Annual Debate: Cultural Appropriation, 23 November

In this year’s debate Monica Ali, Sarah Churchwell and James Young will address the motion, ‘In 2017 cultural appropriation is an inappropriate method for writers.’ The debate will be chaired by Melvyn Bragg on 23 November at 6 pm, in Beveridge Hall, Senate House Library, Malet Street, London.

Topic: In recent years writers and critics have become more aware of the extent to which literature has involved authors from one culture or ethnicity using themes and scenarios from cultures other than their own. This is seen by some as illegitimate, involving as it does a sense that people from one cultural background are entitled to represent other cultures and backgrounds without actually belonging to them. At a time where people are generally more aware of sensitivities arising from cultural differences, and the extent to which racist assumptions are seen to lie beneath the surface of much of modern life, we need to ask the extent to which cultural appropriation in works of literature is desirable or appropriate.

Monica Ali is Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Surrey. Her novels include Brick Lane and Untold Story.

Sarah Churchwell is Professorial Fellow in American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

James O. Young is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Victoria.

The event is free, but places are limited, and you must register to attend here.