Human history is more complex than academic Orientalism suggests

“To see the travel writing of 19th and 20th century Europeans as uniquely prejudiced and uniquely politicized, exclusively open to formulating “discourses of difference” or contributing in some unique way to the politics of colonial expansion, seems to be to be historically na├»ve and clearly factually wrong: Abdul Latif Shustari and Fanny Parkes were direct contemporaries traveling through India at the same time, but of the two it was Fanny who was far more engaged in an open to India; Shustari in contrast was unable to shed centuries of highly cultured Persian hauteur towards and India he regarded as culturally and civilizationally inferior — an attitude that was again tinctured with centuries of conquest, migration and colonial history. Human history is more complex, and human prejudices more varied than many of the academic acolytes of Orientalism would allow.”
–William Dalrymple, in Justin D. Edwards and Rune Graulund’s Postcolonial Travel Writing: Critical Explorations (2011)

Posted by | Comments Off on Human history is more complex than academic Orientalism suggests  | June 9, 2014
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

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