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Culture and Imperialism Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said
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Culture and Imperialism Quotes (showing 1-13 of 13)
“No one today is purely one thing. Labels like Indian, or woman, or Muslim, or American are not more than starting-points, which if followed into actual experience for only a moment are quickly left behind. Imperialism consolidated the mixture of cultures and identities on a global scale. But its worst and most paradoxical gift was to allow people to believe that they were only, mainly, exclusively, white, or Black, or Western, or Oriental. Yet just as human beings make their own history, they also make their cultures and ethnic identities. No one can deny the persisting continuities of long traditions, sustained habitations, national languages, and cultural geographies, but there seems no reason except fear and prejudice to keep insisting on their separation and distinctiveness, as if that was all human life was about. Survival in fact is about the connections between things; in Eliot’s phrase, reality cannot be deprived of the “other echoes [that] inhabit the garden.” It is more rewarding - and more difficult - to think concretely and sympathetically, contrapuntally, about others than only about “us.” But this also means not trying to rule others, not trying to classify them or put them in hierarchies, above all, not constantly reiterating how “our” culture or country is number one (or not number one, for that matter).”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
“Just as none of us is outside or beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings.”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
“We are at a point in our work when we can no longer ignore empires and the imperial context in our studies. (p. 5)”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
“Liberation as an intellectual mission, born in the resistance and opposition to the confinements and ravages of imperialism, has now shifted from the settled, established, and domesticated dynamics of culture to its unhoused, decentred, and exilic energies, energies whose incarnation today is the migrant, and whose conciousness is that of the intellectual and artist in exile, the political figure between domains, between forms, between homes, and between languages. From this perspective then all things are indeed counter, original, spare, strange. From this perspective also, one can see 'the complete consort dancing together' contrapuntally.”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
“Texts are not finished objects.”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
“The appropriation of history, the historicization of the past, the narrativization of society, all of which give the novel its force, include the accumulation and differentiation of social space, space to be used for social purposes.”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
“They weren't like us and for that reason deserved to be ruled.”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
“The power to narrate, or to block other narratives from forming and emerging, is very important to culture and imperialism, and constitutes one of the main connections between them. Most important, the grand narratives of emancipation and enlightenment mobilized people in the colonial world to rise up and throw off imperial subjection; in the process, many Europeans and Americans were also stirred by these stories and their protagonists, and they too fought for new narratives of equality and human community.”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
“my basic point being that stories are at the heart of what explorers and novelists say about strange regions of the world; they also become the method colonized people use to assert their own identity and the existence of their own history.”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
“We are all taught to venerate our nations and admire our traditions: we are taught to pursue their interests with toughness and in disregard for other societies. A new and in my opinion appalling tribalism is fracturing societies, separating peoples, promoting greed, bloody conflict, and uninteresting assertions of minor ethnic or group particularity.”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
“No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone.1 The force of these comments is directed equally, I think, at poets who think critically and at critics whose work aims at a close appreciation of the poetic process. The main idea is that even as we must fully comprehend the pastness of the past, there is no just way in which the past can be quarantined from the present. Past and present inform each other, each implies the other and, in the totally ideal sense intended by Eliot, each co-exists with the other.”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
“..culture is not monolithic either and is not the exclusive property of the East or West nor of the small groups of men and women.”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
“Most professional humanists as a result are unable to make the connection between the prolonged and sordid cruelty of practices such as slavery, colonialist and racial oppression, and imperial subjection on the one hand, and the poetry, fiction, philosophy of the society that engages in these practices on the other.”
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism

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