An Introduction to Edward Said's Orientalism

Heathens! Barbarians! Savages! When encountering a culture vastly different from their own, explorers often viewed the activities and traditions of a society new to them through a lens colored by their own values and experiences. Edward Said coined the word Orientalism to describe the assessments made by early western researchers of Middle and Eastern Asian cultures. A short video introduces viewers to the key concepts in Said's thought provoking book.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Have groups access the longer Macat analysis of Said's theories, research Said, and the controversies surrounding his works
  • Use the video at the beginning of a study of cultures to caution class members about cultural bias
Classroom Considerations
  • Ensure that the comment section is not visible when showing the video; many of the comments are not appropriate for the classroom
  • Use with high school or college level sociology and/or anthropology classes
  • The video analysis is short but succinct
  • Some viewers may find the comparison of Said's theory to a party fatuous