Cultural Appropriation in Neopagan and New Age Religions: A Conversation (Video)

Harvard Divinity School: Center for the Study of World Religions. The event took place on December 1, 2021.

«So cultural appropriation, the notion of cultural appropriation is itself rooted in consumer capitalism and in a Western notion that culture can be owned. That it is an object a commodity that can be owned. The second assumption in cultural appropriation is that the unauthorized use of cultural material deprives its owners of rights and benefits or harms them in other irreparable ways … So the unauthorized use of someone else’s culture either takes something away from them, which is rightfully theirs or harms them, for example, by promulgating harmful stereotypes, negative stereotypes … Cultural appropriation is always about power and it is not just about the transfer of cultures or the enjoyment of one culture by another culture … So if you are, for example, invited to a religious service that is not your own and you participate in that religious or spiritual service, that’s never cultural appropriation. Why? Because you are being invited as an outsider to participate in it … But then if you take elements of that service and you bring them to your spiritual practice without discussing it with the people who invited you, or if you take those elements and you then market them as authentic examples of extradition, then you are engaging in cultural appropriation because there’s no consent there. There’s no invitation. And without consent or invitation, it’s not appreciation anymore.» [emphasis mine]

Sabina Magliocco
(Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the interdisciplinary program in the Study of Religion at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. A recipient of Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Humanities, SSHRC, Fulbright, and Hewlett fellowships, and an honorary Fellow of the American Folklore Society)

Full transcript: click here.