Claiming Space: The communities and individuals who build Afrofuturism up, as well as those that draw from it, work together to claim and reclaim space—in the stories we tell of the past and in the visions we imagine of the future. This Claiming Space Symposium examines the ever-expanding reach of Afrofuturist thought across oceans, into land reclamations, up to the stars, through cyberspace, and inward as Black visionaries look to the infinite space within.
Call for Proposals
The call for proposals has closed. Participants will be notified of their acceptance by late October. A detailed schedule will be announced in the fall.
Artists, scholars, and thinkers will present on one of five themes:
- Atlantic Space: Reimaginations of the Middle Passage - Criss-crossed and re-inscribed by the brutality of the trade in captured and enslaved Africans, as Greg Tate notes, the Atlantic Ocean has also been imagined as a “realm of possibility.” This panel will explore this realm of resilience across disciplines and media.
- Terrestrial Space: Reclaiming Landscapes - Perhaps most frequently associated with the great expanses of oceans and sky, Afrofuturist movements have also given rise to the speculative cities, reclaimed monuments, and transformed landscapes and communities that will be the focus on this panel.
- Cyber Space: Political Activism and Afrofuturism in the Digital Age - The Black Lives Matter movement began as a hashtag and through the further utilization of digital technologies has grown into a global network of activists, using technology to organize, protest, and shape the public discourse about race and the societal institutions and structures that support racism. This panel will explore political and social activism in the digital age, and the Afrofuturist platform of technology being repurposed as a tool for community building and liberation.
- Outer Space: Projecting Histories and Futures onto the Stars - Space is a canvas onto which we project ideas about the future, but space is also literally a place in which post-colonial power structures are defined. This panel will explore the afrofuturist interventions attempting to reimagine space and questioning the standard assumptions behind imagined futures in space.
- Personal Space: Cyborgs and the Afrofuturist Body - Technology has come to shape how we live and communicate, to the point where our biological and social lives are now intertwined with the technologies we take for granted. These technologies have political assumptions built into them, but can also be inscribed with new politics by users. This panel will explore this cyborg metaphor which interrogates issues of structure and agency and the technopolitics of body and soul.
Questions? Email ClaimingSpace@si.edu
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