Southern insights into Orient and Western Orientalisms

María Cardeira da Silva



This is not another critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism. We know that there is still some space for further discussion on this matter and that there are still people wanting to engage with it, but this is not our concern here. Nevertheless, the term has become inescapable for people like us, researching into and teaching on Arab and Islamic contexts and topics – and even more so when our strategic location is constantly under surveillance in times of Islamophobia and Islamophilia, wary eyes asking if we are with Muslims or against them, or, in a more sophisticated way, with good Muslims or their evil twins, bad Muslims (Mamdani 2004). Strangely, and dangerously, our position regarding Islam – as a monolithic and petrified religion – is presumed to be part of our own academic identity. Said’s book or – as he wrote among other, very insightful things – his metabook – is timeless, both for good and for the wrong reasons. Here, however, we will be using the word ‘Orientalism’ in a narrow sense, referring to the production of humanities and social and cultural sciences on Arab and Islamic contexts and topics and, simply, discarding the nihilistic upshot of some post-Orientalist debates, assuming the political dimension of our researches and outputs. After all, and as Mitchell, appropriately out, Said’s main (and often misunderstood) simple question addressed in Orientalism was ‘How does one know the things that exist?’ and ‘To what extent are the “things that exist” constituted by the knower?’ (Mitchell 2003, referring to Said, 1978: 5). And even if he was neither the first to address this nor, for sure, the last, we need to state it for the sake of transparency and, ultimately and paradoxically, for the sake of science.

Texto completo:



AAVV (1976): Le Mal de voir: ethnologie et orientalisme, politique et épistémologie, critique et autocritique, Paris, Cahiers Jussieu.

ABU-LUGHOD, Janet (1987): “The Islamic city-historic myth, Islamic essence, and contemporary relevance”, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 19, pp. 155-176.

ABU-LUGHOD, Lila (1989): “Zones of Theory in the Anthropology of the Arab World”, Annual Review of. Anthropology, 18, pp. 267-306.

ALTORKI Soraya (Ed.), (2015): A Companion to the Anthropology of the Middle East, Wiley-Blackwell.

APPADURAI, Arjun (1986): “Theory in Anthropology: Center and Periphery”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 28, pp.356−61.

APPADURAI, Arjun (2006): Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger,Durham, Duke University Press.

ASAD, Talal (1996 [1986]): “The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam”. In The Social Philosophy of Ernest Gellner, (Poznan Studies in HALL, John and JARVIE, Ian (Eds): The Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Amsterdam, Rodopi, pp. 381−403.

BOURDIEU, Pierre (1992 [1984]) : Homo Academicus, Paris, Le Sens Commun.

BOWMAN, Glenn (2012): “Refiguring the anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa” in in FARDON Richard and GLEDHILL, John (Eds.): The Sage Handbook of Social Anthropology, London: Sage Press, pp.678-710.

CARDEIRA DA SILVA, Maria (2005): “O sentido dos árabes no nosso sentido: Dos estudos sobre árabes e sobre muçulmanos em Portugal”, Análise Social, nº. 173, pp. 781-806.

CARDEIRA DA SILVA, Maria (coord.) (2013): Castelos a bombordo: etnografia de patrimónios africanos e memórias portuguesas, Lisboa, CRIA.

CARDEIRA DA SILVA, Maria (2012): “Oftamologias/Oftalmologies”. Próximo Futuro. Nº 10. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

DEEB, Lara & WINEGAR, Jessica (2012a) “Anthropologies of Arab Majority Societies”. Annual Review of Anthropology, 41: 537–558.

DEEB, Lara & WINEGAR, Jessica (2012b) “The Politics of Middle East Anthropology”. Annual Review of Anthropology. 12. Pp. 537-558.

EICKELMAN, D. (1989 [1981]: The Middle East and Central Asia - An Anthropological Approach, New Jersey, Prentice Hall.

GRAMSCI, Antonio (1971): Selections from the Prison Notebooks, New York: International Publishers

HABERMAS, Jürgen (2008): "Secularism's Crisis of Faith: Notes on Post-Secular Society", New Perspectives Quarterly, Vol. 25 pp. 17-29.

HAENNI, Patrick (2005): L'Islam de Marché: L'Autre Révolution Conservatrice, Paris, Seuil.

HERZFELD, Michael (2004 [1997]): Cultural Intimacy: Social Poetics in the Nation-State, New York/London, Routledge.

HERZFELD, Michael (2013): “The European Crisis and Cultural Intimacy”, Studies in Ethnicity and nationalism, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp 491-497.

