The Royal Institute of Philosophy Annual Debate

In this year’s debate Sarah Churchwell, Bonnie Greer, 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.

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.

Bonnie Greer is an award-winning playwright, novelist and critic. Her last play, “The Hotel Cerise”-which predicted the election of Donald Trump- opened last year at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. She is also a commentator and columnist on the pro-Remain paper: The New European.

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

We are very sorry to say that, due to circumstances beyond her control, Monica Ali will not be able to take part as planned.

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