chapter
Introduction
BySusannah Heschel, Umar Ryad
Pages 13

Since Edward Said, the study of Orientalism has been treated too often as a tool of European imperial interests, a scholarly handmaiden to colonial powers whose goal was Europe’s conquest, domination, and exploitation of the East and the South. While this was a necessary political and epistemological intervention exposing hegemonic discursive formations, the result has obscured interactive terrains and interplays that are set to complicate our understanding of Orientalism and its contribution to and emergence from both European and Eastern scholarly traditions. Our essays contend that Orientalism – and specifically, the academic study of Islam – was not simply the product of European scholars, but a joint enterprise that engaged Muslim, Christian, and Jewish scholars, from Western and Eastern Europe and the broader East: from North Africa through the Levant, Iran, India, Russia, and China.