Scott Westerfeld Forum

Author Topic: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation  (Read 1611 times)

Julia The Bookworm

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Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« on: April 08, 2015, 11:29:18 AM »

Now, I like seeing authors do research for their stories which I think Westerfeld does a good job with it and I like how he brought up the subject in Darcy's side of the story with how she was questioning whether or not it would be considered by her readers that she was  using Hindu mythology  for fun without giving it any sort respect and understanding because even though she is Indian she not a devout Hindu  and wasn't heavily raised that way religiously.

Would you consider what Darcy is doing cultural appropriation? Why or why not?

Do you think that there is any cultural appropriation in novelsor other media today?
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Julia The Bookworm

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Re: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2015, 11:31:35 AM »

Adding a post in case the forum does that thing again.
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Ceres

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Re: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2015, 11:42:10 AM »

I don't think it's cultural appropriation unless it would be considered offensive to Hindus to use the image of their god that way. She created a world based on Hindu mythology, and didn't try to pass it off as anything more than that. Her concern is understandable, but ultimately I don't think she did anything wrong.
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aimeusdietger

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Re: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 10:46:34 PM »

Seeing as she is Indian I would believe that she understands what would pass as offensive to the Hindu religion hence I do not see a bit of humour as cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation or misappropriation often occurs when an outsider tries to mimic the behaviours, language, and way of life of another community. It always comes off as offensive.

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« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 11:35:18 PM by aimeusdietger »
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Gentlebiscuit

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Re: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2017, 10:56:13 AM »

Is it cultural appropriation to make the Norse pantheon a bunch of non-divine aliens in the Avengers movies? Is it cultural appropriation when the God of War series lets you scrape Poseidon's eyes out with your thumbs, cut Hermes' legs off and decapitate Apollo?

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Hiss.

ravenoid-ish

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Re: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2017, 11:20:36 AM »

i think what was really interesting about the book was how, by pointing out all that stuff about cultural appropriation, Scott kinda called himself out on things that he himself was doing. like, Scott's a white guy, and as far as I know he has no actual experiance with Hindu culture, but he wrote a character who is Hindu and who practices Hindu customs AND a story based on Hindu mythology. it's interesting that by exploring Darcy's conflict he may also be reflecting thoughts that he's had about his own work

and in the book, this issue is never really given a straightforward answer. It seems that Scott just wanted to point out that doing something like he (and more then one character in the book) did is Kinda Risky, and that even without intending to it could easily slip sideways and turn into something really bad. cultural appropriation doesn't have to be intentionally offensive, but it could come off that way if you're not careful, and more then once in the story the characters wonder if they were actually careful enough. so it seems to be less about the issue of whether culural appropriation took place in Afterworlds, and more a giant novel length PSA on how cutural themes should be handled

tldr; it's complicated, personally I don't think cultural appropriation occured, but it could easily have happened in this situation, and that's kinda the point

sorry for the word barf i just have a lot of Thoughts
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Ceres

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Re: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2017, 12:42:43 PM »

That's a really good point, especially when you consider how Scott wrote Darcy to reflect a lot of his own thoughts as a writer, and the concerns of contemporary budding writers. It is a risky territory especially when you're dealing with a culture and religion that isn't your own, because it could come off as exploitative or insensitive to the real culture. But intentionally trying to read cultural diversity as appropriation will end up squashing that diversity in fiction over time, because then writers will be too afraid of backlash to portray any culture, or even allude to a culture in any way, and that would be Not Good

Okay I have an essay due in one hour that I haven't started so I should really not be writing this now but what can you do, I'm so starved for discussion about scott's books
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Gentlebiscuit

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Re: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2017, 12:51:29 PM »

GO DO YOUR ESSAY

My overall opinion on it is that if you let fear of appropriation shape the writing process you'll end up with a world full of memoirs, because people will only write their own experiences.
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Ceres

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Re: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2017, 01:01:06 PM »

ESSAY AHHHH ok fine

V true. V v tru
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ravenoid-ish

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Re: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2017, 01:05:20 PM »

those are all also good points! Scott did a really terrific job of incorperating the representation vs misappropriation conflict in the narrative, and it was a really freaking awesome way to get people in ya circles to think/talk about that kind of subject matter, which is a huge reason why i love the book so freaking much (not to mention the fact that he did the exact same thing with other stuff like lgbt issues and mental health, and in the same book, but that's a subject for another thread)

ok ok sorry, i swear im done... for now, good luck with the essay
« Last Edit: July 26, 2017, 01:37:28 PM by ravenoid-ish »
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Ceres

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Re: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2017, 01:40:18 PM »

Yes, I liked how such issues were dealt with realistically and fairly subtly, without making it feel like Scott was hitting you over the head with them. The characters seemed very real, and their struggles felt real as well.

(The essay wasn't the best I'd ever written, but I ended up writing 500 words in 30 minutes... :o)
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Gentlebiscuit

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Re: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2017, 01:45:55 PM »

Grats!
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ravenoid-ish

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Re: Afterworlds & cultural appropriation
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2017, 01:49:26 PM »

damn, nice
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