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The Futures of Afrofuturism: A symposium

March 30-31, 2017
Haslam Business Building, West Wing, Rm. 440

The Futures of Afrofuturism will present new perspectives on Afrofuturism, a contemporary arts movement connecting the musical, literary, and visual arts and combining elements of science fiction and speculative futurism, history, and fantasy with African and African diasporic cultures and political standpoints.


  • Tiffany Barber, Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester
  • Michael Bennett, Center for Science and the Imagination, Arizona State University
  • Jonathan Eburne, Comparative Literature and English, Pennsylvania State University
  • Nettrice Gaskins, Artist
  • Scott Heath, English, Georgia State University
  • André M. Carrington, English and Philosophy, Drexel University
  • Alessandra Raengo, Moving Image Studies, Georgia State University


Select each day to view a detailed schedule of events.

Haslam Business Building, West Wing (Room 440)

9:30 AM - 10:00 AM Coffee service
10:15 AM Welcome: Amy Elias and Michelle Commander
10:30 AM - 11:45 AM Tiffany Barber, University of Rochester
“An Other Consideration of Afrofuturism”
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM Lunch
1:45 PM - 3:00 PM Michael Bennett, Arizona State University
“Readings in the Cthulhucene”
3:15 PM - 3:30 PM Break
3:45 PM - 5:00 PM Jonathan Eburne, The Pennsylvania State University
“Afrosurrealism as Counterculture of Modernity”

John C. Hodges Library

5:15 PM - 6:15 PM

Mary Greer Room, 2nd floor, across from Circulation Desk

6:30 PM Nnedi Okorafor
“At Home”
Lindsay Young Auditorium, 1st floor
7:45 PM Book Signing
Lindsay Young Auditorium, 1st floor

Haslam Business Building, West Wing (Room 440)

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM Coffee service
9:15 AM - 10:30 AM Nettrice Gaskins
“Cosmogramma: Hidden Codes in African American Art and Culture”
10:30 AM - 10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM André M. Carrington, Drexel University
“Queer of a Black Planet”
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Lunch
1:45 PM - 3:00 PM Scott Heath, Georgia State University
“Everybody’s Famous! Meme Making and the Future of Culture Design”
3:00 PM - 3:15 PM Break
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM Alessandra Raengo, Georgia State University
“The Cosmopolitan Contemplative in John Akomfrah’s Digitopic Practices”
4:45 PM Wrap-up and discussion of future plans

Public Talk by Nnedi Okorafor
Nebula and Hugo Award winner for Fiction

Thursday, March 30
6:30 PM
Hodges Library, Lindsay Young Auditorium

Nnedi Okorafor is an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University at Buffalo. An acclaimed novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for children and adults, she is the author of several award-winning books, including Akaka Witch (an Best Book of the Year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), Chicken in the Kitchen (winner of Children’s Africana Book Award for Best Book for Young Readers), and the space opera novella Binti (winner of the Nebula and Hugo Awards for Best Novella). Binti: Home was published in January 2017, and Okorafor's young adult novel Akata Witch 2: Akata Warrior will be released this fall.

Free and open to the public.

The Haines Morris Fund, Department of English, Ready for the World, UT Humanities Center

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.