[This essay was originally published in 2010 as the Introduction to the 29-chapter edited volume entitled Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation from the University of California Press.]
Tucked away in a poorly lit crevice of downtown Cairo and in the shadow of a small alley mosque, Le Grillon, a late-night bar and restaurant that has hosted the city’s writers and political adversaries for decades, is in a part of the city from which Edward W. Said often felt estranged. A repository of the city’s unpreserved yet vibrant collage of discordant memories of its many identities and histories, the eatery that was once frequented by foreigners, Levantine merchants, and Egyptian aristocrats is now almost exclusively local. Its secluded location and unassuming appearance once attracting the region’s oppositional voices, but Le Grillon now houses a dusty bookshelf lined with pro-governmental propaganda. Ignored and unattended to, the shelf is easily overlooked by the café’s oldest commoners, there to relive the city’s cultural and political heyday, if only for a few hours. On a warm July night in 2005, a small group of writers, poets, physicians, aging revolutionaries, and intellectuals convened to honor Khairy Shalaby, one of Egypt’s most prolific contemporary authors, who had only days earlier received the country’s highest literary accolade. The gathering was a mosaic of starkly contrasting personalities, accented by such animated characters as political cartoonist Ahmed Toughan, an anti-colonial Arab nationalist in his eighties and a compatriot of Frantz Fanon’s in Algeria.
The evening began with a poetry recital by Shalaby—interspersed with glimpses of his literary life spent mostly in Cairo’s graveyards and impoverished ‘Ashwa’eyat, or shantytowns—but soon turned to ruminations about the city’s old days. Striking a contrast with his own Cairene experiences, Shalaby described a cosmopolitan and opulent side of the city inhabited by the teenage Edward Said as both unrelenting in its mosaicism and unrepentant for its contradictions. Chewing on a stubborn filet for what seemed like an eternity, Shalaby shifted smoothly and seamlessly between thoughts, memories, and fantasies.
We had sought the company of seventy-year-olds in our role as the editors of this volume on Edward Said, a still-nascent project that Shalaby greeted with surprise and exhilaration. He expressed his enthusiastic appreciation of the late intellectual. “If a book needed to be written about anyone, it would be Edward Said,” he exclaimed, admitting that he owned copies of both Arabic translations of Orientalism. In poetically extemporaneous classical Arabic, Shalaby shared his admiration for Said’s memoir Out of Place, in which he narrates his upbringing in Cairo, taking particular interest in retelling his angst-ridden adolescence and recounting his temptation for belly dancing’s most prominent icon and eccentric temptress, Tahia Carioca.
Said’s first exposure to the sensual performer of pre- and postrevolutionary Egypt was as a teenager discreetly escaping his restrained, disciplined, and sexually repressed urban elite social setting. Belly dancing and Carioca would have been seen as oversexed, lustful, and tastelessly suggestive, whose prohibition aroused fourteen-year-old Said. Yet Said’s fascination with Carioca extended far beyond her dancing. He marveled at her unresolved persona—the eclectic and inharmonious juxtaposition of her roles as eroticized spectacle, political militant, and symbol of national culture. Shalaby’s musings on Said’s Carioca highlighted the porous boundaries between the colony and the postcolony and between historical eras, political realities, and spatial landscapes—boundaries Said spent much of his intellectual career permeating, forcibly and willfully. With Cairo and Carioca, we arrive at the confluence of Said’s unstable mélange of identity, politics, resistance, and art.
Beginnings with Said
The paths to Edward Said’s work are varied, whether via a Cairo pub, antiwar activist circles on university campuses, or his numerous interviews with Charlie Rose on YouTube. We came across Said in the mid-1990s during our undergraduate studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. This frequently cited, sharply opinionated, and eloquent intellectual with a peculiar hybrid name caught our attention and curiosity. As inquisitive undergraduates toiling our way through the liberal arts, we scoured the literature on the Middle East both in an attempt to overcome the emotional strain of our own migration and fulfill our desire for self-exploration. One book was impossible to miss on all Middle Eastern history bookshelves, particularly because it stood in stark contrast to the Islamophobic literature that dominated the canon. With Jean-Leon Gerome’s The Snake Charmer adorning the front of Said’s Orientalism, the striking cover invited further investigation, conveying both curious familiarity and fetishized exoticism.
This period coincided with the deplorable 1997 brutal attacks on tourists in Luxor, Egypt. To counteract the seemingly ceaseless denigration of the region and Islam in the Canadian press in the wake of the attacks, we produced a fourteen-hour feature radio program titled Through Arab Eyes on the local campus and community radio station, CKDU-FM. The special broadcast sought to oﬀer a corrective debate on the histories, politics, cultures, and religions of the region. The intervention was an effort to overcome the deep void, invisibility, and perhaps violation caused by the incessant, alienating public discourse about the region and its peoples. Orientalism became an indispensable resource, a primer that helped us decipher and grapple with these issues, catalyzing our understanding of how and why negative discursive constructions dominated mainstream depictions of the region. Through its meticulous documentation and historicization of such narratives, the book was a guide to navigating cautiously through the prickly terrain of representation. Beyond Orientalism, Said’s reflections on the relationship of intellectuals to power and their responsibilities within academia and beyond resonated with scholars who sought a humanist method and purpose to their work.
Over three decades, Said’s political writings provided a stubborn and unwavering source of enlightenment that aided in the interpretation of current events and exposed gross failures by the political and media establishments to deal contextually with the Middle East. Said oﬀered a sober and sobering utterance amid a cacophony of voices in and on the wider Arab, Muslim, and Middle Eastern societies. Through these interjections, Said exercised a form of criticism based on media literacy that enabled him to disambiguate vernaculars and expose ideologies. His es- says amalgamated politics and aesthetics, addressing culture and society as a whole without erecting rigid fences between them, inspiring cultural critics, activists, and human rights advocates.
Said’s death in 2003 was abrupt. When he died, his disappearance from the public arena left a gaping hole in the understanding of contemporary international politics in the region. It happened at a point in Middle East politics that was perilous for Arabs and Muslims. The region that occupied Said’s imagination, scholarship, and activism continues to be viewed monolithically as a security threat to the governments of the United States and other “Western” countries. Indeed, since Orientalism’s first publication in 1978, the problems that characterize the international political arena have been exacerbated. For this reason, we wanted to ensure that Said’s oeuvre continued to inform on the most pressing issues of the day and to interrupt the dehumanizing representations of the region and their underlying policies. The invasion and destruction of Iraq, the constant accelerating degradation of Palestinian life under Israeli occupation, and the United States’ continued support for undemocratic and unpopular regimes and repressive dictators are but a few of the acts of physical and emotional violence experienced by the peoples of the region. On Arab and Muslim societies, Said unrelentingly assailed the rise of intolerant religious fundamentalism, sectarianism in daily life, corruption among the ruling classes, misguided intelligentsias, deteriorating economic conditions, and the suppression of all democratic alternatives to the presiding regimes.
