—and with mainly one predominate religion in the Orient, Orientalism tended to overlyconcentrate on Islam and use the religion as the root of analysis.
Crucially relevant to the chronicle of Orientalism, western imperialism, historically in the Orient, grew quickly as the Ottoman Empire weakenedover time. This imperialism created an academic and imperialistic dichotomy between the East, theOccident, and the West, the Orient—formally, the East verses the West.
“…European identity began to take place just as Europeans’ geographical and cultural horizons were expanding enormously…emerging conceptions of what Europe and the West meant were profoundly influenced by the fact that western European states were simultaneously moving toward a position of global hegemony, exercising political and economic power over non-Western states and people…the inhabitants of western Europe tended to define who they were in relation towho and what they thought they were not.”
This understanding of the dichotomization was and is(continues to be)extremely important for not onlydid it fuel the academic fire of Middle East intellectuals in the nineteenth century when Orientalism beganto scholarly flourish, but this was the main problem in Orientalist studies. The ways in which Europeanintellectuals showed the Orient was habitually entangled with the veracity of the mounting western power over the Oriental lands.
The first main scholars of Orientalism, one being Sir Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb who wewill be looking at, were ideological. Their prose and style formed the dichotomization whereas the Westwas superior to the East—so consequently when alternative scholars would begin to study the Orient, their study would be implicit on the pre-disposed dichotomization. The discourse became a routine of misrepresentation of the Middle East, it gave the region no
. The people of the Orient were innatelyconsidered by scholars as entirely different and therefore the Orient was consecutively seen as discoursestudying the inferior others. The understood differences were acute. H.A.R. Gibb, a professor of Arabicwho later ended his career as the director of Middle East studies at Harvard, published many pieces on theOrient. One of his pieces, in particular, was
Modern Trends in Islam
, published in 1972. As a philologist,Gibb used his Oriental language skills to produce academic contributions in the field—
Modern Trends in Islam
was supposed to present mainly his colleagues with the religious posture and movements of theIslamic community in the Orient.
However, Gibb was a pure Orientalist who deepened the dichotomizationand put the Orient haughtily below the West due to the serious differences between the two regions. Thedifferences were comprised within a realm of rationalism and modernity, the East wasn’t rational nor could