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Notion and Features of Orientalism in Historiography
AbstractOrientalism is a popular political, cultural and intellectual perspective that is used in studying the history of people of the East by the Western thinkers. The Europeans originated this notion in colonial era, advanced in post-colonial period and even now is frequently used by the Americans. The concept of orientalism is built on power and authority with respect to knowledge. Based on their existing knowledge and by using their own point of view, the western thinkers studied the eastern civilizations like Islamic Arab world, African and Indian societies and cultures under Muslim rule. Hence, orientalism emerged as a school of thought whose followers perceived that the eastern cultures and civilizations were inferior to the western cultures and civilizations. The paper attempts to understand the definition and meaning of orientalism, its growth as a system of knowledge in political, cultural and intellectual fields. Furthermore, there is a great need to understand that west has used the notion of orientalism in enhancing its influence and interests in the east. In this respect, Edward Said’s idea of orientalism is examined in great detail. The study analyses orientalists’ method towards historiography by describing features of orientalism. The research also sheds light on criticism received by orientalism. The study concludes that orientalists while writing history undermine progress of the orient civilizations in general, and Islam in particular.
- Dr. Muhammad Shafiq
- Assistant Professor, Department of History, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Punjab, Pakistan
- Dr. Muhammad Ikramullah Khan
- Assistant Professor, Department of Pakistan Studies, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Punjab, Pakistan