.

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Hart, Edward Said, 165. Ibid., 164. Ibid., 55. Hart is not original in formulating such claims. J. E. Smiths work, Quasi-Religions: Humanism, Marxism and Nationalism (New York: St. Martins Press, 1994), for example, bears witness to the fact that influential theologians, such as Paul Tillich, have contributed to this view of secularism, which can be used too reductively, as Harts work exemplifies. Regarding Tillich, see the thought-provoking treatment of his theory of religion in Donald Crosby, Interpretive Theories of Religion (The Hague: Mouton, 1981), ch. 6, 161230. Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic, 5. Ibid., 28. Ibid., 29; emphasis in the original. Hart, Edward Said, 166167, 174. Hart writes: [s]hall we think of his [Saids] passing up of Emerson, of Emersonianism and pragmatic naturalism, as an intellectual near miss? I think that we should (165). After considering the three last passages from Saids work, what we should see is that accepting pragmatism regardless of whose purportedly authoritative version of itlike manna from heaven would be deemed an oxymoronic move for a critical intellectual since it binds one to a doctrine, thus limiting ones intellectual freedom, making it likely that one will spend ones time and effort dealing with largely trivial problems, important only to those within the particular school of thought. In fact, the concluding chapter of Harts book reads as a stereotypical example of this. Hart tells us that religious pragmatic naturalism is both unrealistic and playful (170). Why Saids attempt to bring critical reason into debates concerning the violence-ridden Middle East should have been unrealistic and playful escapes me, as I think it should anyone who realizes the level of existential engagement in Saids work. And so, if one keeps these three passages of Saids, quoted earlier, in mind when reading Hart, who critiques Said in saying [w]hat is criticized as religiousdogmatic views, obscurantist language, uncritical forms of solidarity, and violent dispositionsare often reproduced in what is praised as secular, one sees that either Hart has misread Said, or he has lost track of whose ideas are whose. Further on, Hart adds that nasty aspects . . . are found, always and already, in the secular world (165). Here one sees just how loose and ahistorical Harts definition of secularism is. Just because the search for the origins of religion are definitively out of fashion at present, it does not warrant us to say whatever we wish about secularism, which does have a historical genesis that has been and can still be studied more assuredly than that out of which it arose, i.e., religion. For a telling example of how Hart makes straw men of some of his opponents (including Said), compare his cartoon version of Nietzsche (Hart, Edward Said, 174) to that of a charitable Nietzsche exegete, Walter Kaufmann, in How Nietzsche Revolutionized Ethics, in From Shakespeare to Existentialism (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1959), 207217. Said, The Question of Palestine, xxxviii; The Other Arab Muslims, 400; Impossible Histories, 69. To be sure, Said did condemn inhumane antidemocratic actions and beliefs globally. For example, see Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 403; and The Clash of Definitions, 580.

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The notion of collective passions, crucial to much of Saids thought, was also pivotal within Julien Bendas La trahison des clercs (Utrecht: Jean-Jacques Pauvert diteur, 1965), originally published in 1927; Said discusses Bendas view of the intellectual most thoroughly in his Representations of the Intellectual (New York: Vintage, 1994). For example, see Said, The Clash of Definitions, 583, 589590. Here I note three ways this distinction is undermined. First, by pointing out to what extent these civilizations have developed in an admittedly (though not exclusively) tense tandem with one another. Second, this distinction is undermined by noting that civilizational differences mask deeper problems, born of historical wrongs and the social and economic inequalities that still persist in todays day and age. This they both share. Third, Saids life itself stands to undermine any absolute distinction between the Islamic world and the West, in that he was both an Arab who self-identified with the Islamic world, as well as a citizen of the United States who believed strongly in certain principles, such as secular humanism and human rights, even though these are often disparaged as Eurocentric. Regarding this last point, see Moustapha Bayoumi and Andrew Rubin, An Interview with Edward Said, in The Edward Said Reader, 433. A standard account of epistemological realism can be found in Peter A. Angeles, Dictionary of Philosophy (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1981), 237. The tension between Saids social constructivism and his epistemological realism has often been read as self-contradiction. He admitted that he did not believe this tension could be reconciled. See Said, In Conversation with Neeladri Bhattacharya, Suvir Kaul, and Ania Loomba, in Relocating Postcolonialism, ed. D. T. Golberg and A. Quayson (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 11. Once again, I am inclined to argue that this tension, like other tensions within Saids thought, must be seen as a productive tension (and not a failure) of his thoughts internal dynamics. Said, Orientalism, 199. Said, Culture and Imperialism, 7. Said, Traveling Theory Reconsidered, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 446. The essay originally appeared in Critical Reconstructions: The Relationship of Fiction and Life, ed. Robert M. Polhemus and Roger B. Henkle (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994). Said, The Clash of Definitions, 574. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Boston: Bedford Books, 1996), 21; originally published in 1899. Quoted in Said, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966), 26. This state of affairs, Conrad had learned largely from his father, Apollo, and if this was a truth, it had had harsh consequences. Poland was occupied by Russian imperial forces at the time of Conrads birth, and because of Apollos nationalism, the family was forced into exile. The hardships of this cost the young Conrad both his mother and later his father. The following are passages written by Conrads father, making clear the religiosity of his nationalism. He once wrote the following lines: I have hitherto confined my thoughts in a small cell of patriotism. Quoted in John Lester, Conrad and Religion (London: Macmillan Press, 1988), 9. The comparison between asceticism (as a form of religiosity) and the nationalistic mindset is clear. For Conrads

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baptism, he wrote these lines: My child, my son, if the enemy calls you a nobleman and a Christiantell yourself that you are a pagan and that your nobility is rot . . . My child, my sontell yourself that you are without land, without love, without Fatherland, without humanityas long as Poland, our mother, is enslaved (qtd. in ibid, 7). In this last passage, religion, social standing, and humanity itself are bound up and made to seem dependent upon either a nations statehood or at least its self-determination. The nation is here implicitly the most primal form of religion. In a comparable vein, he wrote these lines: we exert ourselves like Adam and Eve after their expulsion from Paradise. This is an undeserved situation, for it was not from Eden that we came here (qtd. in ibid., 9). Here Apollo compares the object of his nationalistic desire to the Garden of Eden, the primordial place of the Abrahamic faiths, and archetype of subsequent nostalgias. Ninian Smart, Religion as a Discipline? University Quarterly 17/1 (1962): 4853; quote from p. 52. It is clear that for Said, the Palestinian nationals within the state of Israel and around the world need not only peace, but social and economic justice, since these are true pre-conditions of and for self-determination (which itself is a central step in creating lasting peace). If anything is beyond argument within Saids oeuvre, it is this. Saids struggle was not primarily for statehood, but rather for the humane treatment of Palestinian nationals wherever they are. In this regard, see Mourid Barghouti, I Saw Ramallah, trans. Ahdaf Soueif (New York: Anchor Books, 2000); Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians, updated ed. (Montral: Black Rose Books, 1999); David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East, 3rd ed. (New York: Nation Books, 2003); Edward W. Said, The Question of Palestine; After the Last Sky: Palestinian Lives, photographs by Jean Mohr (New York: Pantheon, 1986); Christopher Hitchens and Edward W. Said, eds., Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question (London: Verso, 1988); Edward W. Said, The Politics of Dispossession; Peace and its Discontents; The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After, updated ed. (New York: Vintage, 2000); From Oslo to Iraq and the Road Map: Essays (New York: Pantheon, 2004); and so on. Said, Reflections on Exile, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 173186; originally published in Granta 13 (Winter 1984). Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life, trans. E. F. N. Jephcott (London: New Left Books, 1974), 39; original German edition published in 1951. Said, Reflections on Exile, 176177. Ibid., 177. This is reminiscent of how some have thought that the sacred could not be defined without reference to the profane, and vice-versa; the same may be true in regards to the religious and the secular. And so, when Hart writes that Said construe[s] religion and secularism as opposites and that religion and secularism must be thought about together rather than singly, we are again faced with the fact that Hart misreads Said and draws conclusions that Said had begun formulating in his own way before him. Hart, Edward Said, 165. Said, Reflections on Exile, 177. From such an understanding one can derive a comparison not only between nationalism and certain forms of institutional

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49

religiosity, but also between exile, secular humanism, and the religiosities of protest that resist what William James called the spirit of dogmatic dominion and the spirit of corporate dominion. Furthermore, one might also get a sense that the traditional view that religion is sui generis might only be slightly off, insofar as what warrants such a status is humankinds impulse to resist oppression, be it the oppression of apparent meaninglessness, or the oppression of mummified ideas or mummifying institutions, mind-forged manacles (as Blake put it) and the iron-forged ones they produce. Secularism would also be understood as rooted in such an emancipatory impulse. Regarding James, see his The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (New York: Modern Library, 2002), originally published in 1902; also see Charles Taylor, Varieties of Religion Today: William James Revisited (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002). Said, Reflections on Exile, 177. Ibid., 185. Ibid., 185186. Ibid., 186. Ibid., 185. Ibid., 185186. Ibid., 185; emphasis his. Ibid., 183. See historian of religions Charles H. Longs discussion of the concept formation of the fetish in Charles H. Long, Religion, Discourse and Hermeneutics: New Approaches in the Study of Religion, in The Next Step in Studying Religion, ed. Mathieu E. Courville (London and New York: Continuum, 2007), 183197, 231232; where he discusses the fetish partly as sacred, though also as an exchangeable, identifier. Said, An Interview with Edward Said, in The Edward Said Reader, 443. Concerning cosmopolitanism, again see Ulrich Beck, Queest-ce que le cosmopolitisme? (2004; Paris: Aubier, 2007); not to mention Perpetual Peace: Essays on Kants Cosmopolitan Ideal, ed. James Bohman and Matthias Lutz-Bachmann (Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1997). The chapter Hart devotes to Saids thoughts on nationalism is an example of both verbosity and muddled-thinking. At one point, he seems to equivocate nation, state, and nation-state (Hart, Edward Said, 48), whereas elsewhere he seems to want them to designate distinct realities (49). Furthermore, Hart wants to support Anthony Appiahs claim that states always precede nations, and yet neither Appiah nor Hart provide satisfactory support for this affirmation. See Anthony Appiah, Cosmopolitan Patriots, in For Love of Country: Martha C. Nussbaum and Respondents, ed. Joshua Cohen (Boston: Beacon Press, 1996), 2129; Hart, Edward Said, 205, n. 16. One should also keep in mind that this takes place in discussing Nussbaums discussion of ancient Stoicism and the cosmopolitan ideal. In the context of Harts work, I find the unexamined acceptance of Appiahs tidy little chronological dichotomy disheartening. Is Hart suggesting that the Palestinians, as a stateless nation, are merely the result of Israels statehood? Needless to say that such a position runs counter to a point Said made time and time again throughout his work, namely, that Palestine was not and had not been a land without a people prior to the state of Israel.

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Such an understanding was aphoristically encapsulated by postcolonial theorist R. J. C. Young, when he wrote nationalism is Janus-faced; before independence, good; after independence, bad. Robert J. C. Young, Postcolonialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 62. However, Saids vision of the intellectual is one that does not fall uncritically in line with nationalistic excesses even when deemed good, i.e., even prior to independence. See Said, Representations of the Intellectual; The Public Role of Writers and Intellectuals, in Humanism and Democratic Criticism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 119144, originally published in The Nation in 2001. In Humanism and Democratic Criticism, Said adds yet another emphasis to nuance his idea of criticism, and by proxy, within this chapters framework, another key for coming to terms with exile and the secular. Thus, the democratic ethic ideally is an exilic, secular ethic. The Didascalion of Hugh of Saint Victor: A Medieval Guide to the Arts, trans. Jerome Taylor (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991; 1961), bk. 3, ch. 19, On a Foreign Soil, 101. Quoted in Said, Orientalism, 259; Culture and Imperialism, 335; Reflections on Exile, 185. As The Harvard Crimson reported (on September 29, 2003, just days after Said passed away) Said was once asked the following by Stanley Fish: Youre a Marxist. How can you have such a beautiful tie on? Said is reported to have replied: When the revolution comes, everybody who wants to wear a tie like this, will just wear it. Uncannily then, we might compare and contrast Said in this regard with a ninthcentury Muslim description of Jesus: Satan passed by while Jesus was reclining his head upon a stone. So, then, Jesus, you have been satisfied with a stone in this world! Jesus removed the stone from beneath his head, threw it at him, and said, Take this stone, and the world with it! I have no need of either. Quoted from Tarif Khalidi, ed., The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature, trans. Tarif Khalidi (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), 118. The translator of this passage notes that [i]n this charming story, Jesus is jeered at by Satan for having finally succumbed to a worldly comfort (118). It deserves to be underlined that the general editor of the Harvard University Press series, Convergences: Inventories of the Present, that published Khalidis beautiful collection was none other than the late Edward W. Said. Like Adorno before him, Said invites students to throw proverbial stones through their own, and their neighbours, glass houses; expressed otherwise, Said and Adorno entreat us not to succumb to other-worldly comforts; one must not get too comfortable with ones bedrocks, ones certainties, since these might not be spared in struggling against this worlds great seductions. See Cultures Arent Watertight, an interview of Edward Saids with Joan Smith, in Interviews with Edward W. Said, ed. Amrijit Singh and Bruce G. Johnson (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2004); esp. p. 243, where Said states: what novels do is break the mould. You can no longer think of people as programmed terrorists who want to go out and killor throw rocks. One book everyone should read is The Muslim Jesus by Tarif Khalidi, a compendium of sayings about Jesus in the Koran and in Muslim writings, which shows that there is an enormeous interest on the part of Muslims in the founder of Christianity. Not as a god, but as an important and admirable human

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being. It gives you an idea of the possibilities within religions like Islam for openness and a sense of exchange with others. As the German adage (dear to Tomas, one of the Czech novelist Milan Kunderas characters) would have it, einmal ist keinmal, once is nothing, implying derivatively that what is at least a twofold occurrence is something. Mircea Eliade, Crisis and Renewal, in The Quest: History and Meaning in Religion (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1969), 5471; see 57; originally pub. as Crisis and Renewal in History of Religions, History of Religions 5 (1965): 117. Carl Olson, Politics, Power, Discourse and Representation: A Critical Look at Said and some of his Children, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 17 (2005): 317336. Ivan Strenski, Ad Hominem Reviews and Rejoinders: Their Uses and Abuses, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 6 (2003): 367385. Robert J. C. Young, Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Culture, Theory and Race (London and New York: Routledge, 1995), 163. See Robert J. C. Young, White Mythologies: Writing History and the West (London and New York: Routledge, 1990), 6; and esp. Vincent Descombes, Le Mme et LAutre: Quarante-Cinq Ans de Philosophie Franaise, 19331978 (Paris: Les ditions de Minuit, 1979), 1314, in which he speaks of two prior trinities, namely, that of the three Hs, Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger, and that of the three masters of suspicion, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. Robert J. C. Young, Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), 384. Olson, Politics, Power, Discourse and Representation, 317. See, e.g., Stuart Hall, When was the Post-Colonial? Thinking at the Limit, in The Post-Colonial Question: Common Skies, Divided Horizons, ed. I. Chambers and L. Curti (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), 242260. C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint LOuverture and the San Domingo Revolution (New York: Vintage, 1963; org. pub. 1938); Frantz Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs (Paris: Seuil, 1952); and Les Damns de la Terre (Paris: Maspero, 1961). Marc Ferro, Histoires des colonisations, des conqutes aux indpendeances, XIIIeXXe sicles (Paris: Seuil, 1994); and Le livre noire du colonialisme (Paris: Hachette, 2003). Tzvetan Todorov, La Conqute de lAmerique (Paris: Seuil, 1982). The lyrics in question are from Marleys song Buffalo Soldier, which to be sure is a clear historical example of the complex overlap of the colonial and the postcolonial. Bernard Lewis, The Question of Orientalism, in Islam and the West (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 99118; originally pub. in The New York Review of Books (June 24, 1982): 4956. Said, Orientalism, 89. Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations? Foreign Affairs 72 (1993): 2249; Bernard Lewis, The Roots of Muslim Rage, in From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 319330; originally pub. in Atlantic Monthly (September 1990): 4760. The at times necessary catachresis of Postcolonialism, like other countercultural movements, must be kept in mind. Language, like ideology (rooted in

