MGSHSS Talk: The Missing Homeland of Edward Said

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 6:30pm
The Gurmani Foundation, 44G, Gulberg II, Lahore

Speaker: Aamir R. Mufti
Date: January 30, 2018
Venue: The Gurmani Foundation, 44G, Gulberg II, Lahore
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Organised by: Dean’s Office, Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Science and Engineering

Aamir R. Mufti is professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. He pursued his doctoral studies in literature at Columbia University under the supervision of Edward Said. He was also trained in Anthropology at Columbia and the London School of Economics, and his research and teaching reflect this disciplinary range. His early career pioneering articles in the journal Social Text and other academic venues opened up the question of Urdu literature in relation to colonial and post-colonial literature, exile and criticism and Jewish Identity in the Western World. He has subsequently written two path breaking books, Enlightenment in the Colony: The Jewish Question and the Crisis of Postcolonial Culture (Princeton University Press, 2007) and Forget English!: Orientalisms and World Literatures (Harvard University Press, 2016).

Edward Said: (1935 – 2003) was a professor of literature at Columbia University, a public intellectual and literary critic who examined literature in light of social and cultural politics and was an outspoken proponent of the political rights of the Palestinian people and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

In 1978 Said published Orientalism, his best-known work and one of the most influential scholarly books of the 20th century. In it Said examined Western scholarship of the “Orient,” specifically of the Arab Islamic world and argued that early scholarship by Westerners in that region was biased and projected a false and stereotyped vision of “otherness” on the Islamic world that facilitated and supported Western colonial policy. Said wrote numerous books and articles in his support of Arab causes and Palestinian rights. His books about the Middle East include The Question of Palestine (1979), Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World (1981), Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question (1988; coedited with Christopher Hitchens), The Politics of Dispossession (1994), and Peace and Its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process (1995). Among his other notable books are The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983), Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature: Yeats and Decolonization (1988), Musical Elaborations (1991), and Culture and Imperialism (1993). In addition to his political and academic pursuits, Said was an accomplished musician and pianist.  For a number of years, he was the music critic for the Nation magazine.