What is Afrofuturism?
Afrofuturism is a transdisciplinary Pan-African techno-cultural movement and speculative philosophy that explores the intersections of the African Diaspora, technology, science fiction, and magical realism to imagine Black futures and re-envision the past. The term was coined by cultural critic Mark Dery in a 1994 essay titled “Black to the Future” and further popularized through an Afrofuturism listserv founded in 1998 by Alondra Nelson – former pre-doctoral Ann Plato Fellow in American Studies at Trinity College and now Deputy Director for Science and Society for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
This collection showcases the many forms and dimensions of Afrofuturism and also includes works that sit at the intersection of Afrofuturism (focused on past and future), Afrosurrealism (centered on “the now”), the supernatural, and horror. The collection includes scholarship; Black speculative fiction; graphic novels; curated playlists of music and music videos from pioneers like Sun Ra and George Clinton to contemporary artists like Sudan Archives, Janelle Monae, and Flying Lotus; visual art; films; podcasts; lectures; video games; and links to external conferences, festivals, and institutes.
To learn more about Afrofuturism, see DUST’s five-part original series on Afrofuturism. You can also view the sources we used to curate this collection by clicking the “View Sources” button.
Collection & Guide Curators
Yoli Bergstrom-Lynch - Research, Instruction, & Outreach Librarian
Catherine Simpson - Public Services Specialist
Dery, M. (2020). Black to the Future: Interviews with Samuel R. Delany, Greg Tate, and Tricia Rose. In Flame Wars (pp. 179–222). Duke University Press. [Permalink]
Social Text journal (2002, v. 20, issue 2). Issue dedicated to Afrofuturism [Project Muse proxied link], especially Alondra Nelson’s intro
Van Veen, T., & Reynaldo, A. (2018). Black Lives, Black Politics, Black Futures—An Introduction. Topia (Montreal), 39, 5–21. https://doi.org/10.3138/topia.39.00 [Project Muse permalink to Topia’s special issue on Afrofuturism]
Eshun, K. (2003). Further Considerations on Afrofuturism. CR (East Lansing, Mich.), 3(2), 287–302. [Permalink]
Yaszek, L. (2006). Afrofuturism, science fiction, and the history of the future. Socialism and Democracy, 20(3), 41–60. [Permalink]
English, K. (2013). Now We Want Our Funk Cut: Janelle Monáe’s Neo-Afrofuturism. American Studies (Lawrence), 52(4), 217–230. [Permalink]
David, M. (2007). Afrofuturism and Post-Soul Possibility in Black Popular Music. African American Review, 41(4), 695–707. [Permalink]
On Black Panther, Afrofuturism, and Afroblackness: A Conversation with Reynaldo Anderson (March 13, 2018). The Black Scholar
Colmon, C. (2017). Queer Afrofuturism: Utopia, Sexuality, and Desire in Samuel Delany’s “Aye, and Gomorrah.” Utopian Studies, 28(2), 327–346. [Permalink]
GIPSON, G. (2019). Creating and Imagining Black Futures through Afrofuturism. In De Kosnik A. & Feldman K. (Eds.), #identity: Hashtagging Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Nation (pp. 84-103). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Retrieved February 1, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvndv9md.9
Listen to our curated Neo-Afrofuturism, Retro Afrofuturism, and Sun Ra Spotify playlists.
We also curated a music video playlist that includes most of the songs in our Neo-Afrofuturism music playlist. There are 24 music videos in total. The videos are set to automatically play one after another or you can use the Youtube menu icon (the 3 horizontal lines with the triangle on top) to select videos from the playlist.
Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip Hop Generation (MFA Boston until May 16, 2021)
Here are some Afrofuturism films we are featuring from our library collections. Click or tap the images to gain access. You will be prompted to log in with your Trinity credentials if you are off campus. Also, see okayarfica’s list of 8 must see Afrofuturist films for additional titles.
The TEDx playlist includes 5 talks which are set to play automatically one after another. Alternatively, you can use the Youtube menu icon (the 3 horizontal lines with the triangle on top) to select videos from the playlist. You can also watch Sun Ra’s Full Lecture & Reading List From His 1971 UC Berkeley Course, “The Black Man in the Cosmos” courtesy of UC Berkeley’s open courses.