The idea for this book emerged mere days after Said’s death, originally as a means of channeling the loss of Said the public intellectual and eventually to create a space for scholars to move beyond eulogization and engage critically with his work. Yet any examination of Said’s work must be situated within a biographical chronology, one that historicizes his writings. In her review of his memoir Out of Place, Ahdaf Soueif described the year 1991 as a critical historical juncture in Said’s life, both personally and intellectually. It was a violation to Said—a physical violation in the discovery of mortality following his diagnosis with leukemia and a political violation in the signing of the Oslo Accords. Not long after, Said would go on his first visits to Palestine and Cairo since his departure, in 1992 and 1993, respectively. He would also give the Reith Lectures on the responsibilities of intellectuals in 1993 and began writing his memoir in 1994. In his introduction to Said’s posthumously published On Late Style, Michael Wood wrote that Said’s lateness is a result of his facing death, both the passing of his mother in 1990 of the same illness and his own impending finitude. These cataclysmic events became the impetus for Musical Elaborations, which he dedicated to the memory of his mother, Out of Place, and several urgent manuscripts on the Palestine he saw vanishing swiftly before his eyes. Our affiliation with Edward Said stemmed from our need for change and from our desire to find an alternative to the polarized political, social, intellectual, and cultural orders. Said carved a space where we could be more than an inaudible minority on the margins; where we could join a movement that is engaged, self-representing, and heard. Asserting the responsibility of the intellectual to be politically engaged, Said himself produced “worldly” ideas that traversed academic, political, geographic, and artistic realms. He has inspired a new generation of intellectuals to embrace a sense of purpose, a commitment to critical action, and a claim to dignity as vehicles of self-representation in the Saidian tradition.
The Secular Exile
Born in Jerusalem, raised in Cairo, living most of his adult life in New York, and buried on Mount Lebanon, Edward Said was always itinerant and eternally up-rooted. During his early days, moving between pre-1948 Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, and the United States, he experienced the anguish of psychic and actualized exile and displacement. His urban aristocratic upbringing allowed him to relate to the colonizers through Western pedagogy anchored in the canonical classics. Despite this, as he explained in his memoir, Out of Place, he was made to feel continually delinquent and insufficient while attending colonial schools in Cairo, despite his façade of confidence. He described his estrangement and his longing to return “home” when he first moved to the United States as a student, which had him stare endlessly at photos and set his clock to Cairo time. Even during those early days, he was acutely aware of the abstract nature of “home,” a place that cannot be arrived at or even palpated.
In “The Rootless Cosmopolitan,” Tony Judt explained that Said “lived all his life at a tangent to the various causes with which he was associated.” Said expressed a similar idea, using the term apogee to elaborate his position in society, often used to describe the height of a civilization’s enlightenment and achievement but more importantly referring to the farthest point from the point of origin. Said saw the spirit of apogee as a dissociated fringe position—the most distant point from the center of an issue, apart from any site of grounding, attachment, lineage, or origin. This distance guarantees one is at the farthest point from both home and origin, in the spirit expressed by twelfth-century Saxon monk Hugo of St. Victor: “He is perfect to whom the entire world is a foreign land.” Throughout his life, Said orbited around these origins, exposing issues of emancipation and oscillating between perigee (point of proximity and intimacy) and apogee (distance and elevation) with seamless ease and shrewd decisiveness. When addressing colonial and postcolonial subjectivity, being in apogee aﬀorded him both an appreciation of the colonial classics in literature and music and the ability to interrogate their subjugating elements.12 Said often quoted a line by the English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins to describe this posture, which both aﬀected and explained his perpetual state of flux: “all things counter, original, spare, strange.”
The “untidiness” of exile presented Said with a desituated posture that informed much of his criticism. If the Saidian exilic state were to “house” anything, it would do so as a refuge for emancipatory action.1 This explains his affinity for Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of the “nomadic” as not simply one of lived experience and personal affliction but as a discursive apparatus for the reconfiguration of master narratives. Itself a source of liberation, an alternative theology, a site of contradiction, and a terrain of shifting contours, Said’s nomadism was theoretically unhoused, methodologically untidy, and spatially fluid. At once inhabitable and uninhibitable, Said’s critical nomadism was intrinsically veracious. Theoretically, it resisted any master paradigm, contested all-encompassing theorization, and questioned the predictability of dominant knowledge systems. Said’s emphasis on the informal and the disaggregated reflected his nomadism, embedding it in an “epistemology of displacement” that searched beyond the “rituals and performances of conventional metropolitan intellectuals.” This view of unsettledness extends to Said’s overarching critical project, which he acknowledged was unfinished, a condition he showed little interest in rectifying. Indeed, Said resisted all forms of attributive delineation, scorned intellectual specialization, admonished the assured conviction of policymaking, disavowed academic self-aggrandizement, and rejected the containment of disciplinary accolades.
Said expanded his critique into the realm of familiarity, predictability, control, and status (being known) to deconstruct filial connection. Said’s “home” obviated filiation, walling no one and nothing in or out; it was a permeable space with no distinct boundaries. Hence one could not speak of the other. By deterritorializing the home, Said “de-othered the other,” rendering “otherness” obsolete. This act also dispelled the myth of arrival. The constant pilgrimage negates the existence of a destination, a Holy Land. Said described a deeply unrestful state, suggesting that in exile one never arrives at an uncharted destination, and thereby rendering the nomadic ontological.
As a nomadic cosmopolitan, Said associated with the motif and the experience of the Judaic exile. In an interview with the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, he described himself as “the last Jewish intellectual.” While expressing his hopes for the future of Palestine/Israel, Said endorsed a one-state solution, causing discomfort for many Israelis and Palestinians. “I want a rich fabric of some sort, which no one can fully com- prehend, and no one can fully own,” Said affirmed. Such a vision encapsulated his persona: he was the intellectual of the unresolved, intent on overcoming the appeal of purity, tidiness, and homogeneity. In this idea of a desituated home, political, ethnic, and religious boundaries are suspended by exiles who “cross borders, break barriers of thought and experience.” In his especially expressive interview, Said made a compelling case for his binational vision for Palestine/Israel by leveling a compassionate critique of the Zionist obsession with the notions of “state” and “home.” When the interviewer observed that Said “sounds very Jewish” in his commentary, Said responded, “Of course. I’m the last Jewish intellectual. You don’t know anyone else. All your other Jewish intellectuals are now suburban squires. From Amos Oz to all these people here in America. So I’m the last one. The only true follower of Adorno. Let me put it this way: I’m a Jewish-Palestinian.”
In this statement, Said embodied the exile in his ability, affinity, and desire to destigmatize and congeal into the “other.” The forced seamlessness of his Palestinianness and Jewishness expressed the underlying exilic nature of these identities. Through this exclamation, Said defined himself as asymmetrical and irreconciled, truly contrapuntal in his political vision. He harmonized the contradictory, demonstrating counterpoint to undermine the exclusivity of nationalism. He shattered the boundary of the label and aligned himself with a long tradition of Jewish intellectualism, which for him, implied the wanderer prophet-intellectual described by Noam Chomsky—one who chooses exile and refuses the comfort of serving and legitimizing power agendas and who eschews the possibility of gaining rewards for such allegiances. With each label—Jewish and Palestinian— representing the roving exile, the two descriptors are separated only by a hyphen.
In the physical sense, exile is a result of oppression and is hardly a choice, yet metaphorically it is an expression of dissidence. For Said, exile, whether physical or metaphorical or both, was an “alternative” state, apart from the domination of mass institutions and distant from the gravitational center of the status quo, despite his personal geographic proximity to these.
