Afro-futurism: Speculative Fiction and Culture of Africa and the African Diaspora

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Northeastern Modern Language Association
contact email: 

This panel is a part of the 2020 Northeast Modern Language Association conference (NeMLA), to be held in Boston, MA on March 5-8.

 Submit 300-word abstracts and brief bio to by September 30, 2019.

 Afrofuturism, a term coined in the 1990s and meant to encompass speculative writings and culture from Africa and the African Diaspora, has become over the years a vibrant genre of literary and arts culture. Speculative fiction has long been thought to be the realm of primarily western, white, and male authors. However, from as far back as W. E. B. Du Bois’s “The Comet” in 1920 to Ryan Coogler’s vision of Black Panther, writers and artists of African descent have been casting their creativity toward the future to embrace and engage themes of race, gender, technology, and the future of humanity. Just as speculative fiction has always done, Afrofuturism illuminates contemporary issues by placing them in fantastical contexts, more specifically Afrofuturism addresses themes and concerns that have been otherwise neglected in the science fiction/fantasy canon. This panel seeks to examine Afrofuturist and African Futurist literature to highlight voices of black empowerment and to privilege black narratives in speculative fiction, science fiction, and fantasy from Africa and the African Diaspora.