Edward Said

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Intellectual Legacy of Provocative Author Edward Said Examined by Lawrence University Faculty Panel

The influence of award-winning and often-controversial author and social commentator Edward Said will be examined from the perspective of several different academic disciplines in a Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.

A six-member faculty panel presents “Edward Said’s Intellectual Legacy” Tuesday, April 13 at 4:30 p.m. in Main Hall, Room 201. The event is free and open to the public.

Rosa Tapia, instructor in Spanish, will serve as moderator for the forum, which will feature the personal insights of the panelists as well as a question-and-answer session following the individual presentations.

Joining Tapia on the panel will be Peter Blitstein, assistant professor of history, Alexis Boylan, assistant professor of art history, Catherine Hollis, assistant professor of English, W. Flagg Miller, lecturer in anthropology, and Lifongo Vetinde, associate professor of French.

Born in Jerusalem in 1935 and raised in Egypt, Said spent nearly 30 years teaching English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He wrote more than a dozen books and edited numerous others, establishing himself as a provocative cultural critic while writing on topics as diverse as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Middle East peace process to literary criticism, cultural theory and opera. Once described as “one of the premier political intellectuals of his generation,” he was widely recognized as an astute commentator on Middle Eastern affairs and as a respected proponent of Palestinian
national rights. He served as a member of the Palestine National Council from 1977-91.

One of Said’s best-known works, “Orientalism,” took a critical view of European and American representations of Middle Eastern people and societies, charging traditional Western scholarship on the region painted stereotypes of its cultures as irrational, unchanging, violent and morally degenerate. He argued that those stereotypes have been used as justification for Western economic and political domination of the Middle East. Said died of leukemia last September at the age of 67.