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older religious patterns of thought and behavior), is often made a tool of Empire; language, ideology, like religions as such, need not only and wholly be so and therefore in order to not proverbially throw out the baby with the bathwater, one must free language from its subjection to epistemologies of imperialism and stunted reaction to these. Such perfomative uses of language, which readers experience throughout Saids oeuvre, can be read as beginning, always again, both theoretically and practically, what Said elsewhere calls decolonizing the mind. Said does pride himself on not letting matters of the mind appear as if wholly independent of material matters. In this respect, see Saids interview, conducted by his former student, Gauri Viswanathan, entitled Language, History, and the Production of Knowledge, in Power, Politics, and Culture: Interviews with Edward W. Said, ed. Gauri Viswanathan (New York: Pantheon, 2001), 262277; see esp. 268269. Also see Said, Decolonizing the Mind, in Peace and its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process (New York: Vintage, 1995), 9299; org. pub. in Al-Hayat (September 16, 1994). I would like to thank friend, colleague, and literary critic Richard F. Cassidy for having emphasized the Austinian performativity of Saids catachresistic uses of language. In this respect, see John Langshaw Austin, How to Do Things with Words (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1962). It is plain that left literary critics (as well as those beyond easy left/right distinctions) should attempt to change the world, not simply describe it, and this transformation, via both subtle and yet deep changes, is effected through language use, i.e., poetically. Regarding poetry and politics, e.g., see David Chidester, Studying Religion in South Africa, in The Next Step in Studying Religion (London: Continuum, 2007), 101115, 219221. Bill Ashcroft and Pal Ahluwalia, Edward Said: The Paradox of Identity (London and New York: Routledge, 1999); Neil Lazarus, Review of Bill Ashcroft and Pal Aluwalias Edward Said: The Paradox of Identity, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 4/2 (2002): 299300. Olson, Politics, Power, Discourse and Representation, 321. Regarding Harts work, see the first part of this chapter. Ibid., 324. Also do see Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage, 1993). See, e.g., Edward W. Said, Abecedarium Culturae: Absence, Writing, Statement, Discourse, Archeology, Structuralism, in Beginnings: Intention and Method (1975; New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), 277343; Criticism Between Culture and System, in The World, the Text, and the Critic, 178225; Michel Foucault, 19271984, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), 187197; originally pub. in Raritan: A Quarterly Review 4/2 (1984); Foucault and the Imagination of Power, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, 239245; originally published in Foucault: A Critical Reader, ed. David Couzens Hoy (New York: Basil Blackwell, 1986). Also see Saids interviews spanning a nearly thirty-year period, repr. in Power, Politics, and Culture: Interviews with Edward W. Said, esp., 3954, 134170, 266269, which I discuss in Chapter 5 where the intellectual relation of Said to Foucault is examined. Again, in this respect, see Franois Cusset, French Theory: Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze & Cie et les Mutations de la Vie Intellectuelle aux tats-Unis (Paris: La Dcouverte, 2003).

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82

83 84

85 86

87 88

89

Said, Orientalism, 5. Olson, Politics, Power, Discourse and Representation, 323324. Again, in this respect, see Raymond Geuss, The Idea of a Critical Theory: Habermas and the Frankfurt School (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Michael Payne, Introduction: Some Versions of Cultural and Critical Theory, in A Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory, ed. Michael Payne (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), 112. An Interview with Edward W. Said, in The Edward Said Reader, ed. Moustafa Bayoumi and Andrew Rubin (New York: Vintage, 2000), 419444; the quote is from 436; the interview was initially conducted in 1999. It is important to distinguish Philology from Orientalism here and yet one must also see the overlap, their shared histories. In other words, why separate the weed from the vine and who is to say which is which? For example, see Said, Orientalism. Regarding Massignon, also see Said, Islam, Philology, and French Culture: Renan and Massignon, in The World, the Text, and the Critic, 268289. Olson, Politics, Power, Discourse and Representation, 322. Henri Dehrain, Silvestre de Sacy, ses contemporains et ses disciples (Paris: Geuthner, 1938). Ibid., viii, translation mine. Mahmood Mamdani, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror (New York: Three Leaves Press, 2004). Quoted in Dehrain, Silvestre de Sacy, xxx, translation mine. Again, as salient examples, see David Chidester, Savage Systems: Colonialism and Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996); Colonialism, in Guide to the Study of Religion, ed. Willi Braun and Russell T. McCutcheon (London and New York: Cassell, 2000), 423437; Classify and Conquer: Friedrich Max Mller, Indigenous Religious Traditions, and Imperial Comparative Religion, in Beyond Primitivism: Indigenous Religious Traditions and Modernity, ed. Jacob K. Olupona (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), 7188; Wendy Donniger, Post-Modern and ColonialStructural Comparisons, in A Magic Still Dwells: Comparative Religion in the Postmodern Age, ed. K. C. Patton and B. C. Ray (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 6374; Gavin Flood, Beyond Phenomenology: Rethinking the Study of Religion (London and New York: Cassell, 1999); Richard A. Horseley, Religion and Other Products of Empire, Journal of the American Academy of Religion 71/1 (2003): 1344; Richard King, Orientalism and Religion: Postcolonial Theory, India, and The Mystical East (London and New York: Routledge, 1999); Charles H. Long, A Postcolonial Meaning of Religion: Some Reflections from the Indigenous World, in Beyond Primitivism: Indigenous Religious Traditions and Modernity, ed. Jacob K. Olupona (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), 8998; Peter Van der Veer, Imperial Encounters: Religion and Modernity in India and Britain (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001). See Richard Burris, Text and Context in the Study of Religion, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 15 (2003): 2847; Jeremy R. Carrette, Foucault and Religion: Spiritual Corporality and Political Spirituality (New York and London: Routledge, 2000); David Chidester, Michel Foucault and the Study of Religion, Religious Studies Review 12/1 (1986): 19; No First or Final Solution: Strategies,

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Techniques, and Ivan Strenskis Garden in the Study of Religion, Journal of the American Academy of Religion 66/2 (1998): 369375; Primitive Texts, Savage Contexts: Contextualizing the Study of Religion in Colonial Situations, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 15 (2003): 272283; Russell T. McCutcheon, Filling in the Cracks with Resin: A Response to John Burris Text and Context in the Study of Religion, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 15 (2003): 284303; The Discipline of Religion: Structure, Meaning, Rhetoric (London and New York: Routledge, 2003); Ivan Strenski, Religion, Power, and Final Foucault, Journal of the American Academy of Religion 66/2 (1998): 345367. Dane Kennedy, Imperial History and Post-Colonial Theory, in The Decolonization Reader, ed. James D. Le Sueur (London and New York: Routledge, 2003), 1022. I discuss Kennedys telling essay in Chapter 5. For another example, see Philip A. Mellor, Orientalism, Representation and Religion: The Reality behind the Myth, Religion 34 (2004): 99112.

Chapter 4
1

Especially see Talal Asad, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993); Reading a Modern Classic: W. C. Smiths The Meaning and End of Religion, History of Religions 40/3 (2001): 205222; Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003); David Scott and Charles Hirschkind, eds., Powers of the Secular Modern: Talal Asad and His Interlocutors (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006); Rajeev Bhargava, ed., Secularism and its Critics (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998); Charles Taylor, Varities of Religion Today: William James Revisited (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002); Modern Social Imaginaries (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004); A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA: Belknap/Harvard University Press, 2007); also see Ruth Abbey, Charles Taylor (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), esp. ch. 5. See, e.g., Tariq Ali, The Clash of Fundamentalism: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity (London and New York: Verso, 2002); Noah Feldman, Divided by God: Americas Church-State ProblemAnd what We should Do About It (New York: Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux, 2005); Damon Linker, The Theocons: Secular America under Siege (New York: Doubleday, 2006); also see Grard Bouchard and Charles Taylor, Fonder lavenir. Le temps de la reconciliation (Qubec, QC: Gouvernement du Qubec, 2008). Also Mark Juergensmeyer, The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Guy Haarscher, La lacit, 3rd ed. (1996; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2004); Marcel Gauchet, La religion dans la dmocratie (Paris: Gallimard, 1998); Henri Pena-Ruiz, Dieu et Marianne: Philosophie de la lacit, 3rd ed. (1999; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2005); Quest-ce que la lacit (Paris: Gallimard, 2003); Histoire de la lacit: Gense dun ideal (Paris: Gallimard, 2005); Peter L. Berger, ed., The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1999); Steve Bruce, God is Dead: Secularization in the West (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002); Mahmood Mamdani, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror (New York: Three Leaves Press, 2004);

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Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Jean-Claude Guillebaud, La Force de Conviction. quoi pouvons-nous croire? (Paris: Seuil, 2005); David Martin, On Secularization: Towards a Revised General Theory (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005); and Georges Corm, La Question religieuse au XXIe sicle. Gopolitique et crise de la postmodernit (Paris: La Dcouverte, 2006); Yolande Geadah, Accommodements raisonnables: Droit la difference et non difference des droits (Montral: VLB diteur, 2007); Georges Leroux, thique, culture religieuse, dialogue: Arguments pour un programme (Montral: Fides, 2007); Also cf. with older now classic studies, such as Hans Blumenberg, The Legitimacy of the Modern Age, trans. Robert M. Wallace (1966; Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1983); and Marcel Gauchet, Le dsenchantement du monde: Une histoire politique de la religion (Paris: Gallimard, 1985); and so on. This list is not meant to be by any means exhaustive. See also Jonathan Z. Smith, Religion, Religions, Religious, in his Relating Religion: Essays in the Study of Religion (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004), 179196; originally published in 1998. Bruce Robbins, Secularism, Elitism, Progress, and Other Transgressions, in Feeling Global: Internationalism in Distress (New York: New York University Press, 1999), 115125; originally published in 1994. That nationalism is still deemed a serious global problem in need of further study is made plain by consulting the strategic areas of research of the philanthropic Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. Also see Anthony W. Marx, Faith in Nation: Exclusionary Origins of Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); Anthony D. Smith, Chosen Peoples: Sacred Sources of National Identity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); as well as some of Smiths earlier work, such as Theories of Nationalism (New York: Harper & Row, 1971); also see Ronald Beiner, ed., Theorizing Nationalism (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1999); Ernest Gellners more recent restatement of his earlier work in Nationalism (London: Weidenfield & Nicolson, 1997). Do also see the reflective and thought-provoking work of Gregory Baum, Nationalism, Religion, and Ethics (Montral and Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2001); and, as Said aptly saw, since nationalism is largely a matter of imagined or constructed filiations, see Jefferey R. Di Leo, ed., Affiliations: Identity in Academic Culture (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003). And even though Robbins essay may here receive pride of place (or rather, of space-time), one must, however, acknowledge W. D. Harts Religious Traditions and Secular Criticism: Edward Said as Cultural Critic, dissertation (Princeton University, 1993), which predates Robbins article. Amir R. Mufti, Auerbach in Istanbul: Edward Said, Secular Criticism, and the Question of Minority Culture, in Edward Said and the Work of the Critic: Speaking Truth to Power, ed. Paul A. Bov (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000), 229256, originally published in 1998; also see Gauri Viswanathan, Secular Criticism and the Politics of Religious Dissent, in Cultural Readings of Imperialism: Edward Said and the Gravity of History, ed. K. Ansell-Pearson, B. Parry, and J. Squires (New York: St. Martins Press, 1997), 151172. For an excellent discussion of the generalized postcolonialist repudiation of nationalism, see Neil Lazarus, Disavowing Decolonization: Fanon, Nationalism, and the Question of Representation in Postcolonial Theory, in Frantz Fanon: Critical Perspectives, ed. Anthony C. Alessandrini (London: Routledge, 1999), 161194.

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Edward Said, Overlapping Territories: The World, the Text, and the Critic, interviewed by Gary Hentzi and Anne McClintock, Critical Text (Spring 1986); repr. in Edward Said, Power, Politics, and Culture: Interviews with Edward Said, ed. Gauri Viswanathan (New York: Pantheon, 2001), 5368; see 51. Edward Said, Criticism and the Art of Politics, interviewed by Jennifer Wicke and Michael Sprinker, in Edward Said: A Critical Reader, ed. Michael Sprinker (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992); reprinted in Said, Power, Politics, and Culture, 118163; see 134. This position concerning moderate, goal-oriented nationalism is not so different from that of Charles Taylor, as outlined in his contribution to For Love of Country: Martha C. Nussbaum and Respondents, ed. Joshua Cohen (Boston: Beacon Press, 1996). It would be hermeneutically nave to attempt to judge Saids religiosity as some of his critics have attempted. This is not without traditional Islamicity (and in this Abrahamicity) either. As Falzur Rahman reminded his readers in Mircea Eliades The Encyclopedia of Religion: In reaction to the Kharijis and the ensuing civil strife, the community (both the Sunni mainstream and the Shiah, or party of Ali) generally adopted a religious stand that not only was tolerant of religious and political deviations from strict Islamic norms but was even positively accommodating toward them. The members of the community who took this stand were known as the Murjiah (from irja, meaning postponement, in the sense of not judging a persons religious worth, but leaving it to Gods judgment on the Last Day). The net result of this basic development was that excommunication was ruled out so long as a person recognized the community as Muslim and professed that there is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet (305306). Fazlur Rahman, Islam, in Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. Mircea Eliade (New York: Macmillan, 1986): 303322. As Ive suggested elsewhere, Islam scholars and sociologists have overemphasized the God/Cesar split of Christianity, refusing to see anything as providing Islamic thought with groundation in secularity. Again, this is another such ground. Said, known to his guru Ibrahim Abu-Lughod as the sword of Islam, clearly avoided debating religious matters too publicly or too theologically in print for religious and/or secular reasons, but to judge his religiosity not only is clearly un-secular but may even be seen in this as un-Islamic/irreligious. Again, I am alluding to Saids process philosophy, a Whiteheadian influence, overturning the tired old substance metaphysics of pre-Whitehead philosophizing. See Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality, ed. David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne, 192728 Gifford Lectures (1978; New York: The Free Press, 1985); also see Saids discussion of one of his early mentors, Lebanese statesman Charles Malik, in Saids memoir Out of Place (New York: Vintage, 1999); as well as the important, though all too brief, discussion of this intellectual connection, between Whitehead and Said via Malik, in Nassib Samir El-Husseini, LOccident Imaginaire. La vision de lAutre dans la conscience politique arabe (Sainte-Foy, QC: Presses de lUniversit du Qubec, 1998).

