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Of symposiarchs and doorkeepers: theorizing cultural appropriation and authenticity Reynolds, Annette E. 1993

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OF SYMPOSIARCHS AND DOORKEEPERS: THEORIZING CULTURAL APPROPRIATION AND AUTHENTICITY  ANNETTE E. REYNOLDS B.A., Carleton University, 1983  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Sociology  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July 1993 © Annette E. Reynolds, 1993  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  (Signature)  Department of  ^S C ■C-) C)CI  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE-6 (2/88)  Gei1/4)t 3 . l ck 6C1  ABSTRACT  This thesis examines contemporary public discourse concerning issues related to the politics of representation, cultural appropriation (the depiction of the members of one socially defined group by the members of another),^• interpretation and authenticity with a focus upon the example provided by the public controversy that surrounded Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum exhibition Into the Heart of Africa in 1989. This exhibition displayed artifacts from African cultures collected by Victorian Canadian missionaries and soldiers along with the collectors artifacts, photographs and commentaries. The exhibit appeared critical of colonialism and racism, yet protestors claimed that it was racist and presented a misrepresentative image of Africans and African history. In order to solve what was regarded as a problem of racism and inauthenticity in the exhibition, it was argued that the exhibit, (which was curated by a white anthropologist), ought to have been produced by a member of the black community. Similar arguments suggesting that members of distinct cultural groups ought to control the authenticity of images of their cultures, histories and identities through self-representation have emerged in relation to representation in a number of other disciplines including visual art and literature. The perceived need for "control" over the authenticity of cultural images through self-representation as a "solution" to the problem of misrepresentation and racism is ii  treated as the central problematic to be explored. Drawing primarily upon the works of H.G. Gadamer, Hannah Arendt, Alisdair Maclntyre, Charles Taylor and Friedrich Nietzsche, this thesis examines the implications of the argument against cultural appropriation and the call for authenticity for a) the grounds for cultural understanding and reading, b) the relationship of individuals and groups to historical and cultural representation, and c) the achievement of cultural identity, knowledge and membership. Chapter One provides an outline of the general issues arising out of the public debate concerning representation and appropriation, and addresses the role of the theorist. The approach taken toward the discourse is what may be called a "social hermeneutics", serving as a basis for both methodology and argument. In Chapter Two, a discussion of Arendt's notions of the public sphere, human action and plurality, and Maclntyre's view of a narrative self-hood provides a theoretical framework through which to address the cultural usage concerning appropriation and to reformulate the concept of authenticity. In relation to this theoretical background, Chapter Three examines the understandings of identity, membership, voice, interpretation and cultural knowledge that are implied by the grounds for the argument against appropriation. Chapter Four reframes the concept of appropriation through Gadamer's hermeneutics and Nietzsche's criticism of historicism in order to suggest an alternative view of cultural and historical understanding. As a point of departure for possible further reflection upon iii  cultural appropriation and the politics of representation, the conclusion provides a brief consideration of the moralpractical or political implications of tact, friendship and civility.  iv  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract^  ii  Table of Contents^  v  Acknowledgement^  vii  Epigraph^  viii  Chapter One^Cultural Appropriation and Authentic Representation: Introduction to the Issues 1 I.  The appearance of the problem in public discussion: the example of the Royal Ontario Museum ^ exhibition, Into the Heart of Africa  1  Summary of issues and the theorist's mode of response^  25  Authenticity and a Common World: A Conversational Understanding of Identity and Representation^  36  I.  Introduction^  36  II.  Arendt's conception of human action and the public realm^  41  II. Chapter Two  ^  III. The phenomenon of embedded narratives^56 Chapter Three Control Over Representation and the Closure of the Public Sphere^65 I.  Introduction^  II.  Cultural "background" and "sameness" as the criteria for "correct" representation, and a cacophony of monologues ^ 67  III. Toward a conversational view of cultural identity and voice^ IV.  65  78  Representation as a form of action and the call for control^ 88  v  Chapter Four Openness and Cultivation: An Alternative View of Appropriation and Correct Representation ^ I.  Introduction^  100  100  II. Approriation vs. alienation ^ 102 III. History for life and action ^ 115 IV. Nietzsche's monumental, antiquarian and critical modes of historical representation 124 ^ Conclusion The politics of cultural representation and the virtues of tact, friendship and civility^ 153 Bibliography^ 172  vi  ACKNOWLEDGEMENT  I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Roy Turner, for his patience and guidance in the writing of this project. I would also like to offer a word of appreciation for the support and encouragement of family and friends, especially Margaret Reynolds, Janine Dickau, Daniel Congdon, Jet Blake and Gary Bourgeois. A special thanks to Lori Bremner who kept me going and helped a great deal in the formulation of many of the ideas in this thesis.  vii  "In conversation, 'facts' appear only to be resolved once more into the possibilities from which they were made, 'certainties' are shown to be combustible, not by being brought into contact with other 'certainties' or with doubts, but by being kindled by the presence of ideas of another order...Thoughts of different species take wing and play round one another to fresh exertions. Nobody asks where they have come from or on what authority they are present; nobody cares what will become of them when they have played their part. There is no symposiarch or arbiter; not even a doorkeeper to examine credentials. Every entrant is taken at face-value and everything is permitted which can get itself accepted into the flow of speculation. And voices which speak in conversation do not compose a hierarchy. Conversation is not an enterprise designed to yield an extrinsic profit, a contest where a winner gets a prize....it is an unrehearsed intellectual adventure....Properly speaking, it is impossible in the absence of a diversity of voices; in it different universes of discourse meet, acknowledge each other and enjoy an oblique relationship which neither requires nor forecasts their being assimilated to one another." Michael Oakeshott, The Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Mankind, (1959:10 - 11, emphasis supplied)  viii  Chapter One CULTURAL APPROPRIATION AND AUTHENTIC REPRESENTATION: INTRODUCTION TO THE ISSUES I. The appearance of the problem in public discussion: the example of the Royal Ontario Museum exhibition, Into the Heart of Africa  The museum occupies a precarious and problematical position in a contemporary multicultural community concerned with the question of how the museum is to "get it right" when it comes to the representation of a diverse cultural heritage. Lavine and Karp note that in a multicultural environment, "museums are bound to find themselves enmeshed in controversy" and laid open to "charges about who has the right to control [an] exhibition and how cultural and community identities are to be defined within it" (Lavine and Karp,  1991:5,6).  In  recent years the museum, among other arenas of public life, has become the site of an impassioned struggle and controversy concerning the contentious issue of "cultural appropriation", meaning the representation of the culture and history of the members of one ethnic group by those of another.1 Concern over the lack of recognition given to the perspectives of minority groups on their own cultures and the exclusion of their "voices" from the public sphere, as well as the (mis)representation of their cultures and histories by the 1 The term "cultural appropriation" has also been used to describe the theft or physical removal of artworks and artifacts from the communities in which they were produced without the consent of the community or the owners of the objects, and the use of images or styles in art and music that are particular to one culture by the members of other cultures. These issues will not be addressed directly in this thesis. 1  "dominant white" culture, has given rise to heated discussion pertaining to the validity and ethicality of the representation of ethnic minorities by whites, and the question of whether or not whites have the right to continue to represent or speak for and about other cultures.2 A vocal sector of the community has recently launched a vehement attack on cultural appropriation and has laid charges of "cultural theft", "political incorrectness", "irresponsibility" and "unethical conduct" against those who represent cultures or use "voices" which do not "belong" to them. It has been claimed that cultural appropriation leads directly to the perpetuation of harmful misrepresentations and racist stereotypes of ethnic minorities, since those who do not belong to the ethnic group they attempt to depict in art or literature lack the knowledge, expertise and experience required to produce authentic or truthful representations of the culture, histories and identities of its members. Opponents of cultural appropriation therefore demand that "outsiders" or "non-members" refrain or be prevented from representing minority groups. On the other side of the  2 In the debates concerning cultural appropriation a distinction is rarely made between the different meanings associated with the concept of representation. It ought to be noted that there is a great difference between "speaking for" or "on behalf of", and "speaking about" or depicting something or someone. It might also be noted, as Roy Turner argues, that a strong sense of the term "to represent" is not simply "to stand in place of" an object but to "act for" or make articulate what the object itself does not articulate, to "formulate the object in the act of representation" (see Turner, 1991:4-5). 2  polemic, many have argued that prohibiting the representation of one culture by the members of another constitutes a form of censorship, jeopardizing academic and artistic integrity and freedom, and closing down the possibility for meaningful cross-cultural discussion. Cultural representation has become a source of considerable anxiety for the collective as evidenced by the open hostility and extensive public discussion that has been generated in response to several current events involving the issue of appropriation in a variety of disciplines and media. Challenges from postmodern and postcolonial criticism that link the "realities" of power relations and systems of oppression to western discursive practices, together with a feeling of "uncertainity about [the] adequate means of describing social reality" (Marcus and Fischer,  1986:8),  have  led to what has been characterized as a crisis of representation in the humanities and the arts, particularly  within the field of anthropology as the raison d'etre of western ethnology has, of course, traditionally been the representation of non-western cultures. One response to this crisis has been a trend in museology and ethnography toward cultural self-representation by ethnic minorities or the inclusion of the (concrete) voices of indigenous "experts" in exhibitions or ethnographies. (see Clifford,  1988;  Marcus and  Fischer, 1986) In this thesis, I wish to open up a discussion around some of the issues emerging from the public discourse 3  concerning cultural appropriation and the "politics of representation" that begins by examining what this discourse understands to constitute authentic and ethical representation.3 It should be made clear that the intention here is not to "solve" what the debate regards as the "problems" of cultural representation nor to suggest ways that the museum can "get it right", but to consider the collective's representation of the "problem" and the "solution" as the problematic to be explored. By making available the grounds underlying the argument against cultural appropriation and by reformulating the concepts of "authenticity" and "appropriation", I propose to uncover and address the latent or tacit understandings that are intimated regarding the achievement of cultural and historical knowledge, identity and membership, and the relationship of the social actor to the influence of culture and cultural representation. Much of what is discussed in this thesis can be extended well beyond the issue of the representation of ethnic minority groups by the "dominant" white culture, to relationships among the members of any ethnic group, between men and women, the rich and the poor, and between individual members of the community.  3 The "politics of representation" is a fairly broad term that is associated with the representation of the members of a variety of oppressed sectors of the society by the "dominant culture" (which varies according to the concern and the sector in question) such as the representation of women by men in art and literature, the representation of disabled persons by able-bodied persons, the representation of the poor by the wealthy and so on. 4  While the "crisis of representation" and the problem of cultural appropriation is as well by no means limited to minority groups or to ethnology and the museum, arising as it has in relation to a number of disciplines and socially defined groups, what happened at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto in 1989 brought to the forefront and crystallized many of the issues that have emerged in relation to cultural representation in various other disciplines and practices including art, literature and film. We will therefore turn now to examine this example in some detail. It should be noted that my interest here is not so much in offering a critique of the exhibition itself as it is in examining the public responses to it. As this case attests, the museum is indeed treading on eggshells in a society that is constantly on the alert for instances of misrepresentation and racism (to a point where the concept no longer carries the impact it should), and on guard against violations of the "rules" of "political correctness". At this juncture, the museum appears to have found itself in a position in which it must either succumb to public pressure demanding its conformity to these rules or, as we shall see, risk being closed down. When the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) mounted an exhibition called Into the Heart of Africa from November 1989 to August 1990, depicting the history of Canadian involvement in the colonization of Africa and displaying African cultural artifacts that had been collected during this period, a storm of angry protest erupted and a flurry of criticism was 5  unleashed in countless letters and articles appearing in newspapers and journals across Canada attacking the exhibition's portrayal of Africans and African history. The exhibition, which was curated by Dr. Jeanne Cannizzo, a specialist in African studies from the University of Toronto, was criticized for being offensive and inaccurate, and the curator herself came under personal attack for allegedly supporting racist attitudes toward Africans and people of African descent. Into the Heart of Africa was an innovative and  provocative exhibition that employed sophisticated techniques of display and analysis aimed at examining traditional museum practices, criticizing colonialism and the attitudes of the Victorian Canadian missionaries, soldiers and journalists who had collected the artifacts, and exploring the various interpretations and meanings the objects had been given as they moved from the context of their original creation and use through the hands of the collectors to their display in the museum. In addition to allowing viewers to bear witness to the sophistication and magnificence of African cultures through the artifacts collected by the colonists, the exhibition sought to provide a reminder of the degradation that had been bestowed upon the African people during the colonial period and the attrocities involved in the colonization process that had enabled the original acquisition of the objects. Included in the show were photographs taken by the missionaries and soldiers along with their own 6  commentaries, newspaper articles celebrating European victories that had been won in battles to subjugate the African people to colonial rule, slide shows, and a replication of a missionary schoolhouse. The curator had provided contemporary viewers with a sense of the richness of African cultures and an opportunity to rethink the naive interpretations of the colonists by adopting an ironic stance toward the commentaries of the missionaries and soldiers, and juxtaposing their image of Africa alongside the image presented through the African artifacts. The exhibit thus attempted to call attention to the racism and sense of superiority of the colonists, to reflect critically upon their attitudes toward African cultures and, along with the aid of support material such as the exhibition catalogue, to break down some of the stereotypes of these groups to which museums have contributed in the past. The exhibition may have been provocative but its curatorial staff hardly anticipated the kind of response it was to draw from certain sectors of the public, which was indeed extraordinary. Public protest was slow to surface initially, beginning with letters of complaint to the ROM and editorials in newspapers, but gradually escalated over the several months following the opening of the exhibition. Tensions mounted in March and April of 1990 when hostile demonstrators began to march in front of the museum with picket signs and leaflets attempting to rally support for their demand that the exhibition either be modified or closed 7  down and a few incidents of violence occured when police tried to move the protestors away from the museum entrance. The main objection against the exhibition was that it had failed to represent African history "completely" and "objectively". Protestors claimed it was "incomplete" since it had not acknowledged African cultural achievements (including the contributions of ancient Egypt) and expressed their disapproval over what they perceived in the show to be a gross misrepresentation of Africans and African history. As well, much criticism was centred upon the motivation behind the curatorial decision to depict the point of view of the colonizers. Those who were most hostile toward the exhibition and its organizers had interpreted the show as an endorsement rather than criticism of colonialism and racism. The curator had, in fact, provided a critical context through which to read the history behind the acquisition of the objects in the collection and had adopted an ironic stance toward the attitudes of the colonists by placing words in their commentaries such as "darkest Africa", "savage" and "primitive" in quotation marks, - indicating that these were not her words, her voice or attitude and that such terms ought to be questioned and criticized. Yet, the curator and the museum were accused of valorizing racist and white supremacist attitudes and for perpetuating negative stereotypes of Africans. On the view of the 'Coalition for the Truth about Africa', an umbrella organization comprised mainly of groups 8  from Toronto's black community (whose members, incidentally, were mostly of Carribean origin), Into the Heart of Africa was a "clear and concise attempt to mislead the public and further tarnish the image of Africa and African people", and should have been "totally redone to represent a true and  impartial view of historical events."4 In spite of the fact that the exhibition clearly neither limited its representation to the story of colonization nor the perspective of the colonizers, for Oji Adisa, an outspoken member of the CFTA, telling the story of colonization from the point of view of the colonizers was comparable to mounting an exhibition of the Holocaust from the perspective of the Nazis, and for him this reflected "Canadians' utter disrespect for the African people".5 Many spokespersons from both the black and white communities argued that it was "unnecessary and cruel" to have been reminded of the agony and humiliation blacks had suffered under colonial rule and that for a public institution to have once again "given voice" to the victors rather than the victims was like rubbing salt in the wound. "We should not let these racist voices continue to be our source of African history" commented one angry critic.6 The response of critics 4 CFTA pamphlet "The Truth about Africa", circulated in front of the museum, pp.1 and 6, emphasis supplied. See also transcript from CBC radio interview, (Morningside), Oct. 26, 1990; The Globe and Mail, March 24, April 7, July 14, 16 and 28, Aug. 10 and Dec. 29, 1990; Museum Quarterly 18(1) Fall 1990:39-43; Now March 29-April 4, 1990 for information regarding the ROM controversy. 5 Oji Adisa quoted in Isabelle Vincent, "Exhibiting Anger", Globe and Mail, July 14, 1990. 9  such as the members of the CFTA toward the show was, however, itself far from impartial. They demanded that the exhibition be closed down or that the ROM make drastic modifications to the exhibition by dismantling and remounting it from the perspective of a member of the black community so as to present an African, (and hence, in their opinion, a "truthful", "impartial"), point of view upon the history of the objects in the collection. Others, again from both the black and white community, saw the exhibit in quite a different light and spoke out in its defense by arguing that it was an insightful examination of colonialism and represented a celebration rather than denigration of African culture. A Toronto newspaper columnist, for example, wrote that "Into the Heart of Africa...treated the Africans and their art and artifacts  with respect and dignity".7 Many also recognized that though it brought to mind attitudes that were prevalent during the colonial era, it was critical not supportive of racism and colonialism. The curator herself wrote that "the exhibition does not, as has been alleged, promote white supremacy or glorify imperialism. On the contrary, it should help all Canadians understand the historical roots of racism."8 Some felt that if anything it might have been criticized for being 6 Sheila Nicholas, letter to the Globe and Mail, Aug. 4, 1990 7 Christopher Hume, "Rejection of ROM show may set bad precedent", Toronto Star, Sept. 29, 1990. 8 Cannizzo quoted in Maureen Murray, "Harassment forces prof to quit class", Toronto Star, Oct. 19, 1990. See also, Donna Laframboise, Toronto Star, Oct.22, 1990 10  too heavy handed in its attack on the roots of racism, "reminding us over and over again about early white Canadian ignorance of Africa, our stereotypes and misconceptions, [and] the implicit racism of our world view."9 There were a few who were indeed outraged over the fact that, as they saw it, the exhibit had presented a "stereotype of the missionary as an ethnocentric, bigoted and insensitive person", that it had unfairly lumped them together with the soldiers, and had failed to take account of the sincerity and effort with which they had undertaken the work of aiding Africans achieve what was understood in European terms to constitute a good standard of living.10 While the critics of the exhibit claimed that being reminded of the cruelty of colonial rule was painful and unnecessary, others argued that not including something about colonialism would have resulted in a revisionist version of the past and a failure to speak of the truth about the racism and violence that is a part of Canadian history. Sandra Whiting, a columnist for a newspaper with wide circulation among Canadian blacks, argued that "[i]t is painful to see and read how our people were treated [during the colonial era]...but pretending it didn't happen is a part of not knowing our history."11 Martin Klein, a specialist in 9 Bronwyn Drainie, "Black groups protest African show at 'Racist Ontario Museum'", Globe and Mail, March 24, 1990 10 Letter from an anthropology professor to the Globe and Mail "Exhibit Deplorable", July 28, 1990 11 Sandra Whiting, Contrast, Feb.8, 1990 11  African history at the University of Toronto, saw one of the values of the exhibit to lie in the fact that it had portrayed the "awful truth" about colonialism and had brought to public awareness the little known realities of Canadian participation in the colonization of Africa. In spite of the fact that attempts were made to defend Into the Heart of Africa through alternative interpretations that pointed out how it was critical toward racism, the protest and controversy that surrounded the exhibition nevertheless resulted in serious consequences, both personal and public. The curator was forced to take a leave of absence from her post as lecturer at the University of Toronto after she had been harassed by protestors at her home and verbally abused by angry students accusing her of being racist. As well, the protests ultimately succeeded in closing down the exhibition as the show was cancelled at other venues across Canada at which it was to appear by museum officials afraid of losing corporate sponsorship, offending the public, or raising similar protests in their communities. Director of the Vancouver Museum, David Hemphill, stated that the protest in Toronto was a major factor in the museum board's decision to cancel the show and added that they had "brought together a group of people from various communities and their advice was that the exhibition was not appropriate" for the museum. Essentially this was because, as he claimed, the exhibition "couldn't be made acceptable to  12  the black community" in Vancouver.12 Likewise, Canadian Museum of Civilization director, George MacDonald, stated that the reason the show had been cancelled there "was that it clearly did not express the community voice". "We contacted well over a dozen groups", he said, "and their response was uniform. Members of the black community said they didn't think it told their story."13 According to some critics, the "problems" that plagued the exhibit, (its incompleteness, lack of objectivity and failure to "express the community voice"), could have been avoided had it been mounted by an African or a member of the black community. Although the curator is highly trained and extremely knowledge about her field, and in spite of the fact that the exhibition presented a sensitive and thought-provoking interpretation of what is as much a part of white Canadian as it is black Canadian heritage, the exhibit was considered flawed because the author, being white, apparently lacked the appropriate "credentials" required to speak of black culture and "black" issues. At the very least, it was felt that black anthropologists or other members of the black community ought to have been consulted and asked for their approval of the exhibition in order to ensure its  12 David Hemphill quoted in Isable Vincent, "Two museums cancel embattled ROM show", Globe and Mail, Sept. 21, 1990; also quoted in Christoper Hume, "Rejection of ROM show may set bad precedent", Toronto Star, Sept. 29, 1990 13 George MacDonald quoted in Chistopher Hume, Toronto Star, Sept. 29, 1990 13  validity. In the opinion of Paul Lovejoy, professor of African History at York University, had the ROM done this, "it is virtually certain that the...exhibition would have had a completely different focus."14 What is suggested by these criticisms is that the exhibit would not simply have been different had it been curated by a black but that this would have resulted in the best interpretation of the history and people it attempted to depict. Clement Marshall, a Guyanese teacher and consultant on muliticulturalism, asserted that many in his community "take the view that, in the question of people's culture, you have to let them speak for themselves."15 According to the critics of cultural appropriation, the reason for this is that the members of one culture allegedly lack the understanding, knowledge and experience required to speak of the culture and concerns of the members of another. In his criticism of the ROM exhibition, Charles Roach, lawyer and head of the Martinsday Committee, argued that "outsiders can never understand a people's culture as much as those people themselves"16, and a journalist for a Toronto newspaper noted that many similarly claim that since "whites don't understand the experience of racial minorities they will therefore misrepresent it".17 14 Paul E. Lovejoy, "A failure of focus", letter to the Globe and Mail April 7, 1990  15 Clement Marshall quoted in Bronwyn Drainie, Globe and Mail, March 24, 1990 16 Charles Roach quoted in Errol Nazareth, ibid. 14  The questions remain, however, as to just "whose" story Into the He art of Africa was in fact telling, whether the exhibit did indeed present a "misrepresentative" account of the history of colonialism and African culture, what is implied in the charge that it failed to "express the community voice", and in what way it could be said that it is inappropriate for a Canadian museum and a white Canadian to tell a story that is part of a complex heritage that belongs to Canadians. Even though it included African artifacts and spoke of African culture, we could argue that the exhibit did not simply try to tell a "black story" or speak for all blacks (or all whites), but attempted to speak of a history that was shared by and has implications for both blacks and whites,  albeit in a mode and with a focus that may have been different from the way an African (or even another white person for that matter) might have interpreted it. The exhibit expressed this history through a variety of voices and perspectives though it did not endorse or claim to speak on behalf of all of these voices (e.g., the voices of the colonists). We might also note that the devastating effects of colonialism and racism, the complicated history of meanings that had been associated with both the African and European artifacts within various historical and cultural contexts of interpretation, and the cultures these artifacts represented are in need of being reinterpreted and understood not only by blacks but by whites and others in the contemporary community. It is difficult to 17 Thomas Hurka, "Should Whites Write about Minorities?", Globe and Mail, Dec.19, 1989 15  understand the charge that the exhibit failed to express the "community voice" as the stories presented in the exhibit were, furthermore, narrated from the point of view of an individual who showed a sensitivity and committment to understanding and addressing matters pertaining not only to her own life but to the lives, fates and plights of others in the community. While many did recognize that the exhibit had taken a critical stance toward colonialism and racism, its approach toward the material was criticized for being too sophisticated to have been understood by the general public. Many felt that the exhibit's problems might have been prevented had the curator not relied on the ability of viewers to comprehend the subtlety of the analysis, especially the use of irony as a form of criticism. Black activist and CFTA member, Oji Adisa, claimed that the meanings and information presented in museum exhibitions ought to be "accessible" (i.e. transparent) to viewers or conveyed in such as way that "any lay person can understand [them]".18 Many commentators similarly felt that too much was left up to the viewer to interpret and without more explanatory context and information about Africa it ran the risk of being interpreted "incorrectly" by the "average museum-goer" who, lacking in knowledge about Africans and African history (and apparently the ability to judge and reflect critically upon racism), would have accepted the 18 Oji Adisa quoted in Isabelle Vincent, "Exhibiting Anger", Globe and Mail, July 14, 1990. See also Donna Laframboise, Toronto Star, Oct. 22, 1990 16  racist views of the colonists. In the opinion of museum critic Jim Freedman, the use of irony was not enough, the exhibit needed to pass a clear and unequivocal judgement upon the brutalities of colonization. In failing to do so, he claimed, it appeared to "give its cachet of approval to a history whose atrocities [made] this show possible."19 This was indeed how the CFTA and other critics (black and white) saw the show, but nevertheless they did not automatically accept the views of the colonists, and as we have pointed out, other "average laypersons" or members of the "general public" quite clearly saw the message of the exhibit to be a condemnation of the atrocities of racism and colonialism. Though there may be persons who are unreflective in their approach to cultural images, if acceptance is not the only possible response to what we are presented with in museums, then this image of the "lay person" or "average museum-goer" is in need of deconstructing rather than upholding or honouring. Many who were neither "experts" on African culture nor members of the black community were critical of the colonist's attitudes and recognized the 19 Jim Freedman, "Bringing it all back home: A Commentary on Into the Heart of Africa", Museum Quarterly, 18(1) Fall 1990:42. See also: Errol Nazareth, "Royal Ontario Museum Showcase Showdown", Now, March 29 - April 4, 1990 10-12;Fuse 13(6) Summer 1990:16; Heather Robertson, "Out of Africa, Into the Soup", Canadian Forum, 69792) Sept, 1990:4; Brenda Austin Smith, "Into the Heart of Irony", Canadian Dimension, Oct. 1990:51; Isabelle Vincent, "Exhibiting Anger", Globe and Mail, July 14, 1990; Enid Schildkrout, "Ironic Twists and Ambiguous Messages": Into the Heart of Africa and The Other Museum " review article p. 4 (source in which this article was to appear not known). 