The Sephardi-Moorish Atlantic: Between Orientalism and Occidentalism

Ella Shohat

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The question of beginnings in relation to Edward Said's book Orientalism can be narrated in very diverse ways, leading to a potentially productive question: when and where does Orientalism, and the critique of Orientalism, actually begin? On the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of Said's book, it is instructive to situate the book in relation to the various geographies, histories, and fields of knowledge in which it is embedded. What are the contexts and intertexts of Saids work? How can we characterize its undergirding conceptual paradigms and disciplinary methodologies? What about the neighboring fields, such as ethnic studies, critical race studies, and cultural studies, which impacted and have been impacted by Saids work-are they relevant to Middle Eastern studies? Since the Saidian critique of Orientalist epistemology has by now been extrapolated to diverse cultural geographies, how can we map these transnational currents in relation to the study of the Middle East and its diasporas? And, finally what does a book by a diasporic Palestinian in the United States tell us about the kinds of analytical frames and methods of readings that might illuminate what interests us in this volume: how to study transnationally a Middle East that is not merely "over there" but also "back here"?; and how to analyze cultural flows that are neither simply "over there" nor simply "back here"?.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBetween the Middle East and the Americas
Subtitle of host publicationThe Cultural Politics of Diaspora
PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780472069446
ISBN (Print)9780472099443
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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