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Episode 233: Orientalism

Episode 233 for the week of September 2, 2018. A panel of returning guests from the Vassals of Kingsgrave convene to discuss the history of Orientalism in Western fantasy and whether it is an issue in A Song of Ice and Fire.

Notes: A link to the academic article  discussed in the episode.

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3 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Derek

    Great episode! I thought the article was overreaching but enjoyed the discussion.

    Reply

  2. H.A.

    One way to try to avoid the pitfalls of Orientalism and other implicit biases is to hire sensitivity readers. GRRM certainly brings in enough cash for his publishing company to find some top-notch POC, female, and queer sensitivity readers to add their voices to the editing process.

    Reply

  3. Seth

    One instant problem I have with this episode is:

    That we are still framing things through the biased and to my mind discredited work of Edward Wadie Said.

    The ‘cast examines whether GRR Martin’s books and the show based upon them are biased and stereotyped in a way described by Said’s world-view, but what of Said’s worldview itself?

    Why do people continue to believe that Said’s incredibly biased way of looking at the world is any sort of objective “truth”? The Podcasters present Said’s “Orientalism” as a mainstay of modern reading assigned by all manner of university classes–which unfortunately it is. Said is personally responsible for the notion that nobody from a western culture or mindset can possibly look at anything that goes on or has gone on in the near East in a way that is other than biased–his painting with that broad a brush is to me an inherently racist viewpoint in itself.

    For a more detailed critical exposition of Edward Said’s bogus scholarship I refer any readers to this book:

    https://www.amazon.com/Making-David-into-Goliath-Against/dp/1594037353

    I quote from a review by Mosaic of the book:
    “The chapter on Edward Said is a tour de force. Carefully summarizing the thoroughgoing critiques of Said’s oeuvre by reputable specialists in the Middle East and Islam, Muravchik details the many ways in which the celebrated author of Orientalism and The Question of Palestine abused scholarly standards, distorted his opponents’ work, and even dissembled the story of his own life as a so-called victim of the Zionist conquest of Palestine.

    None of this, however, has mattered in the least on American and European university campuses, where Said remains the most widely read author in courses in the humanities and Middle East studies, and where his narrative of Western imperial subjugation of the Arabs and the Zionist colonization of Palestine remains dominant.”

    Reply

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