17  richness and complexity of African cultures without being given more background information concerning Africans and African history. We need to question, then, the notion that information and knowledge provide us with the "correct" view of culture and history. We need to question, in other words, what the critics of the ROM exhibit and cultural appropriation in general understand to count as the grounds for "correctness". Concern over the perceived link between cultural appropriation and cultural misunderstanding and stereotyping is not limited to the museum but has arisen in response to a number of public "events" in various artistic arenas, indicating the depth of this problem for the community. In 1988, for example, the Policy and Publishing Group of the  Women's Press in Toronto refused to publish fiction written by white women about members of other cultures, claiming that "white writers do not have the right to assume the voice of a woman of colour" on the grounds that regardless of the content of the work, this seen to be "structural racism". This move was followed by a massive upheaval within the Women's Press and heated debate in various public forums.20 Again, in 1989 native writer Lenore Keeshig-Tobias publically demanded that whites stop "stealing" native stories in response to the screening of the film Where the Spirit Lives on CBC television, a film written and directed by a white portraying  20 Lisa Rochon, "Race issue splits Women's Press", Globe and Mail, Aug. 9, 1988 18  the cruelties of the residential school system for natives.21 And a wave of hostile criticism followed in the wake of the publication of W.P. Kinsella's novel The Miss Hobbema Pageant in 1990 which was considered an insulting and stereotypical portrayal of life on a native Indian reserve and led some to argue that Kinsella should be sued and the novel banned from bookstores and libraries.22 Positions similar to those directed toward the ROM exhibition were expressed at a recent forum held in Vancouver on cultural appropriation in the arts pertaining to Native culture and history. It was claimed that native people need to "tell their own stories" in order to "make the truth about the histories of their nations and their peoples, their values and experiences, known to themselves" and others. Participants argued that self-representation is required because "for the past few hundred years, their stories have  21 The opinion of the native community on this issue is by no means one of consensus. Members of the Blood Nation reportedly applauded the film for exposing the atrocities of the residential schools in a moving way. See Leonore-Keeshig Tobias, "Stop stealing native stories", Globe and Mail, Jan.26, 1989; Bronwyn Drainie "Minorities go toe to toe with majority" Globe and Mail, Sept. 30, 1989; see also Libby Scheier and Leonore Keeshig-Tobias, "Writing Authentic Voices", Fuse Fall 1990:14. 22 Byron Rempel, " 'Sue Kinsella', says author Wiebe", British Columbia Report, Dec. 25, 1989:37 See also: Rudy Wiebe, Globe and Mail, Feb.17, 1990. See also Byron Rempel, British Columbia Report, Jan. 22, 1990:30; Paula Gunn Allen, American Indian Quarterly, 13:111-12, Winter, 1989; Agnes Grant, Canadian Dimension, 24(5:15-16, July/Aug. 1990; Joanne Hutton, Western Report, 17(41), Sept. 244, 1990; Kenneth McGoogan, Quill and Quire 566(1) April 1990:7; Globe and Mail Dec. and Dec.21, 1989; Vancouver Sun, Dec.4 and Feb. 17, 1990; The Province, Jan. 11 and 14, 1990. 19  been stolen and lied about, at worst - or been stolen and told inaccurately, at best" by non-native people with a sense of their own superiority who "do not know the reality of Native understandings and experiences". In representing themselves it was asserted that natives are able to document "their own histories more truthfully, authentically, and ethically than anyone else can" and thereby promote crosscultural understanding and a sense of their own identity.23 Lawyer Loretta Todd, who attended this conference, claimed that the issue of appropriation is "about origins." "It's about who we are", she said, "and it's about asserting who we are and determining who we are." Todd reported that she had recently proposed a resolution on what she called "cultual autonomy" at The Independent Film and Video Alliance, a national organization for film and video co-operatives across Canada, arguing that self-determination for natives was being denied through the taking of native images, culture and stories by the dominant culture, and encouraged members of the dominant culture to "find expressions of selfdetermination within their own culture and experience." 24 While it is certainly important for natives and other ethnic minorities to represent themselves and gain a  23 Final report on the forum Telling Our Own Story: Appropriation and Indigenous Writers and Performing Artists", held in Vancouver, Dec. 8-10, 1989. pp.9, 5 and 10, emphasis supplied. 24 Lorretta Todd, quoted in ibid, pp.14, 20. See also, Doug West "Forum explores cultural autonomy", Khatou, Dec. 25, 1989:5. 20  positive sense of their identities, suggestions such as those made by Todd seem somewhat puzzling. First, it is one thing to remove or steal a physical object from a group of people that own it and quite another to depict a community in literature, art or film. In the latter case, nothing is "taken" in any concrete sense; stories that are told about natives by other ethnic groups still remain "there" to be told and retold. Secondly, the argument against the appropriation of native culture by "cultural outsiders" on the grounds that members of a cultural group are able to depict themselves "more truthfully, authentically and ethically" than anyone else, and the suggestion that members of the dominant culture "find expressions of self-determination within their own culture and experience" would seem to preclude the representation of the dominant culture by ethnic minorities and to suggest that the representation and interpretation of the dominant culture by members of the dominant culture were more truthful than those of the members of other groups. This appears ironical considering the concern of native people to address and to criticize the understandings and interpretations that certain members of the dominant white culture have of both themselves and native people, and of their historical experiences in North America. The demand that members of one ethnic group refrain from representing another has generated similar questions and has raised considerable alarm for many in the community over the implications this has for artistic and academic freedom. 21  Many  in the community responded to the outcome of the  ROM  controversy by expressing concern over the degree to which the museum could maintain high standards in the face of public opinion pressuring it into becoming a mouthpiece for any group wishing to represent themselves, and creating safe exhibitions geared toward the "lowest common denominator". In the field of literature, Timothy Findley and others have claimed that it is part of a writer's job to imagine and write about the lives of others and is part of understanding the other. Neil Bissondath, a Trinidadian-born writer of East Indian descent, who similarly feels that an important aspect of fiction writing involves an exploration of the other, has argued that to restrict writers to writing about their own cultures amounts to limiting the role of the artist to that of autobiographer.25 Many have wondered whether the ban on cultural appropriation, for instance, means that a white middle class woman of Irish descent ought to write only about other white middle class Irish women, whether children's books ought to be written by children, or if writing science fiction should be outlawed. Author Sandra Birdsell, who was joined by others in confronting the opponents of cultural appropriation through an appeal to the freedom of the artist, claimed that "writers can and must write about whatever they choose...to say that certain points of view are off limits is to agree to censorship." 26  25 See Stephen Godfrey, Globe and Mail, March 22  21, 1992  However, W.P. Kinsella's argument that he "could write about whatever pleases him" in response to the charge that he ought to stop depicting native people was met with outrage from many in the community who felt that he was not free to present degrading and stereotypical portraits of native people. Kinsella's most vehement critic, author Rudy Wiebe, asserted that since "writing has power" (to influence opinion), the freedom to write about what one chooses comes with social responsibilities and for Wiebe this includes the responsibility to present the correct facts about others or, as other commentators on the issue have claimed, to "get the story right".27 At a time when native people are struggling to the  overcome the kinds of negative stereotypical portrayals of themselves that appear works such as Kinsella's, his novels as well as his response to the critics indeed appear insensitive, tactless, irresponsible and flippant. He may well be "free" to write what he pleases but Kinsella and others like him ought to be prepared to accept the 26 Sandra Birdsell, in "Whose Voice Is It Anyway?", Books in Canada, 20(1)11, Jan/Feb., 1991 27 Rudy Wiebe, "Proud Cree Nation Deserves More than 'Funny' Stories", Globe and Mail, Feb.17, 1990. It is interesting to note that although Wiebe held that a piece of fiction about members of a living community ought to be an accurate and truthful documentary, his own novel about the Metis blurs the line between fact and fiction, and as Linda Hutcheon notes, challenges the view that history must be "accepted as 'how things actually happened', with the historian in the role of recorder". (Hutcheon, 1988:14-15) If truth is understood as fact, we can only assume from this that for Wiebe, the integrity of historical truth and the reputation of the dead need not be treated with the same respect as that of the present and living. 23  consequences and face the responses of those who may have good reasons to criticize. Arguing against censorship does not mean that a writer is therefore immune to criticism. The question that Wiebe's comment raises, however, is what is meant by "getting the story right". For Wiebe, this would appear to be a matter of getting the facts straight and for others, to depend upon being a member and writing from the "inside". Just as those who argued that the ROM ought to have received the approval of the black community before mounting Into the Heart of Africa, there are many, including Canada Council  director Joyce Zemans, who believe that the responsible artist or writer should consult or collaborate with members of the culture he or she wishes to depict, or at least have them verify the account in order to ensure its authenticity.28 Writer M.T. Kelly, for example, said she showed her manuscript of a story about natives to her Indian friends because she "wanted to get it right".29 Yet, this understanding of what constitutes responsible writing is debatable if factual correctness, self-representation or writing in accordance with the "member's point of view" and opinions are considered the only criteria for "getting it right". In light of the understanding that whites will invariably misrepresent other cultures, the failure of the ROM organizers to consult the  28 See Stephen Godfrey, "Canada Council asks whose voice is it anyway?", Globe and Mail, March 21, 1992. 29 M.T. Kelly in Books in Canada, 24  20(1), 1991:15  black community or mount the exhibition from an African perspective, can only appear as morally irresponsible or an act of bad faith since everyone ought to know, as responsible citizens, that his or her representation of another culture is liable to be inauthentic and unethical. Yet, it is hard to believe that one would be treated as acting responsibly if in attempting to represent and criticize contemporary neo-Nazi culture, one were to consult with members of these groups and produce a representation that met with their approval or corresponded with their own understandings, opinions and views of their culture. Surely, then, gaining the "member's" approval or community self-representation cannot be thought of as the sole grounds for "truthful" and responsible representation.  II. Summary of the issues and the theorist's mode of response  We will now summarize and begin to open up some of the central issues emerging from the cultural appropriation debates. As we have seen, the public discourse surrounding the issues of cultural appropriation and representation is permeated with a sense of fear and anxiety. For some the problem of cultural (mis)understanding and (mis)representation is related to group membership and this in turn is related to the ethicality involved involved in representing other cultures and the author's responsibility to represent cultures truthfully. The claim, as we have seen, is essentially that those who are not "members" of a cultural community will not 25  fully understand or interpret the experiences, realities, histories and concerns of the group "correctly" and will therefore misrepresent them. It is claimed, likewise, that members of the larger public, lacking knowledge and experience of the "realities" of the cultures they encounter in the museum or in art, will misunderstand the imagery they are presented with unless the message is clear and unequivocal and adequate information is provided. As we have seen, the criticism of appropriation is based on the notion that "correct" knowledge and representation of a people's culture, history and identity is ensured through self-representation. The "member" (self) unlike the "outsider" (other), it seems, is automatically provided with an accurate understanding of his or her culture, and therefore does not risk misinterpreting and misrepresenting it. The group member or self, in other words, appears on this view as the sole expert on everything pertaining to the group or self, and furthermore seems to be capable of producing correct or expert knowledge without in some way being required to respond to or draw upon the interpretations and representations of others. At some basic level, then, the argument against appropriation carries the implication that a sense of identity, self-understanding or a knowledge of one's history and culture are immediate and given, and are achieved in isolation from others. The argument against appropriation thus begins to appear rather strange, yet it is important that we treat these issues 26  seriously rather than take the argument for granted or dismiss it out of hand. For others involved in the debate, the issue of appropriation is a matter of "stealing" cultures and voices that do not "belong" to one. The organizer of the forum on cultural appropriation and native art mentioned above, Margo Kane, claimed that: "We've got to begin to use our voice because other people are only too willing to become our spokespeople or to pull whatever they want from our culture. Take whatever it is they think it is that they could use.. .We need to control our own products."30 The issue of control surfaces as well in conjunction with the problems of "truth", influence and responsibility. "To control a museum", writes museologist Carol Duncan, "means precisely to control the representation of a community and some of its highest most authoritative truths" (Duncan, in Lavine and Karp, ibid:101-102). The problem for Duncan and those concerned with "who" has the right to control an exhibition is one of ideology. That is, the dominant culture is held to exercise hegemonic control over the collective by controlling the museum, and thereby controlling the representation of the community and how "cultural and community identities are defined". The claim, therefore, is that minority cultures need to wrest control over the representation of their cultures from dominant groups in order to define themselves and determine how the community views them. Here what needs to be addressed is the conception of 30 Margo Kane, quoted in Doug West, op.cit., p.5 27  culture, identity and representation behind the view that regards these as "products" that can be "owned", "controlled" or "determined" by a group. Regarded in terms of the criticisms put forth against cultural appropriation, representation begins to appear as a powerful anarchic and unruly, even sinister and menacing force, that must be fettered in order to render interpretation unproblematic and the influence of representation benevolent and inoffensive. From this point of view, free speech, or at least a lack of strictures to ensure authenticity, seems to unleash and offer representation a free reign, putting the community at risk of terrorization and harm. Simone Weil expresses the problem and its anxious undercurrent when she writes that literary publications (and we can add art, museum exhibitions, film etc.) that are "destined to influence what is called opinion constitute acts and ought to be subjected to the same restrictions as are all acts" (Weil,  1979:24,  italics supplied). "The moment a writer  fills a role among the influences directing public opinion", she writes, "he cannot claim to exercise unlimited freedom" (ibid:26). For Weil, as for the advocates of authenticity, it is crucial that the writer portray the "truth", since this provides for the "good health of the social body" (see ibid:9). Weil fears, however, that we cannot trust even those authors we would expect to be responsible, and she regrets that, 28  "One feels afraid to read once one has realized the quantity and monstrousness of material falsehoods shamelessly paraded, even in the books of the most reputable authors. Thereafter, one reads as though one were drinking from a contaminated well" (ibid:37, emphasis supplied). Reading thus appears as something fearful that keeps us on guard against the dangers of taking the "false" for the "true", and this fear is deepened since we do not have direct access to the "reality" being depicted but must rely on the author's testimony. Since on Well's account, authors cannot be trusted to be responsible of their own volition they must be restricted. For the critics of appropriation this means being limited to depicting their own cultures and histories. On this view, accepting cultural representations at face value would appear to be an act of faith that were naive in the extreme, for this would be to open oneself up to the possibility of accepting "untruths" or to invite manipulation by cultural tyrants and monopolizers. The alternative presented by the critics of appropriation is to check the "credentials" of the author in order to verify an account and root out inauthenticity at its source. "Decontaminating the well of reading" in this way, so that any representation of culture that appears will undoubtedly be truthful, is sought as the solution to the problem of misrepresentation and provides readers with relief from the worry of making faulty judgements concerning truth. While questions such as whether an artist or curator has the right to represent other cultures seem commonplace these days, we ought not forget that these are new questions, 29  and the grounds upon which they are posed are far from selfevident. Artistic and academic censorship is, of course, nothing new. There are numerous examples in western history of attempts to ban books and restrain artistic and academic practices. Yet, the worry over such a thing as "cultural appropriation" and the need to restrict authors to selfrepresentation or to ensure that even fictional stories are "truthful" (i.e. are self-representations) in the name of morality and social responsibility does appear to be peculiar to contemporary culture. Indeed, Joyce Zemans claims that: "We are in an era in which we use different standards than we did before...we have a new need for authenticity."31 How, we need to ask, does the issue of appropriation and authenticity come to be seen as a pressing and urgent public concern? Although the enemies of cultural appropriation see speaking about, using the "voices" or incorporating the culture and views of others into one's "speech" as something harmful to the community, its friends regard this as something valuable and worthwhile. Shakespeare "appropriated" Italian culture in Romeo and Juliet and his story has in turn been appropriated and reinterpreted for centuries by theatre groups, dance companies, and other writers the world over. It is hard to imagine the Kirov Ballet company of Russia being charged with "cultural appropriation" and "inauthenticity" for performing their adaptation of Shakespeare's play and thus 31 Joyce Zemans quoted in Stephen Godfrey, "Canada Council asks whose voice is it anyway?" Globe and Mail, March 21, 1992 (italics added) 30  "stealing" Italian and English culture. In terms of history and social issues, Karl Marx, a Jewish-German born into a wealthy family and influenced by French and Russian philosophers, wrote his great volumes on capitalism and social class in part by drawing upon his observations of its workings in British society. Affected by the misery and suffering of members of the working class, Marx concerned himself with "telling their story" and finding a way to improve their lot, and his stories, as we know, have been appropriated by cultures as diverse as Latin American and Vietnamese and by great figures around the globe from Castro to Pavlov to Ho-Chi-Min to Nehru, to name only a few who in turn have influenced millions of people. To take the issue up in somewhat different terms, we also need to recognize the fact that there are indeed numerous forms of representation that we do not concern ourselves with "authenticating" such as editorial cartoons, children's literature, or television comedies. One of Kinsella's critics claimed that his books were inappropriate and irresponsible because "Indians in the flesh...have nothing to do with the comic caricatures of Kinsella's books".32 This is probably true and there may certainly be reason to criticize Kinsella's caricatures of native people, yet we need to see that caricatures or representations that depart from realistic depiction are not necessarily irresponsible or untruthful. Caricatures of prominent political figures that 32 Gordon Cavendale, Vancouver Sun, Feb. 17, 1990 31  appear in our newspapers also have nothing to do with these figures in the flesh, (if what is meant by this is that they fail to depict these persons "realistically"), but we would not argue that they were irresponsible or did not bring certain "truths" to light on the grounds of their lack of realism. While the "members", that is, those involved in the polemic, see a need for authenticity and community control over representation in order to solve the problem of cultural misrepresentation, we as theorists need to resist taking the "member's point of view" and to examine what it could mean for the representation of cultural history and identity to be "inauthentic" and irresponsible unless controlled and determined by the self or group. The task here  will not be to take up one or other side of the debate and argue either for or against control, as the question to be addressed is not whether and in what ways representation ought to be restricted or, as we have said, how the "problem" of "getting it right" when it comes to representing cultures is to be solved. Instead, it is to examine how cultural and historical understanding, identity and responsible representation are framed and understood in order for cultural appropriation to appear intelligible as a problem. Resisting the "member's point of view" does not, however, mean that the theorist disregard or dismiss it nor treat herself as an "outsider" to the community. While the critic distances herself from the polemic, she does not stand 32  in some privileged place outside of it and look on with intellectual, emotional or moral detachment but recognizes that through her membership in the community she herself shares a stake in the concerns and issues that it raises. The connected critic, as Michael Walzer argues, does not speak from the centre (eg. the "dominant culture" in our case), nor is he a marginal figure or a dispassionate stranger (eg. minority groups or detached scholar), rather he is "detached from his own marginality" in such a way as to be "free of the tensions that bind [centrality and marginality] together" (Walzer, 1987:37, 38); i.e., the critic steps back from the debate in order to free himself from the anxiety it generates. He is the "local judge" who begins from the common concerns voiced by the complaintants, articulates them in a way that . brings them into clarity, and "earns his authority...by arguing with his fellows". Though perhaps distanced from the polemic and theorizing the issues from an alternative point of view, the connected critic, Walzer writes, "is one of us": he brings what he has learned to the discussion and connects this with the local culture, not as a revolutionary wishing to overthrow it, nor in the manner of a missionary who wants to "wish the natives well" but as one who shares in the concerns of members of a community in which he himself resides and who "seeks the success of their common enterprise" (ibid:39).33 33 It ought to be noted that throughout this paper I unabashedly use what some refer to as "gendered" or "sexist" speech (i.e. "mankind", "man" and the pronoun "he"). I do this 33  In attempting to address the problem of cultural appropriation and the relationship of the individual or group to historical and cultural representation, the theorist needs to keep in view the local discourse or "cultural usage" concerning the problem, or in Turner's words, to "grasp its living forms in the culture, in the mundane world which the theorist shares with the societal member whose everyday life he theorises" (Turner,  1990:2).  The approach to be taken  toward this discourse is what might be called a "conversational" response. Rather than aim at identifying the causes of misrepresentation or solutions to the "problems" arising from cultural appropriation, this approach seeks to theorize the grounds for the argument against appropriation and the call for authenticity in order to address the view of cultural identity, community and reading they presuppose or intimate. A conversational response recommends an alternative not so much to make a point as for stylistic reasons or to preserve the tone of the works that are cited and refered to, just as I have often used "stories", "world" and "conversational" in place of the more fashionable postmodern terminology: "narratives", "metanarratives", "discursive fields", "dialogical". I make no appology for my use of such speech and argue that the pronoun "he" in the present work could only be considered "gendered" in a very technical or literal sense, (i.e. in the way some languages gender inanimate objects). It needs to be recognized that the meaning, spirit and voice of a piece cannot be put down to individual words on a page and therefore I do not consider a work to be "sexist" simply on the basis of the use of the pronoun "he" or words like "mankind". There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that when the authors whose works I have drawn upon and cited, such as Walzer, Oakeshott, Arendt, or Nietzsche, speak of "man" or "he", they are refering to all of humanity and not simply the male of the species. Only a limited, meanspirited and unfriendly reading of their work, a reading that would completely miss their point, would doubt their sincerity in this regard. 34  conception of our relationship to the cultural collective to that which understands the solution to the problems of representation in "technical" terms, i.e., in terms of controlling the means to produce a desired outcome, and in terms of accurate knowledge. While the call for authenticity and self-representation, (as these are understood by the opponents of appropriation), tends toward a kind of closure that ultimately makes understanding appear an impossibility, both the argument and approach taken here attempt to restore the grounds for dialogue and cross-cultural understanding.  35  Chapter Two AUTHENTICITY AND A COMMON WORLD: A CONVERSATIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF IDENTITY AND REPRESENTATION  "As civilized beings, we are the inheritors, neither of an enquiry about ourselves and the world, nor of an accumulating body of information, but a conversation...It is a conversation which goes on both in public and within each of ourselves...And it is this conversation which, in the end, gives place and character to every human activity and utterance." Michael Oakeshott, The Voice of Poetry in The Conversation of Mankind. (1959:11) "Being a person cannot be understood simply as exercising a set of capacities I have as an individual.. .On the contrary, I only acquire [these capacities] in conversation..in a certain form within this conversation, that of my culture; and I only maintain it through continued interchange...I become a person and remain one only as an interlocutor." Charles Taylor, in The Category of the Person, Carrithers, Collins and Lukes, eds., (1985:276)  I. Introduction  In order to develop a critical response to the public discussion concerning cultural appropriation that does not simply take it on its own terms, we need to begin by recognizing that the terms or features of the polemic are themselves social(ized) or discursive. Authenticity, as we saw in the previous chapter, is a new standard for representation and cultural appropriation a new problem. We argued that while appropriation is considered problematic in relation to the representation of the culture of minority groups, there are many instances in which the need to authenticate a representation does not arise and when "objectivity" (i.e. impartiality, factuality) or a departure 36  from authentic depiction (in both senses of the word: i.e. realism and self-representation) is not an issue (eg. in the case of the editorial cartoon or science fiction novel). It was also pointed out that there are times when selfrepresentation does not necessarily lead to the best understanding and representation of a cultural group, as in the case of the self-understandings of the colonists who appeared in the ROM exhibition or of the members of Neo-Nazi groups. We would, indeed, want to criticize and contest their interpretations of themselves. If the standard of authenticity and the ban on appropriation are new phenomena and if they are only applied in certain cases but not others, then we cannot treat them as the requirements for ethical, responsible and truthful speech. In other words, the standard of authenticity cannot then be taken for granted as though authenticity were eternal or the "obvious" and "natural" standard for good speech; instead, it needs to be located within a social discourse or narrative. We need to address ourselves to the version of identity, social life, knowledge, and our relationship to representation underlying this discourse that allows appropriation to appear as something problematical, and make explicit the vision of collective life and human action that the argument against cultural appropriation and the call for authenticity suggest but do not articulate directly. In this chapter, we will attempt to develop a theoretical framework, drawing primarily from Hannah Arendt's 37  reflections upon the public realm or a "world" that is held in common, through which we will subsequently address and reformulate some of the claims supporting the criticism of cultural appropriation. We need to understand that not only the terms supporting the argument against "appropriating" the authentic and unique culture or "voices" of others, but the very voices themselves, are part of a discourse; they are given place and meaning within and through a "common world" which we share "not only with those who live with us, but those who were here before us and those who will come after us" (Arendt, 1958:55). We will argue that a "voice" cannot be thought to be "authentic" or "original" in the sense of being self-defining, foundational or naturally acquired; rather it comes into being, derives its originality and is rendered intelligible within a world held in common with others. Authenticity has not always been considered of significant moral importance as Lionel Trilling and Charles Taylor, among others, have noted. As Taylor reminds us the ethic of authenticity is "relatively new and peculiar to modern culture". (Taylor, 1991:25)1 We can, therefore, 1 See Trilling, 1971 and also Berman, 1972 for cogent accounts of the ideal of authenticity. Trilling notes that authenticity represents a distortion of an earlier though still modern virtue:^that of sincerity, whose sense is embodied in a phrase from Shakespeare's Hamlet: "This above all: to thine one self be true/ And it doth follow, as the night the day,/Thou canst not then be false to any man" (see Trilling, 1971:3). While sincerity meant being true to oneself, so that one could not be false to any man, thus keeping in view a moral and a public end, authenticty on the other hand, emphasized the idea of being "true to oneself" and the "unmediated exhibition of the self" as an end in itself (ibid:9). Authenticity, unlike sincerity, then, 38  treat authenticity and its version of community, cultural identity and representation as a social phenomenon belonging to the discourse we would call "modernity". Though we do not address it directly, rather than regard modernity as a period in history that we have somehow left behind with the advent of "postmodernity", or as rising from and definable in terms of prevailing economic and social conditions, modernity needs to be treated as a discourse articulating a particular "ethos" or consciousness, as an "attitude" or mode of thinking and acting that finds outward manifestation in a multitude of institutions and bodies of thought such as modern epistemology, bureaucracy, science, technology, liberal ideology, individualism, etc. (see Foucault,  1984:164)  Modern discourse contains within it a host of complex contradictions, and the contradictions within the culture of authenticity are in part what we would like to bring out here. It was Rousseau, of course, who best articulated one of the main features of the discourse of authenticity, particularly the notion of "self-determining freedom" or the struggle to define, think and speak for ourselves apart from "external" social pressures distorting our "true nature", and the modernist trend toward conformity. (see Taylor, ibid) Though its origins go back to the latter part of the eighteenth century, it is perhaps no surprise that the call represents a retreat from community and influences that might falsify one's true nature or make it less "one's own", and indeed it has led to the discrediting of "much that was once thought to make up the very fabric or culture", as falsification (ibid:11). 