The Big Fat Cheater Post: TT Workshop Quotes and Hot Colonialism Links

I’m supposed to be working on a short story, so today you get links. I’ve been saving up a few.

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First, let’s do the light stuff. Courtesy of Nancy Kress, here are some interesting quotes from Day 1 and Day 2 and 3 of Taos Toolbox. I am responsible for the quote about the 18th century heroine. No one is surprised.

Thanks, Nancy.

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Now, some perspectives on Colonialism. I hope these things stimulate your thought process.

Nisi Shawl

My current novel-in-progress, Everfair, is another deliberate confrontation of colonialism: steampunk set in the Belgian Congo. It arose from my dislike of steampunk’s tendency to privilege imperialism, and especially Britain’s Victorian Empire. It also focuses on the site of one of the worst modern human rights atrocities, an infamous episode intimately connected with the rape of natural resources that lies behind the Industrial Revolution.

To ensure representation of the multiplicities of non-dominant difference, I’m writing Everfair from many viewpoints: white and mixed-race Europeans, African-Americans, and indigenous Africans. Research is sometimes exhilarating, and sometimes heartbreakingly piecemeal, particularly in the case of the indigenes, whose histories were severely disrupted—to say the least—by their decimation. Often the only voice left to tell a tale is that of the colonizer.

An essay by Ardha on what cultural appropriation is. I disagree with some of the author’s conclusions, but overall it’s a great explanation.

The problem isn’t that cultures intermingle, it’s the terms on which they do so and the part that plays in the power relations between cultures. The problem isn’t “taking” or “borrowing”, the problem is racism, imperialism, white supremacy, and colonialism. The problem is how elements of culture get taken up in disempowering, unequal ways that deny oppressed people autonomy and dignity. Cultural appropriation only occurs in the context of the domination of one society over another, otherwise known as imperialism. Cultural appropriation is an act of domination, which is distinct from ‘borrowing’, syncretism, hybrid cultures, the cultures of assimilated/integrated populations, and the reappropriation of dominant cultures by oppressed peoples.

And Aliette de Bodard presents the Cultural Imperialism Bingo Card.

All right. Frost elves. See you guys in a couple.

Catherine

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

2 thoughts on “The Big Fat Cheater Post: TT Workshop Quotes and Hot Colonialism Links”

  1. How do you disagree with the Ardha statement, Cath?
    Having had to consider these issues in every expression in my life, I would summarize her brilliant statement by asking myself, “Am I ripping off or am I facilitating understanding, or better yet, resources flowing in the direction of the underserved?

  2. Catherine,

    It’s a great post right up until the very last paragraph, which says to me that I can’t like anything from any other culture. That’s not what she means, I’m thinking, but her statement suggests that all who like and appreciate other aspects of other cultures are doing so with an appropriation and a respect in mind. And there are those who do. But there are those who don’t.

    It’s such a tiny point. But it does mean that I can’t agree with the entire essay.

    Cath

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