This view of exile perhaps explains why Said’s loyalties were not static, instead shifting constantly in relation to power. to emancipate the individual by overcoming allegiance to tradition, Said was committed to justice over identity and “never solidarity before criticism.” For him, allegiance to a group or a nation, whose nationalism “affirms the home created by a community of language, culture, and customs” was counter to the estrangement of exile. Said was therefore echoing Adorno’s well-known statement “It is part of morality not to be at home in one’s home,” making exile obligatory, both morally and practically, for any emancipatory project. Hence, Said’s exile was the interstitial borderland where Jewish and Palestinian morality rendezvoused. He saw greater possibility for confluence in the exilic than in the rooted: “Better our wanderings, I sometimes think, than the horrid clanging shutters of their return.”
While refusing to have his experience viewed as mere signification, especially in his posture on Palestine, Said inhabited the crossroads and interstitial spaces, thereby transforming the unsituated orphanhood of exile into a respectable state. He was able to convert the unpredictable, unresolved, dissociated, and unrestful space of in-betweenness into habitable terrain, turning exile into a tolerated state shared by the like-minded—a locale distant from the gravity of power, comfortable in its discomfort, situated yet in persistent motion, and wandering while grounded. Nevertheless, the violence of exile took its toll on Said in the intellectual, figurative, and practical senses. With the deterioration of Palestinian livelihood and in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks, he felt a “general sense of curtailment” and refrained from giving media interviews as he witnessed how nothing remained of his homelands. He also found it increasingly difficult to recover and memorialize these lost lands. In his last interview, he said that his leukemia accentuated the eternity of his exile, leaving him neither dead nor recovered and in a state of “in-betweenness.” Said—who had spent his intellectual life vacillating be- tween geographies, identities, historical junctures, and literacies—found himself agonizingly suspended between life and death, constantly unresolved and interminably dislocated up to his final moments. And in his death, his intellectual legacy, while astoundingly comprehensive, is largely beyond cartographic delineation. In a sense, Said was the philosopher of nomadism.
This pedagogy of nomadism that Said elucidated in his writings and considered a responsibility of the intellectual was rooted in an “irremediably secular and unbearably historical” exile that exposed the intersections of power and knowledge. Said’s “exile knows that in a secular and contingent world, homes are always provisional…Exiles cross borders, break barriers of thought and experience.” His unabashed attempt to disrupt the silence of consent, demystify the instruments of control, and stimulate voices of dissent came at the expense of orthodoxy. Said used the religious lexicon to describe civil and secular establishments, thereby drawing comparisons between the institutional dogmatic hierarchy of religious and other authorities that command obedient consent, loyalty, conformity, and unwavering allegiance from an “unknowing” public.
For Said, exile and nationalism are dialectical in the Hegelian sense, at once contesting and justifying one another. Nationalism that serves as an impetus for liberation and expresses an emancipatory function develops as a reaction to estrangement. Alternatively, Said regarded nationalism as an allegiance akin to that of religious institutions, because both have “founding fathers .. . quasi-religious texts, their rhetoric of belonging . . . [and] official enemies and heroes.” Therefore, for Said, exile itself is necessarily secular. This secularity is exilic in that it interrogates the status quo and remains permanently “on the other side of power.” Not only does it free the individual from the authority of religious institutions, in the usual sense of the term, but it is also liberated from the sentimental attachments to and the apologetic worship of any form of ideology or belonging. Hence, secularity is the state of being untamed by power, the foremost role for the intellectual. Said often quoted a line by the English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins to describe this posture, capturing his perpetual state of criticism: “all things counter, original, spare, strange.” Consequently, Vico’s secular criticism became a hallmark of Said’s philosophy.
By highlighting the centrality of human agency in making and interpreting history, Said distinguished between beginnings and origins—the former being historical, dynamic, and secular and the latter being ahistoric, latent, and divine. Beginnings invited critique and engagement, whereas origins drew preconditional passivity and compliance. Yet for Said, neither was beyond criticism. Belonging and affiliation did not overrule the ability to deconstruct, which explains his desire to witness a Palestinian state in order to critique it.
The Saidian secular critic sees action as a dialectical negotiation, fluctuating and swaying to and fro in a gradual process of development and knowledge acquisition. His is not a systematized body of theory and method. This view gives rise to contradictions and inconsistencies. As Aamir Mufti has written, “Secular criticism does not imply the rejection of universalism per se. It implies a scrupulous recognition that all claims of a universal nature are particular claims.” While Said neither privileged nor attacked the culture or tradition of any society, his intonations remind us that tradition can be repressive. When one focuses on praising and demeaning, one loses the space to read histories critically within their social, political, and economic contexts. Nationalism, dogmatism, and universalism all simplify historic narratives by sacrificing context, manipulating experience, drawing borders, normalizing distinctions, and erecting fences between “civilizations,” creating apartheids and interventionist politics. The issues that Said raised about narration remain urgent, offering a self-challenge to pose queries that strip the shroud oﬀ power: Who writes? Why? For whom? And in what circumstances?
In his criticisms, Said did not silence or censor but rather disrupted the order that empires build to legitimize their domination and unsettled their sphere of comfort. Simplification commodifies the self and the other, through lax dehistoricization and social decontextualization, by venerating classic texts and creating simple formulas for mass consumption. Those formulas of domination, a symptom of imperial endeavors, coercively dissipate people’s right to agency and their will to change and re-create their histories as continuous, democratic, and secular processes. The colossal task of reversing power’s erosion of collective memory and simplification of histories and peoples (as “authors” of history) remains the prime duty of both the intellectual and the humanist. Stathis Gourgouris goes as far as to assert that by exposing power, Said’s urgent intellectual legacy is the “resistance to amnesia.”
Secular criticism is not a procedural trait but a permanent mode defined by both property and action. Said’s is a space of considerable loneliness and solitude, a perpetual state of criticism that is interminably in exile.
The Amateur Humanist
Alongside Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Homi Bhabha, Said is widely credited for infusing epistemic purpose and discursive coherence into postcolonial studies. Although Orientalism was its founding text, Said maintained a distance from the label of “postcolonial” and indeed defied it, as he did all categorical identifications that he viewed as theoretically limiting and intellectually confining. By discarding all labels and transcending academic disciplinism, he spoke against professionalism and expertise, encouraging a rebuke of the canonical coziness of specialization. Across his oeuvre runs a counternarrative that contests simplified taxonomies, convenient identification, and the theoretical predictability of dogmatism. This resistance is a condition of the Saidian approach and explains his affinity for and commitment to divergent conceptual modalities, literary traditions, intellectual camps, and philosophical schools, none of which he sought to inhabit or define as a home. By resisting labels, the strict Saidian constantly vacillates between modernism and postmodernism, between Conrad and Mahfouz, Yeats and Darwish, Chomsky and Foucault, Wagner and Umm Kulthum, and between public activism and the meditative and idiomatic abstraction of academia. Said gently carved out a space at the locale of confluence, the realm of the hybrid, and the state of in-betweenness.