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One needs to keep in mind Fanons well-known critique of history, i.e., that it has generally been written about the colonized, from the point of view of the colonizers in the metropolitan centers. Having had the blessing of having studied modern philosophy with the regrettably late Kantian philosopher Pierre Laberge, I want to underline that to properly appreciate work such as that of Said, or more recently, Ulrich Beck, Quest-ce que le cosmopolitisme? (2004; Paris: Flammarion, 2006), one does need some appreciation of the type of critical thinking seen in Kants more worldly essays, e.g., Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View, What Is Enlightenment?, and especially, Perpetual Peace. See Immanuel Kant, Philosophical Writings, ed. Ernst Behler, foreword by Ren Wellek (London and New York: Continuum, 1986), as well as James Bohman and Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, eds., Perpetual Peace: Essays on Kants Cosmopolitan Ideal (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1997). In this respect, the influence of mile Durkheims teacher, Fustel de Coulange, and his masterwork, La cit antique, should be considered, especially since Durkheims influence on French sociological thought is undeniable. See Christopher Prendergast, The Impact of Fustel de Coulanges La Cit Antique on Durkheims Theories of Social Morphology and Social Solidarity, Humboldt Journal of Social Relations 11/1 (19831984): 5373. See, e.g., Albert Piette, Les religiosities sculires (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1993); as well as the important work published in Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, such as Tzvetan Todorov, Totalitarianism: Between Religion and Science, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 2/1 (Summer 2001): 2842; Emilio Gentile, Political Religion: A Concept and its Critics A Critical Survey, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 6/1 (June 2005): 1932. The more recent works of both are also well worth consulting. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899; Boston: Bedford Books, 1996), 21; also see Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1978), 199; Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage, 1993), 7; Traveling Theory Reconsidered, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 446; and The Clash of Definitions, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, 574. Again, consult W. D. Hart, Religious Traditions and Secular Criticism; and the book that resulted from Harts continued work on Saids thought, Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000). T. S. Eliot, Notes towards the Definition of Culture (London: Faber and Faber, 1948). Also see the well-known work of George Steiner, In Bluebeards Castle: Some Notes towards the Re-definition of Culture (London: Faber and Faber, 1971); as well as both of Harts works mentioned ealier. Hugo of St. Victor was a twelfth-century monk from Saxony. One may find the passage quoted in Said, Orientalism, 259; Culture and Imperialism, 335; Reflections on Exile, 185. Said might be interestingly compared and contrasted with Mircea Eliade regarding their respective views of historical de-conditioning. Specifically regarding historical de-conditioning, which in itself, as with Gramsci, saves Said from the charge of falling in the old Marxist trap of wanting to make of history a god, see Eliade, Le yoga, immortalit et libert (Paris: Payot, 1954). And indeed, the oeuvres of Eliade and Said can be contemplated in tandem on other points,

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26

most significantly with a view for some overlap but also significant contrast; e.g., regarding space or location, see Eliades Le sacr et le profane (1957; Paris: Gallimard, 1965); and vis--vis conceptions of time, see Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return, trans. Willard R. Trask (1949; New York: Pantheon, 1954). These are best compared with Saids Beginnings: Intention and Method (1975; New York: Columbia University Press, 1984). Said, Reflections on Exile, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 173186, esp. 183; originally published in Granta 13 (Winter 1984). Bill Ashcroft, Edward Said: The Locatedness of Theory, in Futures of Critical Theory: Dreams of Difference, ed. Michael Peters, Mark Olssen, and Colin Lankshear (Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), 261273; and Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983). As previously observed, the best-known example of postcolonialist religious hyperbole is that of Robert J. C. Young, who once described Said, along with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Homi K. Bhabha, as constituting postcolonialisms Holy Trinity. See Robert J. C. Young, Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Culture, Theory and Race (London: Routledge. 1995), 163. This analogy has had a profound resonance within subsequent postcolonial textual productions. For example, Peter Childs and Patrick Williams make note of Youngs analogy in the preface of their previously mentioned work, An Introduction to Post-Colonial Theory, viii. Three of the six chapters of their book are devoted to these three seminal figures, one chapter for each. The case is similar for Bart Moore-Gilbert. He also makes explicit the impression this expression has had on his own thinking within his Postcolonial Theory (London: Verso, 1997), 1. Three of the five chapters of his work (excluding its concluding chapter) are devoted to the same set of three, each deemed to warrant their own chapter. Needless to say then, that Youngs analogy both reflected and has made a deep impression within postcolonial thought and its expression. Again, see Hart, Edward Said; Darren Dahl, Criticizing Secular Criticism: Reading Religion in Edward Said and Kathryn Tanner, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 31/34 (2002): 359371; Alain Epp Weaver, On Exile: Yoder, Said, and a Theology of Land and Return, Crosscurrents (Winter 2003): 439461. Again, see chapter 3. Cf. with Christian Smith, ed., The Secular Revolution: Power, Interest, and Conflict in the Secularization of American Public Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), a collective work making plain that secularism is not a natural outcome of modernization but rather can only result from sustained cultural struggle. Philip A. Mellor, Orientalism, Representation and Religion, Religion 34 (2004): 99112; Carl Olson, Politics, Power, Discourse and Representation. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 17 (2005): 317336; again see Chapter 2. W. J. T. Mitchell, Secular Divination: Edward Saids Humanism, in Edward Said: Continuing the Conversation, ed. Homi Bhabha and W. J. T. Mitchell (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005), 99108. I should also like to thank Radikka Shaker for this expression routes to roots, and Peter Beyer, whose classroom was the venue for this expressions transmission. To the latter, like all of my long-standing gurujis, I owe more than any mountain of endnotes can begin to express.

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Frank Manuel, The Eighteenth Century Confronts the Gods (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1959); and Edward Said, Vico: Autodidact and Humanist, The Centennial Review (Summer 1967): 336352. Also see Max Harold Fischs Introduction, in The Autobiography of Giambattista Vico, trans. Max Harold Fisch and Thomas Goddard Bergin (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1944), 3446, where one finds the following: Vico says nothing of the Inquisition in his autobiography, but his writings are not fully intelligible to one who does not bear in mind that it was active in Naples throughout his lifetime (34); of a poem Vico wrote in 1692, the literary historian says it could not have been written by a devout Christian (36); who is or is not a fully devout x, y, or z, is always a contentious issue; in this respect, see the exemplary case of the Muslim mystic and Mogul emperor Akbar the Great; by the time Vico fully develops his philosophy [i]t was not worldly caution that moved him, but pious scruple; for whatever his youthful vagaries had been, he was now a devout Catholic (43); the point remains however that Vico sought resolution of the conflict between his Catholic piety and his eminently secular if not heretical philosophy (44). It should also be noted here that Vico suggests that the historical process through which divinity acts, providence, acted within the societies beyond the fold of the Judeo-Christian revelation that he does not suffer his system upon. Therefore, Vico sees divinity, attempts to show his readers divinity, beyond revelation. Vicos less than rigid orthodoxy, coupled with his envisioning of hierophanies beyond the realm of sacred history, i.e., in the realm of secular history, may lead one to again see Vicos use of the secular/sacred history distinction as not quite canny. I should like to thank University of California at Santa Barbara Emeritus Professor, Charles H. Long, elder statesman of the so-called Chicago School of History of Religions, for having deeply impressed the importance of not denying the mess and messiness of it all. Without embracing this mess, one is without hope of seeing anything through. In making our collective messy situations our friends, i.e., progressively more familiar, one may learn to work in a more continuous, if not to say contiguous, fashion. I owe the latter notion, of contiguity, to postcolonial critic Homi K. Bhabha, and to Lynda Hosking who shared this insight of Bhabhas with me. The notion is a key, heuristically, for reading and doing postcolonial representation, again, in an emancipatory fashion. In this respect, see Hoskings doctoral dissertation, Emancipatory Discourses: Utilizing Kleinian Psychoanalysis and Poststructuralist Theory to Deconstruct and (Re) Present Phallocentric Themes in Rebecca and American Beauty, University of Ottawa, 2007. Edward Said, Michael Walzers Exodus and Revolution: A Canaanite Reading, in Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question, ed. Edward W. Said and Christopher Hitchens (London: Verso, 1988), 161178.

Chapter 5
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Robert J. C. Young, Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), 383384; emphasis in the original.

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See James Clifford, Review of E. Saids Orientalism, History and Theory 19 (1980): 204223; cf. with Anthony C. Alessandrini, Humanism in Question: Fanon and Said, in A Companion to Postcolonial Studies, ed. H. Schwarz and S. Ray (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 431450; Edward W. Said, Humanism and Democratic Criticism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 810. Paul Rabinow, Introduction, in The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow (New York: Pantheon, 1984), 329. To be sure, some critics have taken something of a contrary view; e.g., Michael Payne laments that Said has recently been determined to deny or obscure his precise debt to Foucault [Introduction: Some Versions of Cultural and Critical Theory, in A Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory, ed. Michael Payne (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), 112, quote on 9]. Part of what I clarify in this chapter is that Saids criticism of Foucault is not such a recent phenomenon, and furthermore, that as a phenomenon, it is not without its reasons, i.e., its own worldly context that informs it. Payne is not wrong to highlight the Foucauldian dimensions of Saids work, but he is wrong to suggest that Saids disenchantment with Foucault should appear as a weakness of (or fall from grace in) the overall trajectory of Saids intellectual life. The reading of Said that overemphasizes his theoretical dependence on Foucault is still alive and well, as made plain in Chapter 3. My arguments do serve as a counterweight to this limited and limiting reading strategy. For Saids notion of eccentric repetition, see Said, Beginnings: Intention and Method (New York: Basic Books, 1975), esp. 12; for his notion of Traveling Theory, see The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 226247; Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2000), 436452; Power, Politics, and Culture: Interviews with Edward Said, ed. Gauri Viswanathan (New York: Pantheon, 2001), 262279, and the treatment that follows. For the context in which the phrase work with and through is found, see Lewis R. Gordon, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, and Rene T. White, eds., Fanon: A Critical Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), 7. In the context of Religious Studies, a canonical account of the masterdisciple relationship is that of Joachim Wach, Master and Disciple: Two ReligioSociological Studies, in Essays in the History of Religions, ed. Joseph M. Kitagawa and Gregory Alles (New York: Macmillan, 1988), 132. As Walter Kaufmann suggested in From Shakespeare to Existentialism (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1959), influence is one of the concepts academics get the most mileage out of, and yet, it remains one of the most problematic of concepts nevertheless (5159, 89, 96, and esp. 101, etc.). Saids Beginnings as well as his thinking about Traveling Theory are meant to begin addressing such issues. Dane Kennedy, Imperial History and Post-Colonial Theory, in The Decolonization Reader, ed. James D. Le Sueur (London: Routledge, 2003), 1022. Postcolonialism is indeed having a wide-ranging impact within the academic world. In previous chapters, I have made note of many examples of work that can be described as hybridizing postcolonialism and the contemporary academic study of religion. Adding to those already enumerated, also see: John Burris, Exhibiting Religion: Colonialism and Spectacle at International Expositions, 18511893 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2002); Donald S. Lopez Jr., ed., Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism under Colonialism (Chicago: University

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of Chicago Press, 1995); Judith Snodgrass, Presenting Japanese Buddhism to the West: Orientalism, Occidentalism, and the Columbia Exposition (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003); and so on. One might ask: And why is Foucault listed as first and foremost? Kennedy here acknowledges what Richard Posner has attempted to quantify, namely, that in recent history, Foucault has been the most widely quoted intellectual within the Anglo-spheres academy. Richard Posner, Public Intellectuals: A Study in Decline (2001; repr., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), 212. In itself this is suggestive. Said has been read as Foucauldian to some extent because academics wanted to read him as Foucauldian; this has worked both for and against Said; his work may have received more attention because of the cultural fashion otherwise known as Foucault; conversely, his work may not have been read deontologically because of it, i.e., many have read it for the use of Foucault therein and not only for itself as a whole worldly text of its own. Regarding the cultural fashion of so-called high French theory, as mainly a product of the North American academic imagination, see Franois Cusset, French Theory: Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze & Cie et les Mutations de la Vie Intellectuel aux tats-Unis (Paris: La Dcouverte, 2003). Kennedy, Imperial History and Post-Colonial Theory, 13. Of note is R. J. C. Youngs attention to Marx and Marxist cultural theory. See Robert J. C. Young, White Mythologies: Writing History and the West (London: Routledge, 1990); Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001); and Crystal Bartolovich and Neil Lazarus, eds., Marxism, Modernity and Postcolonial Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). Also consult Bryan S. Turners Marx and the End of Orientalism (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1978), and consider Saids brief yet rather enthusiastic discussion of it in Interviews with Edward Said, ed. Amritjit Singh and Bruce G. Johnson (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2004), 52; the interview dates from 1987. Also see Turners subsequent work on Orientalism: Orientalism, Postmodernism, and Globalism (London: Routledge, 1994); Outline of a Theory of Orientalism, in Orientalism: Early Sources, vol. 1, ed. Bryan S. Turner (London: Routledge, 2000), 131. See Anne Mathieus article, which can serve as an introduction to this case in point, showing that interest in Sartre as an anticolonial intellectual persists. Anne Mathieu, Un engagement dtermin contre le colonialisme, Jean-Paul Sartre et la guerre dAlgrie, Le monde diplomatique (November 2004): 3031. Frantz Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs (Paris: Seuil, 1952), 30. When a Negro speaks of Marx, the first reaction is the following one: We raised you and now you turn against your patrons. Ingrates! Decidedly, we cannot expect anything from you. And then there is also this sledgehammer like argument of the planter in Africa: The teacher is our enemy. In order to avoid the problem-ridden translations, often noted in studies of Fanons work, see, e.g., Robert Bernasconi, Casting the Slough: Fanons New Humanism for a New Humanity, in Fanon: A Critical Reader, 113121, see 113; Ato Sekyi-Otu, Fanons Dialectic of Experience (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), see 89, and so on, all of the passages from Fanons work here examined are quoted from the original French and in the endnotes the reader will find my own translations of the quoted passage.

Notes
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15

16 17 18

19

20

21

22 23

24 25 26 27 28

29 30

Nadira Regrag, Post-colonialism, in Key Concepts in Cultural Theory, ed. A. Edgar and P. Sedgwick (London: Routledge, 2002), 69. Robert J. C. Young, Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Culture, Theory and Race (London: Routledge, 1995), 163. This analogy, discussed in the previous chapter, has had a profound resonance within subsequent Postcolonial Theorys textual productions. Regrag, Post-colonialism, 70. Ibid., 69. Alessandrini, Humanism in Question: Fanon and Said, 431450. In this regard, it is important to observe that Carl Olsons reading of Said, Politics, power, discourse and representation, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 17 (2005): 317336, examined previously in Chapter 3, also repeatedly collapses the distinctions between post-modernism, post-structuralism, and post-colonialism. My reading of Said on religion and secularism has been largely influenced by Alessandrinis reflections on Fanon and Saids humanism. Secular humanism emerges from within the mess created and maintained by prior gods that always fail; i.e., religions, nations, and so on., much like failed forms of humanism or secularism. Regarding gods that always fail, see: Said, Representations of the Intellectual (New York: Vintage, 1994), esp. the final chapter, ch. 6. Neil Lazarus, Disavowing Decolonization: Fanon, Nationalism, and the Question of Representation in Postcolonial Theory, in Frantz Fanon: Critical Perspectives, ed. Anthony C. Alessandrini (London: Routledge, 1999), 161194. As we have seen in Chapter 3, some of Saids recent commentators have also been unable to see the significant polyvalence of Saids postures regarding nationalism. Ibid., 169; emphasis in the original. Edward Said, On Late Style: Music and Literature against the Grain (New York: Pantheon, 2006), 85. Said, Power, Politics, and Culture, 3940. Ibid., 51. Ibid., 5354. Ibid. Ibid., 54. In Saids recent posthumously published work, On Late Style: Music and Literature against the Grain (mentioned earlier), he takes up the example furnished by Jean Genet as one who moved on to some other region after the Algeria struggle against the French was won, that other region being Palestine. See Said, On Late Style, 7390. Said writes that the choice first of Algeria in the 1950s, then of Palestine in the period thereafter, is and ought to be understood as a vital act of Genets solidarity, his willing enraptured identification with other identities whose existence involves a strenuously contested struggle, going on to characterize him as the most antithetical imagination, since Genet made the step, crossed the legal borders, that very few white men and women even attempt. He traversed the space from the metropolitan center to the colony; his unquestioned solidarity was with the very same oppressed identified and so passionately analyzed by Fanon. Said, On Late Style, 8687. The latter comparison with Fanon is again quite telling. Said, Power, Politics, and Culture, 134. Ibid., 170.

