The Intellectual Life of Edward Said

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VOL. 33


No. 3
P. 7
Essays in Honor of Edward W. Said
The Intellectual Life of Edward Said

This essay examines Edward Said’s philosophy of intellectual life and what an intellectual vocation entails. Said’s major contribution, Orientalism, is discussed in light of his own concept of "traveling theory" and its impact on various disciplines, especially postcolonial studies. Said’s views on Palestine and the Palestinians are also elaborated and contextualized in his own oeuvre. Finally, the essay discusses Said’s interest in musical performance and attempts to read his work “musically,” showing how all his interests are part of a larger whole that constitutes his intellectual legacy.

Joseph Massad is assistant professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University. He is the author of Colonial Effects, the Making of National Identity in Jordan (Columbia University Press, 2001) and of Desiring Arabs (forthcoming from Harvard University Press). He would like to thank Gil Anidjar, Neville Hoad, Fayez Samara, and Ella Shohat for their suggestions on this essay.