Humanities and Arts

The Ethics and Aesthetics of Intertextual Writing: Cultural Appropriation and Minor Literature

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Cultural appropriation, as both concept and practice, is a hugely controversial issue. It is of particular importance to the arts because creativity is often found at the intersection of cultural boundaries. Much of the popular discourse on cultural appropriation focusses on the commercial use of indigenous or marginalized cultures by mainstream or dominant cultures. There is, however, growing awareness that cultural appropriation is a complicated issue encompassing cultural exchange in all its forms. Creativity emerging from cultural interdependence is far from a reciprocal exchange. This insight indicates that ethical and political implications are at stake. Consequently, the arts are being examined with greater attention in order to assess these implications. This article will focus on appropriation in literature, and examine the way appropriative strategies are being used to resist dominant cultural standards. These strategies and their implications will be analyzed through the lens of Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of minor literature.