Said argued that the critic should separate the work being examined from the personal conviction of its creator. This separation allows one to appreciate, understand, and learn from a person who might disagree with one’s moral, ideological, or personal grounds. He exemplified this commitment when he supported Israeli maestro Daniel Barenboim’s appreciation of Wagner. Moreover, he felt compelled to acknowledge and appreciate style and aesthetics, as he did in his writings on Joseph Conrad and Jane Austen. Said’s appreciation for literature did not extend to romanticizing it, which would have called for denying the political realities of empire at the time of a work’s composition. One of the axioms of what he called his “contemporary reality” was the blurring of distinctions between “pure and political knowledge.” Through this hermeneutics of literature, critics need to place works of fiction in historical context. By extension, they have a duty to express narratives representing subaltern cultures and histories while preserving the ability to critique them as works of literature: he maintained that “no one has ever devised a method for detaching the scholar from .. . his involvement .. . with a class, a set of beliefs, a social position . . . or of being a member of a society.”
Over time, as Said committed his voice in the arena of cultural politics, he gravitated away from the type of professionalism that automatizes and impoverishes criticism. Having pioneered the critique of identity discourses in colonial enterprise generally and its Orientalist variety specifically, Said later decried the tendency of discourse analysis to shun humanism. He described his intellectual stance as a “perpetual state of beginning” that at its core is amateurish—where the intellectual endeavor is “fuelled by care and aﬀection rather than by profit and selfish narrow specialization.” This amateurism is also exilic as it is apart from the professional cults that are exploitable by the establishment. For one whose writings shifted disciplines and inspired others, Said’s relationship to intellectual authority was that of an “unrewarded, amateurish conscience” rather than that of a “professional supplicant.”
Said’s hermeneutic method is dialectical yet holistic in its critique: the aesthetic and the political are not separated but can be viewed both in unison and in contrast. The contrapuntal reading of colonial literature abounds in Said’s work. Achebe asserted that one should not read Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness because it dehumanizes Africans. Although Said agreed with Achebe’s characterization of de-humanization, he argued that a critic can historicize the text only through engagement with it, thereby acknowledging both its intention and its aesthetic.
To Said, the aesthetics of a work can be both contradictory and complementary, allowing the juxtaposition of oppositional narratives. Perhaps Said’s fascination with the European classic musical tradition and the centrality of polyphony and counterpoint in his vernacular informed his humanistic ideals. He used these terms often when discussing political issues, suggesting that harmony is attainable only through a multiplicity of voices or instruments, each group playing diﬀerently yet coming together in an integrated, complex musical composition. Said committed his final years to the West-Eastern Divan, a youth orchestra he founded in 1999 with his friend Israeli-Argentinean composer and pianist Daniel Barenboim. The project brings together young Palestinian, Israeli, and Arab classical musicians to study, rehearse, and perform together. The hope is that the common goal of practicing a composition together and performing in concert will for a moment enable the musicians to transcend the enmity they have developed while growing up in their respective communities. Although Said did not expect the Divan to change political realities or the deeply rooted prejudices in both societies, it remains an oasis of communal contact, a symbol of coexistence, a collaborative eﬀort to experience worldly aesthetics, and a break in the thick walls erected to separate two societies with “over- lapping territories, intertwined histories,” and a common destiny.
Like the Divan, convening seemingly conflicting political and social dimensions emphasizes the indelibility of belonging yet stays true to the credo “never solidarity before criticism.” Despite his commitment to the Palestinian struggle for justice and self-determination, Said paved bridges between intellectuals, artists, and ordinary Jews inside and outside of Israel. Dichotomies of good and bad, black and white, us and them were absent from Said’s lexicon. His ability to bring together opposites and embrace the irreconcilable nuances of experience was a mark of Said’s personal, academic, and political expressions. Yet he did not shy away from leveling damning critiques at sloppy minimizing theses such as Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations,” Francis Fukuyama’s End of History, and Bernard Lewis’s “The Roots of Muslim Rage” and What Went Wrong? His warning about the “seductive degradation of knowledge, of any knowledge, anywhere, at any time” is still resonant today.
Said’s unfinished work is in persuading intellectuals to heed the call to universal humanism by tearing open the canon to allow texts from multiple traditions, cultures, and locales to commune alongside the Western classics. In making the case for this expansion, Said preached a reconciliatory cosmopolitanism that bridges cultural fissures and sutures “civilizational” cleavages. This spirit of coexistence was evident in his eﬀorts to synergize Palestinian and Jewish identities through recognition of common suﬀering and dehumanization. He often said that “Palestinians were the victims of the victims,” suggesting that Jews were best acquainted with and potentially most empathetic to the suﬀering of Palestinians. Despite the numbing monoliths of nationalism, Said’s Palestine symbolized con- fluence and consilience. Thus, humanism was the embodiment of counterpoint—the harmony of the discordant.
Said’s last writings, including On Late Style, increasingly embraced the stylistics of criticism, both implicit and explicit. In these works, his dialogic inventiveness is theoretically unhoused (beyond the descriptors of modernity and poststructuralism). His discussion of Adorno, Mann, Cavafy, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Wagner, and Glenn Gould explains the anachronisms and anomalies of creative aesthetic expression during the twilight of life. Said argues that the conditions of lateness often precipitate stylistic virtuosity, rendering the author an amateur intellectual who interrupts prevailing conventions. He reanimates Vico, Auerbach, Rembrandt, Kierkegaard, Ibn Khaldun, Gramsci, Foucault, Garibaldi, and Verdi to emancipate virtuosity and innovation from their pragmatic confinement—revealing their unconventionality and innovativeness and perhaps embodying the exiled exigencies of Said’s own late style. His final works, published in two posthumous volumes, gravitate between the contradictory goals of resuscitating a modernist humanism and celebrating the intransigence of amateurism—perhaps engendering Said’s unrestrained virtuosity.
From Representation to Emancipation
The purpose of the intellectual’s societal obligation and responsibility is an axiomatic commitment. This view is central to identifying the metatheoretical paradigms that inform the Saidian method. In much of his writings, Said contended with, exposed, and articulated representation as the notion with the most precarious connection to empowerment. In his view, representation could at once advocate for and disenfranchise emancipatory projects. From the core thematic of literary authorship that he explored in Beginnings and the notion of “counterpoint” in his treatises on music, to collective memory in Palestinian life, Said put forth the unequivocal principle that enfranchising emancipation must be coupled with dignifying representation if it is to be fully actualized. For Said, the act of representation is reductive and violent, dismembering and often disempowering the subject of representation. The façade of representation, which appears tranquil, smooth, resolved, and often spectacular—suggesting control and definition—contrasts with the process that produced it. This process infantilizes the subject to the diminutive form and augments the representational image by decontextualizing, dehistoricizing, objectifying, and castrating it. Not only is representation incapable of capturing the cumulative nature of the represented, Said insists “no process of converting experience into expression could be free of contamination.”
A key goal of representation is to ready an expression for the sole purpose of consumption, where it is domesticated and rendered safe for assimilation into the self. Said described such domestication during his upbringing in colonial schools reproduced imperial society’s representation of Arab history and cultural enclaves as inferior to those of the West.
