1/3 That cultural approbation thing actually gives me a lot of questions, I'm not talking about the people who use the white savior trope or colour = barbarian or anything as blantant as that. Only people who actively try to be respectful. I've seen people writing about their own culture in what they believe is a truthful and respectful manner make other's angry. Sometimes it seems hard to know when being angry because they disagree ends and being angry because you're hurting individuals begins.
2/3 I imagine there’s overlap. And I AM sorry for asking it, because I know there IS no definitive answer and you quite possibly can’t make such a complicated issue any clearer. But it’s something I think a lot about and you’re the most experienced person that I respect on this matter that I have access to. Assuming you’ve listened and acted respectfully (to your own culture or another) people will still have mixed and contradicting opinions. How are we meant to prioritize these opinions?
3/3 How do people saying it’s a good representation of their culture stack up against someone saying they found it erroneous or hurtful? Especially if there are multiple people who didn’t like it and want you to change it in different ways. Everyone’s an individual and their opinions are different and even taking all suggestions into account it’s impossible to make everyone approve. So how are we meant to choose between multiple people who belong to the culture who disagree with each other???
As far as I can tell, this message is in response to this post in which I answer a question about cultural appropriation in fantasy writing.
The central problem here is, once again, you seem to be expecting ME to speak for or somehow override other people. It ends up seeming like you’re asking me for some kind of weird permission on who it is and isn’t okay to ignore when they tell you “don’t do that”.
If you can’t tell the difference between what you call “disagreement” and “hurting individuals”, I fail to understand why you seem to think that’s a problem other people should solve, and not you yourself.
Because basically, when you ask me “how are we meant to choose between multiple people who belong to the culture who disagree with each other?” you’re pretty much asking me if it’s “okay” to hurt SOME people in a group as long as you didn’t hurt ALL of them.
If it’s really that difficult for you to sort out what is and isn’t hurtful to people, then maybe you need to be doing something else.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Hiromi Goto’s WisCon 38 Guest of Honor Speech:
It matters who and what is being focused upon in fiction. It matters who is creating a fictional account of these tellings. I don’t think the “burden of representation” rests upon the shoulders of those who are positioned as under-represented. If this were the case we would fall into an essentialist trap that will serve no one well. However, I’m okay with saying that it is my hope that white writers who are interested in writing about cultures and subjectivities outside of their own consider very carefully:
1) how many writers from the culture you wish to represent have been published in your country writing in the same language you will use (i.e. English) to write the story,
2) why do you think you’re the best person to write this story?
3) who will benefit if you write this story?
4) why are you writing this story?
5) who is your intended audience?
6) if the people/culture you are selecting to write about has not had enough time, historically and structurally, to tell their story first, on their own terms, should you be occupying this space?
Silence. In the space where your voice would have rang out with its distinct articulation. The moment you silence yourself a gap opens up, and someone else who may have no qualms in occupying that space, will leap in to speak out on their own terms. If you’re a writer (a dreamer) from a people, a community, a history that has been long-marginalized, silenced or misrepresented, we so desperately need to hear your story in your voice, in your own grammar of perception and articulation….
Many thanks. A couple of brief internet searches haven’t given me much information on who Dangier the Saracen is, but based on this , I’m forced to conclude that he is a distant cousin of Ogier the Dane, and a wisdom-dispensing time-traveller.
Did you click the links? One of them is to an paper on that specific character, analyzing this specific illuminated text. I know links can be hard to see if you’re on mobile, too-just FYI.
That being said, Wisdom Dispensing Time Traveler Dangier is now canon.
you don't have to be so negative just because a post doesn't have a person of colour in it.
I have absolutely no clue what this message is about… apparently, it’s about “a post”. Well, I have several thousand of those. So I guess get back to me on that and we can discuss my negative attitude.
for some reason, fistpump angel made me really really happy. thank you for that.
I like to think that fistpump angel makes everyone happy!
