My last post led to many enlightening, fascinating comments (sadly not here, mostly on Livejournal and Facebook!) and I thought I would share some of the links people pointed out to me (and links that I found from those websites) that I thought were particularly interesting to explore when considering the concept of cultural appropriation, especially with regard to folklore and speculative literature. I still feel that there is a lot of merit in Shadow and Bone, and I certainly enjoyed it as a novel, but many good points were raised in the discussion and I wanted to share some of the things that I found or were brought to my attention. Please note that I may or may not agree with *everything* on the following sites but it’s all very good to think about –
‘What is cultural appropriation?’ on “The Long Way Home” blog by Fire Fly.
The Wikipedia page about cultural appropriation is actually not bad and includes some interesting links as well.
Roundtable on “How to Write Science Fiction on a Post-Colonial World” with several wonderful writers and critics of speculative fiction.
A post that discusses Irish cultural appropriation issues in Stina Leicht’s The Fey and the Fallen series, very interesting thoughts on cultural appropriation generally and Northern Ireland particularly (though I wish the reviewer had shared thoughts on the way that Irish folklore was incorporated in the novel as well.)
My friend and colleague Jeana Jorgensen wrote an excellent essay on Folklore and Power that I feel is quite relevant to this discussion. She and I also discussed via Twitter the general awesome-ness of the book Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America by Sabina Magliocco, which looks at the ways in which folklore (including Celtic folklore) is used to inform Neo-Paganism, and how those concepts are absorbed into contemporary speculative literature (an issue that deserves more thought for sure.) Jeana wrote a post a while ago about the speculative author China Miéville’s response to her question about how he incorporates folklore in his writing as well and his answer engages quite thoughtfully with issues of cultural appropriation.
Expanded Horizons, a magazine of speculative fiction, whose mission is to “increase diversity in the field of speculative fiction, both in the authors who contribute and in the perspectives presented.”
On this note, I also want to mention the amazing Stone Telling, a magazine for speculative poetry that is “especially interested in seeing work that is multi-cultural and boundary-crossing, work that deals with othering and Others, work that considers race, gender, sexuality, identity, and disability issues in nontrivial and evocative ways.”
Native Appropriations, a blog dedicated to “discussing the use of Indigenous cultures, traditions, languages, and images in popular culture, advertising, and everyday life” and the My Culture is Not a Trend Tumblr.
Post with some thoughts about how to wear jewelry from cultures other than your own (which, as someone who particularly loves collecting jewelry from different cultures, was especially interesting to me.)
Silver Goggles by Jaymee Goh, a blog on steampunk and postcolonialism, race, diversity, and representation. Her review of The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee (recommended to me as a novel that deals with these issues well) also led me to the next item.
Last but absolutely not least, a wonderful, inspiring talk about “the danger of a single story” by the novelist Chimamanda Adichie –
I am still learning, always, but these are important issues to think about and engage with. I’d love more links to peruse if you have any favorites!