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ASU's Project Humanities explores cultural appropriation

January 30, 2015, Marshall Terrill, Reporter, ASU Now

Arizona State University's Project Humanities is launching “Cultural Appropriation: Exploiting or Paying Homage?”, a one-day symposium on Feb. 7. The event runs from from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Discovery Hall, room 250 on the Tempe campus.

Taking into account American history, current events and the realities of the social climate at ASU and across the country, this critical dialogue will explore notions of “political correctness” versus cultural (in)sensitivity, “blackface” and school spirit, indigenous stereotypes in sports, hip-hop culture, Day of the Dead and Cinco De Mayo, and other types of cultural appropriation and stereotyping. Using media, social media, music and visual imagery, participants will be challenged to address these issues by engaging in meaningful conversations and informed social discourse. Download Full Image

The program will also feature speakers and guests from various fields of expertise. Popular video blogger Kat Lazo and Latino spoken word artist David A. Romero will deliver the keynotes. Local experts will facilitate workshops on hip-hop, popular music, language and other dimensions of imagery and communication that lead to bias and stereotyping.

"Culture is not a costume to be put on when convenient and stripped off when it's not,” said Isabelle Murray, president of the Rainbow Coalition, which represents LGBTQA students. “Culture is identity, and identity is to be treasured and respected, not played with and discarded.”

Murray’s group is one of seven student coalitions at ASU partnering with Project Humanities to make this symposium happen.

"Current events reveal that cultural appropriation is an issue that affects us locally, nationally and globally,” said Project Humanities coordinator Sharon Torres. “We will explore this topic with a critical lens and walk away with strategies to address, resist and help prevent disparaging biases and stereotypes, and to promote social consciousness as the prevailing behavior. We hope to spark an ongoing dialogue in multiple communities.”

Project Humanities is planning a similar symposium designed specifically for high school audiences in the fall.

This symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Visit to reserve your spot. Lunch will be provided.

For more information about the Cultural Appropriation Symposium and Project Humanities, visit

View the original article HERE.

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