Decrying the earliest examples of representation in his personal life, Said shared in Out of Place his father’s “unforgiving optical grid,” which attempted to project the image of a perfect family in all photographs and videos. The activity of posing for a family photograph became more about performing identity than about capturing reality (the family’s genuine attempt to embody and espouse a European livelihood). He described some of these family photo sessions as “agonizingly long and maddeningly finicky.” In this personal history as well as his critique of Orientalism and mediated/visual depictions of Arabness, Islam, and Palestinians, Said lamented the extent to which representational forms such as photography ignore the immediate and fragment lived experience and the memory of it. For Said, photography was more about omission than inclusion, highlighting very little at the expense of much.
Although Said acknowledged the essentialization inherent in photographic imagery, he also recognized that, despite the amputated nature of this imagery, it provided the only explicit documentation of memory, particularly in the case of the Palestinian experience. The images of his family, as Said attests in After the Last Sky, appropriate family photography as a historical testament, reconstructing Palestine in exile and telling of a Palestinian condition that might otherwise go forgotten. For instance, Said’s revisiting of Nazareth as described and narrated via familial memories and refracted through an intertwined history is a meditation on a now-bifurcated, yet confusingly familiar, half-Arab, half-Jewish town.
Photography became a double-edged sword, with the representative image simultaneously conveying both hegemonic and counterhegemonic messages. The photograph is a site where “representation swallows the native up” and provides an opportunity for her rebirth. After the Last Sky is Said’s exercise of “critical nostalgia,” in which the representation and narration converged to allow recognition of the excluded. Here Said illustrates the infinite fracture of exiled memory. The tragedy of Palestine is the victorious rendering of the invisible over the present, whereby resistance is born out of the mere appearance of the Palestinian.
However, Said’s critique of representation, especially in the context of patriarchal imperial conquest and cultural digestion, did not alter his understanding of representation as essential to social existence. Representation is at once unavoidable and necessary, as are all units of embodiment and expression, with language being the precursor. Yet Said exposed the disenfranchisement of the other that occurs in representation by authoritative power centers. This default system prohibits any intervention by those being represented and contrasts radically with the alternative system of representation that Said advocated: open-ended, collaborative, communal, interactive, egalitarian, refractory, noncoercive, nonhierarchical, and participatory. His idealized conception of representation combined the cultural critique advocated by Stuart Hall with the dissident self-representational qualities of subjects’ participatory action suggested by Fanon and Paulo Freire.
Said leveled his critique at the media and institutions of cultural production by identifying their unparalleled reach, monopolistic domination, and ability to “create” and craft “reality.” These institutions enshrine and uphold a hegemonic media structure, format, and style that systematically commodifies, decontextualizes, and simplifies all forms of discourse. As a result, they sharply curtail the possibilities of interjecting or reversing the flow, to the disadvantage of citizenship, cosmopolitanism, and dignified representation for their subjects. Said is somewhat Chomskyan in his discussion of the disparaging ways in which U.S. news media represent and disenfranchise Muslims, Arabs, and their heritage. He decries the fact that the cult of expertise, the cadres of self-professed authorities, and a small group of opportunist native informants are able to uphold a systematized structure that objectifies entire regions, nations, communities, creeds, and ethnicities beyond mediated remedy. Through the mythology of press freedom and openness, the media further Orientalize the other—notably “colored” peoples or various resistance narratives— by arguing that these have an innate propensity for self-victimization that allows them to exploit the innocent and well-meaning Western media to further their agendas of plight. Beyond the deconstruction of these media discourses and representations, Said saw an urgent need to investigate and expose the “media conglomerates” and institutions that facilitate “pacification, the depoliticization of ordinary life, as well as the encouragement and refinement of consumer appetites.”
Said broke with Adorno, Horkheimer, Althusser, Jameson, and Chomsky by asserting the subvertability of these cultural industries and systems of power domination. Although the military-industrial complex infuses the institutions of mediated production with ideology and purpose, he agreed with Raymond Williams that these metalevel epistemologies are not ontologically fixed and are therefore subject to reconfiguration and dismantling. In a Gramscian sense, Said believed in the potential of humanistic critical analysis and participatory resistance to intervene and transform. He embodied this belief as a vocal critic of the monolithic, myopic, and dehumanizing representation of all forms of Palestinian nationalist expression. By demystifying such authoritarian discourses, Said’s writings on Palestine ruptured the seemingly harmonious, routinized, and reliable repertory on Palestinian-ness, unsettling the dominant paradigm, illuminating the contrapuntal nature of self-representation, and rendering dissent permissible.
This subversive humanist role for alternative media can challenge authority: “We today are abetted by the enormously encouraging democratic field of cyberspace, open to all users in ways undreamt of by earlier generations either of tyrants or of orthodoxies.” He appreciated this in the integral relationship between the global anti-Iraq war protests and alternative information, with the latter serving as an avenue for public exposure.
By deconstructing systems of discursive power, à la Foucault, and then in his work on the West-Eastern Divan and in Palestinian representation work such as After the Last Sky, Said took it upon himself to alter the language of self-embodiment. The subalterity of those inherently disenfranchised from centers of power leaves them meager opportunities for narration. In an act of defiance, Said encouraged narrative discourse on Palestinian identity and became arguably the most influential voice on Palestine through his writings and his ability to inspiration and encouragement of others. His numerous reviews of works by Arab authors and by corrective revisionist thinkers—including Ahdaf Soueif ’s In the Eye of the Sun, Ghada Karmi’s In Search of Fatima, Mourid Barghouti’s I Saw Ramallah, and Joe Sacco’s Palestine—countered the mainstream discourse on Palestine and beyond by calling attention to narratives from the standpoint of the victims.
Hence, Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism served as texts of liberation and emancipation, both of the colonized and the colonial mind-sets. Like Frantz Fanon, who identified with foreigners when he was in Martinique and with the colony when in France, Said’s vociferous critique of both the colonial and the post-colonial marked a departure from the intellectual politics of allegiance. Instead he spent much of his time disentangling and subverting orthodoxies and dogmas, changing the canonical landscape of various academic disciplines along the way and “de-Orienting” Middle Eastern studies.
The language of justice, human rights, and dissent is often hijacked and co-opted by the establishment. Once the language has been coerced and given new meaning, the intellectual is often left powerless, without the lexical arsenal to speak “truth to power.” to refute this practice and regain control of the language, Said sounded the alarm about the ability of power to manufacture collective memory loss through its systematic processes of obfuscation. For him, the continuation and ossification of Orientalist worldviews—from colonial magisterial notes to abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo—were the greatest threats to memory. In a Gramscian sense, the intellectuals of today’s imperial project continue to manufacture consent and identity through abstractions and simplification. In response to an interviewer’s question about U.S. President George W. Bush’s dichotomization of the world, Said asserted, “The fact that anyone can talk in such huge abstractions—‘America’ or ‘Islam’—makes me want to puncture their pomposity.” To restore this memory, he advocated a nuanced critique of the ideological landscape, a ceaseless interrogation of its institutionalizing amnesia, and a disruption of the mechanisms of collective dispossession.
