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The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation

James O. Young (Editor), Conrad G. Brunk (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-1108-2
320 pages
March 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation (1444311085) cover image
The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation undertakes a comprehensive and systematic investigation of the moral and aesthetic questions that arise from the practice of cultural appropriation.
  • Explores cultural appropriation in a wide variety of contexts, among them the arts and archaeology, museums, and religion
  • Questions whether cultural appropriation is always morally objectionable
  • Includes research that is equally informed by empirical knowledge and general normative theory
  • Provides a coherent and authoritative perspective gained by the collaboration of philosophers and specialists in the field who all participated in this unique research project
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Notes on Contributors ix

Preface xii

Artist Statement xvii
lessLIE

1. Introduction 1

2. Archaeological Finds: Legacies of Appropriation, Modes of Response 11
George P. Nicholas and Alison Wylie

3. The Appropriation of Human Remains: A First Nations Legal and Ethical Perspective 55
James [Sakej] Youngblood Henderson

4. The Repatriation of Human Remains 72
Geoffrey Scarre

5. 'The Skin Off Our Backs': Appropriation of Religion 93
Conrad G. Brunk and James O. Young

6. Genetic Research and Culture: Where Does the Offense Lie? 115
Daryl Pullman and Laura Arbour

7. Appropriation of Traditional Knowledge: Ethics in the Context of Ethnobiology 140
Kelly Bannister and Maui Solomon (Part I) Conrad G. Brunk (Part II)

8. A Broken Record: Subjecting 'Music' to Cultural Rights 173
Elizabeth Burns Coleman and Rosemary J. Coombe with Fiona MacArailt

9. Objects of Appropriation 211
Andrea N. Walsh and Dominic McIver Lopes

10. Do Subaltern Artifacts Belong in Art Museums? 235
A.W. Eaton and Ivan Gaskell

11. 'Nothing Comes from Nowhere': Refl ections on Cultural

Appropriation as the Representation of Other Cultures 268
James O. Young and Susan Haley

Index 290

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James O. Young is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Victoria. He has published more than 40 journal articles on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of art and is the author of Global Anti-realism (1995), Art and Knowledge (2001), and Cultural Appropriation and the Arts (2008).

Conrad G. Brunk is Professor of Philosophy and past Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria. Dr. Brunk consults regularly for the Canadian government and international organizations on environmental and health risk management and technology issues. He is the author of numerous articles and texts on ethical issues relating to technology, the environment, law, and professional practice.

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  • Examines the moral and aesthetic questions that arise from cultural appropriation in a wide variety of contexts, among them the arts and archaeology, museums, and religion
  • Questions whether cultural appropriation is always morally objectionable
  • Includes research that is equally informed by empirical knowledge and general normative theory
  • Provides a coherent and authoritative perspective gained by the collaboration of philosophers and specialists in the field who all participated in this unique research project
See More
""There are several characteristics that make this collection of essays an admirable endeavour: the breadth of questions and disciplines covered - music, arts, archaeology, genetics, religion, ethnobiology - in an interdisciplinary dialogue moderated by
philosophers; the passionate engagement of the authors with the ethics of appropriation of subaltern cultures by dominant Western cultures; the incisiveness of the debates over each theme discussed (one author debating with another before giving his/her own point
of view in the shape of an individual article); the soundness of theoretical arguments and the stunning and provocative examples debated." (Journal of the Royal Astronomical Institute, 2011)

“Young and Brunk present an extraordinarily cerebral and thorough exploration of cultural appropriation as it is experienced in the arts, religion, and archaeology. Seemingly diverse and even disparate areas that are the targets of cultural appropriation are intricately woven together with the thread of the transmission of information from one culture to another.” (PsycCRITIQUES, April 2010)

"To read these essays is to eavesdrop on a roomful of thinkers locked in spirited debate about the meaning of cultural appropriation. What knits the chapters together is the authors’ shared desire to clarify what’s at stake when outsiders copy, collect, or steal the biological and cultural resources of subaltern peoples."
Michael F. Brown, Williams College

"This breakthrough collection is a splendid demonstration of the benefits of collaborative interdisciplinary research to produce strikingly original scholarship. We are the beneficiaries. Talented teams of leading philosophers with outstanding specialists in a wide range of disciplines examine the enormously complex ethical challenges of cultural appropriation. This is a model for scholarship in an increasingly complex era of intellectual globalization."
Julie C. Van Camp, California State University, Long Beach

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