Since people were asking, it’s the famous smiling angel of Reims Cathedral:
THIS ANGEL BELIEVES IN YOU! You can Do the Thing!!!!
I especially love this smiling guy from Regensburg in Bavaria) This Gabriel is really happy to have brought his news to Maria)
AHHHH I LOVE IT
I have just fallen in love with your blog. thank you for existing. <3
Thank you for reading, and I hope you continue to enjoy what you find here!
Bless you, medievalpoc. Bless your beautiful soul.
The prohibition against making figurative images in Islam has been pretty widely exaggerated. If you look at the history of Islamic art, paintings of human beings are a part of many major artistic traditions (For the Ottomans, for example, google Suleymanname), but especially the Persian & Mughal. There are even a couple pretty famous Muslim pantings of Muhammed, for what it's worth (riding Buraq on a visit to heaven).
Thanks for flagging that. Let me expand on the three sentences that prompted this a bit?
In the Ottoman Empire, the Islamic tradition of glamour is usually non-figurative. There is some controversy over whether stylization avoids the prohibition on idolotry, but it’s generally agreed that making a glamural with the illusion of movement is not okay. (Original post)
The thing about introducing a new artform retroactively into the world is that I have to make guesses about how different cultures would interact with it. Most of these cultures are not mine, which makes the guessing harder.
From what I can tell, the prohibition against making figurative images isn’t evenly applied across Islam and definitely not evenly applied across the Ottoman Empire. It depends on where you are in time, space, and what sort of art you’re doing. As you mention, painting has a lot of examples of figurative art, particularly in miniatures.
Sculpture is less common. It’s not that it doesn’t exist, but that there’s proportionally less of it.
So basically, I was looking at these Hadith (Al-Bukhary and Muslim) and guessing that glamour would sit on the scale of “lifelike” to “non-lifelike” above sculpture.
Whoever makes a sura (picture, icon, idol, etc.) in the world will be asked to breathe soul into it (on the Day of Resurrection), but they will not be able to breathe soul (into it).
A man came to Ibn `Abbas and said: I make suras, so tell me about (the ruling on) this. Ibn `Abbas said: Come closer to me. The man did. Ibn `Abbas asked him to come closer again and the man did and he put his hand on the man’s head and said: I will tell you what I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying. I heard him saying: Every Musawwir will enter the Fire and a soul will be given to every sura they made so that it would torment them in the Fire. He added: If you have to do this (go on in this profession), then make suras of trees and everything that does not have a soul.
The Qu’ran seems to be less prohibitive than the Hadith, by a lot, but I still was guessing that because of the three dimensional nature of glamour, and because of its ability to represent movement, that the resistance towards using it for figurative art would be stronger than for painting.
I’m throwing terms around like I’ve done a ton of research on this, but since I don’t actually have any plots set in the Ottoman empire yet, I’ve only done minimal reading. I do have a plot in mind that would potentially involve the daughter of the Ottoman Ambassador to England, so most of what I was looking at was in an effort to make a guess about the type of glamour she probably would have been taught, if any, before arriving in London.
I can promise you that before I actually write anything canon in the Glamourist Histories, I’ll research it properly before starting.
But can I just say
The fact that Mary Robinette Kowal and medievalpoc are reblogging each other is the greatest thing ever
Medievalpoc is made of awesome. I mean, let me be really clear that while I was aware of some stuff before I started reading her, the graphical representation of my education would show a nearly vertical line after I discovered her tumblr. The daily visual reminders to not let myself default back to the white-washed way I learned history is really, really helpful.
And the reason I’m on tumblr at all is because she was made of awesome and then I realized that the community was, too.
ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: MUTUAL FANSQUEE
Slavs and Tatars may have been *racialized* but that doesn’t mean that they were non-white. So basically agreeing w/ you. And Italians are def not non-white.
nationality isn’t equivalent to race
nationality isn’t the same as race