Appropriate: A Provocation
How do we properly define cultural appropriation, and is it always wrong? If we can write in the voice of another, should we? And if so, what questions do we need to consider first? In Appropriate, creative writing professor Paisley Rekdal addresses a young writer to delineate how the idea of cultural appropriation has evolved--and perhaps calcified--in our political climate. Rekdal examines the debate between appropriation and imagination, exploring the ethical stakes of writing from the position of a person unlike ourselves.
What follows is a penetrating exploration of fluctuating literary power and authorial privilege, about whiteness and what we really mean by the term "empathy." Rekdal offers a study of techniques, both successful and unsuccessful, that writers from William Styron to Peter Ho Davies to Jeanine Cummins have employed to create characters outside their own identities. Lucid, reflective, and astute, Appropriate presents a generous new framework for one of the most controversial subjects in contemporary literature.
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