39  for authenticity has recently re-surfaced with postmodernism's ideology of "radical difference" emphasizing the uniqueness of individual and cultural perspectives against a scientific "objectivism" and "universalism". Arendt and Taylor enable us to see that while authenticity ought not be dismissed out of hand, neither should we take it on the terms within which it is commonly framed and endorse it wholesale. As an ideal for social action, authenticity provides a way of understanding that we are not "imprisoned" within or "determined" by social circumstances or "systems" of representation (capitalistic, patriarchial, colonialist, etc.). (see Taylor, ibid) Yet the freedom to speak, think and act for ourselves, to "define" and "determine" who we are, is not the achievement of a sovereign individual who speaks and acts outside of the public realm, rather this is fundamentally dependent upon our engagement in a world that we share with others and which always precedes us. Through Arendt's conception of the "world", or public space, which we will now turn to, we might begin to reframe the idea of an authentic voice and suggest that the condition which gives rise to the anxiety surrounding the influence of (mis)representation and the perception that representation needs to be "controlled" is also what provides the very possibility for an authentic life. We shall argue, moreover, that the notion of "controlling" representation is based on a conception of social life which undermines this possibility. 40  II. Arendt's conception of human action and the public realm  Any understanding of our relationship to culture and cultural representation begins from a conception of a public space and by contrast a private or individual realm. The word "public" is ordinarily used as an adjective designating various forms of communal property or physical spaces that are accessible to all, such as the museum or city square. In slightly less concrete terms, we hear "public space" used in association with institutions such as laws, government, or the media. (see Taylor, 1985) For Arendt, however, although these more tangible entities belong to, protect and embody the public realm, they are not what constitute it in essence. Rather, in her terms, the public realm or what she often refers to as the "space for appearance" is opened up and comes into being when individuals act and speak together. Arendt's understanding of the public realm is conceptual, signifying a "world" or space that lies "inbetween" individuals which simultaneously unites and separates them. The common world which is "distinguished from our privately owned place in it" is that space in and through which things and people are seen and heard or make their appearance and their presence felt to one another. (ibid:52) When Arendt speaks of a world shared in common that is distinguished from our private place within it, it is important to note that she is not marking a distinction based upon the ownership of property; rather what she means by this is illuminated when she remarks that "though the common world 41  is the common meeting ground of all, those who are present have different locations in it." (ibid:57) Commonality, then, here does not imply conformity. The common world is not based in "human nature" or on some common denominator, i.e., on shared characteristics and experiences, or on identical beliefs, values or understandings. The world may be held in common, but not by beings who are carbon copies of one another. This is to say that a public space does not necessitate an overcoming of individual differences. On the contrary, as a space in which individuals are both collected and separated, the existence of the public realm is indeed fundamentally dependent upon plurality. To be sure, if there is anything common to all men which would guarantee the existence of the "world" and all things in it, it is their uniqueness and capacity to distinguish themselves. Plurality does not simply refer to "otherness", sheer difference or alterity, but to uniqueness and distinction. Although otherness is an important aspect of plurality in the sense that we could not be distinct or unique without an "other" from which to distinguish ourselves, plurality does not merely mean the sort of distinctions that are made between people and things as they are defined in opposition to one another, nor is it a condition of conflicting or opposing interests and aims. Arendt's use of the word distinction implies, instead, the relevance of its double meaning to the condition of plurality. What makes 42  plurality characteristically human is the fact that humans are not just distinct from things or animals and from one another, but that they can express this distinction and distinguish themselves through speech and action. (ibid:176) In order to grasp the significance of plurality for the public realm, we need to understand its importance to speech and action, which both require and constitute a common world. Human plurality is "the basic condition of action and speech" for "(i)f men were not distinct, each human being distinguished from any other who is, was, or ever will be, they would need neither speech nor action to make themselves understood." (ibid:175-76) Elsewhere Arendt writes that: "Action would be an unnecessary luxury, a capricious interference with general laws of behaviour, if men were endlessly reproducible repetitions of the same model, whose nature and essence was the same for all and as predictable as the nature or essence of any other thing" (ibid:8). In other words, if everyone behaved in similar and predictable ways, and shared the same experiences, opinions, understandings, needs and interests, then simple gestures and sounds or a system of unchanging universally recognizable signs would be sufficient as a means to communicate. The very need to speak about the world or interpret one another's speech and action arises from the fact that we are different. Plurality, then, is the condition which makes a public realm, through which we speak and act, both possible and necessary. Action and speech (praxis), in Arendt's thought, are distinguished from behavior that springs from necessity or 43  reacts to the influence of natural or social conditions in ways that are immediate and predictable, and from the activity of fabrication (poiesis), or the making of an "artificial" world of things. Behavior responds to, and fabrication manipulates, the material or "natural" world, whereas action, the highest of all human activities pertains to the public sphere, to politics and those affairs that go on "directly between men". While behavior is merely reactive, and fabrication is instrumental or technical activity involving an orientation toward the world in terms of the means required to produce a given and predetermined end or product, speech and action (particularly political action) are activities that are ends in themselves, - i.e., they have no extrinsic use or purpose - and they are "revelatory" activities.2 Whereas behavior is predictable (i.e. presupposes a conformity of responses among individuals exposed to similar circumstances or stimuli), action which springs from and gives rise to the condition of plurality or uniqueness, by contrast, has the character of unpredictability since action pertains to a mode of being, of performing in and responding to the world in original and unexpected ways. As Arendt understands it, action is thus a manifestation of the human  2 See Dallmyr (1984), for an analysis of Arendt's contribution to political philosophy and an explication of this understanding of praxis. Arendt's view contrasts with what I see to be a "technical" understanding of praxis,- i.e., the application of an already established theory to practice,- in that the process of theorizing itself is a form of praxis. 44  condition of "natality" - the fact that with each birth, someone unique enters the world who has the capacity to create something new and unexpected. Through action and speech individuals "insert" themselves into the world "in the manner of a second birth". (ibid:176) Action implies a beginning or an initiation of the new and carries a sense of openness and dynamism - an opening up of the world, of human potentiality and the possibility for change. Individuals may be born into circumstances that are in some sense limiting or conditioning, but they are never bound to reproduce those conditions (natural or social) or to behave as though they were governed by them, for the human capacity to act means that human beings are never conditioned absolutely. From Arendt's conception of action we can begin to form a picture of a social actor who actively engages and makes something out of the social and material conditions into which he is born; an actor, that is, whose response to the conditions is neither merely an immediate and passive reaction nor one that is geared toward controlling the conditions so as to create a desired (usable) product. Arendt's actor is one who makes a contribution to the world by creating something new and worthwhile out of what is given. Action is intimately related to speech, (and we can understand speech itself to constitute a form of action). The significance of the relationship between action and speech resides in the self-revelatory character of action: "Action and speech are so closely related because the primordial and specifically human act must at the same 45  time contain the answer to the question asked of every newcomer: "Who are you?" This disclosure of who somebody is, is implicit in both his words and his deeds." (ibid:178) Many implications flow from this rather cryptic passage that need to be unravelled. First, human action is meainginful and intelligible only in so far as it is the action of a plurality of beings endowed with language. Secondly, it is only within the world, in and through action connected to speech, that the identity of the responsible agent or subject is revealed. This is something that could only be concealed, as Arendt notes, were the actor to remain completely passive and silent. The responsible agent who appears within the world through action and speech can be asked to account for his actions by other actors who are themselves able to give an account. Thirdly, notice how Arendt says the "disclosure" of who somebody is and not the "expression", "definition" or "determination" of the self. Individuals' identities are achieved and disclosed within a public realm through speech and action, whereas self-expression and self-definition imply displaying in the open what is essentially private and subjective or at least established privately and in isolation from others. Self-expression and self-definition are specifically self-conscious and inwardly focussed activities, whereas the disclosure of who one is can come about even when we are unconcerned with ourselves, for example, when we speak of an object or issue outside of and quite unrelated to ourselves as such. Often who we are or what our actions mean 46  is more apparent to others than it is to ourselves, and even where this is not necessarily the case, though we might claim to define ourselves, as many do, our definition is only meaningful in a context in which others acknowledge, understand and respond to our own understanding of who we are. That is, claims of self-expression and definition can only be read or interpreted by others through their disclosure in a world where they are open to review and discussion. Others might disagree with or refuse to recognize one's selfdefinition, particularly if one claims to be one thing and acts in a way that would contradict that claim. The notion of a disclosure of the self seems akin to a process of gradual and constant unfolding, while selfexpression looks more like a forceful outpouring of an inner life and definition appears to be the final end product of an activity.3 Disclosure implies "opening up" and "undergoing" as opposed to the closure that comes with the arrival at a fixed definition or "truth". The connection Arendt makes between disclosure and action suggests an active, living and dynamic self whose self-formation and identity is always in a state of becoming, or put in slightly different terms, who is within history. Michael Oakeshott points to this notion of the self when he writes "[t]he self appears as activity", and not "a 'thing' or 'substance'" (Oakeshott,  1959:17).  In other  words, the self is not a describable or definable entity in 3 See Stewart Justman, 1981 on the notion of disclosure in Arendt's work. 47  the way objects in the physical or manmade environment are describable. Arendt similarly notes that action and speech are "the modes in which human beings appear to each other, not indeed as physical objects, but qua men" (ibid:176). Arendt makes an important distinction between "who" we are, the "living essence" and "specific uniqueness" of a person that comes into being and "shows itself in the flux of action and speech", and "what" we are, - the describable characteristics and qualities we share with others, or the "type" of person we are - which seems to appear or become attached to us apart from speech and without effort (ibid:179, 181).  A view of identity based on an Arendtian notion of  action and plurality would thus have to depart in a significant way from the conception that defines it in terms of social roles, shared attributes and describable traits. Sociologists Dashefsky and Shapiro articulate this more common formulation of identity when they write that "[t]he concept of social identity refers to how others identify the person in terms of broad social categories or attributes, such as age, occupation, or ethnicity" and social roles; and the "concept of personal identity", as they understand it, "refers to how others define the person in terms of a unqiue combination of traits that come to be attached" to a person (Dashefsky and Shapiro,  1976:5 - 6,  italics in original). Who we are, what  makes us unique, however, cannot be pinned down to a definitive set of describable characteristics as though persons' idenitities were static, and the meaning of traits 48  and categories never changed in their significance. We need also to note that surely who I am is more than merely my occupation, gender or ethnicity, and although I may share some things in common with other persons belonging to a social category of which I may be a part, I am never identical to them in every way. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, the social categories, the understanding of particular traits as significant to a person's identity, and the identification of oneself or others with such things as ethnic groups or social classes do not precede our engagement in the world but are themselves disclosed to us through speech. An Arendtian view of identity enables us to understand that the very categories themselves come out of the world and are constituted through discourse, through the speech and action of a plurality of beings; they are not established apart from it. An understanding of what it means to be a member of a particular group, what it means to be "white" or "black", a woman or man, then, cannot be regarded as being acquired outside of the public realm and an engagement with others. As something that is achieved through the self's activity or active engagement with the world, identity requires a public space through which to emerge. To speak of self-definition implies that individual lives are not only static entities but that the formation of identity and knowledge about "who" one is can be achieved in private, that is, outside the realm of action and speech. ^To recall the 49  quotes that begin this chapter, however, Oakeshott and Taylor offer quite a different view of personhood and selfunderstanding. Taylor's point that "I become a person and remain one only as an interlocutor" sounds somewhat strange until we realize that what he is saying and what Arendt is saying is essentially that "who one is", our identity and self-understanding, is achieved within community, within the world, through our engagement in a conversation we have inherited and "which goes on both in public and within each of ourselves", to use Oakeshott's words. As Taylor points out, "[w]hen we come to understand what it is to define ourselves, to determine in what our originality consists," we have to take into account what he calls a "horizon of significance" or a background of human (i.e social) significance that lends intelligibility to our understandings and definitions (Taylor, 1991:35). One does not simply choose or determine by oneself what is significant or intelligible, even to oneself. Rather, how one understands what is of significance to one's identity is worked out within the community in open discussion with others. Taken from a slightly different angle, speech or conversation and plurality are of importance to selfunderstanding and an understanding of the world in another sense. One's own and the identity of others, our experiences, physical and manmade objects, and events become meaningful or are "actualized" only when they are interpreted 50  and spoken about from a variety of perspectives. Things that are experienced in privacy "lead an uncertain and shadowy kind of existence unless and until they are transformed, deprivatized and deindividualized, as it were, into a shape to fit them for public appearance", where they attain a "kind of reality...they never could have had before" (Arendt, 1958:50). This transformation comes about when we tell a  story about our experiences or weave events into a narrative that can be understood by others, which, it is important to note, takes its place in the world as "one story among many" (Arendt, 1968:22). Telling a story that makes sense to others, indeed telling a story at all, requires that we draw upon or appropriate terms that belong to a world which we share with others. A sense of identity and knowledge about the "truth" concerning oneself or one's history cannot be said simply to spring automatically from one's personal experiences or private self-conception and self-definition for as Arendt argues "truth can exist only where it is humanized by discourse...[b]ut such speech is virtually impossible in solitude; it belongs to an area in which there are many voices and where the announcement of what each "deems truth" both links and separates men" (ibid:30-1). ^Only insofar as individuals, objects, ideas and so on appear to a plurality of beings who are both spectators and doers or speakers do they attain an "actuality" or "worldliness" to use Arendtian vocabulary. Arendt writes that "appearance - something that 51  is being seen and heard by others as well as by ourselves constitutes reality" (Arendt, 1958:50). Without a public world, which provides the resources for understanding and in which everything and everyone appears to a plurality of beings who act and speak together, Arendt writes that, "...neither the reality of one's self, of one's own identity, nor the reality of the surrounding world can be established beyond doubt. The human sense of reality demands that men actualize the sheer passive givenness of their being...in order to make articulate and call into full existence their [latent selves]" (ibid:208). Everything and everyone that appears to a plurality of beings and is viewed or spoken of from a variety of perspectives is disclosed to the world in its various aspects and so gains a kind of clarity it could not otherwise have. Worldly reality arises from the fact that though something may be viewed from different positions and present itself in different ways, everybody viewing it understands they are concerned with the same thing (see ibid:57-8). "Objectivity", then, can be understood as requiring the "intersubjectivity" of a plurality of beings approaching the world from different viewpoints. The "truth" about oneself and one's experiences, one's "objectification" or "realization", comes about only when what is contained "within" is brought into the open or made public through speech and action. Writing on Marx's concept of objectification, Ricoeur says something similar to the notion of the actualization of the self and the world through word and deed when he writes that "[o]bjectification is the process by which something interior externalizes itself and in that 52  way becomes actual...When I first enter the world, I have only an inner life. Only when I do something is there a work, a deed, something public and common to others, such that I realize or actualize myself" (Ricoeur, 1986:38). The "worldliness" of the public space which requires the distance between individuals that arises out of diversity stands in contrast to the "worldlessness" of the private realm characterized by its singularity. This singularity is often thought of in terms of an individual cut off from the world and isolated in the privacy of his subjective thoughts, experiences and opinions of individuals (though we might say that even in thinking, interpreting experiences, and forming opinions we participate in a dialogue with imagined others). The public space is indeed obliterated where individuals are isolated and separated by such radical differences that there can no longer be anything which is held in common and we need only think of the madness of one who holds stubbornly to an idiosyncratic view of the world to imagine what life would be like were there nothing binding us to the common world. But the absence of a world in common is no less sure when everyone speaks in one voice or sees and experiences things in the same way. An experience or opinion reproduced to the power of one hundred is still singular and "subjective"; when the many see and hear as one, the space between individuals is collapsed and no longer can the world present itself in its different aspects. "The end of the common world has come about", writes Arendt, "when it 53  is seen only under one aspect and is permitted to present itself in only one perspective" (ibid:58). The abolishment of the world through sameness or a retreat into the self can only be seen as a great loss, for the word private, as it is used by Arendt in its original sense as privative, means to be deprived of the reality that comes from the appearance of people and things in public and the creation of a world whose permanence and stability transcends the individual mortal life. Taylor provides a way of understanding Arendt's notion of the actualization or disclosure of people and things within the world in terms of conversation and language when he says that the formulation and articulation of things in language brings them into focus or clarification (Taylor, 1985:272). In conversation interlocutors are brought together  in a "common act of focus" around a matter that "is no longer just for me or for you, but for us" (ibid:273, emphasis in original). Gadamer, who extends the notion of conversation to the interpretation of texts and history, similarly says that in the act of interpreting and coming to an understanding of the meaning of a text, "something is expressed that is not only mine or my author's, but common" (Gadamer, 1989:388). The topic or matter at hand around which interlocutors are gathered and the language through which something is articulated and comes into being does not belong to any one party involved but is part of a world held in common.  54  To frame Arendt's notion of a public space in slightly different terms, then, we can understand the "world" as language, in the broadest sense of this term and our participation within it as that of interlocutors engaged in an ongoing narrative or conversation. The unique and original mode or character with which we converse and narrate might be understood as our culture (of which particular languages are a part). The "space in-between" can be considered as the space between interlocutors engaged in the act of understanding a common subject through conversation, or as a space that obtains between writers or texts and readers. In a broader and stronger sense still, the world (language) not only exists as a space between writers and readers, but provides for the very existence of writers and readers, and the background or resources that make writing and reading possible and intelligible. This is to say that both authors and readers participate as interlocutors within and through language, culture, world. Alisdair Maclntyre, who presents both conversations and human actions in general as "enacted narratives", makes clear the important connection between speech and action when he says that "conversation, understood widely enough, is the form of human transactions in general". Conversation cannot be separated from other aspects of human life and activity "even though the forms of language-using and of human life are such that the deeds of others speak for them as much as do their words. For that is possible", notes Maclntyre, "only 55  because they are the deeds of those who have words" (MacIntyre, 1984:211). For MacIntyre, personal identity is bound together with the concepts of narrative, intelligibility and accountability. As beings capable of speech and action we may be held to give an account of our actions and experiences and to ask others to give an account of theirs: "I am not only accountable, I am one who can always ask others for an account, who can put others to the question. I am part of their story, as they are part of mine. The narrative of any one life is part of an interlocking set of narratives. Moreover this asking for and giving of accounts itself plays an important part in constituting narratives" (ibid:218). On a narrative view of self-hood, then, understanding one's identity and making sense of one's life rests not only upon telling others the story of my life, my experiences, what has happened to me and what I have seen, done or heard, but is constituted as well through a consideration of the accounts that others give of my life.  III. The phenomenon of embedded narratives  "In 1833 Carlyle observed that universal history is an infinite sacred book that all men write and read and try to understand, and in which they too are written." Jorges Luis Borges, Other Inquisitions, (1964:46) "[T]he story of my life is always embedded in the story of those communities from which I derive my identity...The possession of an historical identity and the possession of a social identity coincide." Alisdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, (1984:221)  56  "The disclosure of the "who" through speech, and the setting of a new beginning through action, always fall into an already existing web [of human relationships] where their immediate consequences can be felt. Together they start a new process which eventually emerges as the unique life story of the newcomer, affecting uniquely the life stories of all those with whom he comes into contact." Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, (1958:184) We will now examine briefly some of the implications of the nexus between action, identity, plurality and discourse or storytelling. Carlyle, Arendt and MacIntyre present us with a narrative view of the self and the self's relation to history which corresponds to the historical character of action. The lived stories, both of our individual lives that result from our own experiences and doings, and history which "ultimately becomes the storybook of mankind, with many actors and speakers and yet without any tangible authors", are both the outcome of action (ibid:184). Narrative is not the reserve of writers or historians who impose an order on events that had no previously existing structure, but is integral to how we live out our lives and understand the experiences, actions and speech of others and ourselves (MacIntyre, ibid:211-12). The postmodernist would likely object to this outright, claiming that history really consists of a set of fragmented and unrelated events and ruptures that have no continuity or coherency. Any attempt to represent history narratively, from this point of view, is a falsification for "true" history has no such structure and could only truthfully appear as a set of unrelated and unintelligible jottings. 57  Like the hero of Sartre's Nausea, to adopt the example Maclntyre uses, who finds that there is no point in trying to write a truthful historical biography since human actions being pointless and unintelligible cannot be represented intelligibly without being falsified through the imposition of narrative, the postmodernist is left without a project and indeed any grounds for understanding speech and action in everday life. Yet the fact that Sartre himself sets out to write Roquentin's story in order to show that there are no true stories and that the postmodernists tell us a story about the fragmentary character of history confirms the importance of narrative in understanding human life. Maclntyre makes the point that not only historical events (the results of action), but human action in general can only appear to us as meaningful and intelligible as narratives (i.e. as representations). Even in attempting to understand or make sense of one another's actions in everyday encounters, we construct narratives or tell stories about what one another is doing. "We render the actions of others intelligible in this way", writes Maclntyre, "because action itself has a basically historical character. It is because we all live out narratives in our lives and because we understand our own lives in terms of the narratives we live out that the form of narrative is appropriate for understanding the actions of others" (ibid:211-12). The stories that we live, and those we tell, are inextricably intertwined with the stories of others with whom 58  we share the "world". Arendt makes a subtle link between the "disclosure of the who" through speech and action and "the web of human relationships" which together generate the process through which "the unique life story of any newcomer" is given shape and contributes to the shape of the life stories of others. The "space in-between" or "world" consists not only in tangible objects, artefacts of human creation, laws and so on, as has been pointed out, but in a "web" of relationships created by the influence of the actions and speech of distinct individuals upon one another. Since we live in a world inhabited by other acting and speaking beings, our identities and personal histories are always affected by and affect the life stories of others. Another way to put this is to say that the stories which we live out, our lifestories, (as well as those we tell) are always embedded within other stories. There are many familiar stories in our literary tradition that exemplify in a bold and striking way the human condition of the embeddedness of narratives within other narratives and indeed it is perhaps for this reason that the stories that seem the most true to life, regardless of how fantastical their content, are those which employ the narrative structure of the frame story or the story within a story such as the Canterbury Tales, A Thousand and One Nights, Hamlet or Don Quixote. When one of the characters who appears in the second part of Don Quixote, has read and comments upon the first half of the book or when Hamlet 59  witnesses a play telling a story similar to that which he is in the process of enacting, as Borges notes, "the world of the reader and the world of the book" become fused (ibid:44). When the characters in the book reflect upon the story of which they themselves are part they, like the reader, recognize that their own story is part of a larger ongoing story. (The world of the book is fused with the reader in another way, as well for it too influences or becomes embedded in the life story of the reader.) Borges asks what it is that is disquieting about the appearance of the story of the thousand and one nights within the book A Thousand and One Nights, or the play within the play in Hamlet, or the fact that a character in Don Quixote has read the story of Don Quixote. He answers his own question by saying that "if the characters in a story can be readers or spectators, then we their readers or spectators, can be fictitious" (ibid:46). But this is not the best answer I think, for the fictional stories are made-up by someone, while the stories we live are created by no-one; they are not "made" or fabricated by someone, they have no identifiable author, not even an invisible one who writes the script or pulls the strings from behind the scenes (see Arendt, 1958:185 - 6). What creates uneasiness in us about the story  within a story is perhaps the awareness that even though we are not fictitious, we are nevertheless not the authors of our own stories.  