Module 12 – cultural appropriation


Online ArticleJapanese Hip-Hop and the Globalization of Popular Culture by Ian Condry: (Links to an external site.)

Online Article:

Video Viewing: “Faces of Culture” Video Series: Cricket the Trobriand


After reading the two articles and watching the video, think about the issue of cultural appropriation.   

Cultural appropriation occurs when someone obtains an object, belief,  practice or idea from another culture and uses it in such a way that it  is insulting or damaging to the culture of origin.  This encourages  marginalization and disenfranchisement of that culture’s people.   Cultural borrowing, on the other hand, refers to the use of elements of a  culture other than one’s own for purposes that are not derogatory or disrespectful with regard to the culture of origin.

Of importance are the intent and the impact of the acquisition of an  acquired cultural element on members of the culture of origin.  Ask  yourself if the acquisition is harmful, beneficial (or at least  respectful), or neutral in its effect on the original culture.  If it is  intentionally harmful, the cultural interaction is appropriation.  If  it is the second or third outcome, the interaction is usually considered  borrowing. 

Consider these issues after you read the article about Japanese Hip  Hop and how its message can be different from that of the American  creators of this music genre – and as you view the video about the  British sport of Cricket as played by the Trobrianders (residents of the  Trobriand Islands in the South Pacific.)

  • discuss whether these two examples of cultural interaction are appropriation or borrowing.  Explain your reasoning.
  • Cite specific examples from the video (reference it by the time mark  in the video) and passages in the article, identified by page number.   This paper should rely on specific evidence from these two sources. 
  • Consider the article by Ralph Linton, which describes the world’s  cultures as borrowing from one another continuously, from ancient times  to the present.  This begs the question, what is it that a culture  “owns” if almost everything is borrowed? How does this article affect  your view of cultural appropriation and cultural borrowing?  What are  its implications for the validity of the very idea of cultural  appropriation?  

Do not use any sources other than your text and those listed above  unless they are approved by your instructor.  As with all of your graded  discussions, be concise, include a clear expository thesis statement  and introductory paragraph, and avoid digressing as you write.  

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