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39

40

41 42 43

Ibid. Said, Orientalism, 25. Said, Power, Politics, and Culture, 170. Ibid. Ibid., 267; also The World, the Text, and the Critic, 226247; and Traveling Theory Reconsidered, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, 436452; the essay was first published in 1994. Said, Power, Politics, and Culture, 267, emphasis his. Ibid., emphasis his. See Alessandrini, Humanism in Question: Fanon and Said; and Nigel Gibson, Fanon and the pitfalls of cultural studies, in Frantz Fanon: Critical Perspectives, ed. Anthony C. Alessandrini (London: Routledge, 1999), 99125. This initial formulation of Saids traveling theory has interesting similarities to Max Webers ideas concerning the routinization of charismatic authority. See, e.g., H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, Introduction: The Man and his Work, in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, ed. H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills (1946; New York: Oxford University Press, 1958), 374, esp. 5255, 6263, 7273. Moreover, Webers notion of elective affinity has some semblance to Saids notion of affiliation as opposed to filiation, which in his Beginnings, he couples with beginnings as opposed to origins. These two sets of binaries can in turn be compared with Ferdinand Tnnies contrasts between gesellschaft and gemeinschaft, ideas that heavily influenced Webers work, not to mention generations of sociologists and social theorists. See Community and Civil Society, trans. J. Harris and M. Hollis (1887; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). Also see Saids acknowledgment of this: Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic, 20. It may be worth recalling that Lukacs, being of central importance to Saids analysis of the phenomenon he calls traveling theory, was one [a]mong the younger scholars who sought Webers stimulus in Heidelberg between 1906 and 1910. Gerth and Mills, Introduction: the man and his work, in From Max Weber, 2021. Since Weber and Foucault have fruitfully been studied in tandem, e.g., see Arpd Szakolczai, Max Weber and Michel Foucault: Parallel Life Works (1998; London: Routledge, 2001), a sustained comparison between Weber and Said would also be mutually illuminating. Abdirahman A. Hussein, Edward Said: Criticism and Society (London: Verso, 2002). Reading Saids Joseph Conrad and the Autobiography of Fiction (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966), the work that distills that of his dissertation, leads one to see that one can move this observation back still further. In this work, his first full length monograph, not only is Said interested in how both Conrads work and his own self-understanding integrates a profound Schopenhauerian influence, which presages his later concern with the notion of influence, but he also focused on how Conrads sense of belonging to Western civilization became something of a religious experience during the period of the First World War; this latter dimension of Saids first book foreshadows not only his concern with Orientalism, but also, and conversely so, with secular criticism. Said, Beginnings, 12; emphasis in the original. Quoted in ibid., 15; emphasis in the original. Said, Orientalism, 2324.

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50 51

52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59

60 61

62

63 64 65

66 67 68

69

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Said, Power, Politics, and Culture, 267. Viswanathan in ibid., 268, emphasis hers. Ibid., emphasis his. Ibid., 268269, emphasis his. James Miller, The Passion of Michel Foucault (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993), 297, 449 n. 41. It may be worth adding that Vincent Descombes, in Le Mme et LAutre: QuaranteCinq Ans de Philosophie Franaise, 19331978 (Paris: Les ditions de Minuit, 1979), discusses the relation of theoretical work and political positioning, specifically in the French intellectual milieu. He is very ironic and even outrightly skeptical, more than simply implying that the relation between ones theory and ones politics are rarely a clear and straightforward derivation of one another. One obviously can choose to integrate some of Foucaults theoretical work within ones own without espousing his practices. Obviously, the converse is also equally true. Gordon et al., Fanon, 1. Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs, 24. The official spoken language is French; the teachers watch over the children closely so that Creole is not used. Said, Out of Place: A Memoir (New York: Vintage, 1999), 4. Ibid., 39, emphasis his. Ibid., 82. Ibid., 179. Ibid., 181. Ibid., 184186. Ibid., 186. Frantz Fanon, LAn V de la revolution algrienne (Paris: Maspero, 1959); A Dying Colonialism, trans. H. Chevalier (New York: Grove Press, 1965). Said, Out of Place, 184186. Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs, 16. The Antillean Black will be that much more white, that is to say, will become that much nearer the true man, once he will have made his own the French language. A man who possesses the language possesses also the world expressed and implied by this language. One can see where we would like to go with this: there is in the possession of language an extraordinary power. Ibid., 15. To speak is to be able to make use of a specific syntax, possess the morphology of this or that language, but it is mainly to assume a culture, to support the weight of a civilization. Ibid., 21. every idiom is a way of thinking . . . Said, Orientalism, 2. Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs, 15. a fundamental importance to the phenomenon of language. Ibid., 16. Language and Aggressivity. Ibid., 15. The task is no longer to understand the world, but to transform it. There is an underlying rapport between language and the collectivity. To speak a language is to assume a world, a culture. Ibid., 32. the cultural instrument, or alternatively, the instrument of culture . . . Ibid., 30. What we are affirming is that the European has a definite idea of the Black.

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73 74

75 76

77 78

79

80

81

82 83

Ibid., 3031. We understand . . . that the first reaction of the Black is to say no to those who seek to define him. The White and the Black represent the two poles of a world, poles in perpetual struggle. Ibid., 38. a truly Manichean conception of the world . . . an essay [in French, essay still explicitly signifies an attempt, an effort made] to understand Black/White relations. Ibid., 9. The White is enclosed in his whiteness; The Black in his blackness. Ibid., 13. Also see Jock McCulloch, Black Soul, White Artifact: Fanons Clinical Psychology and Social Theory (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1983). Said, Orientalism, 5. In due course, however, Said became that much the more powerful a spokesperson himself, and therefore may be understood as having been in the process of finding, tuning, and amplifying a voice, his own, and through it, a sustained stance for the equal guarantee of the basic human rights of his people, the Palestinian people in particular, but also more generally, of downtrodden peoples the world over. Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs, 77. Inferiorization is the indigenous correlative of European superiorisation. Let us have the courage to say it: it is the racist who creates the inferiorized. With this conclusion, we join up with Sartre: the Jew is the man that other men have taken for a Jew: that is the simple truth from which we must start . . . It is the anti-Semite who makes the Jew. Also see Jean-Paul Sartre, Rflections sur la question juive (1946; Paris: Gallimard, 1954). Quite early in his Orientalism, Said writes that by an almost inescapable logic, I have found myself writing the history of a strange, secret sharer of Western anti-Semitism. That anti-Semitism and, as I have discussed it in its Islamic branch, Orientalism resemble each other very closely is a historical, cultural, and political truth that needs only to be mentioned to an Arab Palestinian for its irony to be perfectly understood (1978: 2728). Also see Franois De Fontette, Histoire de lantismitisme (1982; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1993), 34; as well as his Sociologie de lantismitisme (1984; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1991). Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs, 7172. I sincerely believe that a subjective experience can be understood by someone else, and it is not pleasing for me to say to myself, that the Black question is my problem, mine alone, and to start my studying of it. It seems to me that Mr. Mannoni did not try to feel the despair of the colonized man faced with the White. I have bound myself in this study to the aim of feeling the misery of the Black, affectively and tactilely. I have not wanted to be objective. Moreover, this is false: it was impossible for me to be objective. In truth, is there a difference between one mans racism and anothers? Do we not find the same fall, the same human failure? Said, Orientalism, 328. Sartre, Rflections sur la question juive, 6364. [For the anti-Semite] . . . [t]he Jew is only a pretense: Elsewhere we would use the Negro, elsewhere the yellow [i.e., Orientals]. His existence simply serves the anti-Semite as a means to squash in the egg his anxieties by persuading himself that his place in the world has always been marked off for him, that this place awaits him and that due to tradition he has a right to occupy this place. Anti-Semitism, in a word, is fear in the

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85

86 87

88

89

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91

face of the human condition. The anti-Semite is the human who wants to be a pitiless rock, a furious torrent, a devastating thunderbolt: everything except a human. As elsewhere, translation mine. For a rather thought provoking essay specifically regarding Sartre, religion, and the study of religion, see Stuart Charm, Revisiting Sartre on the Question of Religion. Continental Philosophy Review 33 (2000): 126. However, for a view of Saids more critical stance vis--vis Sartre, see Interviews with Edward Said, 7475; also his discussion of Genets view of Sartre, in On Late Style, 7778. Frantz Fanon, Les Damns de la terre (Paris: Maspero, 1961), 126. the recourse to an overly technical language signifies that one has decided to consider the masses to be laypersons [that is, without a sacred order, and therefore as profane, or even, in this context, as damned wretches in need of salvation from above]. Such language does not hide very well the orators desire to fool the people, to leave them out. This enterprise of obscuring language is a mask behind which a greater enterprise of robbery is unfolding. Such enterprises want to rob the people of both its goods and its sovereignty. We can, however, explain everything to the people so long as we really want them to understand. Said, Interviews with Edward Said, 103; the interview is dated 1995. Fanon, Les Damns de la terre, 150. it is true, the paths taken up by the colonized intellectual sometimes has aspects of a cult, that is, of a religion. In this, cf. with Bill Ashcroft, Edward Said: The Locatedness of Theory, in Futures of Critical Theory: Dreams of Difference, ed. M. Peters, M. Olsen, and C. Lankshear (Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), 261273. Fanons last words in Les damns de la terre call for a new humanism. Said repeatedly called for a renewal of humanism, returning again to this call in one of his last books, Humanism and Democratic Criticism. For a discussion of Csaires notion of The Rendez-Vous of Victory, see Saids essay The Politics of Knowledge, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, 372385. Said quotes the following line from the Csaires Cahier dun retour au pays natal, saying that it is the poems climatic moment: no race possesses the monopoly of beauty, of intelligence, of force, and there is a place for all at the rendez-vous of victory (qtd. in Said, The Politics of Knowledge, 379). Regarding this fascinating chapter not only of Hegels Phenomenology, but of the history of Western philosophy as well, see the recent translation of the late Leo Rauch, his commentary, as well as that of David Sherman. Leo Rauch and David Sherman, eds., Hegels Phenomenology of Self-Consciousness: Text and Commentary (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1999). Also recall that R. J. C. Youngs work, drawing explicitly on that of Vincent Descombes, acknowledges that it is not uncommon or unheard of for almost a whole generations of scholars to be working with and against the paradigmatic thinkers of prior generations; see Young, White Mythologies, 6 and esp. Vincent Descombes, Le Mme et LAutre: Quarante-Cinq Ans de Philosophie Franaise, 19331978 (Paris: Les ditions de Minuit, 1979), 1314. Such a claim is not so different from that collectively made by the members of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, in their Aspects of Sociology, when they suggested that [s]ociology is nothing new as far as its subject matter is concerned, moving on to suggest that in Platos work, the subject matter that sociology properly so-called would later treat distinctively was already present.

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The Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, Aspects of Sociology, trans. J. Viertel (1953; Boston: Beacon Press, 1972), 1. This deeply ethical question, aptly discussed by Descombes among others, is present in different ways and in varying degrees in the works of the four thinkers central to this essay; Said, Foucault, Fanon, and Sartre. It is one that today is also often associated with the thought of Emmanuel Lvinas, whom Descombes also discusses. To speak of recognizing the Others face, in the Meno, e.g., today brings Lvinas to mind. For an example of Lvinas enduring influence upon Religious Studies, especially its ethical dimensions, see Peter Ochs recent thought-provoking piece. Peter Ochs, Comparative religious traditions, Journal of the American Academy of Religion 74 (2006): 483494.

Chapter 6
1

Edward W. Said, The Other America, Al-Ahram 630 (March 2026, 2003); available online at: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/630/focus.htm. During the first weeks immediately following Edward Said regrettably early passing, I read as many of his last publications as I could find. The idea for this chapter occurred during those weeks. That Barack H. Obama has recently won the 2008 U.S. presidential election confirms much of this vision as I go on to briefly highlight in what follows. Said, The Other Arab Muslims, in The Politics of Dispossession: The Struggle for Palestinian Self-Determination, 19691994 (New York: Vintage, 1994), 385411; the essay first appeared in The New York Times Magazine (November 26, 1993). It is worth noting that Said was the editor of a series published by Harvard University Press, the name given to the series being Convergences: Inventories of the Present. Saids Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (2000) is one of the titles published in the series. Although I have not been able to verify if the series name was chosen by Said, it is nevertheless fitting, as the balance of this chapter bears out. Said saw and began articulating that certain major societal trends within the Middle East and the United States dovetail and not always alarmingly so. Samuel P. Huntington, Who are We? The Challenges to Americas National Identity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005). Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 408. Obviously, many will wonder who Said has in mind. In response to this he writes that [a]mong these figures are men and women like Mohammed Arkoun, Fatima el-Marnissi, Muhammad Abid el Jabiri, Hassan Hanafi, Fuad Zakariya, to mention a few of the better-known names. A new book that offers a rational and modern reading of the Koran by Muhammad Shahruh has recently become a best-seller, surely a sign of how many Muslims thirst for pragmatic interpretations of their faith. In addition, a whole battery of novelists, poets, and dramatistsAdonis, Shahar Khalifa, Hanan al-Shaykh, Abdel Rahman Munif, Kamal Abu Deeb, Mahmoud Darwish, Mahfouzhave either taken outspoken positions against militant political Islam or, by the example of their own work, have opposed its claims (ibid.). Ibid.

