A1: Pan African Futures: Exploring Race as Technology, Afrofuturism as Methodology

Glass House November 17, 2016 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

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Ruha Benjamin
Achille Mbembe
Lynnée Denise
Ingrid Lafleur

From W.E.B. DuBois’ story, “The Comet,” to Octavia Butler’s novel, Dawn, the black speculative tradition offers a critical approach to understanding how black bodies materialize in the future.Panelists draw upon this lens to reimagine race as a kind of technology, one that relies on constant innovation and upgrade, producing parallel universes, premature death, and at times, portals into alternate realities. To say that race is a technology is to consider how racism is future oriented, not simply backwoods ideology, but mercurial and morphing. Anti-racisms, as a result, are often playing catch-up. It becomes vital, then, for artists, analysts, and activists alike, to employ speculative methodologies to understand how “racial vision and division” shape shift over time and space. This panel brings together scholars and artists from South Africa, Cameroon, and the U.S., to imagine alternative futures that anticipate and intervene in new racial formations that act on, with, and against the black body.