Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures
edited by Kevin M. Strait & Kinshasha Holman Conwill
“When Sun Ra said ‘Space is the Place,’ he was referring to both outer and inner space, the place where the mind escapes the body and soars out in search of love and meaning. This book renders that outer/inner space in tangible form, encapsulating generations of words, sounds, and images that define Afrofuturism.” —Nelson George, filmmaker and author of The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and The Evolution of Culture and Style.
From the cosmologies of ancient Black civilizations to the era of slavery and the present day, African Americans have reimagined the future of Black people across the globe through Afrofuturism. Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures investigates the past, present, and future of this evolving platform of Black identity and explores its expression through literature, music, art, film, fashion, and activism.
Essays from key scholars, writers, and practitioners reveal Afrofuturism's poignant engagement with African American intellectual history and popular culture. Some 125 iconic Smithsonian objects, historic photographs, exciting comics, and stunning artworks accompany the text. Through these pieces, the book illustrates Afrofuturism as a movement that always looks forward even as it looks back.
This nuanced and authoritative history investigates the power of speculative work to connect with activist goals and reconstruct Black narratives unburdened by oppression. African Americans have used themes of technology, science fiction, space, and heroism to envision futures of Black liberation and convey an expansive image of the Black experience, generating narratives that don't have to be defined by slavery, racism, and violence, and that envision fuller and brighter futures for African American people.
From writers Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany pushing the boundaries of science fiction and artists like Jefferson Pinder and Alisha Wormsley reenvisioning the past and future, to musicians such as Sun Ra, Nona Hendryx, Parliament-Funkadelic's George Clinton, and Vernon Reid employing Afrofuturist themes in their works, this book examines how Afrofuturism creates new spaces of identity for the Black community and also touches on contemporary popular media like Marvel's Black Panther, N.K. Jemisin's writing, and Janelle Monáe's music to show Afrofuturism's continual expansion and relevance.
Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures explores the movement's transformative power not simply to imagine a better, more equitable world but to actively work to ward building one.
CONTRIBUTORS: Reynaldo Anderson, Tiﬀany E. Barber, Herb Boyd, Ariana Curtis, Eve L. Ewing, Tuliza Fleming, Nona Hendryx, N. K. Jemisin, John Jennings, Steven Lewis, Mark Anthony Neal, Alondra Nelson, De Nichols, Elaine Nichols, William S. Pretzer, Vernon Reid, Matthew Shindell, Kevin M. Strait, Angela Tate, Michelle Wilkinson, Ytasha L. Womack, Alisha B. Wormsley, and Kevin Young
March 21, 2023
8.61 x 0.74 x 11.32 inches