Notes
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9 10

11 12 13 14

15

16

17 18

See Said, Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World (New York: Vintage, 1981). Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 385. Of course, The Challenge of Fundamentalism is the title of one of Bassam Tibis works, The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder, updated ed. (1998; Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002). One should again also cf. with the spoof of this and related literature provided by Saids friend Tariq Ali, The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity (London: Verso, 2002). Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 385. Ibid. It is worth noting that this view of politics (i.e., as an us-versus-them filter) that Said critiques is a view of the political that seems to have become more, rather than less, prevalent in the time elapsed since Said wrote this essay a dozen years ago. This vision of the political corresponds to that of the so-called crown attorney of the Third Reich, Carl Schmitt. Schmitts political theory, via the thought of figures such as Leo Strauss (among others), has today gained an even wider acceptance. Schmitt is hardly the originator of this view, but has been an important link in its definition, articulation and popularization. In this respect, see Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, trans. and intro. George Schwab, with comments by Leo Strauss (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1976); Schwab argues that the main ideas of the essay appeared in Schmitts 1927 essay Der Begriff des Politischen. See Schwabs introduction, 5, n. 8. Also see Schmidt, Political Theology: Four Concepts on the Concept of Sovereignty, trans. George Schwab (1922; Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1985). Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 385. Ibid. Ibid., 385. Ibid., 390. Interestingly, the title of Huntingtons work (see note 4 earlier) is present in this passage. Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Todays Students, preface by Saul Bellow (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987). It is also important to remember that Bloom helped to popularize Strauss thought, and Strauss that of Schmitt. For example, see Leo Strauss, Liberalism, Ancient and Modern, foreword by Allan Bloom (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989; org. ed., 1968). Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 386. As previously noted, for a powerful example of Saids concern for multiculturalism and the canon, see his essay The Politics of Knowledge, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 372385; the essay having first appeared in the Raritan: A Quarterly Review, in the 1991 summer issue. Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 386. Jacintha OHagan, Conceptualizing the West in International Relations: From Spengler to Said (London: Palgrave, 2002), 192. It may be worth comparing Saids view of civilization(s) with the process philosophy of emergent evolution, elaborated by Alfred North Whitehead, among others, in order to get away from metaphysics based on the notions of substance and essence, the later being a heavily critiqued one throughout Saids oeuvre. One omits to consider that one of the intellectual influences Said discusses in some detail in his memoir, Out of Place, is Charles Malik, who, Said informs us, had been one of Whiteheads students at

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23 24 25

Harvard. A significant number of pages of Saids Memoir are devoted to recollecting and reflecting about his relations to Charles Malik, at one time a prominent Lebanese political figure, who had studied under Heidegger at Freiburg and Whitehead at Harvard. More deserves to be said about this formative intellectual relationship. Said recounts that it was from Malik that he heard about ideology, communism, and the great battle between East and West. Said notes that [l]ater [he] understood that Nassers approach to the Soviet Union coupled with his Islamic faith were the real problem for Malik; hidden beneath the discourse of statistics and demographic trends were communism and Islam. Much more directly Said writes: Maliks attitude really troubled me in its mixture of politics with family, and that it was in discussion with Malik that the inherent irreconcilability between intellectual belief and passionate loyalty to tribe, sect, and country first opened up in me, and have remained open. I have never felt the need to close the gap but have kept them apart as opposites, and have always felt the priority of intellectual, rather than national or tribal, consciousness, no matter how solitary that made one [Said, Out of Place (New York: Vintage, 1999), 280]. Also cf. with Nassib Samir El-Husseini, LOccident Imaginaire, la vision de lAutre dans la conscience politique arabe (Sainte-Foy, QC: Presses de lUniversit du Qubec, 1998), where both Malik and Said are considered. Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 386. Ibid. Ibid., 408. Ibid., 410. This diagnosis still has important spokespersons. One clear example is one of Frances most respected scholars of Islam, Gilles Kepel, who shares much of this position and encapsulates it in the title of his book, Fitna, guerre au coeur de lislam (Paris: Gallimard, 2004). One might even wish to add that, in fact, Kepels diagnosis is of the same type, but greater in its degree, that is, in its severity. Classical sources inform us that a fitna is a disorder, a discord, even anarchy, and that it is considered the worst evil that can befall the Umma, that is, the Muslim community. See Dominique Sourdel and Janine SourdelThomine, Vocabulaire de lislam (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2002), 3839. Traditionally, the Great Fitna is what befell the Umma after the caliph Uthmans assassination in 656 of the Common Era. The subtitle of Kepels book explains or expands on his use of this Islamic concept; the root of the disorder, of this discord is a war at the heart of Islam. Kepels book also draws attention to American trends thay mirror Islamic ones, which in turn leads one to see that the disorder is not only Islamic, but Western also. In both of Saids accounts, readers are also presented with flipsides; Arab Muslim secularists on the one hand and American neo-conservatisms opponents on the other. Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 394. Ibid., 410. Ibid., 387. Important is that Said says in my opinion here, which is quite unlike the version of Said represented in W. D. Harts book, Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Said does acknowledge the fuzzyness of the boundary between the religious to the secular. Harts version of Said is a Manichean, which this passage alone patently contradicts.

Notes
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30 31

32 33 34

35 36 37

38 39

40 41 42 43

44

Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 387. Ibid. Ibid. Obviously, Said is not talking about Al-Azhar here; nevertheless, his point is well taken. And this said, one should also consider the respectful and very conciliatory tone Said adopts vis--vis Al-Azhar specifically in On the University, a lecture first given at the American University in Cairos seventy-sixth annual commencement, on June 17, 1999. On the University is reprinted in Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics 25 (2005): 2636. Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 387. Many important studies of the U.S. scene of late have been published with titles drawing great attention to the obviously growing theocratic tendencies in American political and economic globalism. See, e.g., Thomas Frank, One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy (New York: Anchor Books, 2000); Noah Feldman, Divided by God: Americas Church-State Problemand what We Should Do about It (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005); Madeleine Albright with Bill Woodward, The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs (New York: HarperCollins, 2006); Damon Linker, Theocons: Secular America Under Siege (New York: Doubleday, 2006); Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century (New York: Viking, 2006). Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 388. Ibid. It deserves to be noted that Martin Kramer, whose work I examine in Chapter 2, praises the likes of Olivier Roy for having argued in the early to mid1990s that political Islam was politically bankrupt. Here, in the passages just quoted from Saids writings dating back to this period, one can see that Said had been arguing roughly the same point at roughly the same time as Roy and yet Kramers critique of Said neither mentions this nor is tempered by it. Ibid., 395. Ibid., 388. Ibid. An interesting issue, one that I shall not elaborate here, is the extent to which this is true of Arab Jews, also deeply influenced by Islamic cultures and religiosities. Ibid. Ibid., 389. Ibid. This, Said acknowledges, is what the late Marshall Hodgson called an Islamicate world or culture. Also see chapter 2. Ibid. Ibid., 395. Furthermore, as he again puts it later in his essay, cohabitation, particularly since the Islamists overlap with the population in background and tradition, has produced a casual familiarity that has the strange effect of dulling the sense of shock and urgency that Westerner outsiders often project onto these societies (401). Ibid., 389. Ibid. Ibid., 390. Bernard Lewis, The Political Language of Islam (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988), 23. Ibid., 117.

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47 48

Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong? The Clash between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 100. Quite the debate is taking place in the Arab world regarding the question if the word secularity is derived from the word for science or from that for the world. It is interesting to observe that the dominant thesis, both in the secularist camp as well as in that of the theorists of Islamism, is that of a derivation from alam (or world). It is initially the most satisfying hypothesis: as is indicated by the English term secularism, a translation of the French term lacit, the notion recalls that of the centuries, of the things of this world, that change according to the epoch, in opposition to religious values, which are, by definition, eternal. However, not far is interest in the world the interest for science: we know that the emergence of modern science is linked to the recuperation, by political power, of the management of temporal things, and this, to the detriment of ecclesiastical institutions. Science by its very nature is temporal: far from making any claims to eternity, its highest truth is of being constantly modifiable and perfectible. Moreover, science is in this all the more directly linked to this world in not purporting to be explaining or describing supernatural or transcendent worlds: science operates via the hypothesis that we can arrive at precise knowledge only of the world in which we live and leaves to others the cognitive experiences, be they religious or mystical, the care of discovering that which is beyond this world. Stated otherwise, the philological debate alluded to above is of no great interest since both explanations are complimentary and not therefore contradictory (translation mine). Fouad Zakariya, Lacit ou islamisme, les arabes lheure du choix, trans. by R. Jacquemond (Paris: La Dcouverte, 1991), 14. Zakariyas overall point is well-taken even though his own philological explanations of the English secularism and the French lacit are far too simplistic, especially the latter, pertaining rather to clergy without specific orders. Also of great interest for this study is that from Zakariyas statement, one can speculate that Saids emphasis on the worldly is linked to such questions, and not wishing to enter into the debate concerning the scientificity of the humanities, he emphasizes its worldliness over its would-be scientificity. It also deserves to be noted that Zakariya levels some strong criticisms of Saids occidentalism no less: his seeing the Orient and himself through primarily Western concepts. These are weighty criticisms that I only take up implicitly throughout this book. A later study might wish to answer Zakariyas interesting but I think overdone charges more directly. I think to charge Said with having not been more of an Oriental is quite problematic at best, since as this chapter (among others) makes plain, what an Oriental is and what a Westerner is is undecided and wrought with the complex and conflicted legacies of the colonizers projections and the colonizeds internalizations, reactions, and counter-projections: significant dynamics of the issues that Zakariya seems to undervalue. Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 390. Ibid. That the general population is aware that rulers are generally guided by designs of their own rather than those purported to be the divinitys is obvious in many of the bitingly ironic traditional Arabic proverbs that John Lewis Burckhardt compiled while in Cairo, early in the nineteenth century. John Lewis Burckhardt, Arabic Proverbs (1830; Mineola, NY: Dover, 2004). For example, consider the following: He who is not satisfied with the government of Moses,

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49

50

will be satisfied with the government of Pharaoh (237), Burckhardt adding that this proverb was often used while he was in Cairo to express that those who did not like the Mamelouks, must now submit to the still more tyrannical government of Mohammed Aly; A time will come when they will solicit Gods mercy for Pharaoh (274); here Burckhardt adds that not only is Pharaoh equated with impiety but that the proverb generally was stated to mean that there are times in which [t]imes are so bad that even Pharaoh is regretted; One hour for thy heart, and one hour for thy Lord (103), which according to Burckhardt entreats us to [d]ivide our time between heavenly and worldly concerns, making plain the fact that these two realms were not deemed as seamless in practice as some think; Who gives not thanks to men, gives not thanks to God (212), which could be read as an expression of Islamic humanism, establishing the priority of the human realm for the sake of the other-worldly; and finally, (He is) like the world; no confidence is to be placed in him (232), which again makes plain that this world is not to be wholly trusted. One can of course read this as a denial of the worlds significance, as a nihilism, and yet one can also read it as an acknowledgment that this world is wholly problem-ridden and that one must therefore be wary of perspectives that make it seem the way things have to be, ideal, and so on. Two documents especially deserve to be consulted: first, Amir Hussain, The Study of Islam in the 21st Century: The Hermeneutics of Humaness, Jerome Richfield Memorial Lecture for 2003: http://www.csun.edu/religious.studies/ Jerome_Richfield.html. Hussain not only discusses this distinction of the real and the ideal in W. C. Smiths thought, but also begins making a case for W. C. Smith as a proto-anti-Orientalist la Said avant la lettre. In this regard, one should also consult W. C. Smith, Orientalism and Truth: A Public Lecture (Princeton: Princeton University, 1969), 16 pp. This former position, of engaging theology, was largely that of Joachim Wach, e.g. I have in mind passages such as the following from Wachs work: If it is the task of theology to investigate, buttress, and teach the faith of a religious community to which it is committed, as well as kindle zeal and fervor for the defense and spread of this faith, it is the responsibility of a comparative study to guide and to purify it [Joachim Wach, The Comparative Study of Religions, ed. and intro. Joseph M. Kitagawa (New York: Columbia University Press, 1958), 9]. Obviously, much of Wachs language seems out of place by todays standards and yet compare the Wachian position to that of Richard C. Martin, e.g., as exemplified by his reflections on Defenders of Reason in Islam. See Richard C. Martin, Other Peoples Theologies: The New Hubris of History of Religions, in Religious Studies, Theology, and the University: Conflicting Maps, Changing Terrains, ed. Linell E. Cady and Delwin Brown (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002), 6580; and Richard C. Martin, Mark R. Woodward, and Dwi S. Atmaja, Defenders of Reason in Islam: Mutazilism from Medieval School to Modern Symbol (Oxford: Oneworld, 1997). Martin agrees that that book was in a sense partisan, i.e., its authors studied Islamic rationalists since they felt closeness with this faction and wished to see it promoted. Many of the examples drawn on in this book exemplify that studies that are partisan are not necessarily less scholarly because of this. In this perspective, Martin, like Said (also a Kierkegaard reader) would agree with Wach when he writes: The West had to relearn from Kierkegaard

206

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51 52 53

54 55 56

57 58 59 60

61

62

63 64 65 66 67 68

69 70 71 72 73

74

that religion is something toward which neutrality is not possible (Wach, The Comparative Study, 9). Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 390. Ibid. Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 391. Ibid. Ibid. Leave it to a literary scholar to highlight the carnavalesquea concept closely associated with the Russian critical theorist Mikhail Bakhtinof Islamic fundamentalists? Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., 392. The last quote is a quote Said includes in his essay from his friend Mohammed Hussain Heikal, a former cabinet minister in Gamal Abdul Nassers government and, according to Said, the Arab worlds leading independent journalist at the time (ibid., 391392). In this respect, note that the portrayal of the genesis of an Islamic extremist found in Alaa El-Aswanys internationally best-selling novel, Limmeuble Yacoubian [trans. Gilles Gauthier. 2002 (repr. Paris: Actes Sud, 2006)], which runs uncannily along these very same lines: state corruption crushes the spirit of a well-meaning young man such that all that seems left to him is the desire to strike back at the state structures that so utterly and despicably failed him. Again, the last words quoted are Heikals words, quoted in ibid., 392. As I read him, natural means by virtue of history and obviously not by virtue of some metaphysical essence within a substance. Ibid., 393. Ibid. Ibid., 398. Ibid., 400. Ibid., 395396. In this respect, Said writes that Egyptian culture is too complicated and really quite hybrid (as Egyptian history itself is hybrid) for it to be hijacked by a small band of conspirators, who express a more active disenchantment with the government that has severely limited democratic participation and severely curtails freedom of thought and expression (ibid., 395). Ibid., 396397. Ibid., 397. Ibid., 407408. Ibid., 408. Said, The Arab Portrayed, in The Arab-Israeli Confrontation of June 1967: An Arab Perspective, ed. Ibrahim Abu-Lughod (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1970), 19. Albert Memmi, Portrait du colonis, prcd du portrait du colonisateur, preface by Jean-Paul Sartre (1957; Paris: Payot, 1973); also see Memmis recent work, Portrait du dcolonize, arabo-musulman et de quelques autres (Paris: Gallimard, 2004);

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75

76

77

78

79 80

81

82 83

Portrait dun Juif (Paris: Gallimard, 1962); and Libration du Juif (Paris: Gallimard, 1966). Jean-Paul Sartre, Rflexion sur la question juive (1946; Paris: Gallimard, 1954); Frantz Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs (Paris: Seuil, 1952); and Les damns de la terre, preface by Jean-Paul Sartre (Paris: Maspero, 1961). This begs the question: Can anyone claim perfect objectivity (and/or complete political neutrality) for their work? It is important to observe that Said and many like-minded intellectuals have taken skeptical routes vis--vis this question. Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs, 7172. The passage is quoted and discussed in Chapter 5, section 3. I specifically have in mind the three concluding paragraphs to the introductory chapter of Saids Orientalism (1978; New York: Vintage, 2003), 2628. Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 386, emphasis his. A similar research institution, in this case a Chair in American Studies, was created at the American University of Beirut, again in honor of Edward Said. See AUB Announces the Edward Said Chair in American Studies, AUB Bulletin Today Online, http://wwwlb.aub.lb/~webbultn/v5n4/06.html. Of interest is the coverage received by Columbia Universitys Edward Said Chair in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. See, e.g., Jacob Gershman, Columbia Lists Said Donors: UAE contributes to chair named for Israel critic, New York Sun (March 29, 2004), available online at: http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/1094. Note how by the title alone, Said is reduced to being a critic of Israel, nothing more, suggesting that to criticize Israel is to forfeit any claims to any other designation. Campus-Watch, it should be remembered, is also partisan. Not only is Said largely on trial (for being Palestinian?) in such examples, but moreover, he does not get a fair trial. In this respect, see the brief discussion of the reception of Saids scholarship within the Israeli academy in Laurence J. Silberstein, The Postzionism Debates: Knowledge and Power in Israeli Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 1999), esp. 183, where he writes: Saids Palestinian origins and his active involvement in the Palestinian cause undoubtedly arouse suspicion among Israeli scholars, their reluctance to take his theoretical writings [. . .] seriously significantly limits their ability to critically analyze the colonialist effects of Zionist discourse and Israeli practices. It again deserves to be underlined that Said did ceaselessly call for the Arab world to develop a better understanding of the West (see Said, Orientalism, 204, though this is a point he again makes in his The Other America essay, and throughout his oeuvre). Also see Nassib Samir El-Husseini, Loccident imaginaire, La vision de lAutre dans la conscience politique arabe (Sainte-Foi, QC: Presses de lUniversit du Qubec, 1998), esp. ch. 5. El-Husseini also makes something of a case concerning the direct influence of Charles Malik in this regard as well. See ibid., 168, n. 80. Said, The Other America, 1. Also see Edward W. Said, Introduction, in Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question, ed. Edward W. Said and Christopher Hitchens (London: Verso, 1988), 119. Also Noam Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians, updated ed. (Montral: Black Rose Books, 1999). Said, The Other America, 1. Ibid., 12.

