waldron and newton on religion and the appropriation of indigeneity


David Waldron and Janice Newton, ‘Rethinking Appropriation of the Indigenous: A Critique of the Romanticist Approach’, Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 16, 2 (2012).

The aim of this paper is to set out the effects of romanticism on attitudes of the New Age movement to Indigenous Aboriginal Australian culture and people. Past scholarship has clearly expounded insensitive and exploitative New Age appropriation of Indigenous culture and emphasized inequalities in the power to represent one’s own group. Essentialist, romantic stereotypes detract from deep understanding of Indigenous Australians, and negotiated solutions are not really possible when the parties involved are in grossly unequal circumstances. Scholarship acknowledges diversity within Indigenous groups and the New Age movement as well as convergences and reciprocal cultural borrowing, often within romantic epistemologies. A simple dichotomy of cultural theft by New Age practitioners from Indigenous Australians is inadequate to explain the complexities of the interaction.

%d bloggers like this: