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:: Volume 8, Issue 21 (9-2021) ::
jls 2021, 8(21): 95-117 Back to browse issues page
Investigating the extent of the applicability of Foucault’s “discourse” theory in orientalism, relying on different approaches of contemporaneous orientalists, Curzon and Brown, in their representations of Iran
Azam Rezaei1, Kamran Ahmadgoli *1
1- Kharazmi University
Abstract:   (376 Views)
Foucault’s discourse theory implies that man is not the origin of a discourse since he is not considered to be a creature of will and decision, but a mere "subject" whose identity, profession and position in the society are formed by different discourses and the power relations and rules of those discourses. In Edward Said’s view, Orientalism is a discourse with colonizing imperatives under the dictates of which and in accordance with its rules, power relations and colonizing purpose, orientalists present a superficial, stereotypical and distorted picture of the Orient. Edward Brown and George Nathaniel Curzon are contemporaneous orientalists who have common grounds in some important aspects of life. Hence, it is expected that both be under the influence of the dominant imperialist discourse of the Victorian age and write in line with its colonizing purpose. However, this expectation is not realized about Brown. He is diametrically opposed to Curzon and criticizes his bestial policies toward Iran. Rare orientalists like Brown, who live in the heart of the dominant discourse but are not affected by it and even go against it, pose a big challenge to the definition of Orientalism as merely a discourse. The present study is an attempt to evaluate Said’s reliance on Foucault’s discourse theory and its efficacy in his definition and analysis of Orientalism as a discourse by presenting the biographies of these two Iranologists and the reasons why they took completely different approaches to Iran in their travelogues and other writings. This evaluation shows that it is impossible to analyze the activities and writings of those orientalists like Brown, who defend Iranians' rights humanistically and benevolently, based on Foucault's discourse theory which belongs to Nietzsche's anti-humanistic tradition.
Keywords: Foucault, discourse, Said, Orientalism, Curzon, Brown, biography, travelogue, representation, Iran
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Rezaei A, Ahmadgoli K. Investigating the extent of the applicability of Foucault’s “discourse” theory in orientalism, relying on different approaches of contemporaneous orientalists, Curzon and Brown, in their representations of Iran. jls. 2021; 8 (21) :95-117
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