This important study looks at Orientalism from an unprecedented angle: It deals with the views of Edward Said and other contemporary thinkers criticizing the West’s approach to the East, and reveals the observations of Ottoman-Turkish intellectuals on this issue since the late 19th century. Europe Knows Nothing About the Orient is a valuable work that fills the void concerning the answers to Orientalism provided by the Orient itself.
-Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University, Department of History
Europe Knows Nothing About the Orient is a crucial book, gathered with Zeynep Çelik’s expert view and knowledge, with an introductory article that will guide future generations. Çelik’s work shows that the late Ottomans had a down-to-earth, intellectual, cosmopolitan world, that they participated in “modernity projects,” and that they evaluated the assumptions of European scientists about the “Orient” with a sharp critical eye. Thus, this work not only opposes the 19th century Orientalist theorists, but also shakes the views of some 21st century thinkers who place the theoretical salvation of the Orient in the universe of Euro-American intellectual thought.
-Jerrilynn Dodds, Harlequin Adair Dammann Chair in Islamic Studies, Sarah Lawrence College
Europe Knows Nothing About the Orient compiles the criticisms of the angry Ottoman and Turkish intellectuals on Orientalism, and in her introduction, Zeynep Çelik skillfully introduces the texts she selected for the book. Çelik’s work is essential to understanding the Ottoman Empire and the modernization of the Middle East.
Since Edward Said’s groundbreaking work identified Orientalism as one of the key techniques of imperialism, little work has been done to address the expressions of local resistance. The quotations accompanying Zeynep Çelik’s comprehensive introduction voice the dreams of empire and nationalism in addition to the criticisms of Orientalism. These texts offer a fascinating reading demonstrating how rich and vibrant intellectual debates against the cultural domination of the West were during the late Ottoman Empire and the early Republic of Turkey. Europe Knows Nothing About the Orient will contribute to Orientalism studies and will be an important resource book for researchers and educators working in this field.
-Selim Kuru, Chair, Associate Professor, Director of Turkish and Ottoman Studies Program, University of Washington