My exhibition

My exhibition has been up for about 2 weeks and i have gathered many responses to my question of whether cultural appropriation is cultural theft or cultural celebration. With hours of working and editing the images and preparing them for a board to be exhibit my photographs- which I luckily was given by my form tutor- i finally put up my board and i am proud of the end result. I have asked teachers and students to respond to the board and i have gathered a sufficient amount to make my summary of if cultural appropriation it theft or celebration. The conclusion of my project will be in my responses form which i will send to my teacher.

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What I want to get out of my exhibition

From my exhibition, I wanted to observe the debate between Cultural theft of Cultural celebration. From having a diverse friendship group, I am personally intrigued by the cultures of my friends compared to my South Asian culture. One way of finding out more about other cultures is by understanding the debate of Cultural Appropriation and what people in general think of the topic. Is it that serious of an issue or is it a petty argument used as a cover to hide deeper issues of the diaspora or of post-colonialism. I hope to produce a questionnaire and ask my supervisors class what they think of the topic, along with asking my friends what they think.

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WTF is Cultural Appropriation: the1janitor view

The other, more liberal argument on Cultural Appropriation and how “you are allowed to like stuff”

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The Wretched of the Earth-Frantz Fanon


“For a colonized people the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity.”

“And it is clear that in the colonial countries the peasants alone are revolutionary, for they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The starving peasant, outside the class system is the first among the exploited to discover that only violence pays. For him there is no compromise, no possible coming to terms; colonization and decolonization is simply a question of relative strength.”

“The basic confrontation which seemed to be colonialism versus anti-colonialism, indeed capitalism versus socialism, is already losing its importance. What matters today, the issue which blocks the horizon, is the need for a redistribution of wealth. Humanity will have to address this question, no matter how devastating the consequences may be.”

“The claim to a national culture in the past does not only rehabilitate that nation and serve as a justification for the hope of a future national culture. In the sphere of psycho-affective equilibrium it is responsible for an important change in the native. Perhaps we haven’t sufficiently demonstrated that colonialism is not satisfied merely with holding a people in its grip and emptying the native’s brain of all form and content. By a kind of perverted logic, it turns to the past of the oppressed people, and distorts, disfigures, and destroys it. This work of devaluing pre-colonial history takes on a dialectical significance today.”
“The unpreparedness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of the people, their laziness, and, let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps.”
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Culture and Imperialism- Edward Said

Notes from Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said:

“The appropriation of history, the historicization of the past, the narrativization of society, all of which give the novel its force, include the accumulation and differentiation of social space, space to be used for social purposes.”

“Liberation as an intellectual mission, born in the resistance and opposition to the confinements and ravages of imperialism, has now shifted from the settled, established, and domesticated dynamics of culture to its unhoused, decentred, and exilic energies, energies whose incarnation today is the migrant, and whose conciousness is that of the intellectual and artist in exile, the political figure between domains, between forms, between homes, and between languages. From this perspective then all things are indeed counter, original, spare, strange. From this perspective also, one can see ‘the complete consort dancing together’ contrapuntally.”

Just as none of us is outside or beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings.
“No one today is purely one thing. Labels like Indian, or woman, or Muslim, or American are not more than starting-points, which if followed into actual experience for only a moment are quickly left behind. Imperialism consolidated the mixture of cultures and identities on a global scale. But its worst and most paradoxical gift was to allow people to believe that they were only, mainly, exclusively, white, or Black, or Western, or Oriental. Yet just as human beings make their own history, they also make their cultures and ethnic identities. No one can deny the persisting continuities of long traditions, sustained habitations, national languages, and cultural geographies, but there seems no reason except fear and prejudice to keep insisting on their separation and distinctiveness, as if that was all human life was about. Survival in fact is about the connections between things; in Eliot’s phrase, reality cannot be deprived of the “other echoes [that] inhabit the garden.” It is more rewarding – and more difficult – to think concretely and sympathetically, contrapuntally, about others than only about “us.” But this also means not trying to rule others, not trying to classify them or put them in hierarchies, above all, not constantly reiterating how “our” culture or country is number one (or not number one, for that matter).”
“We are at a point in our work when we can no longer ignore empires and the imperial context in our studies.”
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Orientalism by Edward Said

I have received Orientalism and this book has been key in developing my knowledge in politics and Post-Colonial studies. In terms of cultural appropriation, this book addresses the literary and cultural studies scholars depiction or imitate by addressing aspects of Middle Eastern and Eastern cultures by writers, designers and artists from the West.

These are my notes from the book:

The fiction of Honore Balzac, Baudelaire and Lautreamont, explored how they were influenced and how they helped shape the societal fantasy of European racial superiority. These post-colonial writers deal with colonial discourse by modifying or subverting ideals.

Karl Marx stated “They cannot represent themselves; the must be represented

Said states that “as much as the west itself,, the orient is an idea that has a history and a tradition of thought, imagery and vocabulary that have given it reality and presence in and for the West. The two geographical entities thus support and to an extent reflect each other”

“So far as the United States seems to be concerned, it is only a slight overstatement to say that Moslems and Arabs are essentially seen as either oil suppliers or potential terrorists. Very little of the detail, the human density, the passion of Arab-Moslem life has entered the awareness of even those people whose profession it is to report the Arab world. What we have, instead, is a series of crude, essentialized caricatures of the Islamic world presented in such a way as to make that world vulnerable to military aggression.”

Said argues that orientalists have created a false dichotomy between the “East” and the “West” in order to show why imperialism is acceptable.  Orientalists do this by positing that there is a fundamental difference between the East and the West.  They say that all that is good is Western and all that is bad is Eastern.  They see the East as having a culture that lacks the sort of energy and drive that has made the West great. When the East is defined in this way, imperialism becomes acceptable.  It is okay for the West to conquer and dominate because it has a superior culture. So Orientalism as a scholarly outlook is a means, Said says, of justifying imperialism.

“My idea in Orientalism is to use humanistic critique to open up the fields of struggle, to introduce a longer sequence of thought and analysis to replace the short bursts of polemical, thought-stopping fury that so imprison us in labels and antagonistic debate whose goal is a belligerent collective identity rather than understanding and intellectual exchange.”

“The worldwide protests before the war began in Iraq would not have been possible were it not for the existence of alternative communities across the globe, informed by alternative news sources, and keenly aware of the environmental, human rights, and libertarian impulses that bind us together in this tiny planet. The human, and humanistic, desire or enlightenment and emancipation is not easily deferred, despite the incredible strength of the opposition to it that comes from the Rumsfelds, Bin Ladens, Sharons, and Buses of this world.”

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Consent form

I have completed a draft of my consent form and hope to show my supervisor before going along with gaining consent from the participants of my photography project. I used the template of a consent form my supervisor showed me as an example and I hope my draft will suffice as a correct form of consent.

This is my consent form:

Hamida Begum’s EPQ Project Photography Consent Form

Individual Information




Date of Birth:

Do you agree to have your picture taken therefore have it publicly displayed in an exhibition?



  • That all of the information provided on this form is correct
  • That you agree to have your picture taken and give consent to your picture being publicly displayed





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