Katy Perry's performance at the American Music Awards raised concern about her representation of Asian culture. Image via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Come out to Prindle on Monday, October 13 at 5:30 PM for a dinner and discussion about the ethics of cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation occurs when someone from one culture takes or uses something from another culture. What is taken can be a physical artifact, such as when an archaeologist takes an ancient relic and gives it to a museum. Cultural appropriation can also occur with something more abstract such as an idea, piece of music, or even an art style that is unique to the other culture, such as when Eric Clapton plays cover songs of traditional southern blues songs or when Iggy Azalea raps in a “blaccent.”  Other examples include imitating clothing styles from other cultures, as Urban Outfitters did with their “Navajo” clothing line.

Sometimes we encounter instances of cultural appropriation and immediately think it’s totally offensive, and sometimes we encounter instances that we think are more acceptable. What makes an instance of cultural appropriation wrong, if at all? When, if at all, is cultural appropriation morally permissible? How does cultural appropriation differ from cultural appreciation?

The Prindle Institute’s director Andy Cullison will give a brief presentation about cultural appropriation, and table conversation will follow. Each table will have several prompt cards to guide discussion. Dinner will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis and will include gourmet grilled cheese from student start-up Cheesin’ and soup and salad from Almost Home. This event is free and open to all DePauw students, staff, and faculty.

Prindle has coordinated this event with the School of Music to be a part of the Dvorak Music Festival due to the Native American and African-American cultural influences in Dvorak’s work.

We’re excited to delve into this complicated and relevant topic, and we hope you’ll join us and share your perspective!

Need a ride out to Prindle? A shuttle will be leaving the Hub for Prindle at 5:15 PM and will return after the event.

This creature of fiction allows students, community members, and Prindle Institute staff to post in a pseudo-anonymous fashion. It also makes for an awesome mascot. (Oh...and the image here belongs to the Found Animals Foundation and is licensed under the Creative Commons license CC-BY-SA 2.0)