Book Review: Reclaiming Edward Said’s Political Legacies

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Countercurrents.org | August 17, 2017

said-book

Edward said, a towering intellectual and political philosopher of our times, was also a crusader of justice and human rights. He taught us to rethink the colonial enterprise in precise political terms by delineating the epistemological violence at its core. He underscored the fact that its strategy of control and domination derived basically from an attempt to define oriental knowledge by deforming and disfiguring it in ways that suited colonial interests. He called this massive devastation of civilizational knowledge, Orientalism. It became a classic work on its own right, although it had ostensible intellectual debts to the emerging fields of post structuralism and post modernism in multiple ways. His work paved the way for the emergence of a new hybrid discipline known as postcolonialism that gleaned freely from philosophy, literature and pollical science and shocked academia for decades to come. The book by Prasad Pannian is a significant addition to the global discussions on Edward Said and his enormous contributions to our cultural, political and social history.Read More »

Third nature

Edward Said on ecology and imperialism

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"Where the Green Ants Dream," Werner Herzog

John Bellamy Foster’s essay,“Third Nature: Edward Said on Ecology and Imperialism” is taken from Vijay Prashad, ed., Will the Flower Slip Through the Asphalt (New Delhi: LeftWord Books, 2017), pp. 50-57. This edited collection was organized around Naomi Klein’s 2016 Edward W. Said Lecture, “Let Them Drown,” originally published in the June 2016 issue of the London Review of Booksand then reprinted in Will the Flower Slip the Through the Asphalt, together with original pieces by other authors. In her Edward W. Said Lecture, Klein insightfully discussed Said’s implicit connection to ecology as expressed in many of his works, and arising from his deep Palestinian roots. Foster’s essay, which came immediately after Klein’s in the book, critically extended her argument to take into consideration Said’s later more explicit contributions to an ecological critique in his 1993 book Culture and Imperialism. —Monthly Review Eds.

Naomi Klein’s wonderful essay on the numerous ecological implications that appear almost unconsciously in Edward Said’s texts, forming part of their structural background—a perfect example of what he himself famously called a “contrapuntal reading”—demonstrates that ecological themes were always just below the surface in his work, conditioning his own sense of resistance.1

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