Edward Said - The Myth of 'the Clash of Civilizations'

By: Prof. Dr. Edward Said


Read the full lecture by Edward Said Professor, Columbia University and author of Orientalism

Edward Said, "The Myth of the Clash of Civilizations" 1

In this important lecture delivered at the University of Massachusetts, Said takes aim at one of the central tenets of recent foreign policy thinking-- that conflicts between different and "clashing civilizations" (Western, Islamic, Confucian) characterize the contemporary world.

"The real question is whether in the end we want to work for civilizations that are separate, or whether we should be taking the more integrative, but perhaps more difficult path, which is to see them as making one vast whole, whose exact contours are impossible for any person to grasp, but whose certain existence we can intuit and feel and study." -Edward Said

Sections: Intro | What are the Commonalities That Can Unite Us? | Is "Difference" something We Should Try and Avoid? | How Do We Combat Ideas Such as the "Clash of Civilizations?" | How do These Ideals of Coexistence Relate to the Question of Palestine?

Edward Said

Edward Wadie Said was a well-known Palestinian American literary theorist, critic, and outspoken pro-Palestinian activist. According to Columbia News (Columbia University, where Said spent most of his career), the author of Orientalism was "one of the most influential scholars in the world."

Filmmaker Info

Executive Producer, Director: Sut Jhally

Editor: Sanjay Talreja

Camera and Sound: Steven MacCarthy

Post-Production Sound: Thom Monahan

Production Assistants: Jason Fields, Magnolia Laurie, Kim Neumann, Nadja Schmeil, Jeremy Smith

Press Reviews

Anthropology Review Database

Praise for the Film

"No one studying the relations between the metropolitan west and the decolonizing world can ignore Said's work."

- The New York Times Book Review

"...A devastating, and culturally informed, critique of Samuel Huntington's 'clash of civilizations' model."

- Jack David Eller | Anthropology Review Database