What Isn’t a Cross-Cultural Adaptation, and, if You Know that, then what Isn’t a Cross-Cultural Text?
This essay begins by asking why the term ‘cross-cultural adaptation’ should not be extended from adaptations that cross national borders to adaptations that cross temporal, historical, linguistic, medial, and gendered borders. Unlike some theorists who have attempted to define away the problems that arise when the term ‘cross-cultural adaptation’ is extended so broadly that it courts ambiguity, circularity, and redundancy by referring instead to ‘transnational adaptation’, the essay takes those problems as its subject. It suggests that adaptations police and valorize the cultural borders they cross by performing them as borders and the cultures they demarcate as cultures. Since cultures and the borders between them cannot be described without performing them, the essay concludes that the term ‘cross-cultural adaptation’ is as defensible as any other for describing – that is, for performing – the cultural work that adaptations do.