Counterpoints: Edward Said’s Legacy
Editor: May Telmissany and Stephanie Tara Schwartz
Date Of Publication: May 2010
Revolving around the theme of “counterpoint” extensively used by Edward Said as the interplay of diverse ideas and discrepant experiences, this book aims to explore Said’s contribution to the fields of comparative literature, literary criticism, postcolonial theory, exilic and transnational studies, and socio-political thought among many others. Overshadowed by his legitimate political positions in support to the Palestinian cause and at odds with Islamophobic hostilities, Said’s intellectual achievements in the fields of humanities and philosophical thinking should equally be acknowledged and celebrated.
Said articulates his notion of counterpoints through a vivid description of the composition of Western classical music. In the counterpoint of Western classical music, various themes play off one another, with only a provisional privilege being given to any particular one; yet in the resulting polyphony there is concert and order, an organized interplay that derives from the themes, not from a rigorous melodic or formal principle outside the work. This book pays tribute to Said’s contrapuntal methodology as well as to his academic and humanistic legacy.
May Telmissany is Assistant Professor of Cinema and Arabic Studies at the University of Ottawa. Her publications include an authored volume in Arabic on the documentary filmmaker Fouad El Tohamy, as well as co-edited/co-authored books in French on the cosmopolitan neighbourhood of Heliopolis, and the history of public bathhouses in Cairo. An English translation of her book The Last Hammams of Cairo was published by the American University in Cairo Press in 2009. Her current research project is titled Reel Good Arabs: The Arab filmmakers of the Diaspora. May Telmissany is also a confirmed Egyptian-Canadian novelist. The French version of her novel Dunyazad (Actes-Sud, Paris) was awarded the Ulysses Prize for Best first novel in 2002 in France and the State Prize for autobiographical novel in Cairo the same year.
Stephanie Tara Schwartz is a Doctoral Student and Lecturer in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, and Research Assistant at the Centre for Voluntary Sector Studies at Ryerson University. She was the recipient of a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2008–2010) for her project entitled “Double Diaspora in the Literature and Film of Arab Jews.” Her work on the concept of double diaspora in the writings of Sami Michael and Naim Kattan is published in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
“Edward Said stood on the shoulders of many giants and looked beyond, and now former students, scholars and admirers are doing the same, taking intellectual risks and building on what he has given us. That is exactly what he would have wished.”
“Written at the intersection of diverse forms of what Said himself called ‘adversarial scholarship,’ Said’s work further consolidated what came to be the burgeoning fields of multicultural and postcolonial studies.”
—Ella Shohat, New York University
“The difference between Said and Foucault always lay in Said’s concern with worldliness. The rejection of Enlightenment humanism ran counter to Said’s concern for the human world and to his desire to generate a theory of community. It is in communities that individuals gain their most resonant material existence; it is within communities that political life is generated and it is in communities that ways to change societies and power structures are developed.”
—Bill Ashcroft, University of New South Wales
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Sample pdf (including Table of Contents)