Edward Said’s groundbreaking critique of the West’s historical, cultural, and political perceptions of the East traces the origins of “orientalism” to the centuries-long period during which Europe dominated the Middle and Near East and, from its position of power, defined “the orient” simply as “other than” the occident. Said describes how this entrenched view continues to dominate western ideas and, because it does not allow the East to represent itself, prevents true understanding.