The Oriental rebel in Western History

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Edward Said’s Orientalism through deconstructing colonial discourses of
power-knowledge, postulates that colonization for the colonized has a particular ontological finality, reification. I contend here that the process of subjection has a far more profound effect than merely reifying the colonized, to borrow from Anouar Abdel-Malek, as customary, passive, non-participating and non-autonomous. Rather, Western imperial narratives and what Said calls its “evaluative judgments” and “program of actions” also come to interpellate the reified subject’s cosmovision, agency and its forms of resistance. Focusing on the Middle East, this study is a genealogy that exposes how techniques and technologies of imperial power have symbolically and materially produced the Oriental rebel in Western history. Through re-reading institutionalized knowledges and resurrecting a counter-history, this paper reveals a hidden and buried discursive formation, one which I call counter-revolutionary discourse. I argue that this system of thought is built through dispersed and heterogeneous but power-laden statements from Aymeric and Comte de Volney to Napoleon Bonaparte, Ernest Renan, Gustave Lebon, and Thomas Friedman.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-263
Number of pages20
JournalArab Studies Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Capitalism
  • Imperialism
  • Class analysis
  • Foucault, Michel
  • Edward Said
  • 1926-1984
  • Islam
  • Muslims
  • Revolution


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