Said’s remarkable work Orientalism cleared a certain ground and set a challenge. It cleared the ground by exposing the prejudices that come from the intellectual and civilisational surround of power, colonial power; and it set a challenge to us to construct an alternative lens for understanding the civilisations distant from the metropole. But to meet this challenge, one has to have a sense of what the intellectual surround of the metropole looks like from the perspective of the civilisations distant from the metropole, from – to use a current word — the ‘South’. This lecture makes an attempt to do so and then to take some very preliminary steps towards constructing an alternative philosophical framework for a politics of our time.
This lecture was given at the Edward Said Memorial Conference, which focused on Edward Said’s legacy and paid tribute to the 10th anniversary of his passing. Each day of the conference featured renowned speakers and established academics on Edward Said’s work. Major attention was paid to cultural activities that resounded with Said’s vision in combining scholarship with the Arts so as to support the quest for justice, self-determination and equality.