60  Tom Stoppard, the master of the play within a play, illustrates this nicely through his play Rosenkrantz and Guildens tern Are Dead, which is about two minor characters in  Shakespeare's Hamlet, (thus adding another dimension to the embeddedness of the play within another a play), who arrive on a stage that is not of their own making, are thrown into the middle of a play (Hamlet) which has already begun, and find that their lives and fates are inextricably bound together with the actions and life stories of others. Like Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern, we never live out a life according to our own design but arrive in a world that was here before our arrival and become embedded within a mulititude of ongoing narratives. We are co-actors and cospeakers in one another's narratives, and at most perhaps coauthors of our own, for even the stories we begin through our own actions have consequences and carry implications that reach far beyond our knowledge and control. In Arendt's words: "Although everybody started his life by inserting himself into the human world through action and speech, the stories, the results of action and speech reveal an agent, but this agent is not an author or producer" (ibid:184).  The stories of our lives, histories and cultures are not "made" because unlike the activity of fabrication which can be performed in isolation, action and speech out of which these stories arise are possible only in the presence of others. To live a life of our own design, were it possible, would be to wrench ourselves away from the company of others and to treat ourselves and others as "material". The results 61  of the process of fabrication, which is an activity that relates to the physical realm, can be recognized as a tangible entity that can be attributed more or less to the efforts of the one who manipulates and shapes materials in order to create an end product that conforms to a predetermined model or design. The maker must be able to predict with a degree of certainty the sort of influence upon the materials that is required in order to make them behave in a way that will produce the desired effect or outcome. By contrast, because our life stories and history in general spring from speech and action that occurs within a web of human relationships, no one person or group can exercise control over the process from beginning to end and so produce the desired result, for we can never know in advance what the outcome of action will be. Because of the embeddedness of individual actions within a larger ongoing narrative, as Dallmayr puts it, action is prevented "from being a straightforward reflection of intentionality or the implementation of premeditated goals" (Dallmayr,  1984:67).  Action is characteristically boundless and unpredictable because every individual action meets with the responses of other acting and speaking beings which in turn become new actions generating further consequences of their own which the actor who began the process may not have forseen or intended. (see Arendt, ibid) While individuals may initiate events and stories through action and speech, we can never point to any one person who is the author of their outcome. 62  The stories we live out, the stories we tell and history itself have no absolute beginnings or endings, but are ongoing and, like the epic novel, always begin in medias res. Stories about events and phenomena that occur within the  world are far from definitive. They may be told through books, artworks and any number of forms which establish the meaning of events, but their life does not stop there, for there is always the possibility of their being reborn or recreated, as it were, through retellings, reinterpretations, transformations and re-presentations. Narrating history does not put an end to it. We no more gain "control" over the past (or our culture) than we author our own life stories in the sense that the meaning of events or phenomena can never be fully exhausted or the problems they pose solved. The past is never "finished" or completed even when it is narrated as a story, for its consequences continue to be felt so long as it is represented. Arendt puts this nicely when she says that the meaning of an act or event, "is revealed only when the action itself has come to an end and become a story susceptible to narration. Insofar as any "mastering" of the past is possible, it consists in relating what has happened: but such narration, too, which shapes history, solves no problems and assuages no suffering: it does not master anything once and for all. Rather, as long as the meaning of events remains alive and this meaning can persist for very long periods of time - "mastering of the past" can take the form of everrecurrent narration" (Arendt, 1968:21). Through Arendt's notion of a public world constituted by the speech and action of a plurality of beings, and the phenomenon of embedded narratives or the fact that 63  speech and action creates and begins from within an already existing "web of relationships", we can begin to offer a response to the claims concerning cultural appropriation that have arisen in the public debate that examines the implications of the call for authenticity, for selfdetermination, self-definition and "control" over the representation of one's cultural group through selfrepresentation. Keeping these theoretical resources in view, the problematic may be opened up by addressing the question of what it could mean to exercise "control" over representation and identity, when these are understood in terms of Arendt's conception of action and a conversational view of our relationship to the world.  Chapter Three CONTROL OVER REPRESENTATION AND THE CLOSURE OF THE PUBLIC SPHERE I. Introduction  Earlier in the previous chapter it was suggested that the features of the discourse concerning cultural appropriation need to be regarded as discursive or belonging to the "world" in an Arendtian sense. We talked about how it is through speech and action, through conversation, that the world is constituted and disclosed to a plurality of acting and speaking beings, and that through these activities we distinguish ourselves as unique and actualize ourselves or disclose and discover "who" we are. Though in acting and speaking we assert our humanness or uniqueness and our capacity to be influential, - to be "original" or bring something new into the world, - it will also be remembered that plurality, which provides this possibility, also creates conditions that limit and influence action. Action occurs among a plurality of beings creating a "web" of human relationships into which an individual speech, action, speaker and actor are drawn so that the "story" we tell is never wholly "our own" or the one we intended to tell. Keeping in mind Arendt's formulation of the public sphere as the site of appearance and actualization, the phenomenon of the embedded narratives, and a conversational view of identity and culture, we will now turn back to the arguments against cultural appropriation and attempt to understand the version of community and social actor 65  presupposed by the claim that if the culture, history and identity of minority groups is to be represented "accurately" and "authentically", "you have to let them speak for themselves" or "tell their own stories". It is not that we wish to ignore or dismiss the need for authenticity. On the contrary, if we understand authenticity in terms of an Arendtian version of action and its link to natality and plurality, (i.e. as the capacity to create something new out of what is provided by the world), it needs to be taken seriously. When authenticity is conceptualized as selfdetermination, self-definition and autonomy, it leads to a subjectivist version of understanding or what Taylor calls a "soft relativism", undermining the possibility for conversation among a plurality of beings gathered around a common subject (and paradoxically the condition that allows for an authentic life). Stewart Justman notes that Arendt's standard or vision of public life is one of openness. (see Justman, 1981) Facts, objects, events, selves, are actualized, given focus or opened to a world inhabited by a plurality of acting and speaking beings, and the world itself is opened up or actualized through their engagement in activities that are themselves 'sheer actuality' (i.e. are not oriented toward ends beyond themselves). Arendt envisions citizens in an open society taking an active part in a dialogue through which they become themselves and create a world for themselves, and thus are beholden to and behold a world that is theirs, that they 66  have made their own (appropriated) through their own speech and action. This sense of openness, of the disclosure of the subject through an open dialogue among actors and speakers engaged in understanding a world "held in common", as we will argue, is lost in the criticisms of cultural appropriation. Indeed, the prohibition against the representation of minority groups by those who are not members of these groups represents a closure of the common world and an end to the conversation.  II. Cultural "background" and sameness as the criteria for "correct" representation, and a "cacophony of monologues"1  As we recall, the argument against cultural appropriation is based on the central premise that "outsiders" to a cultural group cannot help but misrepresent that group since they lack knowledge about the group's culture, history, identity, and the realities and experiences of its members, knowledge which members to the group, on the other hand, possess. Terry Goldie, who deconstructs the stereotypes of indigenous people in western literature by examining the 1 I borrow the phrase "cacophony of monologues" from Roy Turner's characterization of the understanding of muliticulturalism that has surfaced in recent public discourse. Dallmayr also speaks of a "series of monologues" in an indirect reference to asserting expert knowledge about human affairs, or the treatment "of unique individuals in concrete settings...on a par with ethnological museum exhibits (analyzed by means of "historical consciousness)". By contrast, genuine human relations, encounter, or conversation involves an "existential openness", implying a "readiness to interrogate and listen to one another", and proceeding according to the "dialectic of question and answer" (Dallmayr, 1984:196). This contrast will be taken up in Chapter Four. 67  distorting influences of ideology and power "controlling" the discursive practices of the members of the dominant white culture, supports this argument when he claims that "in a very obvious sense any white writing about the indigene is writing about 'what you do not know' (Goldie,  1987:9)".  Goldie is saying, I take it, that any white writing about a white or any indigene writing about the indigene is 'writing about what they know'. What is "obvious" to Goldie and the critics of appropriation is that being a black or a native person is the only criterion for knowing and getting the story about blacks or natives "right". In other words, knowledge of culture and history and the "rightness" of the representation is determined by membership, ethnicity or experience. Non-members are bound to get the story about the members of another culture, wrong according to the critics of appropriation, because their knowledge of the other will be distorted by the determining influences a different "background". By the same token, since we "know" and fully "understand" our "own" culture and history we will automatically represent it "accurately" and "truthfully". In essence, the argument implies that those who share the same experiences, membership, background, values and assumptions can, and those who are different from one another cannot, understand and know the truth about one another. On this understanding of the grounds for accurate knowledge and correct representation it then becomes, as James Clifford has noted and Edward Said has argued, 68  important to know "who speaks? who writes? when and where? with or to whom? under what institutional and historical constraints?" (see Clifford and Marcus, 1986:13). As Michel Foucault notes in his essay "What is an Author", this preoccupation with authorship, which stems from the understanding that the author's background - his biography, social position and circumstances - leaves its determining imprint upon a text or the speech, is common in modern literary and cultural criticism. (Foucault, 1984) When the "truth" or "accurate" knowledge about culture and history is thought to be "caused" by or emanate from the author's "background" it appears necessary to check the credentials of the speaker and to permit only those speakers with the "correct" credentials (i.e. those who are members of the cultural group they depict) into the conversation in order to control the propriety of the representation and its influence. What the critics of appropriation or Goldie and Said take for granted or treat as "obvious" or natural is, however, in need of deconstruction. Although the argument in favour of selfrepresentation is intended as a way of rectifying the problem of racism and is asserted on the grounds of uniqueness and the need for authenticity, attributing the content, the validity and "rightness" of a representation, a thought, or a voice to the author's "background" and social category seems, however, to amount to a form of social determinism, and thus the very racialism we ought to be combatting as Tzvetan 69  Todorov remarks. (see Todorov, 1986) What we have here is a version of a social actor who is a behaving being, a being whose behavior and speech is determined by and conforms to the circumstances and merely reproduces what is received and given rather than one who acts in Arendt's sense or is an interlocutor actively engaged in a conversation with others. Empirically there may well be people who resist being interlocutors in the conversation and live as though their behavior were determined by conditions and circumstances over which they had no influence, and many theorists understand social life in these terms; however, we might remind them that the human potential for action, for resisting or going beyond what is given, means that one could also choose to live otherwise. Given the assumption that "background" determines how culture and history are interpreted or "read" and represented, we would also have to say that biography, experience and membership in an ethnic or social category determine how we "read" representations. This viewpoint is articulated in an article by novelist Nadine Gordimer on the question "who authors write for". Gordimer argues that when author and reader come from different social and cultural backgrounds, the lack of shared assumptions, experiences and signifying codes prevents the author's work from being correctly or properly understood. "Whether we like it or not", she laments, ...we can be "read" only by readers who share terms of reference formed in us by our education - not merely 70  academic but in the broadest sense of life experience: our political, economic, social, and emotional concepts, and our values derived from these: our cultural background" (Gordimer, 1989:61). Like the critics of appropriation, Gordimer sees sameness as the only grounds for understanding while particularity or difference is regretted as an obstacle to correct reading. Recalling our discussion concerning Arendt's conception of the public sphere, what is regretted here is the very plurality that necessitates and provides the possibility for speech and action which constitute the common world. According to Gordimer or the critics of appropriation shared and common knowledge, experiences, or background are regarded as what brings us together and serves as the basis of a world. However, commonality among individuals collapses the hermeneutic gap that gives rise to the need to undertake the work of interpretation of something that is not immediately understood or, in other words, the space opened up between distinct beings that creates a need for speech. And this collapse of the "space in-between" a plurality of beings, if we remember, abolishes the world or public realm itself. Given the understanding that a text can be "read" correctly only by those with the same background or characteristics as the author, what guarantee is there that a white will correctly read a representation produced by a black or vice versa? (According to the criteria of sameness as the grounds for understanding, one would have to say that blacks viewing the ROM exhibition could not possibly have understood 71  it since it was about white involvement in Africa and was curated by a white). If the need to "speak for oneself" is based upon the fear that the misinterpretation and misunderstanding of culture and history has potentially harmful consequences for the community, the critics of cultural appropriation would then have to argue not simply that books and museum exhibitions be produced from the perspectives of the members of the cultures they depict, but as well that it is only the members who are to be permitted to read or visit them. Taken in terms of its own logic, the call for self-representation by minority groups appears to defeat the aim toward achieving better self-understanding and promoting cross-cultural understanding, for if "outsiders" could never understand the member's culture, and if the members of a given culture already fully understand their culture, histories and identities, then there would appear to be little need or purpose in minority groups representing or speaking for themselves. Furthermore, if we apply the argument against appropriation to representation and understanding among individual selves, the view that speech is determined by background and that sameness among individuals provides the grounds for understanding would seem to preclude the possibility that anyone could understand what anyone else were saying for no two individuals share identical backgrounds and biographies. In fact, this view would make it appear impossible for anyone to understand and speak about anything 72  at all unless we were to argue that we obtain speech and understand the world by ourselves. Taken in this light, rather than "giving voice" to those who have been marginalized from the world, the argument against appropriation would thus seem to silence all. Setting these issues aside for the moment, let us turn back to the argument that members of unique cultural groups understand and are able to represent their history and culture correctly while others cannot. On the issue of uniqueness, the critics of cultural appropriation appear to agree with the Arendtian view of the world, at least on the surface. Their argument is that we are indeed unique, that our perspectives on culture and history are different and that the marginalization or exclusion of the perspectives of minority groups from the public sphere has obscured the truth and reality of their culture and history. However, we need to see that one of the implications of their argument is that a sense of uniqueness, identity, self-knowledge and membership or a sense of who one is and what it means to belong to a particular culture and tradition are established and given prior to our arrival in the world and engagement in conversation. What is assumed here is that the "credentials" (i.e. membership, background) are not themselves part of the common world or grounded in speech and mediated through language. The question of "who" speaks, "who" one is, "membership", "background", "knowledge" are treated as selfevident and immediate rather than as something worked out and 73  established through conversation. Inasmuch as background is thought to lie outside of and cause the speech, and the "who" to be formed prior to speaking, something that is not the speech of an actor seems to be responsible and accountable for what appears in a representation. When speech or voice, and the correctness of an interpretation of culture (representation), are thought to be determined by the author's background or factors that are considered not to be mediated through discourse, the speaker need not be asked to give reasons for his position, but can simply point to something that he himself is not responsible for in order to validate his speech or to excuse himself from blame. Likewise, readers are excused from the responsibility of forming their own judgements about a text based on a reading of the text itself, for they need only turn to the author and check his credentials in order to know whether or not the work is valid or worthwhile. If correct "reading" or understanding, according to the view of critics of appropriation, is assumed to be automatic when reader and author belong to the same social category or share the same "background", the reader would thus also appear to be relieved of the work of interpreting the meaning of the text. To take these issues further, the idea that members of ethnic minority groups be the sole spokespersons on their histories and cultures in order to determine and define their own identities and ensure authentic representation, requires that the self or member retreat from the world, turn inward 74  and simply find the truth about himself. On this view, membership and an understanding of one's self, one's experiences and relationship to a tradition require no effort of interpretation or engagement on the part of the self, rather the disengaged self seems to absorb a sense of identity and self-knowledge passively. The assumption seems to be not only that one must leave a world which provides the very resources through which one gains an understanding of oneself, but that one's own culture and history do not stand in relation to oneself as an "other". Indeed, there seems to be no need to interpret or engage one's own cultural tradition in conversation, for in holding everything in common with it, one automatically understands it. The self or member of a particular ethnic group, having established a knowledge of himself outside the world by looking inward, appears in public and enters the conversation fully formed and with the truth about himself "in hand", so to speak. The need to speak or voice this truth seems merely to be in order to display and express in the open what has been achieved in private. The world becomes a kind of podium or stage for the appearance of fully defined identities, and language (representation) merely a tool or conduit through which to assert already known and established truths about history and culture, that can be dispensed with once it has fulfilled its function, rather than as something in and  75  through which history, culture and identity, even truth itself, appears, comes into being or comes to be known.2 Seen in these terms, one's speech about history, culture and the self, one's voice, looks as though it is privately owned and established outside of a public sphere or outside of language, as opposed to being speech from a "different location" within a "world held in common". In similar respects, according to the claim of those who argue against the depiction of African history by a white or the position of the participants in the conference on the appropriation of native culture who argued that native culture and voices are "owned" and ought to be "controlled" by natives, it would seem that Language and History appear to be more like objects that are divided into units of private property than a common resource or a common topic to be viewed, represented, and opened to discussion by a plurality of interlocutors holding different interpretations and positions, or stronger still, a common narrative in which particular narratives, selves, groups, histories are embedded and formed. What the argument against cultural appropriation leads to then, is an atomistic view of the world that seems more like an aggregate of "subworlds" or separate selfcontained cultural enclaves than a world held in common, and something less like a conversation than a cacophony of 2 This notion of the world appearing as a "podium" in the understanding of the critics of appropriation I, again, borrow from Roy Turner. 76  monologues in which isolated voices each speak their piece and  assert the truth about themselves but are not listened to, acknowledged or understood, and neither influence nor are influenced by one another. Such a view represents a closure of the public sphere both in the sense that the "world" of the ethnic group is a world in which individuals are assumed to be the same and in the sense that individuals coming from different backgrounds are so radically different that they are unable to meet on any point. Even if we were to proceed upon the assumption of the critics of appropriation who believe that it is possible for the members of one ethnic group to understand representations produced by the members of another, (for their whole argument is based on the need to correct the misunderstandings of those who are not members), we still end up with closure. Inasmuch as the critics of appropriation regard the member's voice on his culture as the voice of the expert, the voice of knowledge and truth, and as they see this voice as something simply given to one by virtue of membership and experience they thus seem unwilling to enter into a conversation with the terms provided by a communal narrative and, indeed, they seek an end to the conversation. Those who protested against the ROM exhibition, claiming that a black perspective upon the history and cultures it depicted is the only truthful and acceptable perspective refuse to become interlocutors by recognizing that they too need to interpret and engage in a conversation with their tradition 77  (and so run the risk of misinterpreting it), by dismissing the possibility that there may be other valid points of view on the history of blacks aside from their own, and by refusing to acknowledge that their position may be subject to conversation and criticism. This does not mean they would necessarily have to agree with other points of view, but even offering a response in the form of resistance or a rebuttal is to acknowledge the validity of other views and to take one's place in the conversation. Instead, by arrogantly proclaiming to possess expert knowledge or the truth about this history, they seem to want to stake out a space belonging exclusively to themselves in which to assert this truth. Authenticity, in a sense, translates into having the last word: the narrative of the blacks on colonial Africa, if we take the critics at their word, is not to be seen as "one among many" and neither is it open to review and reinterpretation. Knowing the truth about oneself and telling one's own story from beginning to end would spell an end to the ongoing narrative for were possible to master the truth about the past or one's identity then there would seem to be nothing more that need be said about it.  III. Toward a conversational view of identity and voice  In his essay "What is an Author", Foucault begins a discussion about the preoccupation with authorship in modern literary criticism with a quotation from Beckett: "What does it matter who is speaking, someone said, what does it matter 78  who is speaking?", through which we might begin to relocate the question of voice or "who" speaks within the world, within discourse and language. (see Foucault, 1984:102) We need to read Beckett not as answering Said or the critics of appropriation with indifference or as saying who cares whether it is a black or white who is speaking. He is not simply disagreeing on the point that we ought to know an author's background, for when he says "who" he is not referring to background (typically his characters have no "backgrounds"), rather he is pointing to a different way of understanding the notion of voice and of reading. It is not that voice is unimportant, rather, it needs to be regarded as emerging from within the text, from within discourse, and as acheived within the world and our engagement in conversation, as opposed to being established prior to it. When Beckett says "what does it matter who is speaking" we might see this as an invitation to consider speech and voices as capable of being recognized, judged and understood apart from our knowledge of the background of the speaker and in spite of our sharing or not sharing in his background or experiences. We encounter the "voice" within the text, within the speech itself, and it is the speech that we are called upon to interpret. The text, voice, or what a person says attains a "life of its own" apart from its author, so to speak, and in interpreting and judging a text or a representation, as Gadamer writes, "one intends to understand the  text itself" (Gadamer, 1989:385), not the 79  person who wrote it. One interprets and judges the speech or voice, not the speaker and his experiences, psychology, biography or ephemeral connection to a social category. As Gadamer argues, "[t]o understand what a person says...is to come to an understanding about the subject matter, not to get inside another person and relive his experiences" (ibid:383). We might thus begin to imagine a conversation between voices which speak to and through individuals and texts regardless of their "background" and social category or "who" technically and concretely is speaking. For instance, Franz Fanon writes of "white men with black masks" by which he means that one may indeed appear to be a black on the surface while "voicing" a "white" position. (see Fanon, 1967) Blackness and the question of what it means to voice a black position or what it means to be black is clearly not simply a matter of skin colour. We are also familiar with women who speak in a voice that is clearly "patriarchal", take Margaret Thatcher for one, and men who have written from a feminist position. Understanding a voice that appears in a text, then, involves more than merely identifying the gender or race of the speaker. Oakeshott writes of voice as a reflection of human activity having a specific character and mode rather than in  terms of its connection to predefined social categories. (Oakeshott, 1959:12) When he refers to the "voices" of poetry, science or politics, it is clear he is not referring to something possessed exclusively by the members of one or 80  another cultural group or social category defined according to occupation, gender or age, nor as something that one is simply born with and happens to have. Rather, he says that voices or modes of speaking and acting are given place, character and meaning only in the "conversation of mankind" where a great diversity of voices meet, influence and acknowledge one another, (see quote by Oakeshott used as an epigraph to this paper). Beckett can be understood as saying, then, that we enter the world without a background and it is only within the world, through an active participation in an ongoing conversation and the appropriation of what the world makes available, that we acquire our own unique voices and the resources required to recognize and understand other voices. Put another way, it might be possible to say that one can have one's own voice, but not one's own language and without the background of language there could be no grounds for acquiring or understanding voices. The idea of having a unique voice that ought to be heard in the public sphere would be meaningless and absurd without language (in the broadest sense), or if individuals and groups spoke in terms that were exclusively their own, in terms that could neither be appropriated by others nor were themselves appropriated from a communal narrative. One's voice and sense of uniqueness are given meaning only within a world shared in common with others.  