HODGSON, Marshall (1974): The Venture of Islam. Conscience and History in a World Civilization. Volume 1: The Classical Age of Islam, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press.

MAMDANI, M. (2002), “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and Terrorism”: American Anthropologist, 104, pp.766–775.

MAPRIL, José (2012): lslão e Transnacionalismo. Uma Etnografia entre Portugal e o Bangladeche, Lisboa, Instituto de Ciências Sociais.

MITCHELL, Timothy (2003): “The Middle East in the Past and Future of Social Science”, University of California International and Area Studies Digital Collection.

MOREIRA, Ana Rita (2000): Ideias, Práticas e Instituições do Arabismo Português, Monografia de Licenciatura em Antropologia, FCSH -UNL. Policopiado.

POUILLON, François and VATIN Jean Claude (Eds) (2011): Après l’orientalisme : l’Orient créé par l’Orient, Paris, Karthala, 2011.

SAID, Edward (1978): Orientalism. New York: Pantheon

SAID, Edward W. (1996): Representations of the intellectual: the Reith lectures, New York, Vintage Books.

SAYYID, S. and VAKIL, A. (Eds.) (2010): Thinking Through Islamophobia: Global Perspectives, New York, Columbia University Press..

SCHAFER, R. Murray (1969): The New Soundscape: a Handbook for the Modern Music Teacher, BMI, Canada.

SIDARUS, Adel, (1986): “Os estudos árabes em Portugal” in Islão e Arabismo em Terra Lusitana, Évora, Publicações da Universidade de Évora, pp. 21 -38.

VAKIL, Abdool Karim A., (2003a): “From the Reconquista to Portugal Islâmico: Islamic heritage in the Shifting Discourses of Portuguese Historiography and National Identity”, Arqueologia Medieval 8, pp 5 -15.

VAKIL, Abdool Karim A., (2003b): “Questões Inacabadas: Colonialismo, Islão e Portugalidade” in RIBEIRO, Margarida C. e FERREIRA, Ana Paula (Eds.): Fantasmas e Fantasias Imperiais no Imaginário Português Contemporâneo, Porto, Campo das Letras, pp. 255 -294.

VAKIL, Abdool Karim A., (2003c): “O ‘Portugal Islâmico’, o ‘Portugal Multicultural’ e os Muçulmanos Portugueses: História, memória e cidadania na construção de novas identidades”, in Guilhermina Mota (Ed.), Minorias Étnicas e Religiosas em Portugal: História e Actualidade. Coimbra, IHES -FLUC, pp.409-451.

VAKIL, A. (2004): “Do Outro ao Diverso. Islão e Muçulmanos em Portugal: história, discursos, identidades”, Revista Lusófona de Ciência das Religiões. III, 5/6, p. 283-312.

VALE DE ALMEIDA, Miguel (2004): Outros Destinos: Ensaios de Antropologia e Cidadania, Lisboa: Campo das Letras.

TIESLER, Nina Clara (2005): “Novidades do Terreno. Muçulmanos na Europa e o Caso Português”, Análise Social Vol. XXXIX, 173, pp. 827-849.

TIESLER, Nina Clara (2000): “Muçulmanos na Margem: A Nova Presença Islâmica em Portugal”, Sociologia, Problemas e Práticas, 34, pp. 117-144.

TIESLER, Nina Clara (2008): “No Bad News from the European Margin: The New Islamic Presence in Portugal”. In RIPPIN Andrew (Ed.): World Islam: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies, New York, London: Routledge, pp. 189-216.


Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.

Copyright (c) 2016 María Cardeira da Silva

Licencia de Creative Commons
Este obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional.

Revista de Estudios Internacionales Mediterráneos (REIM) 

La REIM está vinculada en la actualidad al proyecto coordinado “Nuevos escenarios políticos, cambios sociales y transformaciones regionales en el mundo árabo-islámico tras la “primavera árabe” y sus implicaciones para España”, con los subproyectos “Participación política, islam y transnacionalidad en el mundo árabo-islámico y en contexto migratorio”, “Problemas públicos y activismos en el Magreb. La participación social y política de los jóvenes en sus dimensiones locales y transnacionales” y “La dimensión internacional de las transformaciones políticas en el mundo árabo-islámico” (Convocatoria 2014. Proyectos de I+D "Excelencia". Dirección General de Investigación Científica y Técnica. Subdirección General de Proyectos de Investigación. MINECO España)

ISSN: 1887-4460