A Journey of Ideas Across: In Dialog with Edward Said
An online publication by Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 2014
Conceptualized and edited by Adania Shibli
In 2001, two years prior to his death, Edward W. Said wrote, commenting on online publishing, “All of us should therefore operate today with some notion of very probably reaching much larger audiences than any we could have conceived of a decade ago.… This is not simply a matter of optimism of the will; it is in the very nature of writing today.” In the spirit of such comment, the multimedia online-publication A Journey of Ideas Across: In Dialog with Edward Said, with its e-book companion, traces the relevance of Said’s ideas today, as they continue to journey and inspire new links between different audiences and cultures with various political, social, and economic concerns, and new modes of intellectual and artistic interventions.
The online publication draws on the interdisciplinary symposium with the same name (31.10.–2.11.2013, at HKW in Berlin), as it makes the inspiring contributions to the latter, along with new contributions, available to a worldwide public. The project comprises six chapters with themes that extend from contemplating Said’s legacy in the present, to shifts in some of the main concepts he treated (e.g. imperialism and Orientalism); the ways in which dichotomies could be undermined; possible forms of resistance to external as well as internal colonialisms; the significance of Said’s concepts outside academia, and the anti-narrative vigor epitomized by “late style.” Contributions to these chapters by actors from different fields and areas make full use of the opportunities offered by the Internet. In so doing, this project paves the way for far-reaching forms of interaction and novel modes of engagement with Said’s work—from Orientalism (1978) to On Late Style (published posthumously, 2006). Furthermore, the project introduces new approaches to interdisciplinarity and criticality that could not be imagined without the use of an online medium. By means of its form, this medium actively subverts spatial divides (e.g. Orient/Occident, or East/West). In their place, it permits cultural crossings, and bridges distances and gaps through critical thinking and knowledge, imagination, compassion, and generosity. The inclusion of non-discursive, artistic, visual, and musical elements, alongside academic and non-academic discursive ones, especially, confirms such venture. At the same time, such uncharted modes of engagement with and interpretation of Said’s work, are reminiscent of “late style”—the non-conventional energy that Said himself sought toward the end of his life, and which manifests a departure from linear and classical modes of thinking and production.
With contributions by Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Meltem Ahıska, Ahl al-Kahf, Mohammad al-Attar, Akeel Bilgrami, Boris Buden, Edward Said National Conservatory of Music—Birzeit University Palestine, Burnt Friedman & Saam Schlamminger, Johannes S. Ismaeil-Wendt, Abdelfattah Kilito, Mahmood Mamdani, Samia Mehrez, W. J. T. Mitchell, Prabhat Patnaik, James Quandt, Joe Sacco, Edward W. Said, Bernd M. Scherer, Adania Shibli, Fawwaz Traboulsi, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Michael Wood, and Feridun Zaimoğlu.
Design: NODE Berlin Oslo