81  The very grounds for uniqueness and originality are undermined when the concept of authenticity is understood in terms of "self-determination" or the control of autonomous and soveriegn individuals and groups over the representation and definition of themselves. Human beings cannot distinguish themselves and establish a sense of a unique identity in isolation from others, for even if we maintain a fundamental understanding of plurality or uniquenss as "otherness" or alterity, the very sense that one's perspective is different and unique indeed requires the presence of others from which it could be distinguished. In common sense terms, the idea of a black perspective would be meaningless were there no whites. As well, the argument that knowledge and representation are determined by "background" or membership implies that while cultural groups may be unique and different, there is uniformity and commonality among individual members within these groups. As Alan Scott points out, the view that ideology (representation, voice) is determined by social class or group membership presumes that members share identical and unchanging understandings, beliefs or opinions. (Scott, 1988:38) If knowledge and representation are determined by "background" and membership is simply based on common experiences, understandings and ideology, the members of a group would presumably possess the same knowledge of the world and represent the world in the same way. The "world" of the ethnic group, on this 82  interpretation of membership and knowledge, is not a world shared and created by a plurality of speakers and actors, but is indeed collapsed so that the ethnic group appears to speak in one voice or to act as though it were one person. Scott reminds us of the complexity of individuals and groups, however, by noting that we can hardly think of an individual, let alone a group, as possessing a static and "coherent and comprehensive picture of the world" (ibid). It is enough to point out, perhaps, that with respect to the issue of cultural appropriation or judgements concerning the ROM exhibition, there is anything but consensus of opinion within either "white" or "black" communities. Scott argues in a way that comes close to what an Arendtian view of the relationship between membership and ideology might look like. Rather than see a causal relationship between voices, perspectives or ideologies and group membership, he suggests that we view both membership and ideologies as socially constituted and "constitutive components of social life" (ibid:51). On his understanding, the formation of a group and the ideology of its members occur together as the result of "purposeful and discursive action;...they are in other words, the creations of actors acting intentionally, collectively and communicatively" (ibid). By formulating the achievement of membership, understandings and beliefs in terms of discursive action i.e., in human rather than "natural" or deterministic terms, Scott thus presents us with a view that takes into account 83  human plurality, uniqueness and complexity, and upholds a vision of social actors consciously engaged in establishing membership and working out positions, values and understandings within a world or in conversation with one another. From this understanding of identity and representation, and recalling Arendt's notion of plurality and the disclosure of "who" one is in and through discourse, we can perhaps begin to envision an alternative to the idea of a "cacophony of monologues" and a view of representation which implies that membership, identity and an understanding of oneself or one's culture is achieved without appropriating from the world, that is to say, outside of language and in isolation from others. A notion of "who" is speaking, the achievement of identity and self-understanding, and a sense of uniqueness, need to be seen as coming into being within or as provided by the world. Following from the arguments of Arendt and Taylor, which we outlined in the previous chapter, identity, membership in a group, opinions, beliefs, and an understanding of oneself and the world, cannot be understood as "things" that individuals simply have or which they establish in the rarified air of their own private worlds and subsequently display in public. Their very formulation and articulation, rather, takes place within the public world, in association or in conversation with others. Put another way, the self is always being influenced by others and presents itself in the world in terms that are always 84  appropriated from a language that precedes and grounds it, or in terms that are communally available and understood. While the critics of appropriation, as we have said, seem to view knowledge of one's culture and history as generated from within the self or as defined in advance of speaking about or representing oneself, from an Arendtian perspective, we would have to see that understanding one's culture and identity occur as a process of continual unfolding and discovery through the act of representing and representing cannot help but involve appropriation. Another way of saying this would be to suggest that understanding and defining oneself as a member of a particular group or community requires an active engagement and appropriation of the voices of others that speak to us through the tradition, through the community. On the view of the critics of appropriation, appropriating and being influenced by the voices and views of others are thought to thwart our ability to understand ourselves or to interpret identities, histories and cultures "correctly". For Arendt and Taylor, however, our very ability to interpret both the world and ourselves and the correctness of our thinking stems from the fact that we always "think in a cOmmunity with others", even when we are thinking or representing the world to ourselves in private (Arendt quoting Kant, 1956:235). Through "thinking in a community", we appropriate the very concepts necessary to formulate ideas and to judge. To make an obvious point, the fact that the 85  concept of "authenticity" is voiced as an argument against cultural appropriation in terms that are thoroughly modern and western, illustrates that those who criticize cultural appropriation are themselves engaged in the act of appropriating from a discourse that does not "belong" exclusively to them. When the only truthful and acceptable viewpoint upon the history and culture of minority groups is understood to be that of the members of these groups, self-understanding and a sense of one's relationship to history and culture appear definitive and closed, rather than dynamic and opened up within the world. In the previous chapter, we pointed out that one's self-definition is always open to contestation, review and revision. Although the critics of appropriation, such those who protested against the ROM exhibition, appear to uphold a contrary view in their claim that only the selfdefinition and self-representation of minority groups can be truthful and authentic, they do not hesitate to criticize the self-definition and self-representation of the white colonists who were represented in the exhibition and demand that whites review and modify their understandings of the world and themselves. The "truth" that the colonists sought to assert about themselves was that they were "superior" to blacks, yet this self-representation was justifiably highly contested and taken as a gross misrepresentation of truth. The criticism of appropriation thus appears either to be based upon a kind of double standard or to contain grounds that contradict one 86  another. Blacks such as the members of the CFTA argue that being a member of a particular ethnic group is grounds for understanding and representing that group's history and culture "truthfully", yet they themselves claim to understand and know the "truth" about the identity of the white colonists and the history of whites in Africa, (i.e. that the colonists were racist and not superior to blacks), and so contradict this argument. It is not as though we would want to say, however, that only whites can know, understand and criticize their history and culture. The voices, speech and selfunderstandings of the colonists, instead, need to be regarded as belonging to a discourse that blacks, whites and Canadians from any number of other ethnic origins can understand and be called upon to criticize. The implication of the argument that blacks rather than whites ought to have mounted the ROM exhibition so as to avoid racist stereotyping suggests that whites would simply be determined by their tradition and would not respond to it in a critical way. Yet, understanding that interpreting and representing one's culture involves being influenced by or borrowing terms provided by a discourse or tradition that precedes us does not mean that we are determined by our backgrounds. If we begin with an Arendtian version of an actor who is capable of initiating the new rather than as one who reproduces or behaves in accordance with the conditions, we can see that one possible response to the world, to one's background, or to the representations of others is that of 87  resistance. We need to see that even though their tradition includes a history of racism and the oppression of blacks, this does not mean that each and every white will reproduce this tradition and therefore be racist out of necessity. If we hold to a version of the social actor as a being capable of action and going beyond what is given and received, rather than a behaving being who is determined by circumstances and "background", then it is possible to see that our response not only to the tradition into which we are born or to the representations of cultures, histories and identities that appear in the public realm, can be other than that of automatic acceptance. IV. Representation as a form of action and the call for control  "We say that we "conduct" a conversation, but the more genuine a conversation is, the less its conduct lies within the will of either partner. Thus a genuine conversation is never the one that we wanted to conduct...No one knows in advance what will "come out" of a conversation...conversation has a spirit of its own..." H.G. Gadamer, Truth and Method,  (1989:383)  With the notion of the social actor as an active participant in discussion in mind, we will now turn back to the claim that minority groups need to gain "control" over the representation of their culture, history and identities in public forums such as the museum. The claim that we need to know "who speaks" and to ensure authenticity, as we have seen, stems from the fear of the influence of (mis)representation on attitudes and behaviors. Underlying 88  this fear, and the notion that representation therefore ought to be brought under control through group self-representation is a version of influence as a kind of transmission of beliefs and attitudes that regards the influenced as passive spectators or malleable conformists who think and behave in accordance with what is given rather than acting and authentic beings in Arendt's sense. Based on the view that, as Robert Sullivan remarks, museums "reflect, present and transmit the belief and value systems of the societies that create them", some critics have accused them of being "ideological tools" shaping the attitudes of the public according to the biases and stereotypes of those "in control" over the museum.3 Many regard the museum in terms such as those used by museologist Carol Duncan, who characterizes it as a "powerful identity defining machine" controlled by and functioning to promote images that serve the interests of politically powerful and economically or academically privileged elites. While the museum is an authoritative (i.e. domineering or authoritarian) presence that creates the pretense of presenting "truths" about culture and of representing the values, history, beliefs and identity of the community, it is feared that it really presents the self-image of elites and the stereotypes and distorted views they have of others. (see Duncan, in  3 Robert Sullivan quoted from "The museum as moral artifact", Moral Education Forum, 1985, 10(3):2 in MacDonald and Alsford, (1989:3). MacDonald and Alsford use the word "ideological tool" in reference to the way some critics view the museum. 89  Lavine and Karp, 1991)1 Authenticity is offered as the solution to the problem: i.e. the "community" needs to wrest control over representation from the elites and represent itself or express its own voice. At its worst, then, cultural appropriation appears as the willful manipulation of images in order to further the selfish interests of those seeking power and there is an even more urgent need to know "who" speaks.4 The matter of who "controls" the museum and representation is what many understand to be an issue for the "politics of representation". If "control" and ideology (understood as reflecting self-interest) were the only grounds for representation and politics, however, then we would have to see the speech of Duncan and the critics of appropriation as ideological and their motivation to speak as based on a desire to manipulate images for their own private purposes. In order for control over representation and identity to appear intelligible as either a cause for concern or as providing a solution to the problem of misrepresentation and the effects of inauthentic representations of minority groups, the representation of culture has to be framed within a "technical consciousness" or attitude rather than an Arendtian view of action and the public sphere. Referring to the museum as an "ideological tool" or "identity-defining  4 In the report on the forum "Telling Our Own Story", cultural appropriation is defined as "the process by which other people (ethnologists, historians, academics, storytellers, filmmakers etc.) approach Native people and communities for information and then interpret it from their own perspectives and for their own benefit.", p.15. 90  machine" would be like saying, as Courbusier is reported to have said, that a house is a "machine for living in". Understanding the museum, literature, discourse or the very fabric of culture solely in terms of power and control, and indeed the use of technical terminology such as "tool" or "machine" to describe the museum suggests that representation (culture) be seen as having a purely instrumental function with no other aim or value than the fulfillment of some utilitarian purpose. In this light, any interest in culture, history, or communication, can only be regarded in terms of what Habermas would call a "technical interest" oriented toward manipulation and control, and in relating to the realm of human affairs in terms of "fabrication" or "making", (i.e. in terms of a means to ends rationality), this technical attitude toward representation and culture "treats men as one treats other "material"" (Arendt, 1958:188). Representation, culture and human beings themselves come to be regarded as objects or material to be manipulated and shaped according to some predetermined design or plan. Following from this vision, the museum becomes merely the "means of representation", and the "politics of representation" a struggle for power over the means to manipulate images and thereby gain hegemonic control over the community. Politics seen thus, degenerates into nothing more than the administration of knowledge, attitudes, opinions, and behaviors by language managers. (This is not simply the view of corrupt museums or political elites for those of goodwill, 91  who seek to correct social problems by ensuring that the attitudes, values and behavior of the reading public are shaped by "correct" representations, would also appear to understand representation, society and politics in technical terms). When culture is seen only in terms of "fabrication" and the manipulation of others the only alternative to this state of affairs appears to be to "take control" for oneself, to reject and isolate oneself from the influence of others, and thus avoid the risk of being manipulated (or misinterpreted). A lack of personal (or "group") control over representation (culture, conversation) can only appear as a source of regret or even panic when the understanding is that either we control the means of producing "our own" representations and cultural identities or others will control and dominate us with "theirs". One of the core issues here, making it possible to understand representation as something that can and ought to be "controlled" has to do with how we "read". Insofar as control over representation is possible, either by powerful elites seeking to control and manipulate representation to serve private interests or by cultures wishing to define themselves, the presupposition must be that we can predict the response of viewers and readers in advance. This means that the interpretation given to a representation would have to be what the author intended; it would require conformity not only between writer and reader but among readers as well. 92  Behind all of this is the tacit assumption that we relate to culture or the world as passive consumers of representations who simply take in and absorb what is given and presented to us, or as victims or dupes who are "taken in" and dominated by them, rather than as active and influential participants. Both the understanding of the "problem" - (i.e. representation of one's culture by an "outsider" filtered through and determined by their ideology and background will result in a distortion of the "truth" and hence harmful attitudes and behavior in the community at large) - and the solution (authenticity or self-control over representation) presuppose that when we read (culture) we do so as though we are indeed "drinking from a well" to recall the words of Simone Weil, that is, we read passively. As Duncan claims, visitors to a museum, like worshippers at a temple, "bring with them the willingness and ability to shift into a state of [passive] receptivity." (ibid:91) This is to say that visitors are undiscriminating toward what they allow themselves to be influenced by, that they do not form judgements about what they view, and that they think and behave according to the dictates of those in "control" over representation. In other words, the social actor here is not an interlocutor who takes an active part in the "conversation" or an actor in a strong sense but a passive spectator and behaving being, who is acted upon but does not himself act (i.e. he is not "original" or authentic).  93  Recalling Weil's comment in Chapter One that writing which influences opinion constitutes action and that writers need to be restricted the moment they "fill a role directing public opinion", we can begin to open this up by suggesting that reading, (i.e., interpretation, judgement and forming opinions), is also influential action. When interpretation is seen in terms of action, viewers and readers cannot be regarded as having no other choice than simply to submit passively to the view of reality or the claim to truth presented in a text or exhibition. As human beings endowed with the potential to act and think we are, all of us, called upon to judge and discriminate between those views we accept and those we ought to reject. The assumption that "authentic representation", (i.e. self-representation), produces the "correct" views in the public or that a writer or exhibition curator "direct" public opinion or can "control" the representation of culture, however, proceeds on the understanding that we do not live in a world in which we act and speak among individuals who are also capable of acting and speaking, that is, of interpreting, judging and thinking for themselves. Museologist Ludmilla Jordanova writes that "ItJhe ways in which the contents of museums are presented lead to, but do not fully determine, what visitors experience and learn". She points out that imagination and fantasy, that is, going beyond what is given, are crucial to our sense of the past or an unfamiliar culture, or as she puts it the kind 94  of "knowledge" the museum facilitates. The museum may exercise an influence over the way culture appears and perhaps the way an exhibition might be read to a degree, but it is not in supreme control since the viewer is also representing what he sees to himself. This is not to say that viewers remain completely autonomous or uninfluenced, yet active (perhaps "authentic") viewers or readers begin from what is given in an exhibition and like the author, imaginatively construct a narrative around what is perceived in the work, thus transforming it in a sense and moving beyond the narrative provided or initiated by the author. Therefore, as Jordanova contends, "visitors to an exhibition cannot be treated as passive recipients of an ideological position" (in Vergo, 1989:23, 33). It is not simply one view that is transmitted  through an exhibition or text, then, even if one individual or one group does the representing, rather one story may be many stories to different readers. A story may be many stories even to the same individual reading at different points in his life. Representation and interpretation are not on a straight road that moves in one direction and ultimately ends at a single fixed point, instead they are an endless meandering path of many forks.5 For those who wish to see the museum as a medium through which to facilitate the transmission of truths, information and accurate facts about  5 I believe it was Borges who made this observation, however, the source is not known. 95  culture to passive recipients or as a tool to be used as a means of exercising hegemonic control, the multiplicity of interpretations, indeed action and plurality, seems a rather unfortunate circumstance preventing the smooth functioning of the machine. On this understanding of reading, it is not possible to "tell one's own story" if this means controlling what one's story "tells", for what the story tells is bound up with the interpretation of its readers. A text or representation (culture, history) is open to responses or interpretations that may be quite different from what the author intended or anticipated, or seen in terms of the unpredictability of action resulting from plurality and the embeddedness of narratives, produce effects or consequences that cannot be known with any certainty in advance. The very fact that the ROM exhibition was responded to in a way the curators and organizers did not anticipate itself illustrates the limits to control that can be exercised over a representation. Taken in terms that are somewhat different from those upon which we have responded to the issues so far, the anxiety underlying the current concern over cultural representation and the need for control can perhaps be seen as related to the predicaments posed by the "unpredictability and boundlessness" of human action which arise out of the fact that action always occurs among a plurality of beings or within a "web" of human relationships and therefore produces 96  consequences reaching beyond the knowledge and control of the actor. The anxiety surrounding cultural representation begins to appear connected to the risks involved in representing and interpreting and to the fear not only that one's story might be told incorrectly, but that it might be read in ways that cannot be foreseen in advance. Relief from this anxiety is sought in authenticity or by gaining supreme control over one's story through self-representation so that it becomes the story to end all stories. Mastering how one's story is to be interpreted, however, represents either a collapse of the public sphere for it requires a community of beings who act in identical and therefore predictable ways or a retreat from the common world. As Arendt notes, throughout history, solutions to the predicaments created by the human capacity to act and initiate, have always amounted to "seeking shelter from action's calamities in an activity where one man, isolated from all others, remains the master of his doings from beginning to end" (Arendt, 1958:220). An Arendtian view of authenticity, representation and culture provides a more hopeful alternative to the rather grim picture offered by the opponents of cultural appropriation of beings isolated from one another in a "cacophony of monologues", of a battle for power over the "means" for manipulating others, of passive victims or behaving beings and cultural masters, and ultimately of a closure of the public sphere. In Arendt's view, culture is not something that belongs within the sphere of fabrication or 97  function, characterized by an attitude of instrumentality or utility, instead, she sees the need to preserve its place within the realm of action and speech. The mentality with which an object is created, in other words, ought not be applied to what essentially belongs to the realm of human affairs. An authentic human life, one that is unique and original in Arendt's terms can be seen not as a life that is free from influence nor one that is overwhelmed by influence and behaves in conformity with its circumstances or background or that simply takes on the opinions and positions of others, rather as a life that is open to influence and strives to be influential, (i.e. a life of action or one that strives to set something new in motion). While the culture of authenticity appears to regard the condition of plurality as inhibiting our ability to be self-determining or self-defining and to gain mastery over our stories, from an Arendtian perspective it appears positive and liberating. The world that precedes us and which we share with others or, in other words, the ongoing conversation into which we enter in medias res, provides the very conditions and resources that enable us to disclose ourselves and to understand the world and "who" we are. Influence and appropriation on Arendt's terms pose the very possibility for representing oneself and for the world to present itself or appear. That is to say, we are always drawing upon the resources provided by the conversation and in turn exert our influence or make a contribution to it 98  by creating something new and worthwhile out of what is given. We can now begin to envision a version of representation, culture, and identity which sees appropriation as something we require rather than as something we ought to strive to avoid. As we have argued, since culture, history and identity cannot be thought to exist prior to language or world, but to appear instead in and through speech which begins from within and appropriates a world in common, we can begin to understand culture, history, and identity as representation, as appropriation.  99  Chapter Four OPENNESS AND CULTIVATION: AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW OF CULTURAL APPROPRIATION AND CORRECT REPRESENTATION  "Openness to the other...includes the acknowledgement that I must accept some things that are against myself, even though there is no one else who asks this of me...I must allow the validity of the claim made by tradition, not in the sense of simply acknowledging the past in its otherness, but in such a way that it has something to say to me." H.G. Gadamer, Truth and Method, (1989:324) I. Introduction  In the previous chapter we noted that there is a sense of determinism involved in the argument against the appropriation of the culture and history "belonging" to the members of one ethnic group by the members of another. Critics, such as the protesters against the ROM exhibition, seem to be arguing that as the correctness of our knowledge of the world is determined by our cultural or ethnic "background" those who are "members" will automatically "get their story right" and those who are "non-members" will get it wrong. Here, we said, it is as though "membership" or a sense of belonging to an ethnic group with a unique tradition and an understanding of that tradition were given prior to our entry into the world and participation in an ongoing conversation. On this view, the grounds for understanding or for a "correct" reading of culture are rooted in sameness, i.e., we can only understand those who are the same as we are, not those who are different from us. We also saw that there is a kind of determinism involved in an approach to museum exhibitions that understands the visitor as having no option 100  outside of being a passive recipient of the views presented in a representation. Put in another way, there is a sense that influence (of our own cultural tradition or of a museum exhibition) necessitates passive acceptance. Yet, as we saw, there is a contradiction in the logic of the argument, for if the protestors against the ROM exhibition claim that they need to "tell their story" in order to produce the correct understandings in the public, and if the only grounds for understanding are sameness, how is it that a visitor with a different cultural background would be able to understand and therefore accept an exhibition presented from a black point of view? How is it that the ROM exhibition, which was produced by a white, could have been understood by a black? How could the whites who joined in the protests have been critical of a view produced by a white if it is assumed that whites are determined by and accept their culture unquestioningly? We will attempt to address these issues by returning to the idea of a social actor who is actively engaged in an ongoing conversation or who cultivates a sense of identity, self-understanding and an understanding of what is "other" through appropriation. We need to question the assumption that blacks or whites necessarily belong to, accept and understand "their own" traditions as though their traditions did not also appear as something "other" or "foreign" to them prior to their engagement in a conversation with the  101  tradition, and begin to open up an alternative view of appropriation and our relationship to history.  II. Appropriation vs. alienation  Through Arendt's formulation of the public sphere and the notion of embedded narratives, we saw that in the act of coming to an understanding of both ourselves and the world we are always influencing and being influenced by others. In light of the fact that the "common world" is a world in which individual histories become embedded within the stories of others, we need to see that it is impossible to "tell one's own story" without in some way being influenced by, appropriating from, responding to, or telling the story of an other. Understanding history and culture, then, is not understanding something that "belongs" to an individual or group in the sense of its being one's "property" or enclosed and cut off from the history of others, but is always an understanding of a world in which many stories are intertwined and implicated. Put in mundane terms, to say of two individuals who had had a shared or similar experience that this experience was the "possession" of one party, that his memory of this experience was the most truthful, and that therefore he were entitled to remember and speak of it would seem absurd. To use the example of the ROM exhibit to illustrate the point, it would be impossible for either blacks or whites to have told the history of Canadian involvement in Africa 102  during the colonial period without somehow telling a version of one another's stories or reflecting upon the understandings, experiences and parts played in this drama by both blacks and whites. In response to the criticism that in addressing white involvement in Africa from the perspective of those who are white it appropriated and told, or more precisely it failed to tell (accurately), a story "belonging" to those of African descent, we might argue that this is indeed a part of Canadian history, among others, and not simply African history, and that it is in need of being remembered, interpreted and reflected upon critically by Canadians, whether they be black or white. We are not saying that blacks and whites would necessarily give this history the same treatment, for their understandings and needs to tell the story may be quite different. The sense in which "belonging" is understood by the critics of appropriation itself needs to be opened up. As we have argued, the idea of "belonging" to or being a member of a group with a unique history and culture cannot be understood as something established prior to participation in social life or simply "given" to one "naturally", so to speak, by virtue of shared arbitrary or outward characteristics such as gender or race; rather, one's affiliation with a group and the very notions of gender, ethnicity, race are worked out through collective, social or discursive action. The idea that history or culture "belongs" to us, the sense of belonging to a tradition, and an understanding of the past can similarly 103  be understood as achieved through our active engagement of the tradition. On the view of critics of appropriation such as native writer Lenore Keeshig-Tobias who claim that representing a history or culture which does not "belong" to one amounts to "culture theft, the theft of voice", is to conceive of "belonging" in terms of the possession of an object of private property and use.1 Along similar lines Terry Goldie writes that "their culture is one of the only valuable commodities natives own...and for white writers to keep telling their stories is inevitably appropriation [i.e. theft]".2 Here, the status of culture is reduced to that of a mere consumer good valued solely in terms of exchange or use rather than as something valuable in its own right. In these terms, history and culture are no longer regarded as shared and common but are "objectified", given boundaries, parcelled off and treated as though they were pre-fabricated objects or finished products that one gains ownership over whole and fully formed at birth just as one might inherit a sum of money or piece of land. Viewing culture or voices as property that can be "stolen" seems almost unintelligible. It is important to note  1 Lenore Keeshig-Tobias, "Stop stealing native stories", Globe and Mail, Jan.26, 1990. 2 Terry Goldie quoted in Bronwyn Drainie, "Minorities go toe to toe with majority", Globe and Mail, Sept. 30, 1989. See Arendt, Crisis in Culture for a critique of the view of culture and art that would see it in terms of consumption and utilitarianism. 