Following his death in 2003, the Department of English and Comparative Studies inaugurated an annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture to honour the prominent literary scholar and renowned public intellectual.
Said understood criticism to be a 'humanistic activity' encompassing 'erudition and sympathy', sensitivity to 'inner tensions', and an openness to imponderables and mysteries. His own finely-tuned responsiveness to the singularity of any piece of writing with which he engaged, is evident in his innovative and surprising interpretations of both canonical and marginalised literature.
These same writings also register the obligation felt by Said to make visible the actual affiliations that exist between 'the world of ideas and scholarship on the one hand, and the world of brute politics, corporate and state power, and military force on the other.'
The University of Warwick had twice hosted visits from Edward Said. In 1994 the Department of English together with the Department of Philosophy held an International Conference on his work and the work this has generated. Papers presented at this conference were later published as Cultural Readings of Imperialism: Edward Said and the Gravity of History, ed. Keith Ansell Pearson, Benita Parry and Judith Squires (1997). In 2001 Said received an Honorary Degree. On both occasions his crowded lectures revealed his singular ability to bring politics to scholarship and scholarship to politics.
This annual lecture is free and open to the public.