African American Literature

L396 — Spring 2020

De Witt Douglas Kilgore
Days and Times
9:30-10:45 MW
Course Description

TOPIC: “Black Planets: Afrofuturism in American Literature and Culture”

This course focuses on Afrofuturism, a cultural mode practiced primarily by African American writers, artists and musicians. Through it they create stories, images and sounds invoking futures directed by the experiences and designs of black people. Often operating within the conventions of mainstream futurism, afrofuturism also serves as a counter to the persistence of tomorrows in which whiteness is the historical and social dominant. We shall pay particular attention to the difference that American history and black experience makes to this culture form. We will also trace the transracial traffic of words and ideas that has made Afrofuturism an important concept in recent science fiction and American musical culture.

Authors will likely include Samuel R. Delany, Octavia E. Butler, Terry Bisson and Nalo Hopkinson. Musicians such as Sun Ra, Funkadelic, Janelle Monet, and Miles Davis will allow us to explore the sound culture that conjures and celebrates black futures.