104  that the concern over cultural appropriation is raised in conjunction with two very different issues. One has to do with "stealing stories and voices" or reprepresenting another culture in an artwork, museum, or piece of writing, and the other with taking possession of physical artifacts that belong to a community without the consent of its members.3 We need to recognize that there is a very real distinction to be made here. While stolen artifacts are indeed removed from the community, the culture and stories that are allegedly being "stolen" are nevertheless still "there" within the community to be told and retold by its members, and the voices of natives or other minorities that are appropriated still belong to and can be used by these people. Furthermore, it is not simply in telling, but also in reading and understanding stories that we appropriate or take in speech, voices, ideas, concepts etc. that are not exclusively our own and to say reading or listening to a story is theft or to prohibit whites from reading native stories would seem ridiculous and self-defeating. Only when culture, history and stories are framed in the terms provided by the discourse of political economy,  3 The concern of this thesis is with the telling of stories not the theft of artifacts and the argument here in no way intends to suggest that we are at liberty to steal objects or artworks from other cultures. A third more complicated issue involves the telling and re-telling of sacred stories belonging to some native cultures which extends beyond the scope of this thesis. Some cultures apparently have strict cultural conventions or mores concerning how these stories are to be told and which members of the native community itself are entitled to tell them. 105  we would have to say, and come to be seen as belonging to the private realm rather than to a common or public sphere, when they are viewed as the mere end product of the activity of fabricating as opposed to an endless common resource available for the benefit of the collectivity (like the well in Well's metaphor), can the idea of "stealing" or as we argued earlier, "controlling" culture and stories, appear comprehensible. Marx, in his critique of political economy, like Nietzsche and Arendt, provides us with a way of conceptualizing appropriation in quite different and much more positive terms. Appropriation for Marx refers not to the acquisition or possession of property, but to the process through which members of society create something human and social out of a natural or given world. The appropriation of "human achievements", for and by man, he writes, "is not to  be conceived merely.. .in the sense of possessing, of having." "Private property has made us so stupid and onesided", he scolds, "as to think that an object is only ours when we have it - when it exists for us as capital, or when it is directly possessed.. .used [or controlled] by us" (Marx, 178:87, italics in original). For the capitalist, then, a painting artwork or story "belongs" to him simply because it is his property while it belongs to an individual who cultivates a relationship to it through interpretation and appropriation in a very different sense. If we remember, Marx formulates appropriation as a relationship the mode by which the world, 106  people, things are valued for their own sake and become humanized or socialized, in contradistinction to the alienation and estrangement which results from the kind of orientation toward people and things in terms of use and exchange that arises under conditions of private property. On Ricouer's reading of Marx, "appropriation and estrangement are opposed to one another because appropriation means not to become an owner but to make proper to oneself (propre), to make one's own, what was foreign" (Ricouer, 1986:39). To shift the focus slightly for a moment, Arendt writes that discourse or debate which is carried on among a plurality of speaking and acting beings is what humanizes an otherwise "inhuman world": ...the world is not humane [civilized, socialized] just because it is made by human beings, and it does not become humane just because the human voice sounds in it, but only when it has become the object of discourse...We humanize what is going on in the world and in ourselves only by speaking of it, and in the course of speaking of it we learn to be human" (Arendt, 1960:24 - 25). "  Appropriation on Marx's understanding is not understood in terms of possession and utility, but as the formation of a relationship to people and things that is a human, i.e. social or discursive, relationship. This is to say that, history and culture remain alien "objects" until they are engaged in discourse. If we conceptualize our relationship to history, to the world, to the representations of others in terms of a conversation through which we humanize the world, these  107  appear and can be treated not as static objects to be owned, used, controlled, manipulated or emptied out of facts and information, but as interlocutors. Gadamer writes that "tradition is not simply a process that experience teaches us to know and govern; it is language - i.e., it expresses itself like a Thou. A Thou is not an object; it relates itself to us...tradition is a genuine partner in dialogue, and we belong to it, as does the I with a Thou" (Gadamer, 1989:358). Such a relationship to the "other", then, applies not simply to other cultures or individuals, but to a tradition to which we belong or a history and culture we might say belongs to us, and to texts, language, or re-presentations, through which alone history can appear to us. As Gadamer notes, understanding history and understanding texts is like understanding a foreign culture. So it is not as though we can treat our "own" history and culture as something that automatically belongs to us and that we simply "know" by virtue of membership; instead, it stands as something alien and remote unless and until we acknowledge what it has to say, engage it in conversation, interpret it, respond to it, and make something out of it so that it becomes meaningful and significant to us. Appropriation, then, can be understood as something positive and necessary not only for an authentic human life, as we have already tried to argue, ^but for both historical and cultural or cross-cultural understanding. To read culture, history, representations, as Ricouer writes "is.. .to overcome a kind of alienation, a cultural distance, and to make one's own what was foreign" (Ricouer, 1986:39). 108  This means applying oneself to the past so that it becomes of relevance and applicability to one's life and present situation. Gadamer writes that "it belongs to every true conversation that each person opens himself to the other and truly accepts his point of view as valid" (ibid:385). Participating in a conversation requires an openness and receptivity to the influence of the other's speech, implying, as Dallmayr notes, "a readiness to interrogate and listen to one another" (Dallmayr,  1984:196).  Acknowledgement and  openness does not mean merely a toleration of different subjective viewpoints or conceptions of the world. This would be the "cacophony of monologues" in which participants simply "voice" their own opinions or assert the truth about themselves but neither hear nor comment upon one another's speech. Rather, accepting the validity of the other's perspective means taking what the other has to say seriously and allowing for the possiblity that one might be persuaded to see the world in a different way. There is a great tendency for the study of history and culture to be treated more like a cacophony of monologues than true dialogue. As anthropologist Paul Riesman notes with regard to traditional modes of anthropological study: "In their studies of the cultures of other people, even those anthropologists who sincerely love the people they study almost never think that they are learning something about the way the world really is. Rather, they conceive of themselves as finding out about other people's conceptions of the world" (quoted in Berman, 1981:94).  109  In other words, the anthropologists do not see themselves as being engaged in a conversation which may allow for an incorporation of the worldview of another into their own or a transformation of their own conception of the world, (for indeed, as Morris Berman notes (see, ibid), Riesman's anthropologists do not consider themselves as merely having a particular conception which can be refuted and argued with, but tend to view themselves as possessing the truth about the world). What appears on such a view of cultural and historical study is a confrontation of individual subjectivities or relative viewpoints, rather than an intersubjective enterprise aimed at grasping and understanding a common topic or common world. (see Dallmayr,  1984:197)  Although in recent years new trends in ethnology have emerged that attempt "dialogical" modes of representing culture and histories, contemporary anthropologists who consider that merely including multiple perspectives in museum exhibitions or ethnographic accounts in the form of a literal transcription of the concrete voices of cultural "representatives" is to be "dialogic" do not appear to move very far beyond the cacophony of monologues.4 4 See, for example, James Clifford's discussion of dialogue and ethnographic authority his book The Predicament of Culture, (1988). He describes "dialogue", "heteroglossia" and "radical polyphony" in ethnographic texts as simply including "indigenous statements" "transcribed at sufficient length" and "accorded an autonomous textual space", or as a "utopia of plural authorship that accords to collaborators not merely the status of independent enunciators but that of writers" (Clifford, 1988:51). Though it touches on the issue of the reader's creative involvement in interpretation, Clifford's account of what a "dialogic" ethnography might look like never 110  The critics of the ROM exhibit and cultural appropriation in general are in a sense somewhat like Reisman's anthropologists in that, as we argued earlier, they appear to make the claim to know the truth about "their history", "their world", while the views of others are dismissed as mere (distorted) "conceptions". By claiming to have the truth about their history and culture in hand they are unwilling, as we have said, to become interlocutors by engaging the points of view of others in a conversation that is directed toward understanding a common and shared world or by offering a thoughtful and critical response to the representations of others. Openness is what Arendt, borrowing from Kant, an "enlarged mentality", an open-mindedness, which allows for critical thinking not simply with respect to the viewpoints of others but toward one's own thinking; it is the ability to re-present the position of others and consider an issue from different viewpoints (Arendt, 1956:241). Though this means being open to new ideas, it does not mean one simply empathize with the other; it does not mean the total abandonment of one's self or one's own viewpoints, opinions and prejudices in exchange for the other's. (see Arendt, 1982:43) The openness of interlocutors toward one another in  conversation implies an active rather than passive stance toward the other as well as oneself which allows for the manages to move beyond the "cacophony of monologues" or mere "voicing" in any strong sense. See also, Marcus and Fischer, (1986). 111  possibility that one's own and the views of others may be rejected, rebutted, transformed or perhaps maintained in light of alternatives. From this point of view, there appears to be a kind of dogmatism involved in the refusal of the critics of appropriation to admit and engage other perspectives and allow their understandings upon their culture and history to be opened up to criticism and change. To shift focus slightly and return to the issue of appropriating voices that do not "belong" to one and to the question of cultural determinism that is suggested in the criticisms of cultural appropriation, the curator of Into the Heart of Africa indeed appropriated a history and culture or  voices which did not "belong" to her in her attempt to understand and address herself both to the culture and voices of the whites and to the Africans of the colonial period. In other words, being white does not mean that the voices and culture of the white colonists were automatically hers, that an understanding of these voices was simply given to her without any effort of interpretation any more than the African culture or voices that appeared in the exhibit could be said to belong to and be immediately understood by members of contemporary Toronto's black community. Furthermore, neither being white nor "appropriating" the colonists voices meant that the curator necessarily agreed with their point of view. An openness and receptivity to the other and accepting the validity of the other's speech, though it means one acknowledge rather than dismiss the other's claim does not 112  imply that one necessarily agree with the other either, as we have suggested. Indeed, refuting or resisting another's point of view does not mean dismissing it and is one way of acknowledging its validity.5 When we spoke of understanding a text or an aspect of history in terms of "making one's own what was foreign", we do not mean to imply that one simply take over the understandings of the other or appropriate what the tradition has to say wholesale and without reflection. In engaging the point of view or claims of another in conversation, one may begin by acknowledging its validity yet this does not necessarily have to result in one's agreeing with it. Regarding appropriation as making what is alien or foreign "proper" to oneself or the situation in which one is interpreting requires selectivity or a judgement of what belongs and what does not. By way of concluding this section we will turn to the distinction Arendt makes between culture which "relates to objects and is a phenomenon of the world" and cultural objects themselves. (Arendt, 1956:208) Culture is not an object that is "made" or fabricated, and nor is it something that is to be privately possessed, hoarded or used in some functional way, as one might possess and use an object. Rather, she refers to culture as a relationship, as our "mode of 5 The tendency in the contemporary climate of political correctness to treat the speech of members of minority groups or women about themselves as beyond reproach and criticism is, in my view, a form of condescension that is equal to the out of hand dismissal of works that have been produced by women or minorities on the basis of an examination of the authorship and not the content of the work. 113  intercourse" with the world of which objects, images, human beings, and so on are a part, invoking the image of conversation once again. She directs us back to a more ancient sense of the term and reminds us that culture can be thought of as "cultivation" or tending, caring for, preserving and dwelling. (see, Arendt, ibid) Gadamer's understanding of Bildung (culture) or "cultivating the human", which corresponds with the concepts of self-formation, education and cultivation, comes close to what I interpret Arendt's understanding of culture to be. (see Gadamer,  1989:9 -  19) Gadamer speaks of Bildung as a genuine historical idea, for it carries a sense of "preservation" and has no goals outside itself; it "is not achieved in the manner of technical construction but grows out of an inner process of formation and cultivation, and therefore remains in a state of continual Bildung" (ibid:11). The cultivated consciousness is receptive to the "otherness" of the past, a foreign culture, a work of art, but is not passive for it "knows how to make sure distinctions and evaluations in the particular case" (ibid:17). The significance of Bildung and cultivation for the issue of cultural representation and appropriation is that through it, "that by which one is formed becomes completely one's own" (ibid:11). That is, in becoming "who" we are, in self-understanding, we are always appropriating from and representing the world which stands in relation to us as something other or alien and meaningless, until we do so.  114  We will continue to develop this idea of cultivation in the next section by examining Nietzsche's understanding of a good relationship to historical and cultural influence as one that understands the importance of historical knowledge and representation to lie in its significance for "life and action". Nietzsche outlines different modes by which history serves life and influences action and through which we cultivate the past and make history and culture "our own". These historical modes can be regarded as corresponding to different orientations toward the influence of the "other" and reformulated as distinct modes of interlocution.  III. History for life and action  To take up the issue of appropriation from another perspective, let us examine the charge that the ROM exhibition was "inaccurate and partial" (distorted and biased) because it was filtered through white understandings and cultural assumptions, and that the remedy to this problem would be provided by a representation of colonialism and black culture from the perspective of a black (the member's point of view). The claim, as we remember, is that a black perspective would have resulted in a "complete, impartial and truthful" account of Africa and African history. Robert Sullivan remarks that: "Museums are ritual places where societies make what they value visible, and thereby indicate what aspects of the past are considered consequential, while the method of presentation and interpretation define how the past is to be remembered" (Sullivan, quoted in MacDonald and Alsford, 1989:36-37). 115  For the critics of cultural appropriation, Sullivan speaks of something that is troubling as opposed to valuable about museums and is seen as an obstacle rather than necessary and integral to understanding the past. As we will recall, museums have been criticized for being "ideological tools" reflecting and transmitting the cultural stereotypes, values, biases and perceptions of the societies that create them. The idea that a representation of history and culture involves selection, evaluation, and interpretation according to the "worldview" or interests of curators and viewers who are not "members" of the cultural and historical tradition depicted generates a sense of uneasiness and becomes a problem when the understanding is that the "worldview" of the "members" is the correct view. The result, from this viewpoint, is at best an "incomplete and an impartial" view. What we need to ask here, is what counts as a "correct" version of history and culture. What could "complete and impartial" mean for a good understanding of history? Does this mean simply reporting the (undistorted) facts and all of the information that could be given about culture and the past, and does the "correct" and "responsible" version always mean an "authentic" representation in the sense that this refers to an account presented from the "member's point of view"? As we have suggested, if we start with the idea that as members of contemporary Canadian culture we do not, whether we are black or white, share identical 116  understandings, assumptions and values with our ancestors, i.e. our cultural tradition is not simply assimilated passively or given to us, but remains alien to us until we engage it - then the curator of the ROM exhibition, in depicting the white colonists, was representing members of a cultural group to which she did not "belong". On the assumption that the "member's point of view" is the correct view, then she would have to appear irresponsible in her criticism and interpretion of the views of the colonists. Their values, assumptions and perceptions ought to have been presented without evaluation and comment from the perspective of the curator whether the curator be black or white. Here we would have to say, however, that given the colonist's racist and naive perceptions of blacks, the "member's point of view" was not the "correct" view, and to suggest alternative grounds for understanding correctness. Nietzsche's essay "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life" offers a way of reconsidering our relation to culture and history from a point of view that regards cultural and historical influence, "subjective" interpretation, judgement, and the selective appropriation of those elements of the past that are considered consequential as crucial to the true value and meaning of historical knowledge and representation rather than an obstacle to be overcome. Though this "untimely meditation" was written as a critical attack against the preoccupation with an "objective" historical scholarship that prevailed in 117  his time, Nietzsche's arguments against a historicist study aimed at presenting a complete, neutral and "truthful" representation of history contain a certain timeliness and relevance to current understandings of cultural and historical representation. As as one editor of this work has written, "Much can be learned" from Nietzsche by those "who seriously aim at learning the art of cultural analysis and at understanding better the goals and procedures of responsible action in the service of cultural life" (Kraft, 1985:ix). History, Nietzsche begins by saying, is needed not for the sake of "pure knowledge" but "for the sake of life and action" (Nietzsche, 1983:59). He regards the real value and  importance of historical understanding and representation to lie precisely in its significance and value to acting and living beings. A study or knowledge of history that has a bearing upon life and action is not one that indiscriminately accumulates historical truths with a kind of scholarly detachment or indifference, but is always motivated by and connected to the particular needs or interests of living cultures and acting individuals. The essential point Nietzsche is trying to make is obvious in a way and is not something we do not already know, but it seems to get forgotten at times. The point is simply that a knowledge and understanding of history is meaningful and valuable in promoting a healthy cultural life only insofar it becomes relevant, applicable and has some sort of effect upon life and action, our self-understanding and our 118  understanding of the world. The achievement of such an understanding of history requires a self who both exercises his own influence upon history by being selective and evaluative, and is open to what it has to say such that he is influenced by it: he alters and is himself altered by history. A good understanding of history and culture, for Nietzsche, is neither concerned with "completeness" or knowing all there is to be known about the past, nor with the "truth" and "accuracy" of historical facts and knowledge per se. What Nietzsche calls a "life-enhancing" relationship to history is one that is purposeful and allows the past to make a difference to our lives. On the other hand, a mode of representing the past that is somehow disconnected from life and consumes knowledge without purpose, need or interest, or without producing an effect on life and action, from Nietzsche's point of view, results in a culture that is no longer a living thing: "it is not a real culture at all", he writes, "but only a kind of knowledge of culture" (ibid:78). If history is to become relevant and applicable to our lives, we need to make ourselves relevant to it by opening ourselves up and appropriating the past, making it "proper" to ourselves or turning what is other and alien into something that is wholly our own. (see Gadamer, 1989:13) There may be many historical "truths", Nietzsche notes, that are a matter of complete indifference bearing no relevance to our lives or to how we are to understand the past. Were we only to concern ourselves with the 119  "completeness" and "accuracy" of a historical representation, were we simply to accumulate and consume accurate historical truths without purpose or need, we would be turned into "walking encyclopedias", to use Nietzsche's words, dragging around "indigestible stones of knowledge" (ibid:76,78), or suffer from a nausea of the mind. Moreover, we would put an end to our need to represent and speak about the past. "A historical phenomenon known clearly and completely and resolved into a phenomenon of knowledge", writes Nietzsche, "is for him who has perceived it, dead" (ibid:67). In other words, if we were somehow to arrive at the truth and produce a definitive account of the past, it would seem that there would no longer be anything we could learn from it, we would no longer need to interpret and try to understand it, and it would no longer continue to have consequences. A study of history aimed simply at establishing the "truth" about the past, as Nietzsche puts it, "would be for mankind a sort of conclusion of life and a settling of accounts with it" (ibid:65). Recalling what we have said in the previous chapter concerning the call for authenticity and the desire to claim a space in which to speak the truth about one's culture and history, such a representation would put an end to the conversation by having the last word. On this view, the self appears, not as a being who is involved in an ongoing conversation within the tradition or part of a drama that is still unfolding - the meaning of which is yet to be revealed 120  but as one who has already reached its conclusion. History and culture regarded in these terms appear completed, like finished products that require no further reflection or interpretation. History, like memory, is cultivated and formed. (see Gadamer, ibid:15-16) An individual reflecting upon his life in order to understand some aspect of his past or present does not bring to mind every detail but only those elements that are of significance to his life or what he wants to understand. A historical study that aimed at being relevant and applicable to life would not draw upon the past as though it were passively drinking from a well of knowledge, but would necessarily evaluate and exercise discrimination and judgement in its selection of those aspects of history that were consequential and in need of being remembered and reflected upon depending on the interest and requirements one had for remembering. One would not open oneself up and take everything in; historical understanding requires, rather, a certain "tact" (practical judgement) or a sensitivity to what is appropriate or relevant given the circumstances which gives it focus and definition. In Nietzsche's terms, we need to be "historical" at times or to remember and reflect upon the past, and to be "unhistorical" or forgetful at other times. A sense of tact allows us to judge what needs to be remembered and what needs to be forgotten, left out, passed over or gotten rid of. A good relationship to history, one that actively cultivates the past, then, is not simply rooted in 121  an accurate knowledge of the facts, but requires a sense of good judgement. We need, then, to examine what is meant by the claim that the  ROM  exhibition would have been a "complete",  "objective" and "impartial" representation of African history had it been mounted by a member of the black community. Clearly protestors against the exhibition, such as the CFTA, were not calling for an exhibit that remained detached from interests or needs and refrained from evaluating or imparting meaning to historical events from a particular viewpoint. And surely they do not mean to suggest that the exhibit ought to have been unselective and reported everything that could be said or known about African history and culture down to the last detail when they say "impartial and objective". If their interest were in mounting an exhibition about Africa that celebrated African cultures in order to generate a sense of pride in Canadians of African descent in their cultural heritage and promote a positive image of Africa in the community, then they might well have been selective and not depicted, for example, despotic African leaders, but focussed instead upon the more positive elements of African culture. We need to recognize that "incompleteness" and selectivity are not in themselves grounds for charging an exhibition with irresponsibility or the failure to produce a good representation of the past. The critics of the ROM exhibit were not, then, arguing for a detached scholarship that is simply concerned 122  factual truth, but indeed would agree with Nietzsche that history needs to be seen as relevant and influential. Their concern with "getting it right" when it comes to the representation of Africa and Africans is not simply a matter of ensuring faithfulness to the facts for the sake of pure knowledge. Instead, their need to interpret and judge history is to redress and overcome the problems of racism and black oppression by whites. The correctness of a representation or understanding of the past, then, cannot be regarded as necessarily hinging on the possession and production of "objective" facts and information about history, but upon knowledge and judgement of a different order. As we have seen, the worry over the representation  of the history of Africa by those who are not members of the black community stems from the belief that whites are determined by their tradition and therefore cannot help but read black culture and history in ways that are stereotypical and racist. However, if the ability to judge whether an aspect of the past or a representation of blacks is racist and the capacity to interpret black culture in a way that is not racist belonged only to blacks, then we would have to say that there could never be any end to racism regardless of whether blacks represent themselves. We would hope, rather, that whites too were capable of re-examining their tradition, addressing the issue of racism and showing concern for the suffering of others, and indeed of recognizing this as their responsibility. We 123  need to see that African culture and history is of relevance not simply to blacks but to whites, such as the curator of the ROM exhibition, as well. The need of whites to speak to the issue of racism and to celebrate African culture, however, may be quite different from, yet no less valid than, that of blacks. The need to speak to this history for whites is not to engender a sense of pride in themselves and their tradition, but perhaps to acknowledge the errors of their ancestors and ask for forgiveness from blacks in the hope of establishing a more positive relationship among blacks and whites.  IV. Nietzsche's monumental, antiquarian and critical modes of historical representation  Nietzsche formulates three distinct but interrelated "modes of intercourse" with history, that relate to and serve life by cultivating the past and in different ways depending upon the needs, purposes and circumstances of living and acting beings: a monumental, an antiquarian and a critical history. The monumental mode of history pertains to the needs of one "who acts and strives", to the "man of action", to the creator of great works and performer of great deeds; the  antiquarian relates to living man as "a being who preserves and reveres", who celebrates the past, takes pride in his heritage and tends the local and familiar; and the critical to a being "who suffers and seeks deliverance" from injustice and oppression and whose task becomes that of destroying what 124  is harmful or of no value to a good life. (Nietzsche, ibid:67) Nietzsche's monumental, antiquarian and critical orientations toward the past can be understood as exemplifying both differing kinds of relationships to historical and cultural influence and ways of interpreting, judging or participating in a conversation with the past representing the social actor or interlocutor acting and speaking in different modes. While Nietzsche sees this three-fold relationship to history as necessary to life and action, each mode has its place and its limits and each must be exercised in due proportion. Any one of these modes can endanger life and inhibit action when taken to extremes in an individual, a nation or a culture so that it comes to overpower the other modes, when it is inappropriate to the circumstances, or exercised without the relevant need or interest. In the spirit of Aristotlean analysis, then, we need to see that the three modes each require attention to proportion and a "mean", while each has the potential of becoming excessive or deficient in an individual or community. For Nietzsche a good relationship to cultural and historical representation (i.e. to the speech of an "other"), involves the recognition that we need to open ourselves up to influence in such a way that we allow ourselves to be influenced at times, and to exercise our own influence at others. The issue thus becomes judging the sort of relationship to influence that is required in a given situation, rather than one of applying rules or strictures 125  for controlling the representation of history and culture so as to produce the desired outcome. The antiquarian and monumental modes of represention stand in a positive relationship to the influence of tradition insofar as the former embodies a sense of veneration toward the past and a desire to uphold and preserve the tradition, and the latter seeks inspiration from the models provided by great historical works or figures. The critical mode, on the other hand, represents a negative response to influence and a critical evaluation of the past in that it condemns, rejects and strives to overcome elements of the tradition that it deems unjust and not worth preserving. The antiquarian looks to the past with "love and loyalty". "By tending with care that which has existed from old, he wants to preserve for those who shall come into existence after him the conditions under which he himself came into existence - and thus he serves life", writes Nietzsche (ibid:73). MacDonald and Alsford speak in an antiquarian spirit when they say that the museum is valuable in engendering a "sense of continuity and enduring identity" and fulfills the need to identify oneself according to one's cultural roots. (MacDonald and Alsford,  1989:39) It  is in an  antiquarian mode that one takes pride in one's heritage and strives to preserve the objects, customs, habits and conventions that have been passed on to one. Representing one's culture or history with a sense of pride, we need to note, is not a matter of adopting an "impartial" or 126  "objective" position with respect to history or a question of an unbiased and accurate reporting of the facts, but of imparting a certain significance or value to historical events, facts or objects that is not immediate or inherent in them.6 Nietzsche writes that the antiquarian sense of an individual, nation or a people evokes a feeling of security and certainty through the recognition that "one is not wholly accidental and arbitrary but grown out of the past as its heir, flower and fruit" (ibid:74). It is through an antiquarian orientation toward history and culture that one gains a sense of belonging, place, or membership within a community. But it is not as though the sense that a particular tradition or community belongs to one is simply given prior to one's engagement of the tradition, as we have argued. Those who protested against the ROM exhibit by arguing that whites have no right to depict a history and culture to which they do not belong, assume that the African tradition automatically belongs to any black living anywhere in the world. The blacks in Toronto who formed the CFTA, (many of whom were of Carribean ancestory as we noted), indeed identified and understood themselves in terms of their  6 In a similar vein, we might note that when Malcom X and other participants in the negritude movement encouraged blacks to take pride in their race and heritage by reversing the negative value that had been attitributed to blackness by whites, they were clearly not speaking about "facts". There is nothing inherent in the colours black or white that would suggest something beautiful and to be proud of or something evil and to be rejected. 