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’s Discourse


sensible alternative for anyone in a similar position. Rather, he

merely faults Said for relying on the “master’s toolbox,” including

his [


] language, tradition and culture. However, to abandon the

tools of the Western tradition is to abandon all hope of trying to

critique that same tradition. It is no coincidence that Said often cites

C. L. R. James whose monumental work

The Black Jacobins


the story of Toussaint L’Ouverture, a former slave, who was

inspired by the tricolor of the French Revolution to lead the most

successful antislavery revolt in history (Said, 1993, 1994b). Not

unlike Toussaint, neither James nor Said could have achieved what

they have without being privy to the body of thought that came out

of Western Europe and the Enlightenment.

According to Timothy Brennan, when viewed in “its proper

time and place,”


’s “central construct” is not so much

discourse but rather “institution” (2000: 582). In other words,

Said’s point is the inescapable fact of dominance in the act

of amassing information on an area whose coherence is

predicated on an internal, or domestically defined, set of

attitudes. The outlook is itself inseparable from the pursuit

of policies of expansion, forcible inclusion, and

appropriation. (582)

Therefore, to equate, à la Clifford, Said’s critique of Orientalism

with the practice of Occidentalism (whose practitioners are never

identified) is not only wrongheaded but fails to grasp the

oppositional nature of Said’s project, including his attempt to

redress the West’s distorted image of the other.

Likewise, Young’s analysis contains similar distortions,

including his claim that Said neglects to separate “himself from the

coercive structures of knowledge that he is describing.” In other

words, he is unable to avoid “the terms of his own critique” (1990:


As a result, his “account will be no truer to Orientalism than

Orientalism is to the actual Orient, assuming there could ever be

such a thing” (167). However, the problem with Young is that like

Clifford he completely fails to see the oppositional nature of Said’s