Hermeneutical Trajectories from the Third World: Aijaz Ahmad on Edward Said


  • Stuti Khare




Orientalism, Post-Colonial Theory, Hermeneutics, Marxism, Discourse


Aijaz Ahmad has made serious critical interventions in Marxist and Postcolonialist readings of literature and culture. His book, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures (1992) has made significant contribution to the postcolonial critical debates. It is a collection of critical articles with deliberations on postcolonial theory from different perspectives. In this book, one article on Edward Said discusses Said’s contribution to postcolonial discourse in the paradigm of Western influence on Eastern cultural narratives. Ahmad argues that Said’s critical writings on orientalism suffer from inconsistencies, overgeneralizations and selective applications. These methodological aberrations, Ahmad asserts, have shaped the trajectories of Said’s critical oeuvre. He criticizes Said for adopting western theoretical models for the cultural analysis and interpretations which are deeply immersed in the capitalist power structures. Ahmad accuses him of appropriating the western knowledge-structures for theorizing the Orient. His analysis of Said goes beyond the limits of critical debates as he questions Said’s vocation and space. He, in effect, considers Said an inauthentic critical voice. According to Ahmad, Said’s successful career in the West has rendered him incapable of a genuine engagement with the Orient. In this paper, I have attempted a critical re-reading of Ahmad’s arguments to suggest that Ahmad’s criticism of Said is intentionally provocative, seeking attention without engaging with Said’s theoretical perspectives in a comprehensive manner.


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Ahmad, Aijaz. “Orientalism and After: Ambivalence and Metropolitan Location the Work of Edward Said.” In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. 159-220. Print.

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Said, Edward. Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient, New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2001. Print

--- . “The Voyage In: Third World Intellectuals and Metropolitan Cultures”. Arab Nation, Arab Nationalism. Ed. Derek Hopwood. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000. 79-101. Print.




How to Cite

Khare, S. . (2021). Hermeneutical Trajectories from the Third World: Aijaz Ahmad on Edward Said. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 9(4), 37–51. https://doi.org/10.24113/ijellh.v9i4.10984