127  African roots. However, there may well be contemporary black Canadians for whom this historical tradition means very little, who reject their African heritage and view themselves as having only a contemporary identity, or who see themselves as connected more strongly to, say, the culture and history of blacks in the United States or the Carribean than to Africa. The antiquarian sense, - the sense that one belongs to a particular tradition and an understanding of what that history means to one, - has to be cultivated. Taken up in slightly different terms, the antiquarian sense of history, in that it reminds one that one is not "accidental" but is "grown out of the past as its heir", represents an acknowledgement of our relationship and connection to a "world" that precedes us or a recognition of the fact that the history of our own lives is bound up with a larger social narrative, to recall our discussion of Arendt's notion of the public sphere and the phemonenon of embedded narratives. In sociological terms, the antiquarian corresponds to the world of commonsense, or an "already interpreted world", from which we take our bearings when coming to an understanding of ourselves or people and things around us. With the loss of this world, we would be cut from our moorings and set adrift to be tossed about upon a turbulent sea of changing images, fleeting impressions and shifting identities. Tradition, seen in an antiquarian sense, provides a framework for understanding, or starting point for action and speech. 128  The critics of cultural appropriation argue it is precisely because the understandings of whites are filtered through their tradition that they ought not have represented the history and culture of Africa in the ROM exhibition, since this leads to a distortion of truth. However, we need to see that, first, the mere fact that one begins to interpret any history or culture, including one's own, by appropriating concepts and understandings from a tradition cannot itself constitute grounds for arguing against the representation of African history by whites, for the understandings and interpretations of blacks are also filtered through a particular tradition. Secondly, it is not as though our tradition imposes itself upon us in such a way as to determine the whole of our understanding of the world so that there is no longer the possibility of our being open to anything beyond its limits. Without the tradition or a world that precedes us, however, there would never be any place from which to begin to interpret the world. Nietzsche warns that the antiquarian sense contains within it a tendency to be undiscriminating toward history and to treat everything within the tradition as equally important and therefore equally worth conserving. Were the antiquarian taken to an extreme in an individual or community, too much attention would be paid to trivial aspects of the past that are of incidental importance to life, and even elements within the tradition that are unjust or detrimental to a good life and that ought to be done away with or modified would be 129  revered and preserved. When the antiquarian "no longer conserves life but mummifies it", writes Nietzsche, and makes a "cult" out of the tradition, when it becomes all encompassing, it "paralyses action" and smothers life (ibid:75). We can see, for example, how African dictatorships or something like the destruction of whole nations of people by the Europeans during the period of colonialism are hardly aspects of black and white traditions worth taking pride in and reproducing for future generations. Since the antiquarian is oriented only toward preservation and since it does not move beyond the narrow horizons provided by the local and particular, we require as well a critical history that judges and condemns, and a monumental history that embodies the spirit of creation and the ability to extend one's vision beyond the limits of the local and recognize future possibilities in that which the past has made available. We might see the extreme version of an antiquarian actor as one who is inflexible, closed-minded, ultraconservative and unreflective, or as one who blindly and dogmatically holds to the tradition, to received views and prejudices, and is unable to incorporate new ideas. The extreme antiquarian is perhaps too open to the influence of his local tradition, yet too closed or narrowminded toward the influence of new ways of understanding and acting evolving in the present or provided by other cultural traditions. Nietzsche's critic sees the need to change certain conditions that have been inherited through the tradition and 130  regards the past as an oppressive burden that must be thrown off at any cost. Again, the critic is not "impartial" or "unbiased" in his representation of history. It is the case, rather, that he is mercilessly biased against it. Critical history reflects upon the past, holds it up for judgement and ruthlessly does away with those elements of the tradition that are unjust or harmful to life in order to establish a better world in the present. While it is impossible to break free of the past completely, we can, as Nietzsche claims, confront and battle against our "inborn heritage" or "inherited and hereditary nature" by attempting to replace old habits of thinking and acting with new ones and establishing within ourselves a "second nature, so that our first nature withers away" (ibid:76). Critical history, in Nietzsche's words, "is an attempt to give oneself, as it were a posteriori, a past in which one would like to originate in opposition to that in which one did originate" (ibid:76). The critic "asks himself why he was for so long the fool of the phrases and opinions of others" (ibid:64) and begins to reformulate the terms upon which he will live, or to establish a new beginning, a new foundation for thought and action. The critic, as one who strives to be original, thus appears as a version of an Arendtian actor rather than a behaving and determined being. Nietzsche's critic, then, offers an alternative to the understanding that we read culture and history passively as though we were "drinking from a well". We are not bound to 131  accept the tradition or presentations of history and culture that appear in museums, though there may be persons who choose to behave as though this were truth. To those who claim that the way we read or represent history and culture is "determined" by the tradition to which we belong and fear that whites will produce racist representations of blacks since their tradition involves racism, and to those who view the museum as a "powerful identity defining machine" or an ideological tool transmitting values, beliefs and attitudes to a passive audience, an extreme antiquarianist orientation toward history and historical representation appears as the only available option. If this were true, then we would have to say that social change of any kind is an impossibility as we would all be locked into an endless repetition of the given. While the critics of cultural appropriation and those who protested against the ROM exhibition's depiction of African history from a white perspective seem to believe that our views, identities, understandings and representations are determined by "background" or by what appears in museums, their very ability to criticize the views and understandings of history represented by the white colonists would suggest otherwise. The fact that, as we recall, criticism of colonialism and the understandings of the white colonists depicted in the show came from both blacks and whites within the community itself demonstrates that whites are capable of reflecting critically upon their history and offering  132  alternative interpretations of black culture to those given within the white tradition. If we allow for the possibility of criticism and change, (as do the critics of the ROM exhibition and cultural appropriation when they place their faith in the fact that racism is something that can be overcome), an antiquarian stance toward history and culture or what appears in a museum therefore has to be regarded as representing a choice. Acceptance needs to be understood as a consciously chosen course of action for which individuals may be held accountable and asked to give reasons. An individual may choose to act in an antiquarian mode and accept the terms offered by a particular tradition, the historical identity he has inherited, or the version of history and culture he is presented with in a museum exhibition, but he can also choose to resist and rebel against them and accept alternatives. Such a decision involves examining the tradition or the text itself, exercising good judgement and understanding what is worthwhile, right and just, not merely the possession or production of expert knowledge. If the need to represent African and colonial history is to criticize racist attitudes and to overcome the oppression and degradation of blacks, (or to offer an antiquarian or monumental version of African history and culture), then the issue is not simply one of possessing accurate knowledge and information about blacks but of understanding what it means to be racist. It is not as though 133  we need to know everything there is to know about black history in order not to be racist in our treatment or representation of blacks or to know that the colonists' representation of blacks is derogatory and racist. The issues raised here, as we suggested in the introductory chapter, are by no means limited to ethnology, the museum or the representation of blacks by whites, but relate to relations among other ethnic groups, to such as problems as sexism and the relationship between men and women, or to the relationship between individual selves within socially defined groups or larger communities. Good conduct in our everyday encounters with individuals does not depend upon our complete knowledge of their biographies or on being provided with all of the information that could be given about them; it requires, instead, an understanding of what it means to act well toward our fellow citizens. We shall return  to this question in the conclusion, but for now it needs to be said that it is not the privilege of any one group or individual to set down the guidelines for acting or representing well once and for all, as though such a question could be solved in advance of action and outside the company of others, and nor does it depend simply upon a knowledge of facts or the possession of information. Nietzsche's critic does not seek merely to "purify the well of knowledge" by ensuring the accuracy of historical representation. If criticism is to serve life, its goal must not be simply the production of accurate knowledge for the 134  sake of scholarship but to produce an effect upon action. The aim of criticism, in Nietzsche's view, is not merely a matter of gathering the facts and setting the record straight on history, but of affecting change. The only "effects" or consequences generated by a criticism that is solely concerned with factual accuracy or "correct" knowledge, but which does not relate to or have consequences for those engaged in life itself, he says, is an endless chain of critiques. A representation is criticized, its faults exposed and it is supplanted by another version which is believed to be more true and more correct. "The work never produces an effect but only another 'critique'; and the critique itself produces no effect either, but again only further critique.. .At bottom, however, even given this kind of 'effect' everything remains as it was: people have some new thing to chatter about for a while, and then something newer still, and in the meantime go on doing what they have always done" (ibid:87). There is a kind of insincerity or hypocrisy in a criticism which produces no affect upon action. Regarded in Nietzsche's terms, criticism that aimed toward "political correctness" or representing histories and cultures "correctly" would go beyond ensuring that an account of history contained accurate facts and information or that speech were descriptively accurate. We can, for example, imagine the most "politically correct" of critics, collecting the facts about a culture and replacing representation after representation or term after term with newer and more correct, supposedly more 'just' terms by which to describe people, things and events while continuing to commit the most atrocious acts of 135  injustice against the people he describes and failing to see that his speech does little justice to anyone or anything. Such a critic would be like a religious man who is more concerned with ensuring that the interpretation of his religion is "correct" down to the letter than with how he actually lives his life. To be clear, we are not suggesting that the protestors against the ROM exhibition were arguing for a scholarly criticism that is detached from life and is aimed solely at producing accurate knowledge, although this does indeed appear to be what they are calling for when they argue that a representation of Africa and African history ought to be "complete and impartial". We can see that, like Nietzsche, they recognize the need for a critical history which is relevant to life and action and which serves to affect social change. What they are arguing for is a criticism that seeks to reinterpret African culture and history from a perspective that strikes at the historical roots of racism and strives to eradicate this aspect of the tradition. They are, however, claiming that this history is of relevance only to blacks, to the ancestors of the "victims", rather than to the contemporary Canadian community and the ancestors of the "oppressors", and that the need and ability to criticize and represent it belongs to blacks alone. However, if we are to change racist and bigoted attitudes toward blacks, whites too would have to recognize the relevance of the history of colonialism in Africa to their 136  lives and to be capable of criticizing this history and reinterpreting African culture. There is an irony at work in much contemporary discourse that seeks to criticize the tradition which needs to be examined. Critical history, just as antiquarianism, may as well be carried to an extreme and, as Nietzsche warns, regarding the past critically is always a dangerous process, for "it is hard to know the limit to the denial of the past" (ibid:76). While Nietzsche was responding to what he saw as an overwhelming preoccupation with history, our own age is indeed hyper-critical to the point where any suggestion of upholding tradition or, as we pointed out, accepting the authority of what is presented in an established institution such as the museum is regarded with profound scepticism and suspicion. The trend seems to be not simply to regard parts of the past, or elements of a historical work critically, (as a balanced version of Nietzsche's critic would), but to attempt to overthrow the whole of one's history or to dismiss and throw out an entire work. This sort of logic is behind the kind of argument, which is prevalent these days, that says because the ancient Athenians practiced slavery or because the great Chinese philosophers represented women as meek and inferior to men, we ought not read Plato or Confucius and their works should be removed from educational institutions and libraries. In a sense we might read the criticism launched at cultural appropriation in the same way: because white history includes the history of oppression and 137  colonization of other nations we should not accept any representation of history that comes from within a white tradition. While the critic upholds the good of criticizing the tradition, an extreme version of the critical actor ironically closes off the possibility for future criticism of the world he creates and originates in the present. The critic who claims to have disposed of the injustices of the past and established the foundation for the most just and rightful way of living or who believes that he has arrived at the correct representation of history and culture, would have to argue that his version requires no further review and ought to be reproduced ad nauseum. He becomes as resistant to and fearful of change as the extreme antiquarianist though he seeks certainty through a future that is continuous with himself or the present, rather than with a past. In writing about contemporary quarrels with the canon, Turner notes that "a present that understands itself as self-originating can see no more in the future than a fulfillment of what is already known and immediate. Thus the Contemporary [or the extremist critic], disposing of the tradition in favour of the "new", dreads a future that contains surprises (i.e. is not an extrapolation of some final version of the "new" authored by the present)" (Turner, 1990:21). In claiming to be selfdefining or self-originating, the critic cuts himself off from a dialogue with others by regarding his own views and  138  understandings as immune to criticism, review, rejection or modification. In certain respects, those who protested against the ROM exhibition and the representation of African culture by whites, appear similar to Nietzsche's extreme critic in their argument that contemporary blacks possess the correct interpretation of the history of Africa. In a sense, what they are saying is that their understanding of the tradition and the standard for representing it is settled, as though what the tradition means, what representing and acting well mean, were no longer open to evaluation. For Nietzsche, however, this would spell the death of the tradition, a termination of its influence upon action or consequentiality, and the end for our need to represent it. Along Nietzschean lines, MacIntyre argues that "[t]raditions, when vital, embody continuities of conflict" (MacIntyre, 1984:222). "A living tradition", he writes, is an historically extended, socially embodied argument" (ibid). As we have suggested, the critics of appropriation want to end this argument by having the last word. Although contemporary thinking regards scepticism and the rejection of the authority of tradition or of the views of others as a sign of enlightened maturity, and while blindly accepting anything that is given to one may perhaps be said to be naive and infantile, we need to see that critical reflection does not preclude acceptance, and acceptance does not signal a lack of maturity or an incapacity for good 139  judgement. "A person who comes of age", says Gadamer, "need not - but he also from insight can - take possession of what he has obediently followed" (Gadamer,  1967:34).  Mature,  critical thinking depends not simply on the ability to judge what ought to be done away with, but what ought to be preserved. This is to say that good judgement presupposes not only a recognition of injustices of the past and the need to pose limits upon the influence of tradition, but a recognition of the injustices of an unfettered critical history and the limits to criticism. For Gadamer, critical reflection does not always lead to rejection. "The real question", he asks rhetorically, "is whether one sees the function of reflection as bringing something to awareness in order to confront what is in fact accepted with other possibilities - so that one can either throw it out or reject the other possibilities and accept what the tradition de facto is presenting - or whether bring something to awareness always dissolves what one has previously accepted" (ibid: 34, italics in original). Reflecting upon the tradition or a representation of history may lead to its rejection, transformation or acceptance. In any event, reflection means acknowledging rather than dismissing one's attachment to a tradition or the speech of others, and making a conscious choice as to the mode by which one orients toward the tradition, toward influence. Insofar as a critical history represents a rebellion against the tradition and attempts to establish a new foundation in the present, its goals correspond to those of authenticity for as Taylor points out, "authenticity involves originality, it demands a revolt against convention" (Taylor, 140  1991:65). As we have said, authenticity provides a way of seeing that we are not "imprisoned" within the circumstances into which we are born, but are capable of making a difference or being influential. This does not mean, however, that we ought to think of ourselves as completely self-determining, for as Nietzsche points out, it would be a mistake to think that we can cut ourselves off from the past completely, "for since we are the outcome of earlier generations, we are also the outcome of their aberrations, passions and errors, and indeed of their crimes; it is not possible wholly to free oneself from this chain" (Nietzsche, ibid:76). A purely autonomous and self-determining self, that is one without a sense that his "story" is embedded within and part of a narrative or narratives that precede him, is what MacIntyre calls "a self that can have no history" (MacIntyre, 1984:221). As MacIntyre notes, a sense that one is divorced from the tradition and therefore from historical roles and responsibilities leads to the kind of individualist attitude held by Americans who "deny any responsibility for the effect of slavery upon black Americans by saying 'I never owned any slaves'" (ibid:220). By contrast, a narrative understanding of the self, or one that maintains some element of the antiquarian orientation, understands that our identities and responsibilities are formed in relation to a tradition, to a "world" in Arendt's terminology, through which we inherit "a variety of debts, inheritances, rightful expectations and 141  obligations" that are constitutive of the moral particularity and starting point of our lives. (see ibid:220) Recognizing that we are the bearers of a tradition or that the "sins of the father are visited upon the son" does not mean, however, that we are bound to reproduce the moral framework or crimes and passions of our forefathers, as an extreme version of the antiquarian actor might. As Maclntyre points out, "the fact that the self has to find its moral identity in and through its membership in communities [or a tradition)... does not entail that the self has to accept the moral limitations of the particularity of those forms of community". "Without those moral particularities to begin from", he writes however, "there would never be anywhere to begin" (ibid:221). The need of a white curator, such as Cannizzo, to represent white involvement in the colonization of Africa might be seen as the need for whites to reflect upon their history and be reminded rather than forgetful of their connection to a tradition that involved racism and brutality toward others and of their debt to those of African ancestry. Criticizing the views of our white ancestors and representing African cultures in the manner of an antiquarian spirit, that is celebrating their magnificence, might generously be understood as a desire to ask for forgiveness from contemporary blacks and a promise to change racist attitudes and negative interpretations of black culture in the present,  142  thereby opening up the possibility for a friendlier relationship between the members of these cultures.7 Nietzsche speaks of our need for a monumental mode of history in addition to those of a critical and antiquarian historical representation. While the critic resists or rejects and the antiquarian embraces and reproduces the given, a monumental history engenders the spirit of creation and transformation. Monumental history serves those who strive to produce something great and worthwhile. It expresses a faith in humanity in its celebration of the human capacity for excellence and achievement or the "potential greatness of mankind", to use the words used by both Arendt and Nietzsche. Arendt and Nietzsche understand the "greatness of mankind" to be exemplified in the "great works" and the heroic deeds of men of distinction, but we can also understand the "potential greatness of mankind" in a more basic sense as simply the human capacity for action and creation. The monumental actor might be said to stand in a dialectical relationship toward historical representation in that he is open to the influence of what is given and is transformed by it, yet through the exercise of his own influence transforms and creates something new out of it. In Nietzsche's terms, he seeks inspiration in the "role models" provided by great figures and works from the past in order to create greatness in the present, which in turn will inspire  7 See Arendt, 1958 for a powerful account of the importance of forgiveness and promise to political life. 143  and influence others who come after him. Though he begins with the model the monumental actor does not simply conform to it and so might thus be seen as an "authentic" actor in an Arendtian sense, or as one who initiates the new and strives to cultivate something worthwhile out of given conditions or the world's resources. In attempting to outline Nietzsche's understanding of the monumental mode, we seem to have gotten slightly off topic and so we need to return and examine the implications of a monumental mode for the argument against cultural. Nietzsche's monumental actor represents an alternative orientation toward history and texts to that of the critics of appropriation who need to know the background of the author before assessing or evaluating the speech. The monumental actor begins by imitating models and exemplars in history but he is not concerned with the conditions under which the historical exemplar was brought into being so as to reproduce the model with "icon-like veracity" or to assess whether the model is worth accepting and following (Nietzsche, ibid:70). He is not interested in the "causes", the social and historical conditions under which a work was produced, nor in the intentions, motives and understandings of the creator, but in the "effects" that the work themselves have upon him. He does not look "behind the speech" in order to examine the "background" of the speaker, but allows the work itself to speak to and through him. Although inspiration might indeed be provided by the biography of the author, the 144  view of the monumental would be to consider this as itself another work with "effects in themselves". In a manner of speaking, the monumental actor is the "appropriator" of culture and history par excellence for he makes the past (a foreign or alien culture) truly his own. He does not treat a work as anachronistic to his time, or against the views of his own age, but recognizes its relevance to his own concerns and interests. He is not an "ethnographer" of the past who regards the only meaning and significance of the work to lie in that which it had for its author or those who lived in the culture and society from which it came.  He acknowledges, instead, the significance  and validity it has for his own life and situation. That is, he allows it to speak to him and applies it to himself and his own life. He finds it has something to say to him that is meaningful and from which he can learn. Monuments, we might say, belong to particular cultures or groups. Martin Luther King, Bishop Desmond Tutu, the great bronzes of the Benin Empire or the achievements of ancient Egypt are indeed monuments for many blacks and may be seen by whites to be of little relevance to their lives. But this is not to say that these monuments have nothing to say to those belonging to other cultural traditions nor that others will fail to understand their "true" meaning. There is nothing to suggest that a white could not understand, be inspired by and appropriate the words and deeds, for example, of Martin Luther King or the great artworks that have been 145  produced by African culture, though whites may indeed understand and be inspired by these monuments in ways that are different from blacks, as might one individual's interpretation of them be different from that of another. It is this difference, however, that the critics of the ROM exhibition dread when they claim that whites will "misunderstand and therefore misrepresent" African culture, while blacks will understand and represent it "correctly". The call for an "authentic" representation of African culture, as we suggested earlier, implies that there could only be one true and correct reading of the monuments, and this would be to contradict the very transformative and creative spirit of monumentality. To cultivate history in a monumental mode is precisely to allow for and make a place for difference and change. Approached in a monumental mode, even monumentality itself, that is, what constitutes the standard, is open to revision and transformation. To take up Nietzsche's historical modes in somewhat different terms, the various ways of orienting toward influence that they represent can be formulated as modes of interlocution or ways of engaging in the "conversation of mankind" corresponding to acceptance, rejection, transformation and contribution. An extreme version of the antiquarian, appears as one who is not a strong evaluator or active participant in the conversation, but is undiscriminating and is easily influenced into accepting what he hears regardless of a consideration of its value to life. 146  He is swept up in the conversation but does not make a strong contribution to its movement by rejecting the claims that are made upon him or initiating anything new. He appears as the cultural and historical dupe, so to speak, the "average museum goer" who, on the view of such critics as Carol Duncan, slips into a state of passive receptivity, takes in and is taken in by what those who "control the means" of representation present him with, or the "average lay person" whom the critics of the ROM exhibition feared would accept and conform to the views of the colonists. As one who perpetuates the tradition or the conditions under which he was born, the antiquarian appears, in slightly different terms, as the actor presupposed by those who argue that our "voices", our speech, our knowledge, understandings and representations of culture are wholly determined by our "background". The unbalanced antiquarian is an inauthentic being, or one who is acted upon but does not himself act, who reflects and repeats what is "transmitted" through the representation of history, but initiates no change either within or outside himself. The extreme antiquarian, then, lacks the ability to judge what is worth accepting and what is not and is therefore open in such a way as to be influenced by everything the past or others have to say. "We call people influenceable", notes Taylor, "when they are undiscriminating as to who [or what] stands...in relation to them" (Taylor, 1985:275). This does not imply, however, that being open to influence is necessarily a bad thing, for 147  one may indeed make a conscious decision to accept the claims of another for good reasons. The alternative to the extreme antiquarian is not to cut oneself off from influence, in the manner of an extreme version of Nietzsche's critic, to ignore the claims made by the tradition or by others, to refuse to be an interlocutor and dominate the conversation. As Taylor writes, "the opposite of the influenceable lightweight may not be the total monad" (ibid:275), that is, one who is unreceptive to others and demands that his claim be acknowledged as the only rightful claim. Resisting the influences or claims of others, of the tradition, does not mean a refusal to engage in the conversation altogether so that one remains totally unaffected by the viewpoints and opinions of others. The critics of the ROM exhibition viewed the approach of the curator toward the white tradition as antiquarianist in the extreme sense, yet we need to see that while the curator evoked the voices of colonialism and racism in her representation of African history, it did not mean either that these voices were hers or that they "spoke for themselves" or that the viewer had no other choice than to accept their claims. Instead, by distancing herself from the views of the colonists through irony, the curator invited the viewer to treat these voices as she treated them, that is, as interlocutors whose claims needed to be critically and reflectively engaged rather than ignored or passively  148  adopted.8 As well, the exhibit treated the viewers as interlocutors whom it sought to influence in a critical way. By bringing to mind and representing the colonists' interpretations of African history and culture in an ironic tone, and presenting an alternative interpretation through the voices that spoke through the African artifacts, the exhibition attempted to exercise its influence and persuade viewers to reject the viewpoint of the colonialists and choose to accept the alternative. The antiquarian mode, just as the critical and monumental, need to be seen as courses of action that are consciously chosen on the basis of practical judgement or a consideration of the appropriate orientation that is called for given the circumstances and one's present need for representing history and culture. A good relationship toward history requires cultivation rather than a complete and accurate representation of facts and information or knowledge that is passively acquired through an ethereal attachment to  8 In his work on authenticity, Trilling notes that irony is "inauthentic" in the sense that through irony one says one thing while implying or meaning another. It is also inauthentic if an authentic speech about the other is taken to mean a literal and unaltered representation of the other's point of view. Trilling, however, reminds us of the intellectual value of the ironic stance. Irony establishes a "disconnection between the speaker and his interlocutor, or between the speaker and that which is spoken about, or even between the speaker and himself" and so enables one to open up a space for analysis and conversation. (Trilling, 1972:120) Irony recognizes, yet does not accept the conditions of existence. Though it enables a detachment or distancing from the other or from the conditions and so offers a measure of freedom, irony does not turn away from or ignore the conditions or the claims of the other. 