Nothing Comes from Nowhere: Reflections on Cultural Appropriation as the Representation of Other Cultures

Here’s a nicely nuanced analytical discussion of a topic vulgarized in circles where there is no philosophical culture — typically English departments and other regressive pseudo circles where activism masquerades as inquiry. James Young has been thinking a great deal about these issues as a philosopher and as a Canuck, a refreshing change from the musty low-grade marxism tacitly and uncritically peddled as a preferred state-endorsed secular religion, especially in the Canadian context. It’s well-worth checking out James’ other writings, notably his freely available book Cultural Appropriation and the Arts and a range of other papers on aesthetics.

In point of fact all cultures are in a more or less perpetual state of flux, and all of them historically have impinged to a lesser or greater degree upon one another. These facts about cultures render the accepted perspective on cultural appropriation highly suspect. Once we reject essentialism about cultures, the possibility emerges for avenues of communication between cultures that the essentialist does not recognize.

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