The Themes in Afrofuturism

Based on the books, literature and films we have studied so far—or similar Afrofuturism works you find during your research—craft an essay discussing your understanding of the themes in Afrofuturism and their meaning, context and/or effectiveness. You should refer to the course work and at least two sources—which would include quoting from the works themselves. (Outside scholarship is required—and article or blog post, for example—but you must discuss at least one class work.)  Be as specific as possible.

POSSIBLE APPROACHES: You may write a compare and contrast essay about two or more of the works we have studied (or comparing a work we have studied to another outside of class); an analysis of two or more works; or present a specific argument (i.e. argumentative essay) that you then use your analysis of works to bolster. 

You should have a thesis statement in your first paragraph and lay out your subtopics. Each paragraph introducing a new subject or idea should have a topic sentence. 

   Again, it is best to use Times New Roman. Essays may be formatted in MLA or APA style, but all citations should be cited in a Works Cited page.

            Here are some prompts (though you may choose your own topics):

What does Wakanda represent in Afrofuturism? What are some of the benefits and pitfalls of Wakanda as imagined in Black Panther (film or series)? What social issues are addressed in Black Panther and how can they be relevant in the real world? Be sure to mention at least one other work from class.

How is technology used in Dirty Computer and other works of Afrofuturism?

How can Reginald Hudlin’s film “The Space Traders” and John Sayles’s The Brother from Another Planet be viewed through a contemporary lens? What statements are the authors making about the value of black lives in the United States?

How do authors use science fiction to discuss the horrors of slavery?

How is procreation discussed in Children of Men and/or other works? How do authors/filmmakers view women’s bodies and childbearing?

What worlds are imagined in the music of George Clinton, Sun Ra and Janelle Monáe? What are common threads between their music and/or the film and literature we have discussed in class? OR: Compare/contrast music to books or films.

What themes emerge in the post-apocalyptic Parable of the Sower and/or The Children of Men and other works? How does dystopian fiction provide a lens through which to view our contemporary issues, i.e. drought?

Discuss the Earthseed religion in Parable of the Sower. What role does it serve? Do you agree with or disagree with its basic tenets? Why or why not? BE SURE TO COMPARE/CONTRAST TO A SECOND LASS WORK.

Parable of the Sower, Lion’s Blood and other works discuss community building. How do these authors’ visions of community resonate in our current world? What components make a community? Do you agree or disagree with the authors’ approaches?

How might the study of Afrofuturism help direct and/or enliven the Black Lives Matter movement? USE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES FROM WORKS.

Discuss ways in which class works use physical manipulation and human technology to depict an Afrofuturistic world. What do the technologies represent?

This guide is not more detailed because all of you probably have written five-page essays by now. However, also visit the Writing Center and research your questions online. One sample comprehensive source: (Links to an external site.)

Here is their link to “Writing Expository Essays” —

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