149  social categories; it requires judging what is acceptable and what is not. A truly cultured or cultivated person, as Arendt remarks, is "one who knows how to choose his company among men, among things, among thoughts, in the present as well as in the past" (Arendt,  1956:226).  This is to say that  the cultured person is selective and discriminating with respect to influence. Nietzsche's formulation of a historical representation that is of value to "life and action" helps us to understand that representing, appropriating, influencing and being influenced by what is "foreign" to us is precisely what is necessary to a good relationship to history and an ideal historical representation. A good relationship to history and culture, and indeed a good relationship to others in general, requires, as Nietzsche puts it, "the capacity to develop out of oneself [or the world that is given to one] in one's own way, to transform and incorporate into oneself what is past and foreign" (ibid:62). "[T]he most powerful and tremendous nature" of a man, a people, a culture, writes Nietzsche, is "characterized by the fact that it...would draw to itself and incorporate into itself all the past, its own and that most foreign to it, and as it were transform it into blood", or make it its own (ibid:63). Yet an ideal "living" history and a good relationship to the other involves as well the recognition of what cannot be incorporated, what is unimportant or harmful to life and needs to be passed over or resisted. Resisting tradition or the views of others, 150  however, does not imply complete detachment from the world (in an Arendtian sense). As Nietzsche argues, a history that is not limited but takes in what is not proper to the healthy life of a man, a people or a nation and conversly one that is "too self-centred to enclose its own view within that of another will pine away slowly or hasten to its timely end" (ibid:63). The critics of the ROM exhibition, as we have said, also understand that historical representation ought to spring from a sense of the relevance of history to life and to exert an influence upon action. For them, however, historical relevance and the grounds for interpreting, judging and criticizing the tradition are to be framed in terms of membership within a social category formed prior to an engagement with the tradition. Their argument against the appropriation of the history and culture of blacks by whites suggests that African history and culture is of relevance only to those belonging to the category black and that only those belonging to this category can truly understand and therefore correctly represent this history and culture. The implication of this argument, as we suggested earlier, is that knowledge of one's culture and history, knowledge of what it would mean to represent one's tradition well, and even the sense that one belongs to a particular tradition and the relevance of this tradition to one's present circumstances is passively acquired and given or settled rather than open to constant review. We need to see, instead, that the history of one's 151  life or of one's community is always embedded within and made intelligible in terms of the histories and viewpoints of others; that an understanding of history, what it means to belong to a tradition and to represent history and culture in a good way requires cultivating - actively engaging, interpreting, judging, or reflecting upon; and that there is a need for whites and, indeed members of other ethnic groups within the multicultural collective, not simply for blacks to re-present and recognize the relevance of African history and culture to their lives, actions and self-understanding.  152  Conclusion: the politics of cultural representation and the virtues of tact, friendship and civility  "Judgement is not so much a faculty as a demand that has to be made of all. Everyone has enough "sense of the common" - i.e., judgement - that he can be expected to show a "sense of the community" (Gemeinsinn), genuine moral and civic solidarity, but that means judgement of right and wrong, and a concern for the "common good"." H.G. Gadamer, Truth and Method, (1989:32) In this thesis I have attempted to problematicize the notion that representation is something that can and ought to be controlled so as produce a particular outcome (good or ill), by formulating an alternative view of representation to that which regards it as a means or tool by which cultural and historical knowledge and a sense of identity are simply transmitted or administered. I have suggested that we see representation (reading) as discursive, influential action, as activity that is an end in itself or is "sheer actuality", to use Arendtian terminology, requiring and constituting a community of authentic (unique, original, imaginative) speakers and actors. It is not prior to, but in and through the act of judging and representing within a common or public world that culture and history, a sense of identity, uniqueness and membership become intelligible and become our own. As I have attempted to argue, tradition, just as other cultures or individuals, stands in relation to us as an other, as something alien or foreign to us until we undertake the work of hermeneutical reflection and make it "our own". If we begin with the understanding that knowledge of history 153  and culture, and a sense of what consitutes a good representation, is not simply given to one by virtue of membership but requires interpretation and judgement, then we would also have to say that there is no guarantee that "members" of a cultural group will interpret their history correctly and "get the story right" any more than "outsiders" will necessarily interpret it incorrectly. Like any form of human action, representation entails risk: the risk of saying and doing the wrong thing, the risk of having to take back, reformulate or ask for forgiveness for what one has said or done, the risk of having one's speech interpreted in ways one did not intend, the risk of offending an individual or group. Being unable to predict or control the consequences of one's speech with certainty does not, however, cancel out one's obligation to make good judgements and strive to speak responsibly. Our response to the claim that white "outsiders" ought to refrain from appropriating (representing, interpreting) the culture and history of other groups on the grounds that this leads to inauthentic or misrepresentative and therefore unethical representation has been that authenticity and appropriation need not be seen as opposed to one another. A sense of "who we are" as unique beings and an -  understanding of culture and history is not achieved in isolation from others but requires our participation in a "conversation" or ongoing dialogue (with our own tradition, the members of our ethnic community, other cultures, 154  representations, artworks etc.) in which Mankind is engaged and each individual is called upon to take part and invited to contribute through his imaginative appropriation of the world. Even in "looking inward" and reflecting upon their experiences, life histories or cultural traditions from their particular or unique perspectives, individuals, groups, peoples and nations are never removed from the influence of others or from a common world that provides the resources for both a sense of particularity and an understanding of the meaning and significance of experiences, historical events, and culture. Nor are they exempted from the responsibilty of undertaking the difficult work (and risk) of interpretation, judgement and ethical review. The argument against appropriation and the call for self-representation implies, as we have seen, that the members of a group are in sole possession of the truth about the group's history and culture, and that an understanding of the world, a sense of one's cultural identity and membership, and the standards for representation or what it means to represent and to act well are achieved and firmly established in advance of acting and representing. In response to these claims, I have tried to develop what might be called a conversational understanding of identity and historical and cultural representation. Conversation or dialogue was for the ancient Greeks, and for thinkers such as Arendt and Oakeshott, what constitutes the essence of politics. As Aristotle understood, we do not discuss or deliberate about things that are settled, 155  agreed upon or known to be true, since the need for dialogue arises when it comes to matters pertaining to human life about which there is uncertainty and a great diversity of opinions. (Aristotle, 1962:Book VI, 1112b, 5-10) As the Socratic dialogues clearly illustrate, interlocutors seeking to come to an understanding around an issue or matter of importance to collective life do not enter into conversation with the truth in hand, nor do they leave with the matter solved once and for all. It is not as though we could arrive at the truth about the meaning of human existence or that questions as to what constitutes a just society or the standards for human action (representation) could be deliberated about once, firmly established and subsequently administered regardless of time, place and circumstance. The issue of what it means to represent cultures or individuals well does not belong to the realm of administration or technical control (Arendt's sphere of fabrication), but to the realm of politics (action and speech) and practical judgement. The issue, therefore, is not a matter of solving the problem of misrepresentation simply by controlling "who" speaks or ensuring the truthfulness of the speech through the application of a general set of inflexible rules and regulations (i.e. political correctness) that can be applied to every case and circumstance. This is not to say that authenticity or selfrepresentation are wrong, but to suggest that the issue is judging when it is appropriate to speak the truth, when it is 156  appropriate to accept or criticize, when self-representation is legitimate, or when and under which political circumstances speaking as a member of a particular group might be called for. Indeed, a degrading portrait of an individual or group may be rejected not upon the grounds that it fails to portray "reality", or on the basis of its authorship but on the grounds that it is insensitive or inappropriate given the circumstances or context. By contrast, an editorial cartoon that presented a degrading or stereotypical portrait of a corrupt politician may not be "realistic" or present all of the "facts" about the individual but it may indeed be accepted as a legitimate and valid representation. The call for authenticity, (as understood by the critics of appropriation), the desire to set down hard and fast "rules" for correct representation, and the claim that self-representation by minority groups results in the only true representation of their histories, cultures and identities appear to close off the possibility for deliberation and dialogue as these claims translate into having the last word. Aside from its historical association with the notion of the self-determination of unique individuals against the pressure toward conformity, the concept of authenticity also has to do with factuality or truth and so the concept itself also suggests a kind of closure of debate. By definition, facts are non-problematic and therefore do not invite discussion from a variety of perspectives, rather, they demand conformity and consensus, 157  or require a sameness rather than a plurality among men. While there would scarcely be differing opinions or the need to deliberate over the fact, for example, that Africa was colonized by the Europeans, there are a mulitude of different ways to evaluate and interpret this event. In "Truth and Politics" Arendt notes that: ...factual truth, like all other truth, preemptorily claims to be acknowledged and precludes debate, and debate constitutes the very essence of political life. The modes of thought and communication that deal with truth, if seen from the political perspective, are necessarily domineering; they don't take into account other people's opinions, and taking these into account is the hallmark of all strictly political thinking" (Arendt, "  1954:241).  We also noted in Chapter Three, that the claim that those with the same cultural or social backgrounds can, while those who come from different circumstances or cultures cannot, understand (read) one another's cultures (representations) similarly undercuts plurality and hence the need or grounds for speech and action. This claim, if we remember, leads to an impasse in terms of understanding and a cacophony of monologues, undermining the very aim of representing different cultures and histories. The implication of the argument is that whites could never understand black representations and vice versa, which suggests that blacks should not have been capable of understanding the ROM exhibition since it was curated by a white and this is patently absurd. It should be clear that the argument developed here is not a defence of stereotypical and degrading depictions of 158  minority peoples, nor is it an attack on their concerns, but is an examination of the grounds and assumptions behind the charge that cultural appropriation or the representation of the lives, histories or experiences of the members of one ethnic group from the perspective of another is ipso facto harmful, untruthful and unethical. We are not saying that cultural appropriation raises no ethical or moral issues, or that we ought to withold criticism of books such as those of Kinsella and say that anything goes, but the issues it raises are not problems of "cultural theft", authorship (i.e. a question of qualifying to speak about an issue or examine an aspect of history on the grounds of cultural or social background), or a problem of ensuring that the interpreter possesses and conveys an "accurate" and complete knowledge of the facts and realities about the history and culture they attempt to depict. The issues are, instead, issues of interpretation and judgement, of knowing the appropriate orientation toward historical influence or the influence of representation called for, of knowing when to be an antiquarian, critical or monumental interlocutor. The claim that we need to authenticate speech by examining credentials and biographies or by looking behind the speech, as it were, for factors determining its truth (factors that are not thought to be part of the discourse themselves), rather than accept entrants into the conversation at face value, relieves readers from the anxiety and risk of forming judgements that are based upon a hearing 159  of the speech and speakers from the task of taking responsibility for what they say. A conception of reading and representing that understands the meaning of the text to be disclosed through or emerge from within the text or speech itself, by contrast, asks both reader and writer to account for their speech or interpretations. We attempted to place the acts of reading and writing within a world that provides for both readers and writers in order to suggest that what the critics of cultural appropriation consider to be established in advance of speech and action - e.g. membership in social categories, social circumstances, biographies, identities need to be regarded as established and rendered intelligible through a common enterprise, or as disclosed and constituted through the acts of speaking and representing within a common world. The meaning of a text, an understanding of our cultures, histories, and identities, the stories of our lives, can thus be understood to arise out of a conversation between readers and writers, between individuals and their traditions, between individuals or members of one cultural group and members of another. The fear for those against cultural appropriation is that whites will produce representations of other cultures that are unjust simply because as "outsiders" they lack adequate knowledge of minority groups and a concern or sensitivity toward members of these groups and will therefore produce unjust representation. We have attempted to argue against the view that suggests that knowledge or a good 160  understanding of one's culture and history is given to one by virtue of membership. We need to say, moreover, that it cannot follow from the mere fact that one is white, from a lack of a knowledge of the facts, or from the fact that one has not experienced what another has experienced, that one would automatically be insensitive and racist. Viewers and readers of exhibitions and novels need to be held to judge the work, to recognize and criticize racist interpretations. Good readers, regardless of their knowledge of another culture, their background or membership, would judge and reject rather than accept racist representations of others on the basis of their understanding of what constitutes racism and good conduct, not on the possession of information or "insider" knowledge. There are indeed many ethnic groups about which I know nothing, this does not mean I would therefore be racist toward members of these cultures. The ethical and moral issues that the debate raises are, furthermore, a concern for the collective not simply for one sector of the community. The problem of derogatory images of minority groups or racism, (which indeed the ROM exibition attempted to address), for example, ought not be thought of as a "black issue" to which blacks alone can speak, but as a community issue. Whites too need to re-interpret black culture as well as their own tradition with regard to its racism toward blacks. That a white curator such as Cannizzo chose to address the issue of racism and the degradation of blacks 161  during the colonial era demonstated her solidarity with blacks and their concerns and her commitment to speaking on behalf of the community good. This solidarity is based not on shared characteristics such as blackness or on shared experience, nor on something as nebulous, and essentially meaningless in a political sense, as "human nature" or the idea that we are, after all, "one family".1 It is instead based upon an openness and sensitivity toward the other and a sense of civic and moral solidarity. Oakeshott argues for a conception of community as a "society of conversationists", in which distinct and unique individuals (or groups) are brought together and united as members through civility, through openness, goodwill and a willingness to enter into a discourse rather than by a common goal, a common ground, or by sameness (i.e. shared outward characteristics, experiences, understandings, etc.). (Dallmayr, 1984:217) Civility, - which provides a way of  1 A typical response to the charge against cultural appropriation as well as the claim that whites ought to take an interest in the culture, the literature, religions and histories of minority groups (a concern raised in discussions about multicultural curricula in universities and colleges) has been that we are all united in our "humanity". Little discussion has followed, however, that would illuminate what is meant by this. In a recent lecture on muliticulturalism broadcast on Canadian radio, Barbara Erenreich made a claim for the inclusion of studies about cultures other than European or North American in American colleges on the grounds that we are genetically descendant from one woman in Africa and are therefore "one family". She followed this remark by saying that multiculturalism is not simply about discovering the differences among us, but "should also be a way of discovering our common humanity". I take it from this connection that she means our common humanity is something that resides in nature. 162  overcoming the cacophony of monologues or the hermeneutical impasse that arises from the grounds underlying the argument against cultural appropriation, - implies both the willingness of partners in conversation to be open to what the other has to say, and a sense of tact or practical wisdom.2 The issue of what constitutes "correct" or "right" speech is a question of tact or knowing what belongs and what does not. "Getting it right" when it comes to the representation of those who have been insulted and injured does not rest upon a knowledge of the facts, representing from the "member's point of view", or a shared experience of suffering, but upon thoughtful and reflective interpretation, phronesis or practical wisdom or judging what is called for in particular situations and circumstances, and a sensitivity to the lives, concerns, needs and plights of others. While the ROM exhibition was arguably a sensitive and thought-provoking representation of African culture, colonialism and museum practices, Kinsella's recent novel about the Hobbema Cree as well as his response to the critics was by contrast what we might call tactless and flippant. When Kinsella responded to his critics by saying he could write whatever pleased him, he was indeed dismissing and closing himself off to the claims, views and needs of others. Northrop Frye illuminates the point we are trying to make when he writes of the distinction between the language of 2 Some of the issues I raise here go beyond the actual scope of this paper. They do, however, deserve mention and point the way to further study. 163  imagination (literature) and that which is concerned only with the conveyance of facts and information. (Frye,  1964:135)  Imagination is what our whole social life is based on, he claims, and it is easy to see this when we consider the fact that a sensitivity and understanding of the plight of another depends not merely upon a knowledge of the facts, nor on knowledge based upon experience (i.e. having shared in the experiences of suffering, degradation, humiliation with others), but upOn our ability to imagine and represent to ourselves what the other might think and feel. Or, in other words, to appropriate and make the other's experience our own. Appropriation again appears as necessary and valuable to collective life and understanding, rather than something to be regretted or avoided. Making what is foreign, - e.g. the other's experiences - one's own or attempting to understand another's culture, does not, however, require that we get inside the head of another and relive his experiences, to recall Gadamer's argument raised in Chapter Three, or that we reproduce his interpretation of his situation. Arendt, who discusses the moral and political import of imagination or what she calls "representative thinking", points out that judging how the other might think and feel does not require the abandonment of one's own point of view, nor is it something that comes from "direct experience" of the conditions under which the other lives. She illustrates the point with the following example: 164  "Suppose I look at a specific slum dwelling and I perceive in this particular building the general notion which it does not exhibit directly, the notion of poverty and misery. I arrive at this notion by representing to myself^how I would feel if I had to live there, that is, I try to think in the place of the slumdweller. The judgement I shall come up with will by no means necessarily be the same as that of the inhabitants, whom time and hopelessness may have dulled to the outrage of their condition...Furthermore, while I take into account others when judging, this does not mean that I conform in my judgement to those of others, I still speak with my own voice...But my judgement is no longer subjective either." (Arendt, 1982:108 from an unpublished lecture given at the New School) One's judgement is no longer subjective because it is formulated through taking account of others and drawing upon a world that provides for the very notions of poverty and misery, and because it is addressed to others. As for the claim that a sensitive and ethical depiction of the other is one that is truthful, we need to recognize that there may indeed be instances when telling the truth is itself harmful and insensitive or tactless. For Gordon Allport, whose book on prejudice has become a classic, the main thing when it comes to combatting racism seems to be not a sense of civility, sensitivity or openness, but providing correct facts and information about the shared characteristics among members of minority groups: "...we must ask", he writes, "may not scientific and factual instruction contain information unfavorable to minority groups? Yes, it is conceivable that the incidence of evil traits may be higher in one group than in another...If so, this information should not be suppressed. If we are going after the truth we must go after the whole of it - not merely the part that is congenial" (Allport, 1958:452, italics in original). Allport's suggestion that we speak the truth regardless of what our better judgement may tell us is what Arendt would 165  call an absolute that is "altogether inhuman and unmerciful", a kind of Kantian categorical imperative that "stands above men, is decisive in all human affairs, and cannot be infringed even for the sake of humanity in every sense of that word" (Arendt, 1960:27). However, here we would want to say, as Frye does, that we are required to speak in a variety of situations, but in no instance is it necessarily "our job to tell the naked truth: we realize that even in the truth there are certain things we can say and certain things we can't say" (ibid:136). Like Socrates' argument at the beginning of The Republic against Cephalus who claims that the good and just man is one who has not lied or deceived anyone, we need to see that speaking the truth might sometimes be right and sometimes be wrong. (Plato, Book I, 331b) Frye nicely formulates this when he writes: "Society attaches an immense importance to saying the right thing at the right time...Some of the right things said may be only partly true, or they may be so little of the truth as to be actually hypocritical or false, at least in the eyes of the Recording Angel. It doesn't matter: in society's eyes the virtue of saying the right thing at the right time is more important than the virtue of telling the whole truth, or sometimes even of telling the truth at all...So when Bernard Shaw remarks that a temptation to tell the truth should be just as carefully considered as a temptation to tell a lie, he's pointing to a social standard beyond the merely intellectual standards of truth and falsehood, which has the power of final veto, and which only the imagination can grasp" (ibid). Gadamer too suggests that we consider the social importance of tactful judgement. "By "tact", Gadamer writes, "we understand a special sensitivity and sensitiveness to 166  situations and how to behave in them, for which knowledge from general principles does not suffice", and since situations are changeable, it involves, moreover, a constant task of "renewed adaptation to new situations" (Gadamer,  1989:16,26).  Exercising tact may mean leaving  certain things unsaid, or passing over what one knows to be true. Tactful judgement or distinguishing between what should be said and what should not is not merely shrewdness or the application of general rules, rather it is a moral attitude that knows what is proper and improper given the particular case, circumstance or situation in which one speaks. In the sense that it "helps to preserve distance" and "avoids the offensive, the intrusive, the violation of the intimate sphere of the person", (ibid:16) we might say that tact also perserves that space in-between people that constitutes a public realm while, as a virtue we would associate with civility, it simultaneously brings people together. Tact, civility, openness, and a receptivity or willingness to engage other points of view, are what we might understand as the requirements for "friendly" discussion. In the ancient Greek understanding, friendship is what provides for the initial constitution of the polis and was a requirement for its wellbeing, and so it too has implications for a "politics" of representation. Friendship is not grounded on the absence of conflict or differences, and is not thought of as something like brotherly love or the idea that we are "all one family", and indeed this kind of 167  intimacy, as Arendt notes belongs to the private rather than public realm. What is essential to friendship and unites citizens in a polis consists in constant discourse: "In discourse the political importance of friendship, and the humaneness peculiar to it, were made manifest" (Arendt, ibid:24). A commitment to the "common good" or to the good of the polis then, is a commitment to being open to friendly discussion. In our context, this requires, not that we tell the "truth" about culture and history, prescibe a set of rules as to "who" can speak about whom or on whose behalf or limit ourselves to "telling our own story", but that we display a commitment to the polis through our openness to others and by giving a hearing to various opinions, interpretations or viewpoints. In Aristotle we read that friendship enhances our ability to think and to act, but its endurance requires discourse among men: "a lack of converse spells the end of friendships" (Aristotle, 1962:223, translator's note). As we have tried to illustrate, the end of discourse may come about, not simply as a result of hostility, disagreement, or a lack of openness to the other. When a single "truth" about the world is insisted upon or when individuals are united in consensus around a single view of the world, there is indeed no longer the possibility for a discourse among many voices announcing what each "deems truth". For Arendt, the assertion of a single truth about matters that properly belong to the realm of human affairs 168  (the political realm) is "inhuman in the literal sense of the word; but not because it might rouse men against one another and separate them. Quite the contrary, it is because it might have the result that all men would suddenly unite in a single opinion, so that out of many opinions one would emerge, as though not men in their infinite plurality, but man in the singular...were to inhabit the earth" (ibid:30 31).  Regarding representation in terms of Arendt's notion of action and its relationship to a common world and Nietzsche's formulation of the different modes of cultivating history and relating to influence, together with a consideration of the virtues of tact, civility and friendship provide us with grounds for a "politics of representation" that are quite different from the bleak vision underlying the claim that we need to speak for ourselves in order to assert the truth about our experiences, realities, cultures and histories. Those who see the need to know and control "who speaks" and to prohibit speech about one ethnic group by members of another understand politics to be no more than a struggle for the power to control or administer the means of representation and the circulation of "cultural commodities". In an empirical sense, it may well be so that museum exhibitions and other modes of representing history and culture have excluded certain perspectives from appearing in the public sphere and have been exploited in order to promote the racist views or self-interests of certain powers within 169  the community. We are not suggesting that there is no such thing, for example, as corrupt museums. It may also be true that there are individuals whose response to what they see in museums involves little reflective thought or evaluative judgement. It does not follow, however, that we are therefore bound to uphold the image of a society of language manipulators or cultural masters and malleable, slavish followers, nor that our choices are limited to being the extreme antiquarian or the extreme critic in response to the world. Our argument is that this vision of community and the actor indeed needs resisting, but not on its own terms. Arguing that the power to control and manage the representation of culture be seized from the dominant white culture by the oppressed, or that we judge the content of a representation on the basis of the author's "credentials" and prevent whites from entering into a discussion about others, is to offer solutions which operate within the self-same framework of understanding or worldview (i.e. technical, capitalistic, racist) that give rise to the very problems themselves. Our mode of response has been, instead, to uncover and question the very grounds for conceiving of culture (representation, discourse) in terms of control, management and administration or, to recall the words of Oakeshott that appear in the epigraph to this paper, in terms of "a hierarchy of voices" and control by "symposiarchs and doorkeepers". We would like suggest that notwithstanding empirical "reality", there is a need to uphold the ideal of a 170  social actor who actively engages, judges and responds to representation, to history and culture, and a version of the discourse that constitutes a political community in terms that go beyond control, power relations and administration; in terms that are friendlier and more civil.  171  ^ ^  BIBLIOGRAPHY  Aagaard-Mogensen Lars, ed., 1988^The Idea of the Museum: Philosophical, Artistic and Political Questions, (Problems in Contemporary Philosophy, vol.6), Lampeter, Wales: Edwin Mellen Press Allport, Gordon, 1958^The Nature of Prejudice, New York: Doubleday and Company Inc. 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