Orientalism is a theory of knowledge rooting from the earliest contacts of European travelers with the people outside of Europe. To the many that have studied the foreign lands and their people, Orientalism has become a science. It is a discourse of knowledge of what the Orient is represented to be in the European mindset. Orientalism and its troubles are best explained by a contemporary Arabic Christian author Edward W. Said.
Sometimes it's difficult to understand and it is often easy to misinterpret what exactly Orientalism stands for. It is not a mere study of what the Orient is about. Early orientalists dealt with the knowledge of the Orient that they thought to be exactly opposite of what the Occident meant to them. There was a sense of the "other", something that is very different from "us", the Europeans. Because everything that is not Europe is this "other", Orientalism is a study that is very broad in its scope and geography.
The lands, that Orientalism covers, stretch from the North African Coast of the Mediterranean all the way into the deep and vast Asia, including everything in between. Said details this broadness:
"...the range of published material of interest to Orientalist scholars is awesome. Arabic, innumerable Indian dialects, Hebrew, Pehlevi, Assyrian, Babylonian, Mongolian, Chinese, Burmese, Mesopotamian, Javanese: the list of philological works considered Orientalist is almost uncountable. Moreover, Orientalist studies apparently cover everything from the editing and translation of texts to numismatic, anthropological, archaeological, sociological, economic, historical, literary, and cultural studies in every known Asiatic and North African civilization, ancient and modern." (Orien. 52)
The biggest historical problem with Orientalism is the misrepresentation of the true Orient. Early scholars were very ignorant towards the absolute truth and drew many of their conclusions about the Orient and its people based on...