Although his earlier writings were as political as Orientalism and were also the subject of debate and contestation, they did not reach beyond literary criticism circles. However, by the time his trilogy had been published—Orientalism, The Question of Palestine, and Covering Islam—Edward Said had assumed the role of public intellectual and had begun making ripples beyond his disciplinary specialization, drawing comrades and antagonists alike. His sobering deconstruction of Orientalist discourse, the soundness of his argumentation, the meticulously exhaustive rigor of his analysis, and the pervasive longevity of his opinions have occasionally prompted myopic and counterintuitive eﬀorts to render him irrelevant or to discredit the premise of his treatment of Orientalism. As the book etched its place among the iconic canonical texts of critical intellectual writing in the twentieth century, attacks and eﬀorts to demonize Said became more irrational and persistent, seeking to minimize and essentialize him and his ideas.
Said had an acute ability to interpret, assess and explain the perpetual chorus of reproduced, repackaged, and redistributed discourses whose disparagingly Orientalist intonations misrepresented him by decontextualizing his person, his project, and oeuvre. Despite such eﬀorts, more than thirty years since its publication, his landmark work Orientalism remains more relevant than ever. The frequent ad hominem attacks on Said, which continue posthumously and grossly distort his work, justify an eﬀort to situate and historicize him and his oeuvre in the humanistic manner he both employed and emulated. This commitment has become even more important in recent years as some overzealous critics have moved beyond the realm of discourse and attempted to curtail free thought in academia. Suppression has come in the form of self-fulfilling tirades of derisive expressions propagated by pseudo-academic commissars whose eﬀorts have served to suﬀocate nuance and democratic principles.
Nonetheless, Said’s criticism will outlive its most vocal detractors. This volume does not aim to counter these concerted attacks. Rather Said’s methodical resistance to and abhorrence of essentialization are themselves the best counterpoint to the discourses that seek to undermine and misrepresent his work. The universality of the social justice issues to which he was so committed and the sensitivity with which he spoke on politics stand as the greatest indictments of paternalistic thinking, rendering him an intellectual warrior.
All representation aﬀects the ability to achieve emancipation, and every emancipatory project must engage and problematize representation. Said’s exploration of the intellectual reflected a degree of self-examination. For him, intellectualism carried the dual responsibility of championing corrective representation and committing to emancipation. In this regard, Said animated the nomadic qualities of the exiled intellectual, for whom secular criticism evokes the amateurism of humanistic engagement—a necessary precursor to expose the disparaging language of representation and pursue dignified emancipation.
This volume is an attempt to underline the chiasmata in Said’s work and to see beyond the simplistic compartmentalization of his oeuvre so that we may improve our understanding of his project. The purpose is not to insinuate discipleship, evoke uncritical sympathy, or sacrifice nuance in search of accessibility. Rather we hope the essays here will demystify particular aspects of Said’s work and thereby widen the audience for his message. Given that Said was himself an uncompromising critic of orthodoxy, dogmatism, and deification, we have no intention of essentializing or objectifying him; rather we hope that this volume will problematize more so than commemorate his contribution.
This collection of essays oﬀers a broad discussion of Said’s intellectual legacy, viewing it through the prism of the thinkers, critics, writers, and activists who know his work intimately. It expands the analysis of Said beyond disciplinary boundaries, drawing on his own expansive intellectual terrain and influences and seeking to chart the impact of his criticism. The book attempts to define the line of thinking now described as “Saidian.” Just as his work traversed borders and disciplines, the authors in this volume cross boundaries. They are anthropologists, cultural critics, media scholars, feminist theorists, international lawyers, literary critics, and activists. The breadth of the contributions is a testament to Said’s creative capacities and his universal relevance.
The book has three thematic sections, each exploring a trajectory of Said’s oeuvre and its intersections with various currents in his quest to engage and critique representation and emancipation. The first focuses on Said’s engagement with aesthetics and the colony through the prism of representation, from literary and poetic expression to musical composition and performance. The second group of essays examines Said’s poignant observations and meditations on Palestine, Israel, Zionism, and the politics of dispossession. The final essays explore his extensive musings on and embodiment of intellectualism, charting the challenges, conditions, and commitments of the Saidian intellectual at the margins.
During the five years of this book’s development, it has taken us on a journey to many cities for interviews, conferences, and meetings. In an attempt to retrace Said’s footsteps, and to better explore and express the Saidian utterance, we traveled to Jerusalem, New York, London, Paris, Boston, Istanbul, Alexandria, Chicago, and Berlin. The journey commenced in Cairo because no place seemed more suitable to embark than the city he loved so dearly but felt like a stranger in. However, more than half a century after his departure from Cairo, Said’s intellectual footprints are now discernible in downtown literary gatherings. Even Shalaby’s seemingly auto-biographical novel Wekalet Attiya explains his affinity for Said as it mirrors exile in the voice and experiences of its shanty-dwelling protagonist. Shalaby’s anonymous narrator, in his struggle to situate his agency on the margins of multiple locales, identities, and literacies, is a Saidian nomad par excellence—from his dislocation and improvisation to his amateurism and criticism. Ironically, it is in the uncompromising and unresolved underbelly of Cairo—Said’s first site of estrangement in a lifetime of exile—that his intellectual legacy now finds an embracing “home.”
 Khairy Shalaby was born in 1938 to a poor family of Azharites in the governorate of Kafr al-Shaykh in the Egyptian Nile Delta. Having spent much of his early life in Egypt’s most impoverished and disenfranchised communities, he set many of his seventy books—including novels, plays, short stories, historic tales, and critical studies—in the country’s socioeconomic underbelly. Inspired by Yehia Hakki and Naguib Mahfouz, Shalaby is considered by many to be the author of the marginalized. He is at present editor of Poetry and the Library of Popular Studies book series, and he contributes regularly to the literary magazine Weghat Nazar. He was awarded the Egyptian National Prize for Literature in 1980–81.
 Cairo’s graveyards from the Mamluk period are now inhabited by hundreds of thousands of people, mostly rural migrants. These sites are commonly known by Egyptians as arafa, “the cemetery,” and by English speakers as “the city of the dead.”
 Edward Said, Out of Place (New York: Vintage, 1999), 193.
 Edward Said, “Homage to a Belly-dancer: On Tahia Carioca,” in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 346–55.
 Michael Wood, introduction to On Late Style: Music and Literature against the Grain, by Edward
 W. Said (New York: Pantheon Books, 2006), xv, xvi.
 For a discussion of Said’s relationship with his mother, the person to whom he owed his “earliest interest in music,” see the dedication and acknowledgments of Musical Elaborations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), xi; and Michael Wood’s introduction to Said, On Late Style, xv–xvi.
 In Edward Said, After the Last Sky: Palestinian Lives, photographs by Jean Mohr (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 17, Said laments the absence of any contemporary luminaries: “We have no Einsteins, no Chagall, no Freud or Rubenstein to protect us with a legacy of glorious achievements.” During her opening speech of the conference “Counterpoints: Edward Said’s Legacy” in Ottawa, Canada, in November 2008, Nahla Abdo of Carleton University declared, “I am proud to say, ‘we have Edward Said.’ ”
 Said, Out of Place, 234.
 Tony Judt, “The Rootless Cosmopolitan,” Nation, 19 July 2004, 5.
 In astronomy, the apogee is the point in the orbit of an object around the Earth that is at the greatest distance from the center of the earth. The term also describes the farthest or highest point in a civilization’s developmental history.
 Quoted by Said in Reflections on Exile, 185.
