ENGL8720: African Am Sem (49630)

Lavender, Isiah

W 1 :50 PM

Park Hall 67

Afropessimism vs. Afrofuturism

On one side of this staged cultural, philosophical, and structural divide, we have Afropessimism. Afropessimism, in short, creates a critical framework to analyze the ongoing impacts of racism and colonialism in relation to the history of slavery which might be considered as a Black social death despite Black people being integral to the functioning of the world today. On the other side, we have Afrofuturism. Afrofuturism, perhaps, might be best defined as a way to envision possible black futures through a multiply distraught past involving technoculture and spiritual practices. Consequently, we will develop an emergent strategy to debate the importance of a transformative racial justice in Black-authored science fiction and to decide which critical lens is best with which to fight back against the fear of a Black planet.


Novels under consideration (ultimately, I’ll select 8 or 9):

Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower or Dawn; N. K. Jemisin’s The City We Became; Samuel R. Delany’s Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders or Trouble on Triton; Nalo Hopkinson’s Sister Mine; Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch; P. Djeli Clark’s Ring Shout; Tochi Onyebuchi’s Riot Baby; Cadwell Turnbull’s The Lesson; Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s M Archive: After the End of the World; Maurice Ruffin’s We Caste a Shadow; Alaya Dawn Johnson,’s Trouble the Saints; Rivers Solomon’s An Unkindness of Ghosts; Alechia Dow’s The Sound of Stars; or Steven Barnes’s Lion’s Blood

Non-fiction under consideration (ultimately, I’ll select 3 or 4):

Frank B. Wilderson III’s Afropessimism; Orlando Patterson’s Slavery and Social Death; Achille Mbembe’s Necropolitics; Michelle M. Wright’s Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology; Sadiya Hartman’s Scenes of Subjugation: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America; Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake: On Blackness and Being; John Murillo III’s Impossible Stories: On the Space and Time of Black Destructive Creation; Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks; Ytasha L. Womack’s Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture; and several Afrofuturism essays.