208
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Notes

86

87 88 89

90 91 92 93

Ibid., 2. See Edward W. Said, The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After (New York: Vintage, 2000); and From Oslo to Iraq and the Road Map: Essays, intro. Tony Judt (New York: Panthon, 2004). It deserves to be noted that on November 20, 2008, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbass Palestinian Liberation Organization published [. . .] full-page notices in Hebrew in four major [Israeli] dailies in order to promote a six-yearold Arab peace plan for the region. The text states that Fifty-seven Arab and Islamic countries will establish diplomatic ties and normal relations with Israel in return for a full peace agreement and an end to the occupation. PLO advertises peace deal in Israeli papers, The Ottawa Citizen, November 21, 2008, A10. Such signs give reason to hope and if Palestinian and Israeli authorities work together, along with more of the regions peoples, extending each other goodwill, peace in the Middle East need not be a fiction of idealists imagination. That the twenty-two days war has again halted such hopes remains at present an open and pressing question. Said, The Other America, 2. Ibid. Said, Orientalism, 204, where he writes: The very presence of a field such as Orientalism, with no corresponding equivalent in the Orient itself, suggests the relative strength of Orient and Occident. This view of Saids is another that has produced yet another light publishing industry of sorts. It is important to remember that Said meant that there were no established institutions for the study of the West in the Arabo-Islamic academy when he was writing Orientalism in the mid- to late-1970s. Earlier I mentioned Nassib Samir El-Husseini, Loccident imaginaire, which would enter into this class of works even though it owes much to El-Husseinis other matre--penser, the late Thierry Hentsch, as much as it does to Said. Some other work worth consulting include: Bernard Lewis, The Muslim Discovery of Europe (1982; New York: W. W. Norton, 2001); Ibrahim AbuLughod, Arab Rediscovery of Europe: A Study of Cultural Encounters (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963); Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 17981939 (1962; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983); Jean Jacques Waardenburg, ed., Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical Survey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); Grard Leclerc, La mondialisation culturelle, Les civilizations lpreuve (Paris: Presses Universitaire de France, 2000); Chahdortt Djavann, Que pense Allah de lEurope (Paris: Gallimard, 2004). Said, The Other America, 2. Ibid., 3. Ibid. Ibid. Beyond Saids work, other resources for the study of Empire should include: Maurice Duverger, ed., Le concept dempire (Paris: Presses Universitaire de France, 1983); Michael W. Doyle, Empires (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1986); Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000); Stephen Howe, Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); Niall Ferguson, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (New York: Penguin, 2003); and his Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (New York: Penguin, 2004); and though it examines specific ancient instances, see Geoffrey W. Conrad and Arthur A. Demarest, Religion and

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94 95 96 97 98 99

100 101

102 103

104

105

106 107 108 109

Empire: The Dynamics of Aztec and Inca expansionism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984); also, specifically regarding Americas genesis as a would-be Empire, see Richard W. Van Alstyne, The Rising American Empire (1960; New York: W. W. Norton, 1974). Said, The Other America, 3. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Noam Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle. The parallelism Said implies between anti-Semitism and what he calls Orientalism is again apparent here. Regarding Christian Zionism in American Civil Religion, see historian Lawrence Davidson, Christian Zionism as a Representation of American Manifest Destiny, Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies 14/2 (2005): 157169. Also see Lawrence Davidson, Americas Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2001); as well as Fuad Shaban, Islam and Arabs in Early American Thought (Durham, NC: Acorn Press, 1991). Said, The Other America, 34. Joseph Cambell with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, ed. Betty Sue Flowers (New York: Doubleday, 1988). Norris and Inglehart, Sacred and Secular. In this respect, Said writes that [t]he economist Julie Schor has shown that Americans now work far more hours than they did three decades ago, and are making relatively less money for their efforts. But still there is no serious, systematic political challenge to the dogmas of what are referred to as the opportunities of a free market. Its as if no one cares whether the corporate structure in alliance with the federal government, which still hasnt been able to provide most Americans with decent universal health coverage and a sound education, has to be changed. News of the stock market is more important than re-examining the system (Said, The Other America, 4). The current market crisis has not, as of yet, created the deeper questioning Said, among others, seek. The bailout of the financial establishment late in President G. W. Bushs last term in office serves to further illustrate the alliance of corporate and federal government structures. Since September 11, 2001, I have visited the United States relatively often. Every time I have been in an airport, the loudspeaker alerts listeners that the terror threat level is orange, i.e., just below red. Ibid., 4. Hopefully, President Obama, with the great powers of communication that he masters, may help America recall its own shadow and not serve only as a further confirmation of its manifest greatness. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Said observes that [n]ever has there been so unashamed, if not scandalous, complicity between TV news and the governments rush to war and goes on to connect this with his view of Orientalism in saying that the airwaves are filled with ex-military men, terrorism experts, and Middle East policy analysts who know none of the relevant languages, may never have seen any part of the

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111

112

113

114 115 116 117 118

119

120

Middle East, and are too poorly educated to be expert at anything, all of them arguing in a memorised jargon about the need for us to do something about Iraq, while preparing our windows and cars for an impending poison gas attack (4). Ibid. To this Said adds that in accepted public discourse even the word history is a synonym for nothingness or non-entity, as in the scornful, typically dismissive American phrase, youre history (4). Ibid., 5. In saying that he will discuss only a small number of them that strike me as acutely pertinent at this time, he is, tacitly at least, acknowledging that his list is not meant to be exhaustive. Or, as Said puts it, a national identity represented without apparent demurral by our president, our secretary of state at the UN, our armed forces in the desert, and our interests, which are routinely seen as self-defensive, without ulterior motive, and in an overall way, innocent in the way that a traditional woman is supposed to be innocent, pure, free of sin, etc. (5). Ibid., To this, Said adds that even more staggering, the ongoing and even institutional irrelevance of two immensely important and constitutively American experiences, the slavery of the African-American people and the dispossession and quasi-extermination of the native American population. These have yet to be figured into the national consensus in any serious way. (Whereas there is a major Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, no such memorial exists either for African-Americans or native Americans, anywhere in the country) . . . (5). Ibid. Ibid., 6. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Many feel that President Obamas election and presidency represent this more highly mobile emergent America, more open to international cooperation, dialogue, and progressive movements within and abroad. Ibid. In their regard, he says that each of which of course has devoted considerable energy to trying to slip into the mainstream, in pursuit of important political assignments in local and national governments, appearance on prestigious television talk shows, and membership on governing boards of foundations, colleges, and corporations. But in the main, however, most of those groups are still more activated by a sense of injustice and discrimination than they are by ambition, and therefore arent ready to enlist completely in the American (mostly white and middle-class) dream (7). Again, it deserves notice that the 2008 U.S. election has helped the process of moving beyond the status quo, i.e., what Said here describes as the American (mostly white and middle-class) dream. To be sure, the road does not end here; progressively deeper and broader social change, involving greater levels of economic and existential security, especially for those most in need, involve hard work, deep reflection, difficult decisions as well as some time (all most difficult to come by when those most in need and those sympathetic to this cause wish such changed had occurred many moons ago). Ibid. Said writes: Catholic Bishops, for example, the laity and clergy of the Episcopal Church, in addition to the Quakers and the Presbyterian synod despite the various travails that include sexual scandals in the first and depleted

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121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128

memberships in most of the othershave been surprisingly liberal on war and peace questions, and quite willing to speak out against international human rights abuses, the hyper-inflated military budgets, and neo-liberal economic policies that have mutilated the public sphere since the early 1980s (7). Ibid. Ibid., 8. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., 9. Said, The Other Arab Muslims, 385. Huntington, Who are We?, xvii.

Chapter 7
1

2 3

5 6 7

8 9

10 11 12

See the excellent studies of Claire De Obaldia, The Essayistic Spirit: Literature, Modern Criticism, and the Essay (Oxford and New York: Clarendon and Oxford University Press, 1995); as well as Kuisma Korhonen, Textual Friendship: The Essay as Impossible Encounter, from Plato and Montaigne to Lvinas and Derrida (Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 2006). Northrop Frye, The Great Code (Toronto: Academic Press, 1981), ix. Martin Jay, The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 19231950 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973). Theodor Adorno, The Essay as Form, in The Adorno Reader, ed. Brian OConnor (1958; Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), 91111; quote on 93. Ibid., 93. Edward W. Said, Representations of the Intellectual (New York: Vintage, 1994). Edward W. Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 50; emphasis in the original. Ibid., 5051. Edward W. Said, Beginnings: Intention and Method (1975; New York: Columbia University Press, 1985). Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic, 39. Ibid., 5152. Charles Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004).

Chapter 8
1

See J. J. Wilson, 27 Remarkable Days: The 1972 Summit Series of Ice Hockey between Canada and the Soviet Union, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religion 5/2 (2004): 271280, as an example of why such terms as political religion are still exigent. For an exceptionally succinct overview of some of the postcolonialities of the Canadian context, see Bart Moore-Gilbert, Postcolonial Theory: Contexts, Practices, Politics (1997; London: Verso, 2000), esp. 10 and 12.

212
2

Notes

Edward W. Said, quoted from Daniel Barenboim and Edward W. Said, Parallels and Paradoxes, ed. Ara Guzelimian (New York: Vintage, 2004), 5. Edward W. Said, Interviews with Edward W. Said, ed. Amritjit Singh and Bruce G. Johnson (Jackson: The University of Mississippi, 2004), 241242. With respect to the secularity of the novel, see Amardeep Singh, Literary Secularism: Religion and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Fiction (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006), esp. 171172, where Saids influence is made plain. And in this novelistic light, one may be glad for such Canadian productions as Little Mosque on the Prairie, insofar as it attemptsessaysto shed rather lighthearted comical light on (and for) Islam, rather than the more typical ponderous fear-mongering and tragic tones utilized thus far.

Bibliography

I have not attempted to taxonomy Saids complete works for two reasons: (1) Reasonably good resources already exist. See Eddie Yeghiayans bibliography on the University of California at Irvines website: http://sun3.lib.uci.edu/ indiv/scctr/Wellek/said/. The university commissioned the bibliography when Said delivered the Ren Wellek Library Lectures there in May 1989. The bibliography has been kept quite complete till early in this new millennium. Also see Moustapha Marrouchi, Edward Said at the Limits (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2004), ch. 8, 245297, 313, which more than begins to cover some of the ground that Irvines site does not; in this respect, also see Yasmine Ramadan, A Bibliographical Guide to Edward Said, Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics no. 25 (2005): 270287. (2) Many of Saids later essays appeared in different publications with the same or slightly different titles, and were later anthologized in one or several volumes, and so on.

Edward W. Said: A Selective Bibliography


Selections by year of publication
The Letters and Short Fiction of Joseph Conrad (Dissertation, Harvard University, 1964). Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966). Vico: Autodidact and Humanist, The Centennial Review (Summer 1967): 336352. The Arab Portrayed, in The Arab-Israeli Confrontation of June 1967: An Arab Perspective, ed. Ibrahim Abu-Lughod (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1970), 19. Beginnings: Intention and Method (New York: Basic Books, 1975; repr. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985). Orientalism (1978; New York: Vintage, 2003). The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage, 1979). Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World (New York: Vintage, 1981). The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983). After the Last Sky: Palestinian Lives, photographs by Jean Mohr (New York: Pantheon, 1986). With Christopher Hitchens, eds., Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question (London: Verso, 1988).

214

Bibliography

With Terry Eagleton and Fredrick Jameson, Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990). Musical Elaborations, Ren Wellek Library Lectures, University of California, Irvine, 1989 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991). Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage, 1993). Representations of the Intellectual, The 1993 Reith Lectures (New York: Vintage, 1994). The Politics of Dispossession; Peace and its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process (New York: Vintage, 1994). Peace and its Discontents: Essays on Palestine and the Middle East Peace Process (New York: Vintage, 1995). Out of Place: A Memoir (New York: Vintage, 1999). On the University, the seventy-sixth annual American University in Cairo commencement lecture of June 17, 1999, repr. in Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics 25 (2005): 2636. The Edward Said Reader, ed. Moustafa Bayoumi and Andrew Rubin (New York: Vintage, 2000). Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000). The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After, updated ed. (New York: Vintage, 2000). Islam and the West are Inadequate Banners, The Guardian (September 16, 2001). The Clash of Ignorance, The Nation (October 22, 2001). With Daniel Barenboim, Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society (New York: Vintage, 2002). Impossible Histories: Why the Many Islams Cannot be Simplified, Harpers Magazine (July 2002). Living in Arabic, Raritan 21/4 (2002): 220236. Freud and the Non-European (London: Verso, 2003). The Other America, Al-Ahram Weekly Online (March 2026, 2003), http://weekly. ahram.org.eg/2003/630/focus.htm.

Posthumous
Humanism and Democratic Criticism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004). From Oslo to Iraq and the Road Map: Essays (New York: Pantheon, 2004). On Late Style: Music and Literature against the Grain (New York: Pantheon, 2006). Music at the Limits (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).

Anthologies of interviews
The Pen and the Sword: Conversations with David Barsamian (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1994). Power, Politics, and Culture: Interviews with Edward W. Said, ed. Gauri Viswanathan (New York: Pantheon, 2001). With David Barsamian, Culture and Resistance: Conversations with Edward W. Said (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2003). Interviews with Edward W. Said, ed. Amritjit Singh and Bruce G. Johnson (Jackson: University of Mississippi, 2004).

