Cultural appropriation

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University of Washington iSchool students Chris Lu and Katharine Roche-Sudar have been collaborating on a proposal to add a new LCSH for Cultural appropriation. Below is the result of their hard work!

Submitted as below March 7 2018 May 4 2018

150 __ $a Cultural appropriation

550 __ $a Cultural property

670 __ $a Borrowed power : essays on cultural appropriation, 1997.

670 __ $a The ethics of cultural appropriation, 2012: $b back cover (Because cultural appropriation is “usually seen as being inextricably bound with the oppression of minority cultures, the topic itself is often controversial and inspires passionate debates.”)

670 __ $a World Heritage Encyclopedia, c2016, viewed online March 2 2018 : $b definition of Cultural appropriation (“Cultural appropriation is a sociological concept which views the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture as a largely negative phenomenon. Generally, an assumption that the culture being borrowed from is also being oppressed by the culture doing the borrowing is prerequisite to the concept.” “According to proponents of the theory, cultural appropriation differs from acculturation or assimilation in that the ‘appropriation’ or ‘misappropriation’ refers to the adoption of these cultural elements in a colonial manner: elements are copied from a minority culture by members of the dominant culture, and these elements are used outside of their original cultural context – sometimes even against the expressed, stated wishes of representatives of the originating culture.”) $u

670 __ $a English Oxford Dictionary, viewed online March 2 2018 $b (“cultural appropriation: The unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.”) $u

670 __ $a Rome, empire of plunder : the dynamics of cultural appropriation, 2018.

680 __ $i Here are entered works on the adoption of elements of a minority culture by members of a dominant culture.


Violet’s questions:

  • It seems to me that the main reason “Cultural property” isn’t a good enough heading for these resources is that “Cultural appropriation” also incorporates the idea of a majority culture taking traditions/heritage from a minority culture. Does that come across enough in the resources listed here? Does it need a scope note?
  • I wasn’t able to find a good resource for a UF for “Cultural misappropriation,” does it seem like that’s necessary?

2 Replies to “Cultural appropriation”

  1. I would love to see a scope note (680), perhaps from a definition, because there will be LCSH users looking to understand what this heading is for (even though wikipedia and other resources exist for definition purposes).
    A UF for cultural misappropriation is necessary, I think, since these terms do get used interchangeably.
    “Cultural property (C.P.)” should be a 550 and not a 450, in my opinion. C.P. indicates a sense of coming from/belonging to that culture, whereas “appropriation” is what is often taken/captured away, out of context, from another culture.
    Also, it would be interesting to see an anthropological or indigenous resource as a 670, in addition to the dictionary/definition-type resources.
    Could you also include how the heading could function as a form subdivision?

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