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Race, power, and internal orientalism in the U.S.: reflections on Edward Said and the responsibilities of intellectuals
Vassar College.
2005 (English)In: The Arab World Geographer, Vol. 8, no 1-2, 34-47 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Edward Said advocated an activist role for intellectualsand argued for their responsibility to speaktruth to power and to ally with the “weak andunrepresented.” This article examines the ethics ofresponsibility on the part of the intellectual from ageographic perspective. It uses the example ofinternal orientalism in the United States to showthe usefulness of considerations of scale to themoral calculus of the politically engaged intellectual.It begins with a brief review of the issue ofpower within Orientalism, as described by Said,and the responsibility of the intellectual in thatcontext. It then examines these issues in thecontext of internal orientalism in the United States.“The South” is considered as an internal spatialother in the United States, but within this otheringthere are two others, African-Americans and white“Southerners.” The responsibility of the intellectualto each is discussed, and the appropriate stanceof the intellectual on the U.S. Civil War is examinedin this light. The explicit use of scale revealsthe possibility that one may judge the injustice atthe regional scale (slavery) as outweighing anyinjustice created by the power imbalance at thenational scale. In addition, the responsibility of theintellectual to the others of internal orientalisminvolves illuminating the process through whichthe spatial identities are constructed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 8, no 1-2, 34-47 p.
Keyword [en]
internal orientalism, US South, racism, power
National Category
Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-166768OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-166768DiVA: diva2:477528
Available from: 2012-01-13 Created: 2012-01-13 Last updated: 2016-04-18

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Jansson, David
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