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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

ARA3159: The Orientalist Debate

This module descriptor refers to the 2020/1 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor William Gallois (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


The scholarly study and conventional understanding of the Middle East was, and has been, dramatically challenged by the appearance of Edward Said’s seminal work, Orientalism. Ever since its publication, the discipline of Middle Eastern Studies has debated the validity of its critique, applied it to many case studies, challenged it in return, and continues to ponder its implications for the future study of the area. This module introduces students to the origins of these debates within a general context of scholarly developments in the field of Middle Eastern Studies in the twentieth century. It then follows the vicissitudes of the debate to its present phase and attempts to assess its future influence on the field.

An additional aim is to familiarise students with questions of power and knowledge through a concise reading of some of the major theoretical influences on Said himself. Finally, Said’s close association with Palestine will be discussed and forms of self-Orientalization in the modern Arab world will be studied.

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