Orientalism After Edward Said

February 13, 2016

Orientalism has been at the core of my study for more than a decade.

Orientalism is a research topic and, one might say, a way of life. Reading Mathias Enard’s acclaimed novel Boussole, seemed like a trip in my biography, or a biography of the my generation as a “post-Saidian” ‘Orientalist’. Can one be a post-saidian orientalist nowadays?

LS_1984_Cairene Billboards_45 web image

Lucien Samaha, Cinema Radio and Modern (Cairo Billboards), 1984, Printed 2014, Archival Pigment Print, 76.2×111.8 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and Lombard Freid Gallery, New York

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In these times of presents, I feel like offering a short reflection on the late historian of islamic art Oleg Grabar (1929-2011) and his legacy.  Grabar started his career when Orientalism was beyond critics and participated in reevaluating and transforming the field of Islamic studies. He managed to define the undefinable of the mixed influences and melting pot of islamic art. His studies on ornament also influenced contemporary art in Middle East and beyond. Respect.

This paper was published in the Dictionnaire des Orientalistes de langue française, 2d revised and enlarged edition, december 2012.

Block Carved with a Fan Pattern, ca. 720–724. Limestone, carved. Department of Antiquities, Qasr al-Qastal Archaeological Site, Jordan

Block Carved with a Fan Pattern, ca. 720–724. Limestone, carved. Department of Antiquities, Qasr al-Qastal Archaeological Site, Jordan

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Kimiko Yoshida - Japon -Les mariées intangibles - Autoportrait, 2005

Few news after a long silence: I moved to Libya where I am working on the creation of the Digital Center for the Conservation of National Archives ( مركز التوثيق الإلكتروني للأرشيف الوطني ).
More about this in a few weeks.






Meanwhile, I will participate to that conference “L’Orient créé par l’Orient” on the 10th of November at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris.  I will talk in the second panel: Nouveaux chantiers: archéologie, ethnologie, droit musulman.

Here is the complete program:  click, click

Le mercredi 10 novembre 2010, de 9h30 à 18h30

Institut du Monde Arabe / Institut d’études de l’Islam et des Sociétés du Monde Musulman

Coordinateurs : François POUILLON, EHESS & François ZABBAL, IMA

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How does a book live after its publication?

Last year, I announced  the release of the Dictionnaire des orientalistes de langue française (F. Pouillon ed., Paris, Karthala, 2008).   One year later, the book is almost outsold and received  a deserved (almost unexpected) audience. Therefore the critical work on evaluating orientalism is going on!

– A website has just been launched by the editors: http://dictionnairedesorientalistes.ehess.fr/
It features the life of the book after its publication (reviews, conferences, etc.) and the ongoing continuation of the work started in 2000: exploring new paths, intending reequilibration of the diverse geographical and cultural spaces of orientalism, forgotten names… Still in the making.

– A conference on orientalism 50 years after the Independances, 30 years after Edward Said’s book and polemics is being planned for June 2011 in Paris: “L’orientalisme, et après ? Médiations, appropriations, contestations“. It sounds as a promise for heated debates.
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