Resources for Understanding and Engaging with Afrofuturism

Two Black individuals stand against a dark rainbow background beneath the words Afrofuturism Resources.

Following up on last week’s lively podcast episode on Afrofuturism with Ekow Eshun, this week the TIE team is proud to continue that conversation with a resource list on Afrofuturism, in honor of Black History Month. The works included not only analyze Afrofuturism across literature, film, and art, they also encompass works of fiction themselves. Beyond deepening readers’ understandings of Black history, our hope is that these resources will also uncover new possibilities for imagining Black futures.

Works to Start With

  1. Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures (2023) ed. by Kevin Strait and Kinshasha Holman Conwill
  2. Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness (2015) ed. by Reynaldo Anderson and Charles E. Jones
  3. Afrocentricity in AfroFuturism: Toward Afrocentric Futurism (2023) ed. by Aaron X. Smith
  4. Black Utopia: The History of an Idea from Black Nationalism to Afrofuturism (2019) by Alex Zamalin
  5. Undercover Afrofuturism (1/2)” and “Undercover Afrofuturism (2/2)” (2017) by Mawena Yehouessi
  6. We Travel the Space Ways: Black Imagination, Fragments, and Diffractions (2020) ed. by Henriette Gunkel and kara lynch

Art

  1. The Black Speculative Arts Movement: Black Futurity, Art+Design (2019) ed. by Reynaldo Anderson and Clinton R. Fluker
  2. Cosmic Underground: A Grimoire of Black Speculative Discontent (2018) ed. by Reynaldo Anderson and John Jennings
  3. In the Black Fantastic (2022) by Ekow Eshun
  4. More Brilliant Than The Sun (1998) by Kodwo Eshun

Film

  1. Afrofuturism in Black Panther: Gender, Identity, and the Re-Making of Blackness (2021) ed. by Renée T. White and Karen A. Ritzenhoff
  2. Introduction to the Special Issue When is Wakanda: Afrofuturism and Dark Speculative Futurity” by Lonny Brooks et al. in Journal of Future Studies 24 n. 2 (2019): 1–4.
  3. Ousmane Sembène, Cinematic Revolutionary” by Kelley Dong
  4. Ousmane Sembène at 100: A Tribute to Senegal’s ‘Father of African Cinema‘” (2023) by David Murphy
  5. Where to begin with Ousmane Sembène” (2021) by Chrystel Oloukoï

Literary Theory

  1. Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture (2013) by Ytasha Womack
  2. Afrofuturism Rising: The Literary Prehistory of a Movement (2019) by Isiah Lavender
  3. Afrofuturism, Science Fiction, and the History of the Future” by Lisa Yaszek in Socialism and Democracy 20 n. 3 (2006): 41–60.
  4. Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World (2020) by Zakiyyah Iman Jackson
  5. Chinua Achebe and the Politics of Narration: Envisioning Language (2017) by Thomas Jay Lynn
  6. Literary Afrofuturism in the Twenty-First Century (2020) ed. by Isiah Lavender III and Lisa Yaszek
  7. Myth, Literature and the African World (1976) by Wole Soyinka
  8. Old Futures: Speculative Fiction and Queer Possibility (2018) by Alexis Lothian
  9. The Truth of Fiction” in Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays (1988) by Chinua Achebe
  10. Wole Soyinka: Literature, Activism, and African Transformation (2021) by Bola Dauda and Toyin Falola

Fiction

  1. Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction (2022) ed. by Sheree Renée Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, and Zelda Knight
  2. Binti (series; 2015–18) by Nnedi Okorafor
  3. The Comet” (1920) by W. E. B. Du Bois
  4. Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora (2014; originally published 2000) ed. by Sheree Renée Thomas
  5. Free Mary Jay: A True Science Fiction” (2014) by Biko Agozino
  6. Kindred (1979) by Octavia Butler
  7. Of One Blood (2022; originally serialized in The Colored American Magazine, 1902–03) by Pauline E. Hopkins
  8. Parable of the Sower (1993) by Octavia Butler
  9. Parable of the Talents (1998) by Octavia Butler
  10. Short fiction by Chika Esiobu, PhD
  11. The Thing Around Your Neck (2009) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  12. Wizard of the Crow (2006) by Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo

TIE is grateful to the following Choice reviewers and scholars who graciously contributed specialized recommendations to this list:

Dr. Biko Agozino's headshot

Onwubiko Agozino, PhD

Professor, Sociology and Africana Studies, Virginia Tech

Dr. Mark Christian's headshot

Mark Christian, PhD

Professor, Africana Studies, City University of New York

Headshot of Thomas DeFrantz

Thomas DeFrantz, PhD

Professor, Theater and Performance Studies, School of Communication, Northwestern University

Headshot of David Earl Magill

David Earl Magill, PhD

Professor, English; Chair, Department of English and Modern Languages, Longwood University

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Interested in contributing to TIE? Send an email to Deb V. at Choice dvillavicencio@ala-choice.org with your topic idea.


Header image is a detail of This is Harlem by Jacob Lawrence. Courtesy of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. © 2021 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. For more information, click here.