 Said discusses apogee as a mark of peak creative virtuosity, a farthest point from convention, in “Heroism and Humanism,” Al-Ahram Weekly, 6–12 January 2000, no. 463, http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/ 2000/463/op10.htm (accessed 22 October 2009).
 For Said, the limits of theory lay in its inability to accommodate “the essential untidiness, the essential unmasterable presence that constitutes a large part of historical and social situations”; in Ed- ward W. Said, “traveling Theory,” in The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 241. His use of the term untidy suggests an intentionally reflexive and critically rigorous yet seemingly discordant theoretical framework based in humanist humility. A characteristic of all knowledge systems, untidiness became a self-proclaimed method for Said. See Victor Li, “Edward Said’s Untidiness,” Postcolonial Text 1, no. 1 (2004).
 In “Reflections on Exile,” Said speaks of the exile’s eccentricity and orphanhood as a source of intransigence: “Clutching diﬀerence like a weapon to be used with stiﬀened will, the exile jealously insists on his or her right to refuse to belong”; in Said, Reflections on Exile, 182.
 See Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, trans. Brian Massumi (New York: Continuum, 1987).
 For Said’s view of his nomadism, see Reflections on Exile, 186. Abdirahman A. Hussein describes this state as “strategic nomadism” and “nomadic eclecticism” in Edward Said: Criticism and Society (New York: Verso, 2004), 48. See also Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage, 1998), 331–32.
 Nomadism was a source of critical interrogation that spanned much of Said’s oeuvre, from his critique of colonial discourses in Orientalism to his keynote address on the power politics of scholarly discipleship at the American Anthropological Association conference in 1988; originally published in Critical Inquiry 15 (Winter 1988), reprinted in Reflections on Exile, 293–316. The nomadism of Palestinian dispossession becomes methodological when it unsettles the political impasses produced by dubious peace initiatives, as Said described in The Politics of Dispossession: The Struggle for Palestinian Self-Determination, 1969–1994 (New York: Vintage, 1995).
 Jennifer Wicke and Michael Sprinker, “Criticism and the Art of Politics,” in Power, Politics and Culture: Interviews with Edward W. Said, ed. Gauri Viswanathan (New York: Vintage, 2002), 162.
 Said, World,Text, and Critic, 23.
 Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures (New York: Vintage, 1996), 53.
 Terry Eagleton also describes Said’s intellectualism as “Judaic style”; see his “The Last Jewish Intellectual,” New Statesman, 29 March 2004, 48–49.
 Ari Shavit, “My Right of Return: An Interview with Edward Said,” Ha’aretz, 18 August 2000, reprinted in Power, Politics and Culture, 458.
 Said, “Reflections on Exile,” 185.
 Shavit, “My Right of Return,” 458. For a more extensive treatment of this quote, see Marc Ellis’s essay in chapter 21 of this volume, in which he argues that the establishment of the state of Israel suggests a “return,” a symbolic yet paradoxical end to the idea of Jewish exile.
 See Adel Iskandar’s interview with Noam Chomsky in chapter 22 of this volume.
 Said, Reflections on Exile, 184.
 Terry Eagleton describes Said’s preoccupation in “The Last Jewish Intellectual,” 8. Quote from Said, Representations of the Intellectual, 32. See also Joan Smith, “Cultures Aren’t Watertight: Interview with Edward W. Said,” Guardian, 10 December 2001.
 Said, Reflections on Exile, 176.
 Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life (New York: Verso, 2006), 39.
 Said, After the Last Sky, 150.
 Edward Said: The Last Interview.
 Said, Reflections on Exile, 174.
 Ibid, 170.
 10 December 2001.
 Said, World, Text, and Critic, 29. For an extensive treatment of the term secular in Said’s work, see Anidjar’s “Secularism,” 52–77.
 From Hopkins’s 1877 poem “Pied Beauty.” Quoted in Edward Said: The Last Interview, Extended Version, DVD, directed by Mike Dibb (London: ICA Projects, 2004).
 For Said, human agency was at the core of the humanistic exercise. In “Heroism and Humanism,” he defines humanism as “disclosure, it is agency, it is immersing oneself in the element of history, it is recovering rationality from the turbulent actualities of human life, and then submitting them painstakingly to the rational processes of judgement and criticism” (Al-Ahram Weekly, 6–12 January 2000). See also his preface to the 2003 edition of Orientalism (London: Penguin), xvii, xxii. On the distinction between beginnings and origins, see Said’s Beginnings: Intention and Method (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), xvii, 32, 316.
 Quoted in Yan Hairong, ‘Position without Identity: An Interview with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak,’ Position 15, no. 2:439. While supporting self-determination of the Palestinian people irrespective of outcome, Said expressed a personal distance from the idea of a Palestinian state. He acknowledged that exile had become too deeply entrenched in him to warrant any consideration of his return, yet he disavowed any notion of nationalist purity or essentialization (Said, “Literary Theory at the Crossroads of Public Life,” interviewed by Imre Salusinszky, in Power, Politics, and Culture, 71.
 Aamir R. Mufti, “Auerbach in Istanbul: Edward Said, Secular Criticism, and the Question of Minority Culture” in Edward Said and the Work of the Critic: Speaking Truth to Power, ed. Paul A. Bové (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000), 244.
 Said, Beginnings, 19.
 Said, “Opponents, Audiences, Constituencies, and Community,” in Reflections on Exile, 118.
 Edward Said, Humanism and Democratic Criticism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 28.
 While credited with initiating postcolonial theory, Said distanced himself from the term and discipline, applying his criticism of it as a systematic theory, expressing what Terry Eagleton described as “increasing impatience” with postcolonialism. Eagleton “In the Gaudy Supermarket,” review of A Critique of Post-Colonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present, by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, London Review of Books 13, no. 10, May 1999. See also Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-colonial Literatures (New York: Routledge, 2002), 198.
 Stathis Gourgouris, “Orientalism and the Open Horizon of Secular Criticism,” Social Text 24, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 18–19.
 Said, Representations of the Intellectual, 77.
 See Said’s “Barenboim and the Wagner taboo,” in Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 16–22 August 2001, no. 547, reprinted in his Music at the Limits (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008). On 7 July 2001, in a Jerusalem concert of the Berlin Staatskapelle orchestra, Barenboim broke the taboo against performing Wagner in Israel by leading his musicians in an encore performance of the overture to Tris- tan und Isolde.
 For extensive treatments on Conrad and Austen, see Edward Said, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007) and Said’s chapter “Jane Austen and Empire” in Culture and Imperialism, 80–96.
 Said, Orientalism (1978; repr. New York: Penguin Books, 2003), 9.
 Ibid., 10.
 Said, Humanism and Democratic Criticism, 70.
 Said, Representations of the Intellectual, 82.
 Ibid., 83.
 Chinua Achebe, “An Image of Africa,” Massachusetts Review 18, no. 4 (Winter 1977): 782–94.
 Said, Culture and Imperialism, 76.
