Literary Geographies of African Futures (special issue of *Literary Geographies*)
Over the past 10 years, we have witnessed a number of efforts to reimagine African life from the vantage of a future “yet to come,” to borrow AbdouMaliq Simone’s resonant expression. From new science fiction narratives that seeks to delineate their own visions of tomorrow, to scholarly collections that seek to trace the prospects of emergent phenomena, to nonprofit organizations and think tanks that have organized festivals, workshops, and art projects devoted to imagining African futures, there has been a growing sentiment that African thinkers would benefit from taking an active role in the construction of future-oriented imaginaries. As Brian Goldstone and Juan Obarrio put it in their introduction to the collection, African Futures: Essays on Crisis, Emergence, and Possibility, creating new representations of the future is perhaps the best way to displace the narrative of “crisis” and “catastrophe” that so often characterize forecasts about Africa—the general fixation on “regional wars, disease, mismanagement of resources, [and] failed development” that dominate a disproportionate amount of external media coverage of the continent. By thinking differently about Africa’s fate in the years and decades to come, the writers and artists involved in these new creative futures industries begin to move beyond such well-worn clichés so as to imagine new geographies of the lived and built spaces, environments, planetary relations and other futurist social and spatial productions.
This special issue of Literary Geographies asks contributors to consider the growing body of contemporary fiction that seeks to map, imagine, contest and envision Africa and its future geographies. We seek papers on both established and up-and-coming writers, whether living on the continent or in transnational spaces, who work in science fiction, Afrofuturism, fantasy, the graphic novel and other future-directed genres. How do these authors imagine the idea of an African futures? What new lines of connection do they draw between spaces within the continent, as well as between Africa and other areas of the globe? How do they imagine the future geography of such vital phenomena as infrastructure, immigration, ecosystems, economies, and desire?
Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to, analyses of the following: future spaces, landscapes and human experiences; objects and nature of infrastructures in their vast and possible differences; imaginaries that stretch beyond the geographical bounds of the nation-state and planetary spaces; and literatures that treat human and innate objects’ experiences. Further focuses include graphic and other fictional representations of interactions within futurist institutions, the Afrofuturist cultural geographic, literary infrastructures and cognitive maps, and African dystopias/utopias and their geographies.
The special issue will be edited by Matthew Eatough and Irikidzayi Manase. Email a 200-250 word abstract, six key words and a biographical note to Matthew.Eatough@baruch.cuny.edu and Manasei@ufs.ac.za by 30 January 2020. The deadline for the submission of the article of7 000 – 8 000 words including references and bibliography is 30 June 2020.