Equali-Tea Ceremony & Presentation
DR. MICHELLE LIU CARRIGER, ucla
Michelle Liu Carriger, Assistant Professor of Theater at the University of California, Los Angeles, presented a lecture on the politics of cultural appropriation debates in a globally connected world. She explored the 2015 controversy that erupted around a Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibit of Claude Monet’s painting La Japonaise, analyzing the protest messages of the group Decolonize Our Museums, which condemned a Kimono Wednesday try-on activity that allowed visitors to don a replica of the kimono featured in the painting. While these protestors deemed this activity racist, orientalist appropriation, counterprotestors, many of whom were directly connected to Japan, supported the museum’s efforts to share Japanese culture with the U.S. public. Carriger examined the intricacies of these “Kimono Protests” in relation to broader debates about the differences between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. A longtime practitioner of Urasenke-style Japanese Tea Ceremony, Dr. Carriger concluded the lecture with an interactive tea ceremony, in which she first performed and explained the ritual and then led students in making their own bowl of macha.