Bibliography

215

Works Cited
Abbey, Ruth. Charles Taylor. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000. Abu-Lughod, Ibrahim. Arab Rediscovery of Europe: A Study of Cultural Encounters. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963. Abu-Lughod, Ibrahim, ed. The ArabIsraeli Confrontation of June 1967: An Arab Perspective. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1970. Abu-Lughod, Lila. About Politics, Palestine, and Friendship: A Letter to Edward from Egypt. In Edward Said: Continuing the Conversation, edited by Homi Bhabha and W. J. T. Mitchell, 1725. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005. Adams, Douglas. The More Than Complete Hitchhikers Guide (1979; New York: Wings Books, 1989). Adorno, Theodor. Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life, translated by E. F. N. Jephcott. 1951; repr., London: Verso, 2005. The Essay as Form. In The Adorno Reader, edited by Brian OConnor, 91111. 1958; repr. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000. Al-Azmeh, Aziz. Islams and Modernities. London: Verso, 1993. Albright, Madeleine. The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs. With Bill Woodward. New York: HarperCollins, 2006. Alessandrini, Anthony C. Humanism in Question: Fanon and Said. In A Companion to Postcolonial Studies, edited by H. Schwarz and S. Ray, 431450. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002. Alessandrini, Anthony C., ed. Frantz Fanon: Critical Perspectives. London: Routledge, 1999. Alexander, Edward. The Professor of Terror, Commentary, August 1989, 4950. Ali, Tariq. The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity. London: Verso, 2002. Remembering Edward Said, 19352003. In Conversations with Edward Said, edited by Tariq Ali, 117. London: Seagull Books, 2006. Almond, Philip C. The British Discovery of Buddhism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Angeles, Peter A. Dictionary of Philosophy. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1981. Anonymous. AUB Announces the Edward Said Chair in American Studies. AUB Bulletin Today Online, http://wwwlb.aub.lb/~webbultn/v5n4/06.html. Anonymous. PLO Advertises Peace Deal in Israeli Papers, The Ottawa Citizen, November 21, 2008, A10. Ansell-Pearson, A., B. Parry, and J. Squires, eds. Cultural Readings of Imperialism: Edward Said and the Gravity of History. New York: St. Martins Press, 1997. Antonius, George. The Arab Awakening: The Story of the Arab National Movement. Beirut: Khayats, 1938. Appiah, Anthony. Cosmopolitan Patriots. In For Love of Country: Martha C. Nussbaum and Respondents, edited by Joshua Cohen, 2129. Boston: Beacon Press, 1996. Appleman Williams, William. Empire as a Way of Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980. Arberry, A. J. British Orientalists. London: William Collins, 1943. The Cambridge School of Arabic: An Inaugural Lecture. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1948.

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Index

Abdel-Rahman, Omar 121 Abraham (Biblical character) 15 Abu-Lughod family 43 Abu-Lughod, Ibrahim 189n. 9 academics and intellectuals interest in colonialism 93 politics and 567, 623 Saids support for secular orientation of 256, 161n. 67 sociological ideal-type 166n. 18 traditional vs. organic 166n. 18, 168n. 45 see also American Middle Eastern studies; Middle Eastern studies Adams, Douglas 64 Adorno, Theodor 5, 183n. 54 anti-methodologist 16, 161n. 67 on essay form 136, 137, 143 exilic ethic 73, 74, 88, 140 Fanon and 86, 96 influences on Said 13, 16 African-American community lack of memorial in U.S. for 210n. 113 radical wing 131 see also Black-White relations Ahluwalia, Pal 80 Alessandrini, Anthony 99 on Fanons and Saids humanism 945, 96, 162 n. 70, 166n. 16, 195n. 19 Ali, Muhammad 131 Ali, Tariq 412 Allahs Sun Shines on the West (Le Soleil dAllah Brille sur lOccident) (Hunke) 50 Althusser, Louis 93 American identity 132 monolithic 129 American Middle Eastern studies 54 Kramers charges 548, 61 see also Middle Eastern studies American Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA) 54, 56 Americans Saids early impressions 401

American studies 123, 1245, 207n. 80 American University (Cairo) 123 anti-Americanism 12930 anti-Semitism 105, 106, 132, 198n. 7980, 198n. 83, 209n. 99 Antonius, George 31 Appiah, Anthony 182n. 49 The Arab Awakening (Antonius) 31 Arabic autobiography 165n. 13 Arabic language eloquence 33 jahiliyya 120 as language of resistance 35, 103 modernization 356 secularism terminology 11415 Arab identity 11720 Arab Palestinians see Palestinians The Arab Portrayed (Said) 122 Arab world Islam and 109, 11314 secularists and secularism in 18, 110, 113, 11416, 121, 204n. 46 see also Islamic world Arac, Jonathan 12 Arafat, Yasser 124 The Archaeology of Knowledge (Foucault) 101 Arendt, Hannah 31 Aristotle 4, 8, 51, 78 Arnold, Matthew 80 Asad, Talal 85 Ashcroft, Bill 63, 80, 128 on Saids secular trinity 889 on Saids worldliness 289 Al-Assad, Hafez 124 Auerbach, Erich 82, 85, 88, 138 Auerbach in Istanbul: Edward Said, Secular Criticism, and the Question of Minority Culture (Mufti) 85 Averrroes 49 Avicenna 49, 51

238

Index
Chomsky, Noam 92, 96, 102, 126 Christian Right 1267 Israel and 132 Christian Zionism 1267 Christ, Jesus 183n. 54 church(es) 210n. 120 state and 114 U.S. 13 cityscapes 141 impact on Saids worldview 36 see also specific cities e.g., Cairo civilization Bulliets conception of common civilization 62 clash of civilizations thesis 46, 47, 48, 53, 62, 79, 109, 111, 132, 133, 137 core symbol 171n. 13 cross-civilizational comparison 11112 narratives and 478 Toynbees notion 47 The Clash of Definitions (Said) 73 Classicism Orientalism and 46, 4953 Clifford, James 4 Clinton, William (Bill) 124 The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Todays Students (Bloom) 112 CNN 125 Coca-Cola 125 collective passions 72, 180n. 23 colonialism Fanons colonized worldview 14, 94, 104, 105 Manichaeism compared 104 Orientalist scholarship and 823 psychology of 1056 reading of Olsons views of 789 Saids youth experiences 368 Western intellectuals and 93 see also imperialism Confessions (Augustine) 165n. 8 Conrad, Joseph 25, 34, 723, 77, 87, 137, 180n. 32, 196n. 40 contiguity 192n. 28 Corm, Georges 53 Courville, Mathieu 147 Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World (Said) 25 critical realism 81, 177n. 77 critical secularism 12, 139, 159n. 59 see also secular humanism

Baer, Madame 168n. 29 Bakhtin, Mikhail 93, 206n. 56 Baldwin, Jack 39 Barthes, Roland 93, 100 Beginnings: Intention and Method (Said) 16, 25, 99, 138 Benjamin, Walter 36, 93 Berlin, Isaiah 42 Berque, Jacques 57 Bhabha, Homi K. 94, 148, 192n. 28 on narratives 47 as part of holy trinity 78, 89, 94, 191n. 21 Bhargava, Rajeev 85 bilingualism 334 Bill, James 545 bi-national state 177n. 77 Bin Laden, Osama 129 biography and autobiography Arabic 165n. 13 forms of autobiography 165n. 8 Saids see Said, Edward Saids interest in 256 Black-White relations 14, 1045, 198n. 72, 198n. 75, 198n. 81 see also African-American community Blaming the Victims (Said) 31 Bloom, Allan 112 Brennan, Timothy 12 Brooks, David 127 Buber, Martin 32, 64 Bulliet, Richard conception of common civilization 623 defense of 634 Kramers critique of 54, 58 Burckhardt, John Lewis 205n. 48 Burke, Kenneth 155n. 24 on religious and theological language 7, 158n. 46 Bush, George W. 127, 128, 130, 132, 209n. 103 Cahier dun retour (Csaire) 24, 199n. 89 Cairo 27, 32, 33, 37, 39, 43, 121, 123, 205n. 48 cosmopolitanism 36 Cairo School for American Children 102 Campbell, Joseph 127 Canaanite reading 90 The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization (Bulliet) 62, 171n. 17 catachresis 1, 878, 184n. 71 Csaire, Aim 24, 107, 199n. 89 Chidester, David 83 Childs, Peter 151n. 8, 191n. 21

Index
critical theory 9, 13 phenomenology and 159n. 59 of religious and secular 1, 6, 8, 1015, 19, 6772, 142 criticism 10 Saids account 71 Saids forms of 1011 see also Said criticism Crosby, Donald A. 156n. 35 on construction of theories of religion 89 theory of religion vs. theory of physics 9, 10 cultural bridges 4951, 62 cultural history 1323 cultural imperialism 35 cultural tribalism 73 culture American 133 Egyptian 206n. 68 religion and 87 religious and 7 Saids conception 1, 1011 Saids conception, OHagans critique of 112 Saids conception, Olsons reading of 80 Culture and Imperialism (Said) 12, 22, 26, 47, 73, 80, 101, 147, 166n. 18 culture wars 112, 129 Curtius, Ernst Robert 82 Cusset, Franois 108 Dahl, Darren 656, 89 Davis, Steven 147 Dean, James 146 Death of a Discipline (Spivak) 52 Deleuze, Gilles 101, 108 Democratic Party (U.S.) 131 demystification 39 Derrida, Jacques 2, 93, 100, 108 De Sacy, Silvestre 82, 83 Descartes, Ren 9 Descombes, Vincent 78, 108, 197n. 49, 199n. 90, 200n. 92 The Dialectical Imagination (Jay) 135 Diderot, Denis 108 divinity 7, 192n. 27, 204n. 48 Donniger, Wendy 83 Eagleton, Terry on theory 910 East India Company 82 economic and existential security religiosity and 11719, 1278 Eco, Umberto 50

239

education Fanons elite colonial 102 Saids American 3840 Saids elite colonial 346, 1023 Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture (Hart) 7, 11, 45, 65, 89 importance 155n. 29 Edward Saids Rhetoric of the Secular (Courville) methodology 1617 objectives 116 structure 1718 Edward Said: The Locatedness of Theory (Ashcroft) 28 Edward Said: The Paradox of Identity (Ashcroft and Ahluwalia) 80 Egypt 35, 101, 102, 103, 110, 112, 121 Ancient 49 economic conditions and religiosity 11718 identity 111 pre-Islamic past 120 Said on culture of 206n. 68 secular 113 see also Cairo The Eighteenth Century Confronts the Gods (Manuel) 8990 Eliade, Mircea 77, 190n. 18 Said compared and contrasted with 190n. 18 Eliot, T. S. 87, 88 emergent evolution 166n. 16, 201n. 18 emergentism 162n. 70, 166n. 16 epistemologies of imperialism 3, 23, 1356, 137, 140, 185n. 71 Epp Weaver, Alain 656, 67, 89, 158n. 55 Esposito, John L. defense of 634 on Islamic threat 612 Kramers critique of 54, 58, 612 essay (form) 18, 1356, 143 Adornos views 136 Saids modes of affiliation 1378 Evans-Pritchard, E. E. 156n. 30 exile 66, 167n. 27 nationalism and 725, 85, 180n. 32 Fanon, Frantz 15, 93, 109, 199n. 89 Alessandrinis critique of humanism of 945 colonized worldview 14, 94, 104, 105 critique of Mannoni 1056 Foucault vs. 96102 on history 190n. 11 on language 1034, 199n. 85 Lazarus critique of colonial culture of 95

240

Index
Greenough, Horatio 49 Green Party 131 Guiliani, Rudolph 1234 Hart, William D. critique of readings of Said 11, 69, 712, 756, 80, 182n. 49 critique of Said 7, 1718, 456, 657, 878, 89, 142, 158n. 55, 179n. 19, 181n. 38 Harvard University 34, 40 Heart of Darkness (Conrad) 73, 87, 137 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich 73, 92, 108 Heidegger, Martin 93, 202n. 18 Hippocrates 51 historical change Fanons 97 historical de-conditioning 190n. 18 history critique of Fukuyamas end of history thesis 1323 essay (literary form) and 138 Fanons critique 190n. 11 importance of narratives in 478 irrelevance 129 postcolonial scholarship and 78, 93 Saids views 129 Vicos account 81, 90, 129 History and Class Consciousness (Lukcs) 989 Hitchens, Christopher 4, 56 Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Adams) 64 Hodgson, Marshall 689 Horkheimer, Max 135 Horseley, Richard 83 Hosking, Lynda 192n. 28 Hugh of St. Victor 75, 76, 138, 190n. 17 humanism call for renewal 199n. 89 postcolonialism and 945, 162 n. 70, 195n. 19 see also secular humanism Humanism and Democratic Criticism (Said) 5, 1467, 183n. 51, 199n. 89 Humanism in Question: Fanon and Said (Alessandrini) 94 human knowledge Olsons critique of Saids notion of 81 Vicos notion 81 Humboldt, Alexander von 82 Huntington, Samuel P. 112 account of civilizations 46, 47, 48, 79, 171n. 13

Fanon, Frantz (Contd) on nationalism 86 on nationhood 140 pivotal figure in postcolonialism 1078 on racism 198n. 81 Regrags reading of 94 Said and 61, 92, 1027, 142 Saids reading of 234 The Fateful Triangle: the United States, Israel, and the Palestinians (Chomsky) 126 Ferrari da Grado, Giammatteo 51 Feuerbach, Ludwig 66 notion of divinity 7 Feyerabend, Paul 161n. 67 figurative language 17 Flood, Gavin 83 The Forms of Autobiography (Spengemann) 165n. 13 Foucault, Michel 2, 4, 912, 93, 96, 108 Fanon vs. 96102 Said and 80, 83, 92, 98, 193n. 4, 194n. 10 Saids critique of 193n. 4 Saids disenchantment with 1001 The Foucault Reader 92 French theory 9, 80, 1067, 194n. 10 Freud, Sigmund 70 Friedman, Thomas 36 Frye, Northrop 135 Fukuyama, Francis 1323 Fulford, Robert on narratives 478 Galen 51 Genet, Jean 195n. 28 Geuss, Raymond 9 Gezira Preparatory School 102 Al-Ghitani, Gamal 118, 11920 Gibson, Nigel 99 globalization 82, 117, 125 unintended consequences 133 Goethe, Johann von 66, 74 Gkalp, Ziya 114 Goldmann, Lucien 92, 99 governance Middle East 11819, 204n. 48 Gramsci, Antonio 93, 98, 168n. 45, 190n. 18 Grassi, Ernesto 159n. 61 Grayling, A. C. 1314 The Great Code (Frye) 135 Greece, Ancient as foundational cornerstone of Western civilization 4953, 108, 142, 172n. 21

Index
account of civilizations, Saids critique of 109, 111, 123, 1323 on identity 51 view of U.S. 10910, 1334 Hussein, Abdirahman A. 99 Husserl, Edmund 108 Ibn-Munqidh, Usama 173n. 31 identity American 129, 132 as exclusionary tactic 51 Muslim and Arab 11720 Saids view 1516, 143 identity politics 224 identity thinking 13, 137 Adornos critique 16 Imperial History and Post-Colonial Theory (Kennedy) 93 imperialism 95, 137 epistemological 3, 23, 1356, 137, 140, 185n. 71 narrative and 47 nationalism and 12 religion and 73, 87 Saids views 101, 140 see also colonialism influence 193n. 7 role of recontextualization in 18 The Influence of Islam on Medieval Europe (Watt) 49 Inglehart, Ronald 117, 127 intellectuals see academics and intellectuals Interpretive Theories of Religion (Crosby) 8, 9 An Introduction to Post-Colonial Theory (Childs and Williams) 191n. 21 Islam 14, 202n. 22, 212n. 3 Christianity and 62 judged reifications 678 Kramerism 17, 63, 142 pluralities 178n. 9 Saids critique of Huntingtons view of 48, 111 Saids views 35, 69, 72 Saids views on political 11314 Saids views on relations between Arab world and 109, 112, 11619, 1278 state and 114, 116 Western civilization and 4952, 121, 142, 180n. 25 Islamicate 689 Islamic extremism 206n. 61 Christian right and 1267 Islamic fundamentalism 61 misrepresentation 113, 114 Orientalism and 11618 U.S. preoccupation with 1212 Islamic identity 11720 Islamic threat Esposito on 612 Saids account 11011 The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? (Esposito) 61, 62 Islamic world conception of Islams role 69 heterogeneity 11921 see also Arab world Israel 32, 160n. 64, 167n. 27, 182n. 49, 207n. 80, 208n. 86 American support 21, 1234 Arab Muslims opinion 124 Christian Right and 1267, 132 creation 15, 31 Palestinian nationals in 32, 181n. 34 see also Jews Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America (Kramer) 53, 54, 578, 59 cover art 589

