Androids, Shape Shifters, and Vampires: Black Women’s Afrofuturist Feminist Cultural Productions

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Thursday February 20, 2014
      10:00 am - 11:00 am
  • Location: Georgia Tech Library Ferst Room
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Summary Sentence: Talk by Susana Morris, Auburn University

Full Summary: When Afrofuturist soul singer Erykah Badu calls herself “an analog girl in a digital world,” she underscores her connection to a pre-digital sensibility and her status as an outsider. Nevertheless, Badu’s brand of futurist music, fashion, and politics troubles her claim to a wholly “analog” identity and suggests a complicated relationship to the intersections of technology, normative notions of progress, and human relationships. This talk argues that Badu, alongside other artists and writers such as Janelle Monáe, Alice Smith, Octavia E. Butler, and Tananarive Due navigate complex relationships to futurism and remix tropes from science fiction, fantasy, and horror in ways that both push back against dominant futurist discourse and expands the possibilities for Black women’s understandings of themselves and their places in the world.

  • Susana Morris Susana Morris

Morris sees these women’s cultural productions as part of an epistemology she describes as Afrofuturist feminism. Afrofuturist feminism is a way of knowing and moving through the world that is a strategy for naming and navigating complicated and often vexed histories and visions of the future, one that places people of color at the center and is interested in transgressing conventional systems of power and dominance. Looking at the work of the aforementioned artists and writers, Morris pays pays particular attention to Black women’s engagement of Afrofuturist feminism in mapping out spaces for vivid and robust expressions of Black women’s sexuality and intimacy.

Susana M. Morris,  an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Auburn, received her Ph.D. from Emory University and her B.A. from Mount Holyoke. A specialist in contemporary African American and African Caribbean literature, she researches the politics of family and intimacy, gender and feminist theory, and black sexualities. Her book, Close Kin and Distant Relatives: The Paradox of Respectability in Black Women’s Literature, was recently published be the University of Virginia Press. She has also published articles in The Griot: The Journal of African American Studies, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, South Atlantic Quarterly,and Women’s Studies Quarterly. She is also a founding member and contributing writer for the popular feminist blog, The Crunk Feminist Collective.

Additional Information

In Campus Calendar

School of Literature, Media, and Communication, Georgia Tech Arts

Invited Audience
Arts and Performance, Seminar/Lecture/Colloquium
Afrofuturism, feminism
  • Created By: Carol Senf
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jan 28, 2014 - 7:20am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 10:06pm