Afrofuturism

Winter 2016-2017

27506

Emily Lord Fransee

Afrofuturist creative and theoretical production has exploded in recent years, emerging as a significant intellectual framework for understanding the history of race and identity, the legacies of colonialism, theories of science and technology, and the making of the modern world. While the term “Afrofuturism” was not coined until the 1990s and remains a controversial label, this course traces the historical roots and contemporary expressions of this diverse global genre (or set of genres). Taking a transdisciplinary approach, we will examine the contexts and debates that shaped and were shaped by works of speculative fiction, science fiction, and futurism from across Africa and the African diaspora. Topics include slavery and emancipation, empire and decolonization, pan-Africanism, theories of modernity and technoculture, the Cold War and the making of the “Third World,” Civil Rights, as well as connections to related genres such as Indigenous Futurism and Silkpunk. We will take an intersectional approach to consider not only race but other categories of identity such as gender, sexuality, class, and ability. Texts include secondary critical analysis as well as global music, film, literature, and visual artforms created from the 19th through the 21st century, including works from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia and across the global African diaspora, particularly the United States. Students will leave the course with knowledge of major Afrofuturist themes and related works as well as improved critical reading, speaking, research, and writing skills. Evaluation is comprised of a combination of oral discussion, critical reading and response, written assignments, independent research, and in-class presentation. (B, H)