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transcultural


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The movement of ideas, influences, practices, and beliefs between cultures and the fusions that result when the ideas, influences, practices, and beliefs of different cultures come together in a specific place, text, or contact zone. The movement of cultures is not always reciprocal or voluntary—indeed, a large majority of what is deemed transcultural is the product of colonization, diaspora of different types, and exile. Some examples are the product of the necessary compromises subjugated cultures make in order to survive, as was the uptake of Catholicism by indigenous peoples in South America. As Michael Taussig demonstrates in The Devil and Commodity Fetishism (1983), the indigenous peoples could adopt Catholicism without having to give up completely on their own animistic beliefs because of the focus on spirit in Catholicism and the figure of the devil, which they could imbue with pantheistic traits. Other examples are more directly the result of globalization, which has brought about a widespread taste for the ‘cultural’, as for instance films like Bride and Prejudice (director Gurinder Chadha, 2005), which fuses Bollywood and Hollywood. The unequalness of the transcultural is exemplified by singer Paul Simon's borrowing of African music styles in the production of his bestselling album Graceland (1986)—the people he borrowed from received nothing for their contributions or their original ideas.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.


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