Herodotus, First Orientalist ?

Edward Saïd’s critique of orientalism is sore and irritating. The target is transparent : Imperialist Europe, its historical roots and its modern days after-effects. The objective is clear : understanding the past to affect the present. Saïd’s voice is clearly political. But how far should this past go? When did the process start? If we follow the main trends of western intellectual traditions, we find Herodotus as the first historian. More than a recording writer, he himself, in person, visited numbers of countries. His profile was strangely similar to that of his French, British and American colleagues of the 18th to 21st centuries. Was Herodotus the first Orientalist ?

Herodotus, First Orientalist ?
Part 1.1 Part 1.2
Orientalism : The Theory Orientalism : Influences
Part 1.3 Part 2.1
Orientalism : Resistances Ancient Greece and the Barbaros
Part 2.2.1 Part 2.2.2
An Account of Egypt
Where is the Orientalist Hiding ?
On the Neutrality of the Historian
Part 2.2.3 Conclusion
Herodotus, or the Contagion of Foreignness Becoming Foreigner
Two Frenchmen in the Orient

Nearly fifty months in India and I am now acquainted and almost comfortable with my anxious passivity in front of the blank page. I can write on virtually everything, except for the very things I have been living. I could do with a reference. I could do with a template. I could do with a prototype of the traveler turned writer. Somewhere between Parkala and Manipal, I came across Flaubert.

Introduction Part 1
Two Frenchmen in the Orient The Writing Traveler
Part 2 Part 3
Imagining the Locals On the Aesthetics of Despair
An Ethics of Love

With Levinas, the philosopher becomes a weaver, the inceptive energy that slowly disappears behind a thread, a textile, a text that takes form through the very act of weaving, and not in response to a pre-planned mental scenario. The reader expecting an erudite, ‘neutral’ of theoretical demonstration giving its due to a pantheon of other philosophical authorities, would thus face some disappointment upon reading this essay. The audience only eager to hear what is nothing but a story may enjoy it slightly more.

An Ethics of Love
Part 1.1 Part 1.2
Others and the Loved Other The Escape
Part 1.3 Part 1.4
Epistemological Escape Ontological Escape
Part 2 Part 3
Love and Time Separation, Death and Remaining the Other
Overture Annex
An Ethics of Love – Overture An Ethics of Love – Annex
Justifying Corruption

Because corruption plays a role in the larger life of a society, and a central one, it has its legitimacy. Condemnable or not, corruption can not so easily be erased from the map. If it has survived through so many centuries, in so many forms and in all societies, corruption must represent a necessity, it must answer to a set of needs that human societies have developed. Instead of echoing always the same condemning stances, it is time for philosophy to look at corruption. It is time that it faces this practice so central in human societies, to try, at least for a start, to discuss its name and its nature, and, perhaps to finally suggest a model to explain why it is so necessary, and why all other alternatives never truly succeeded.

Justifying Corruption
Part 1 Part 2
The Socio-Capitalist Cocktail Bureaucracy and the Race for Information
Part 3 Conclusion
The Competition of Pluralities Necessities and Structures of Corruption
The Language of Foreignness

Packing her suitcase, the traveler wonders how she will manage in the first days, with no help, no mastery over the language. The language gap appears as the first – and in some cases the final – hurdle that would force the foreigner to remain, at best, at the very edge of her new society. A foreigner would be foreigner first with regards to language. And in turn, the discussion of foreignness can only be made more satisfactory if its language, its method, too become somehow nomadic, hoping to see emerging the just expression of one’s experience between the settled lines of stable language and arguments.

Introduction Part 1.1
The Language of Foreignness Defining the Foreigner : Existential Migration
Part 1.2.1 Part 1.2.2
Heidegger : The Unheimlich Merleau-Ponty : Parole and Pensée
Part 1.2.3 Part 2.1
Derrida : The Supplement The Humor of a Foreigner
Part 2.2 Part 2.3
Writing in a Foreign Language When Foreign Becomes Home
Part 2.4 Conclusion
On the Ethics of Not Understanding Language, Foreignness and Philosophy