MEANINGS OF ORIENTALISM
Orientalism is a movement that is flourished under the influence of the Church. It has played a vital role in the accomplishment of political, cultural objectives of imperialism. Through its influence Orientalism has created discontent in subjugating communities towards their religion and culture.
In fact, Orientalism is a broad spectrum enterprise. As Edward Said says, the orient is an integral part of European material civilization and culture. Orientalism expresses and represents that culturally and even ideologically as a mode of discourse with supporting institutions, vocabulary, scholarship, imagery, doctrines, even colonial bureaucracies, and colonial style.
In this quotation, we can see how broad the implications Orientalism has. Said who is one of the major exponents of the theory of Orientalism defines the Orientalist as, Anyone who leaches, writes about or researches the orient and this applies whether the person is an anthropologist, sociologist, historian or philologist, either in its specific or its general aspects, is an Orientalist, and what he or she does is Orientalism.
Orientalism is a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between “the Orient” and “the Occident”. Orientalism can be discussed and analyzed by the corporate institution for dealing with the orient – dealing with it by making statements authorizing views of it, describing it, by teaching it, setting it, ruling over it, restructuring, and having authority over the orient.
The Orientalists work with a body of theoretical assumptions that are taken for granted. Therefore, Ed. Said has slated Orientalism as a style of thought based upon ontological and epistemological distinction made between the orient and the Occident.
According to the Encyclopedia of Islam, “The term ‘Mustashrikun’ means either “people studying/seeking for the east/orient” or “people becoming (like) Easterns / Orientals”, Orient and Orientals lending to have a somewhat more emotional connotation than East and Easterners. The word Mustashrikun consequently conveys a broader scope of meaning than the present day
The western term “Orientalists,” i.e., “scholars specialized in oriental studied” does. The term “Orientalist” first occurs in English around 1779, in French in 1799. “Orientalism” had them the broad meaning of being oriented towards an oriental culture”/ Orientalism may be defined as the study of eastern people, religions, cultures, and languages by the western scholars. Specifically, the study of the Muslims, Islam, Islamic culture, languages of the Muslims i.e. Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, etc. and Islamic studies by non-Muslim scholars (maybe western or not) is called Orientalism. “Oriental studies” stands here specifically for that branch of it which is devoted to the study of Islam and Muslim societies and cultures, that is to say, “Islamic Studies” in the broad sense of the word”/ “The word orient means the East and Orientalism means to attain proficiency in Eastern arts and sciences and literature”.
According to the Webster dictionary, Orientalism means:
(I) An Oriental quality or character of thought, speech or manners, or the disposition to adopt such quality or character.
(II)Knowledge of proficiency in an oriental language, literature/
According to the Oxford English Dictionary: Oriental means,
(I) Belonging to, or situated in, that part or region of the heavens in which the sun rises; of or in the East, Eastern.
(II) Belonging to, found in, or characteristic of, the countries and regions lying to the east of the Mediterranean or of the ancient Roman empire; belonging to southwestern Asia, or Asiatic countries generally; also, belonging the east of Europe or of Christendom.