Knowledge Is Power

Edward Said on how building a more subtle knowledge of the United States and its aims would benefit the Middle East. "The Other America" (Al-Ahram Weekly, March 20-26, 2003):

[A]part from a few courses and seminars on American literature and politics scattered throughout the universities of the Arab world, there has never been anything like an academic centre for the systematic and scientific analysis of America, its people, society, and history, at all. Not even in American institutions like the American Universities of Cairo and Beirut. This lack may also be true throughout the Third World, and maybe even in some European countries. The point I am making is that to live in a world that is held in the grip of an extraordinarily unbound great power there is a vital need for knowing as much about its swirling dynamics as is humanly possible. . . . the danger of thinking about America too simply or reductively and statically is so obvious. . . .

My interest is simply to suggest ways of understanding, intervening in, and if the word isn't too inappropriate, resisting a country that is far from the monolith it is usually taken to be, specially in the Arab and Muslim worlds.