Imagination, Technology, the Future, and Liberation:
Afrofuturism and Related Genres
Selected by Kristen Shuyler and Liana Bayne
On display starting June 2021
Explore the expansive umbrella of Black science/speculative/fantasy fiction in this virtual display featuring books, movies, and music emerging from Afrofuturism, Africanfuturism, Afrosurrealism, and related speculative genres.
Afrofuturism, according to Ytasha Womack, in her book, Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture, is “an intersection of imagination, technology, the future, and liberation … [that] redefine[s] culture and notions of blackness for today and the future. Both an artistic aesthetic and a framework for critical theory, Afrofuturism combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magical realism with non-Western beliefs. In some cases, it’s a total reenvisioning of the past and speculation about the future rife with cultural changes" (page 9). She continues,"Afrofuturism is often the umbrella for an amalgamation of narratives, but at the core, it values the power of creativity and imagination to reinvigorate culture and transcend social limitations" (page 24).
Image credit: John Jennings, John Jennings Studio. Used with permission.
Thank you to John Jennings for allowing us to republish his art, which was originally featured in a poster for his Special Collections Speaker Series talk, Black Secret Technologies and the Remaking of the Future, at JMU Libraries in 2018. Thank you to Ytasha Womack for her work, which inspired the title and description of this display. And thank you to everyone who contributed to these resources, which were crucial in our research: