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A Palestinian American literary critic who links literature to social and political thinking.

Said has written many books analyzing the cultural myopias in classic literature and many defending the idea of an independent state for Palestinian people.

His most famous book is Orientalism which is a study and criticism of the Westernization of scholarship about the Far East and Islamic culture. It is a powerful argument for the implementation of a real multiculturalism in academia. If the academics can't get it right what do we expect from middle America?

Studying sociology I see him quoted nearly as much as bell hooks and I think that his work is finally getting the attention that it warrants.

His most recent book was Culture and Imperialism .

Edward Said. Born 1935 in Jerusalem, Palestine. His last position was as a Professor of Comparative Literature at Columbia University, and head of the Modern Language Association. He began teaching there in 1963. He was a visiting professor at several prominent Ivy League institutions. Died 25 September 2003 of leukaemia. Dr. Said was also an accomplished public speaker.

Said (pronounced sa-eed) served a role in the Palestinian National Council (parliament) from 1977-1991 and was considered a political activist since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. He authored The Arab Portrayed nearly a year later, his first published political essay. Since his departure from the council in 1991 (due to health concerns as well as disgust with Arafat) he was, prior to his death, an extreme critic of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Peace Process. He bears some similarities to Noam Chomsky in his criticism of US foreign policy; they have authored several books with each other's assistance.

Dr. Said was educated in Jerusalem and Cairo, Egypt as an undergraduate. He moved to Cairo in 1947 during the partition of Palestine. He possesses a B.A. from Princeton and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. His views on colonialism were influenced strongly by Joseph Conrad. He was also a musician of some note, having worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, and other prominent artists. He converted a Beethoven piece to English.

He was battling refractory leukemia since 1991. His mother died in 1990 of the same illness, shortly before he was diagnosed.

He is often branded as a controversial but generally respected author. He has been referred to, alternately, as a Jewish Palestinian and an Israeli Arab. He has also been called a terrorist and a liar. See what I mean by controversial? His primary premise in many of his books has been the effect of Western literature and culture on people's perceptions of the Arab world in general, and Palestine in specific. He is probably best known for his work entitled Orientalism, published in 1979, but he has several other works and several hundred unreferenced articles, including:

In addition, Dr. Said authors for Al-Hayat, the Palestinian daily newspaper, and Al-Ahram, the Egyptian daily newspaper. He contributes to additional periodicals and dailies throughout the world, and does music criticism for the Nation.

Said is the recipient of the 1999 New Yorker Book Award (Non-Fiction), the 2000 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award (Non-Fiction), the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award (Literature), the 2001 Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Sultan Owais Prize (Cultural Achievement), and the Spinoza Prize. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Literature, the American Philosophical Society, and several other associations.

Thanks to anthropod for help with this node.

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