What are your thoughts on the following quote?

Posted: December 11, 2014 in Discussion

“Ideas, cultures, and histories cannot seriously be understood or studied without their force, or more precisely their configurations of power, also being studied.” -Edward Said (Orientalism)  

  1. Kareem Kort says:

    i agree with Said 100%. The ruling force in a civilization resembles a lot. For example the French and British Mandates over countries in the Arab world. Why do they speak French in Morocco, and Lebanon? That is because they were ruled by french power, and that had a lot of significance in the countries structure till today. Every country is not only influenced by the people that are from there, but from the people that are in power, especially if they were foreign.

  2. Bara'ah Khaled says:

    I totally agree with Edward. There is no right or wrong in ideas, cultures, or histories. All of them are prescriptive that give an indication about the opinion and the view of a curtain human being towards an idea or a culture. Although there is no right or wrong, those 3 things can be observed, studied, and discussed. Ideas are derived by different forces that can be examined. The observation of the force leads to the configuration of power that must be studied to understand the big idea, the culture or histories.

    • Mohi Kayal says:

      I think we need to think about the context when Edward says; “The configuration of power”. Does he mean source or structure?

  3. Maya says:

    As Mr. L says. History is nothing but a courtroom. However, history taught is only the winner’s side. Whoever won gets to decide what history is shared.

    • Bara'ah Khaled says:

      I totally agree with you..

      • GhadeerT says:

        I also agree with Maya because when somebody wins, he will have the power to choose what he want to share and especially history because history today is being effected with what happened today. It is about what people wants to share not what the real true is. in addition, when someone has a power that means that he has the right to do everything he wants because there is no other one that controls him or has the same power as he. Therefore, Power depending on the one controlling it can change how a country can be shaped.

  4. qaismasri says:

    It is difficult to understand the origin of certain ideas, cultures, and histories without first understanding what force was behind them. It is like studying historical events without any context whatsoever. To understand why certain ideas, cultures, and histories rose, we must first consider what were the circumstances that caused them to rise. History cannot be properly understood and studied without the essential context. Why would we study Confucius’s ideas and philosophies without understanding the societal and political landscape of China at the time? It would seem utterly random to do so. The elite and powerful people in any empire, country, nation-state etc. are the main driving force behind their own history and culture. They influence, shape, and ultimately decide the fate of their people’s history.

  5. hussam yaseen says:

    it means that ideas, history, and cultures are not considered something big, or they won’t be studied or understood if they didn’t have any effect. If an idea or something in history is remembered, then it would be something that was powerful and led to a change in the world. Usually the ideas and cultures we remember are the things that influenced people and were powerful because if they were not effective and they didn’t have any change then the ideas or the history would not be remembered or studied. It is also confusing because not always powerful history or ideas are always studied and important, because sometimes history is hidden and some ideas are removed from history although they would be important and had a lot of impact.

  6. larissaag says:

    It is almost as if it’s a cultures duty to stive and put itself on a world stage that every other culture is on in order for it to be noticed properly, and relatively in a correct way. The reason why Said mentions this is because of the Arab culture’s lack of force upon those who where exposed to it to “teach” or present itself in a better way that it was perceived. Due to the fact that the Arab culture lacked this force, and to some extent is still lacking it, it has been seen in a way that developed wrong images and many misconceptions about Arab culture, biggest example of today is Orientalism and “all Arabs are terrorists”. Had the Arabs taken the initiative to better teach their culture in order to be “seriously understood”, the generations of today would not have to live in the shadow of the world’s ignorance about Arabs and their culture.

  7. Osama Al Mahasneh says:

    History and education of a country are shaped by the impact that other countries had on it. It is not necessarily forced by these countries, but it showed that they had an influence on that country. For example, all of the Arab students study the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Now, Israel does not force them to do so; however, Israel had an impact on the Arab world at some point in history, which is why their history is being taught in the Arab World.

  8. Khaled Ashour says:

    I also agree with edward said, history is taught through the winners perspective of the story. Fortunately, in modern history there is more than winner; therefore, there is more than one perspective to one story. Those different perspectives can be studied, observed and discussed.

  9. Hamzeh Arabiyat says:

    I agree with you Khaled that winners tell the story at the end, but it is not only about that. It is also the affect it has on history as sometimes we study ideas of people that their communities disagreed with in their time.

    • Khaled Ashour says:

      I agree with you on that point, but we rarely ever study something like that in history. Probably the only reason why we might study something like that is because that information maybe passed on through generations and eventually becomes a part of history.

  10. eunsoljun15 says:

    I agree with Said that ideas, cultures, and histories need to be looked at from many different sources. We have gone through so much globalization that our cultures are intermingled with one another in some way or another. I think we must carefully evaluate the circumstances and the motives for the history as well as keeping focus on the dominant force. The dominant force will mandate a community to behave in a certain way that will make the culture arise from it.

    • Mallak Al Husban says:

      however, one might also take into consideration that history is always told by winners, so in order to understand and comprehend history, we must take both sides into account and find a rationale balance between the two stories being told.

  11. Juliana Kaldany says:

    Said means that we should study the source of all influential ideas and cultures instead of just those ideas and cultures separately. He didn’t really mean to study all points of view of the subject being studied, rather the ultimate source triggering it.

  12. Marah Tarawneh says:

    I agree with this quote. Said is trying to say that ideas, cultures, and histories are the way they are for a reason, and in order to find that reason we should also study the power and forces. Not studying the power that controls these cultures and histories is like taking them out of context, and that gives an incomplete if not an inaccurate picture. However, what is also important is studying the relationship between the power and the three elements (ideas, cultures and histories). Because studying the relationship can tell us a lot about the reason behind the configuration of the power and the society together.

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