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Cultural Appropriation and the Arts

ISBN: 978-1-4051-7656-9
184 pages
January 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Cultural Appropriation and the Arts (1405176563) cover image
Now, for the first time, a philosopher undertakes a systematic investigation of the moral and aesthetic issues to which cultural appropriation gives rise.
  • Cultural appropriation is a pervasive feature of the contemporary world (the Parthenon Marbles remain in London; white musicians from Bix Beiderbeck to Eric Clapton have appropriated musical styles from African-American culture)
  • Young offers the first systematic philosophical investigation of the moral and aesthetic issues to which cultural appropriation gives rise
  • Tackles head on the thorny issues arising from the clash and integration of cultures and their artifacts
  • Questions considered include: “Can cultural appropriation result in the production of aesthetically successful works of art?” and “Is cultural appropriation in the arts morally objectionable?”
  • Part of the highly regarded New Directions in Aesthetics series
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Preface.

Chapter One: What is Cultural Appropriation?:.

Art, Culture, and Appropriation.

Types of Cultural Appropriation.

What is a Culture?.

Objections to Cultural Appropriation.

In Praise of Cultural Appropriation.

Chapter Two: The Aesthetics of Cultural Appropriation:.

The Aesthetic Handicap Thesis.

The Cultural Experience Argument.

Aesthetic Properties and Cultural Context.

Authenticity and Appropriation.

Authentic Appropriation.

Cultural Experience and Subject Appropriation.

Appropriation and the Authentic Expression of a Culture.

Chapter Three: Cultural Appropriation as Theft:.

Harm by Theft.

Possible Owners of Artworks.

Cultures and Inheritance.

Lost and Abandoned Property.

Cultural Property and Traditional Law.

Collective Knowledge and Collective Property.

Ownership of Land and Ownership of Art.

Property and Value to a Culture.

Cultures and Intellectual Property.

Some Conclusions about Ownership and Appropriation.

The Rescue Argument.

Chapter Four: Cultural Appropriation as Assault:.

Other Forms of Harm.

Cultural Appropriation and Harmful Misrepresentation.

Harm and Accurate Representation.

Cultural Appropriation and Economic Opportunity.

Cultural Appropriation and Assimilation.

Art, Insignia, and Cultural Identity.

Cultural Appropriation and Privacy.

Chapter Five: Profound Offence and Cultural Appropriation:.

Harm, Offence, and Profound Offence.

Examples of Offensive Cultural Appropriation.

The Problem and the Key to its Solution.

Social Value and Offensive Art.

Freedom of Expression.

The Sacred and the Offensive.

Time and Place Restrictions.

Toleration of Offensive Art.

Reasonable and Unreasonable Offence.

Conclusion: Responding to Cultural Appropriation.

Summing Up.

Supporting Minority Artists.

Envoy.

Bibliography of Works Cited and Consulted.

Index
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James O. Young is Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy, University of Victoria. He has published extensively on philosophy of language and philosophy of art. His previous books include Global Anti-realism (1995) and Art and Knowledge (2001), and he is editor (with Conrad Brunk) of The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation (Blackwell, 2008).
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  • Cultural appropriation is a pervasive feature of the contemporary world (the Parthenon Marbles remain in London; white musicians from Bix Beiderbeck to Eric Clapton have appropriated musical styles from African-American culture)
  • Young offers the first systematic philosophical investigation of the moral and aesthetic issues to which cultural appropriation gives rise
  • Tackles head on the thorny issues arising from the clash and integration of cultures and their artifacts
  • Questions considered include: “Can cultural appropriation result in the production of aesthetically successful works of art?” and “Is cultural appropriation in the arts morally objectionable?”
  • Part of the highly regarded New Directions in Aesthetics series
See More

“Cultural Appropriation and the Arts, by James O. Young, provides an analytical, comprehensive overview of ethical and aesthetic issues concerning cultural appropriation.”  (Journal of Cult Economy, 25 March 2011)

“Young tackles an ambitious subject in this book. Culture, appropriation, and art, the keywords in the book's title, are all notoriously difficult to define. Young does not dedicate his book to defining these terms. Instead he clarifies family resemblances of these concepts, which he uses to make a case against cultural appropriation generally and the incorporation of cultural appropriation in the arts specifically. Recommended.” (Choice, November 2008)

“The chief virtue of the book, [is] the conceptual clarifications Young brings to this diffuse topic, in particular the basic distinctions among types of appropriation.” (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews)

"This book could only have come about through many years of travel and scholarly investigation. It is a valuable introduction for those not familiar with the literature on this interesting subject. Cultural Appropriation and the Arts will become the standard work in this field for many years to come, and undergraduates could gain every bit as much from its interesting examples and clear arguments as graduate students and professionals can." (Phil Jenkins, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 67, no.)

"Thank goodness for James O. Young! Finally someone has cut through the cant associated with cultural appropriation, weighed the issues with care and a keen eye for irony, and clarified the ethical limits of intercultural borrowing. This concise, accessible book will be a bracing tonic for anyone interested in the global art market, cultural property, and dilemmas of social justice in a world of disappearing borders."
Michael F. Brown, Williams College, author of Who Owns Native Culture?

"Young's offers a measured and sensitive analysis of the moral and aesthetic issues raised by cultural appropriation. He praises responsible cultural appropriation and distinguishes this from cultural appropriation that amount to theft and assault or that cause profound offense. An interesting contribution to a topic that has not received the attention from aestheticians that it deserves."
Stephen Davies, The University of Auckland

"Here at last is a philosophical work that cuts through the precious nonsense and rhetoric written about the kinds of appropriation bound to occur when the arts of one people bump up against the arts of another. James O. Young is acutely sensitive to the political sentiments that cloud these issues, but completely clear and rigorous in his analysis. In its incisiveness and honesty, Cultural Appropriation and the Arts is a major contribution to cross-cultural aesthetics."
Dennis Dutton, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

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