241

Jackson, Jesse 131 jahiliyya 120 James, William 182n. 39 Jaubert, Amde 83 Jay, Martin 135 Jerusalem 27, 30, 31, 32, 141, 168n. 29 Jews 15, 31, 105, 126, 160n. 64, 168n. 20 see also anti-Semitism; Israel Jones, William 82 Jordan 113 Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography (Said) 7, 1213, 25, 723, 162n. 69, 165n. 10 Kennedy, Dane 84, 194n. 10 Kepel, Gilles 177n. 81, 202n. 22 Khalidi, Tarif 183n. 54 Khomeini, Ruollah 122 King, Martin Luther, Jr. 131 King, Richard 83 Koran 116, 117, 1434, 169n. 46, 200n. 5 Christ in 183n. 54 language 356

242
Kramer, Martin on 9/11 terrorist attacks 578 critique of 534, 63, 64 critique of Bulliet 623 critique of Said 45, 56, 5961, 142 on Middle Eastern studies 174n. 44, 175n. 46 on scholarship 62, 64 on scholarship-political establishment relationship 56, 57

Index
Madness and Civilization (Foucault) 96 Mahfouz, Naguib 118 Malik, Charles 166n. 16, 201n. 18 Manichaeism 14, 104, 133, 159n. 57 Mannoni, Octave 198n. 81 Fanons critique of psychology of colonialism of 1056 de Man, Paul 93 Manuel, Frank 8990 Marcos, Ferdinand 122 Marley, Robert Nesta 79 Marx, Carl 66, 92, 103 Massignon, Louis 82 medicine Arab vs. Greek influences 51 crudities of European treatment 173n. 31 Mellor, Philip 89 Memisis (Auerbach) 138 Memmi, Albert 109, 122 Memoir (Said) 27, 33, 378, 202n. 19 Meno (Plato) 108 MESA see American Middle Eastern Studies Association methodological anarchism 161n. 67 Middle East fundamentalists and silent secularists 113 generalized misapprehensions of U.S. 1245 governance in 11819, 204n. 48 Middle Eastern studies 177n. 77 Kramers critique of approach to 175n. 46 Kuhnian view 174n. 44 Miller, James 101 Minima Moralia (Adorno) 140 Mitchell, W. J. T. 8990 Modern Social Imaginaries (Taylor) 139 Mommsen, Theodor 82 Moore-Gilbert, Bart 191n. 21 Mubarak, Hosni 124 Mufti, Amir R. 1213, 85, 159n. 59 Mller, Max 66, 74 The Muslim Jesus (Khalidi) 183n. 54 mythology political history and 90 9/11 terrorist attacks 45, 54, 56, 578, 59, 612, 63, 123, 128 Nader, Ralph 131 Naissance du monothisme: point de vue dun historien (Lemaire) 15 Napoleon Bonaparte 83, 101 narrathemes 12930, 134

Lacan, Jacques 93 Lacit ou islamisme, les arabes lheure du choix (Zakariya) 11516, 204n. 46 language 197n. 62 bilingualism 334 collectivity and 197n. 68 Fanons account 1034, 197n. 61, 199n. 85 intermixture of religion and secularism in 356 Lewis vs. Said 4 obscuring 199n. 85 religious and secular 7, 17, 158n. 46 as tool of Empire 184n. 71 see also Arabic language Lan V de la revolution algrienne (Fanon) 103 Lawrence, T. E. 25 Lazarus, Neil 80, 104 on Fanons views of colonial culture 95 Lebanon 113 Lemaire, Andr 15 Les damns de la terre (Fanon) 122 Lvi-Strauss, Claude 2, 100 Lewis, Bernard 56, 171n. 8 counter claim against hypothetical story 4953 critique of Saids Orientalism 4, 17, 45, 46, 49, 142, 172n. 19 on distinction between religion and state 114 Saids critique of 36, 79 on secularism in Arab world 115 Living in Arabic (Said) 33, 35 Locke, John 58 Long, Charles H. 83 Lukcs, Georg 92 insight of subject and object 989 McCauley, Thomas 823 McCulloch, Jock 104 McDonalds 125

Index
narrative role of recontextualization in 18 Saids contribution 46, 47, 48 Wests 46, 489 national belonging 16 national consciousness 15, 24, 867 national identity 210n. 112 American 129 nationalism 66, 139, 142 exile and 725, 85, 180n. 32 postcolonial studies and 95 Saids account 867 Saids account, Harts reading of 182n. 49 Youngs views 183n. 50 see also patriotism Nation and Narration 47 nationhood Fanons 140 nationalism and 75 New York City 34, 36, 42, 43 Prince Al-Walids monetary gesture after 9/11 1234 Niebuhr, Reinhold 42 Nietzsche, Friedrich 60 Norris, Pippa 117, 127 Northfield Mount Hermon (Massachusetts, U.S.) 38, 3940, 169n. 62 Notebooks (Gramsci) 98 Notes towards the Definition of Culture (Eliot) 88 Obama, Barack H. as reason for renewed hope 128, 131, 134, 210n. 118 we rhetoric 129 object 10, 989 OHagan, Jacinta 112 Olson, Carl critique of 77, 834 on Foucaults influence on Said 80, 83 reading of Said 17, 18, 46, 80, 823, 89, 142, 195n. 18 On Late Style: Music and Literature against the Grain (Said) 137, 166n. 15, 195n. 28 Orientalism 77 Classicism and 46, 4953 Graylings account 1314 human experience and 62, 106, 172n. 18, 174n. 35, 176n. 76 Islamic fundamentalism and 11618 Saids views 106, 166n. 18, 171n. 18, 174n. 35

243

Saids views, critique of 12 Saids views, Kramers critique of 601 Saids views, Lewis critique of 4, 79, 142 Saids views, Olsons critique of 823 self-referential nature 155n. 25 Wests representation of 1045 Orientalism (Said) 4, 5, 22, 4853, 73, 80, 100 critique of 12 essayistic in spirit and form 1367 Lewis response 45, 46 political correctness 104, 105 Said on 59 success scandal 12 Orientalist historiography 163n. 73 OrientOccident, la fracture imaginaire (Corm) 53 originality 18, 92, 99100, 107 The Other America (Said) 109, 11112, 123 The Other Arab Muslims (Said) 63, 68, 69, 109, 11022 contextual worldliness 1223 Out of Place: A Memoir (Said) 26, 43, 166n. 16 Palestine 15, 37, 160n. 64, 168n. 3, 182n. 49, 208n. 86 links between Said and 302 Palestinian national struggle Saids engagement 42, 76 Palestinians Saids struggle for humane treatment of 181n. 34 sufferings 301 patriotism 177n. 81, 180n. 32 American virtue 128 see also nationalism Peau noire, masques blancs (Fanon) 78, 93, 102, 1034, 105, 122 phenomenology 155n. 28, 159n. 59 Phenomenology (Hegel) 108, 199n. 90 physics, theories of theories of religion vs. 9, 10 Plato 50, 51, 78, 81, 108, 158n. 54, 199n. 91 political history mythology and 90 The Political Language of Islam (Lewis) 114 political power 57 politics scholarship and 567, 623 The Politics of Knowledge (Said) 22, 23 Portrait du colonis (Memmi) 122 Portrait dun juif (Memmi) 122

244

Index
see also critical theory: of religious and secular religiosity Americans overwhelming 127 nationalism and 725, 76, 180n. 32, 181n. 39 Saids 189n. 9 security of populations and 11719, 1278 in social groupings 1112 religious 67 catachresis of Saids use 878 critique of Saids 8590, 142 religious criticism 3, 11 biographical/autobiographical themes and 256 Harts 11 Harts reading of Saids 667 Saids 10 religious language Burkes views 7, 158n. 46 figurative use 17 theological language vs. 7 religious studies history 77 postcolonial studies and 83 Renou, Louis 163n. 73 Representations of the Intellectual (Said) 26, 40, 57, 137, 148, 166n. 18 Rhazes 51 The Rhetoric of Religion (Burke) 7 Rice, Condoleezza 128 Richter, David H. 158n. 54 Robbins, Bruce 7, 16, 85 reading of Saids notion of religion 139, 140 Robinson, Timothy A. 8 The Roots of Muslim Rage (Lewis) 79 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 108 Rowe, John Carlos 2 Rumsfeld, Donald 128 Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (Norris and Inglehart) 117 Sadat, Anwar 122 Saddam Hussein 122, 125, 128, 129 Said criticism 34, 6, 12, 45, 141, 165n. 13 debate within 18 phases 1213 reception amongst Israeli scholars 207n. 80 Said, Edward W. 1, 85, 1412 American passport 32 appreciation 1458

postcolonialism catachresis 184n. 71 contributions for imperial historians 93 Fanons pivotal role 1078 holy trinity 78, 89, 94, 191n. 21 humanism and 945 impact within academic world 193n. 9 nationalism and 95 Olsons views 778 religious studies and 83 Saids pivotal role 91 Powell, Colin 128 power 141 Americas myth of 1278 Foucault and 101 of language 1034 political 57 The Power of Myth (Cambell and Moyers) 127 pragmatism 179n. 19 American belief in 130 Princeton university (U.S.) 40 A Promise Fulfilled: Theodor Herzl, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion, and the Creation of the State of Israel (Greenfeld) 15 The Question of Orientalism (Lewis) 4, 46, 4853 The Question of Palestine (Said) 25 Rabia of Basra 119 Rai, Kanti 43 Raphael 50 Reflections on Exile (Said) 73 Rflexions sur la Question Juive (Sartre) 122 Regrag, Nadira 94, 95 religion culture and 87 hybridizations of secularism and 67, 6970 idealized construction of text based 116 imperialism and 87 multiplicity of perspectives adopted vis-vis 6 nationalism and 85, 867 Saids theory 1, 2 Saids theory, Robbins reading of 139, 140 Saids views on relations between U.S. and 109 state and 11416, 189n. 9 in U.S. 127 religion, theories of Corsby on construction of 89, 10 Saids 8

Index
birth 168n. 29 childhood dream 28, 29 cosmopolitanism 87 critique of see Said criticism dualistic thinker 14 early traumas of colonialism 368 education 346, 3840, 1023 familys home movies 27 hybridity 334 impact of contemporary Middle Eastern history 312 impression of Americans 401 intellectual influences 18 political context 15 political engagement 423, 76 polyvalent 82 self-contradictions 46, 180n. 26 self-identification with Islamicate 689 Sartre, Jean-Paul 93, 95, 108, 122, 177n. 78, 194n. 12, 198n. 79, 200n. 92 on Jewish question 105, 106 Sayyid, Qutb 38 Schmitt, Carl 62, 64, 201n. 10, 201n. 15 The School of Athens (Raphael) 50 Schwab, Raymond 163n. 73 secular critique of Saids 8590 Saids representation 13 secular criticism 3 biographical/autobiographical themes and 256 Saids 1011, 87, 141 secular humanism 2, 12, 176n. 76, 195n. 19 as metaphorical exile 66 Saids 1067 secularism in Arab world 11416, 121, 204n. 46 exile and 182n. 39 Harts reading of Saids views 456 Harts views 701, 179n. 19 religion hybridization and 67, 6970 Secularism, Elitism, Progress, and Other Transgressions: On Edward Saids Voyage In (Robbins) 85 secularity catachresis of Saids use 88 exile and 725, 76, 85 Saids understanding 28, 138 Taylors view 139 secular language 17 self 165n. 8 Sharpton, Al, Rev. 131 Shibak, Ahmad Abu 119

245

Six Day War of 1967 412 Smart, Ninian 73 Smith, David 82 Smith, Jonathan Z. 3 Smithsonian Institute (Washington D.C.) 49 Smith, Wilfred Cantwell 16, 54, 57, 116 methodological anarchism 161n. 67 on scholarship 64 sociology 199n. 91 Socrates 78 solidarity 6970 Spengemann, William C. 165n. 8, 165n. 13 Spinoza, Baruch 9 Spitzer, Leo 82 Spivak, Gayatri C. 52, 77, 147, 148 concept of subaltern 95 as part of holy trinity 78, 89, 94, 191n. 21 state bi-national 177n. 77 religion and 114, 116 status quo 26 Taylor, Charles 22, 64, 85, 136, 139, 165n. 5, 189n. 8 texts worldliness and 2830 Theoretical Travelogues (Said) 18 theory centricity 176n. 70 construction 810 production 98, 99 see also critical theory Toynbee, Arnold 47, 173n. 30 traveling theory 92, 99100, 105, 108, 196n. 39 Traveling Theory (Said) 18, 98, 99, 193n. 7 Traveling Theory Reconsidered (Said) 18, 73 The Triumph of Narrative (Fulford) 478 United States Christian Right 1267, 132 contemporary religionism 127 dissenting currents 1302, 210n. 120 economy 209n. 103 former links with Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein 129 generalized misapprehensions 1245 Huntingtons views 1334 irrelevance of history 129 lack of sympathy for Arabs 42 myth of power 1278 preoccupation with Islamic fundamentalism 1212 Saids views 389, 109

246

Index
What Went Wrong? The Clash between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East (Lewis) 115 White-Black relations see Black-White relations White, Hayden 48 Whitehead, Alfred North 166n. 16, 189n. 10, 201n. 18 Who are We? The Challenge to Americas National Identity (Huntington) 51, 10910, 1334, 201n. 14 Wieseltier, Leon 56 Williams, Patrick 4, 191n. 21 Williams, Raymond 92, 99 Wilson, Edmund 42 worldliness of text 2830 The World, the Text, and the Critic (Said) 256, 40, 88, 137, 138, 148, 157n. 43 The Wretched of the Earth (Fanon) 24, 96 Young, R. J. C. 778, 91, 94, 107, 167n. 20, 183n. 50, 191n. 21, 199n. 90 Zakariya, Fouad 115, 200n. 5, 204n. 46 Zimmerman, David 146 Zionism 31, 168n. 29 Christian 1267

United States (Contd) Saids vision 132 support to Israel 1234 view as virtuous empire 126 see also headings beginning with American Valry, Paul 100 Van der Veer, Peter 83 Vico, Giambattista 1, 11, 16, 61, 98, 155n. 27, 160n. 61 on human history 129 on human knowledge 81 secular/sacred distinction 8990, 192n. 27 Victoria College (Cairo) 1023 violence 70 Viswanathan, Gauri 98, 100, 105 Al-Walid, Prince of Saudi Arabia 123 Washington, George (sculpture) 4950 Watt, W. Montgomery 49, 50, 51, 173n. 31 Weber, Max 7, 196n. 39 West, Cornel 131 West, the disregard of Islamic worlds contributions 4952, 172n. 21 disregard of Middle East secularists 1212 self-fashioning identities 225 What Everybody Needs to Know about Islam and Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (Esposito) 62