Edward Said and contrapuntal reading: Implications for critical interventions in international relations

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Notwithstanding the prominence accorded to Edward Said in the fields of history, anthropology, cultural studies, literary criticism, women's studies, and other disciplines, he remains a rather neglected figure in the field of international relations (IR) with the notable exception of postcolonial and some critical scholarship. This article seeks to attend to this neglect and highlights the work of Edward Said and its implications for the field of IR. I discuss two overlapping categories in the work of Edward Said that have implications for interrogating received knowledge in IR - Culture, Identity and Representation, and Nation and Memory. The essay concludes with Said's discussion of intellectual responsibility and what it means for scholars in the field of IR. The concepts of contrapuntality and fugue, which Said borrows from Western classical music, weave through his arguments and are central to his unique articulation and development of the categories listed above. Arguably, a contrapuntal analysis has significant implications for 'responsible scholarship' and teaching in IR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-116
Number of pages16
JournalMillennium: Journal of International Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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