 The West-Eastern Divan is the subject of a 2005 Arte film titled Knowledge Is the Beginning. The film shows Said as the interlocutor in various seminars for the Arab and Palestinian musicians. He also spends much of the practice and rehearsal time in quiet observation and contemplation. In one conversation with Barenboim, Said says, “When I saw them [the Divan participants], they all came from diﬀerent backgrounds .. . Christian, Muslims, higher class .. . When they are playing, their identities are irrelevant.” Said noted music’s ability to fracture and overcome political impasses, albeit briefly. During sessions in Weimar, where Said led the nightly discussions, he spoke to the Divan participants about their experiential politics until Barenboim looked at him, then at cellist Yo Yo Ma, and declared, “Shall we play?” Here Said expresses music’s unique ability to interrupt the status quo, making it “a bit subversive, even when it seems harmless.” For a more extensive treatment of the Divan, see Hakem Rustom’s interview with Daniel Barenboim in chapter 13 of this volume.
 Said, Culture and Imperialism, 61.
 Said, Representations of the Intellectual, 32; and Smith, “Cultures Aren’t Watertight.”
 For a critique of Huntington, see Edward Said: The Myth of the “Clash of Civilizations,” DVD, directed by Sut Jhully (Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation, 1998); Said’s “Adrift in Simi- larity,” Al-Ahram Weekly, 11–17 October 2001, no. 555; and Said, “The Clash of Definitions,” in Reflections on Exile, 569–90.
 Said, Orientalism, 328.
 Said, Humanism and Democratic Criticism, 23, 26, 52–55.
 Said, “A State, Yes, But Not Just for Palestinians,” interviewed by Eric Black, in Viswanathan, Power, Politics and Culture, 436. See also Edward Said and Christopher Hitchens, Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question (New York: Verso, 2001).
 Said, On Late Style, 133.
 See Lecia Rosenthal’s essay in chapter 27 of this volume, where she reluctantly ventures to situate Said’s late style.
 See Said’s posthumously published volumes Humanism and Democratic Criticism and On Late Style. In chapter 27 of this volume, Lecia Rosenthal grapples with the tension between Said’s elaboration of late style’s “newness” and his resuscitation of a foregone humanism. Others have remarked that Said’s founding of the West-Eastern Divan with Daniel Barenboim appeared to be an expression of his own late style. Indeed if one sees the Divan as an ontologically contrapuntal endeavor and an embodiment of persistent exile, secularity, criticism, counterpoint, and humanism, one can consider it a performance of Said’s lateness.
 Said, Orientalism, 272–74. Here Said borrows Roland Barthes’ view of language as a deformation to explain the fragmented, disjointed nature of representations.
 Said, Humanism and Democratic Criticism, 49.
 Said, Out of Place, 76.
 Ibid, 148.
 See Said and Mohr, After the Last Sky, xi.
 Ibid, ix, 78, 88.
 See W. J. t. Mitchell, “The Panic of the Visual: A Conversation with Edward Said,” in Bové, Ed- ward Said and the Work of the Critic, 31–50.
 Michael Wood, in “Theories of Invisibility: Orientalism and the Question of Palestine,” his presentation at the Columbia University November 2008 conference “Orientalism from the Standpoint of its Victims—An Edward Said Conference,” proposed that Said was himself an invisible man, repeatedly noting the lack of representation through his assertion, “We [the Palestinians] are there.” Wood argues that empire’s obfuscation of the native, as in Australia and Palestine, produces a displacement without dislocation or the possibility of relocation. “In what world is it possible to go to war against an invisible people?” He suggests that Palestinians who were not dispossessed nor deterritorialized in 1948, 1967, and later are instead subjected to the invisibility of psychic diaspora. As internal “migrants,” their presence is terminable, their livelihood revocable, their Israeli citizenship retractable, and their memory eras- able. Their existence/invisibility is meant to silence their collective identity and extinguish their nationalist aspirations.
 In addition to examining identity, representation, and the colony, Said and Stuart Hall often converged in their critique of the Foucauldian approach for failing to recognize the liberational claims of poststructuralism. See Jeﬀ Lewis, Cultural Studies: The Basics (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2008) 174– 76, 429. Said shared his interest in the confluence of dissident self-representational and hybrid ideas with Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. Both embraced the importance of counterpoint. Fanon’s emphasis on emancipatory action sets another trajectory for collective representation.
 See Edward Said, Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World (New York: Vintage, 1997), 36–68, for Said’s critique of the cult of expertise and the manner in which mediated representation manufactures and cultivates monolithic identities of the “other.”
On this topic, Said is theoretically aligned with the writings of Stuart Hall and the Birmingham School of critical cultural studies; he also sheds some light on Chomsky’s propaganda model.
 Gary Hentzi and Anne McClintock, “Overlapping territories: The World, the text and the Critic,”
 Critical Text, reprinted in Viswanathan, Power, Politics and Culture, 63.
 Said affirms Williams’s claim that one can “unlearn” the “inherent dominative mode”; Raymond Williams, Culture and Society: 1780–1950 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1958), 376.
 Although Said’s contribution to the literature on Palestine is both colossal and indispensable, two notable volumes are The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage, 1992) and Peace and Its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process (New York: Vintage, 1996).
 Said, preface to Orientalism, xxii.
 Joe Sacco and Edward Said, Palestine (Maple Leaf, WA: Fantagraphics Books, 2002). Said’s introduction to this vivid comic book points to the dissidence of the genre and describes the “terrifying accuracy” and “gentleness” of Sacco’s artistic representation, both experiential and fictive, of the underdogs who inhabit the fringes. See also Said and Hitchens, Blaming the Victims.
 See Mathieu Courville, “Genealogies of Postcolonialism: A Slight Return from Said and Foucault back to Fanon and Sartre,” Studies in Religion 36 no. 2:215–40.
 Hussein, Edward Said: Criticism and Society, 34.
 Smith, “Cultures Aren’t Watertight.”
 This became the topic of a plenary at the 2008 Middle Eastern Studies Association convention, which charted Orientalism’s lasting influence on the thirtieth anniversary of its publication.
 Attempts to restrict the circulation of Said’s writings within the academy, campaigns to undermine conferences and events in his name, and eﬀorts to discredit his supporters abound—from congressional hearings on Title VI funding where both his person and scholarship were admonished to eﬀorts to undermine a mural commemorating Said at San Francisco State University. Nonetheless, Said’s impact within the academy is significant and far-reaching, evidenced by the tens of conferences and memorial lectures worldwide dedicated to his intellectual legacy—including events in Istanbul, Cairo, London, New York, Ottawa, Toronto, Berlin, and Paris. For a discussion of the attacks on Said, see Mathieu Courville, “ ‘Ivory towers’ or tower of Babel? A Critical Reading of Martin Kramer,” Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies 15, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 187–99; Stathis Gourgouris, “Orientalism and the Open Horizon of Secular Criticism,” Social Text 24, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 11–20; and Matthew Abraham, “Introduction: Edward Said and After: toward a New Humanism,” special issue, Cultural Critique 67 (Fall 2007): 3, 4.
 One would be hard pressed to find an intellectual in the past century whose memory alone is a source of such heated controversy. Said’s memorialization and representation have drawn the enthusiasm of some and the ire of others, even more so than that of his late contemporaries Foucault and Derrida.
Khairy Shalaby’s 1992 novel Wekalet Attiya, which won the 2003 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, was translated into English by Farouk Abdel Wahab and published as The Lodging House (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2007).