40 Years After Orientalism

An Introduction to the TRAFO series “40 Years After Orientalism”, Edited by Schirin Amir-Moazami (Freie Universität Berlin).

In Memoriam Edward Wadie Saïd: A Palestinian National Initiative Poster at the Israeli West Bank Wall. Source: Justin McIntosh, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

Published in 1978, Orientalism has been a seminal investigation on questions regarding cultural representation and hegemony, knowledge production and scholarship as well as governing the colonial and post-colonial Order. Offering a critical genealogy of a specific configuration of power and knowledge, Orientalism has turned into a founding document of postcolonial scholarship and continues to significantly shape conversations within different disciplines. However, despite Orientalism’s rigorous excavation and critique of the process by which strategies of knowing the colonized world operated as strategies for dominating it, Orientalism remains tenacious and far from obsolete. In an MA seminar and public lecture series based at the Institute of Islamic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, we therefore honored Orientalism’s 40th anniversary and its seminal legacy. We discussed and examined the persistence of Orientalism and asked what Said’s work and the conversations it has triggered teach us today. This ongoing blog series offers a selection of perspectives from some of the invited speakers.

The first contribution by Wendy Shaw, “Reenchantment: From the Facts of Orientalism to the Sustenance of Storytelling”, can be found here.



Schirin Amir-Moazami is Professor of “Islam in Europe” at the Department of Islamic Studies of the Freie Universität Berlin and a Principal Investigator at the Berlin Graduate School for Muslim Cultures and Societies. Her research focuses on religious politics in Europe, secularism, political theory, gender and Islamic movements in Europe.


Citation: Schirin Amir-Moazami, Introduction: 40 Years After Orientalism, in: TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research, 07.05.2020, https://trafo.hypotheses.org/23852.


Forum Transregionale Studien

The Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien is a research organization that promotes the internationalization of research in the humanities and social sciences. The Forum provides scope for collaboration among researchers with different regional and disciplinary perspectives and appoints researchers from all over the world as Fellows. In cooperation with universities and research institutions in Berlin and the rest of Germany, it carries out research projects that examine other regions of the world and their relationship to Germany and Europe systematically and with new questions.

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