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Globally Connected: Cultural Appropriation in Fashion and Entertainment
In this talk we examine the issues and problems of cultural appropriation and borrowing that stem from the structure of power dynamics in the creative industries, fashion and entertainment in particular, and look at a number of specific case studies to explore whether they are culturally offensive or not. Analysis of the case studies shows that understanding cultural appropriation requires global and socio-historical contextualization and cultural inequalities inherent in various aesthetic expressions, and, they raise thought-provoking questions as to how far designers, creators, and entertainers can go to utilize and adopt other people’s cultural components as part of their creative inspiration and are not perceived as an offensive mockery or vulgar imitation. A complex dialogue between cultural appropriation and creative inspiration serves as a window to further investigate the history, values, customs, and beliefs of different cultures in multilayered global contexts, such as social, economic, political and religious dimensions, and it simultaneously raises the level of our cultural awareness.
This year's Globally Connected program is a series of 45-minute virtual discussions led by students, faculty, and alumni to advance global education at FIT in our new world with limited mobility. The major themes will be fashion, art, sustainability, racial equity, and life during the pandemic around the world.
Yuniya (Yuni) Kawamura earned her PhD in Sociology from Columbia University and is trained as a professional designer at Bunka College of Fashion in Japan, Kingston University in the UK, and FIT. She is the author of The Japanese Revolution in Paris Fashion (2004) and Fashioning Japanese Subcultures (2012). She is a board member of the International Fashion Research Centre at Bologna University. She has been invited to teach a class on Fashion Communication to M.A. students in the School of Design at Politecnico di Milano during the Fall 2020 semester. Her research interests include fashion theory, French haute couture, youth subcultures, ethnic dress, and indigenous needlework. She is currently working on two books: “The Exclusive World of Geisha and Maiko in Contemporary Japan” and “Fashion and Sustainability in New York”.
Dr. Jung-Whan Marc de Jong is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Social Sciences Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He was born in Seoul, South Korea, grew up in The Netherlands, and ended up in New York City in August 2009 after working and studying in London and Los Angeles for over a decade. In addition to cultural appropriation in entertainment, he conducts research and teaches courses in digital sociology, criminology, and East Asian global pop culture production. Dr. de Jong holds MA degrees in American Studies from the University of Amsterdam and the University of London's School of Advanced Studies, and a MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of Southern California.
School of Liberal Arts
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