Skip to main content

ARTH 615 Issues in Postcolonial Theory in Art and Art History: Afrofuturism in Contemporary Canadian Art

  • Wednesdays, 11:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
  • Online: Access through Moodle
  • Dr. Alice Ming Wai Jim

Afrofuturism’s major cultural moment in the mainstream spotlight was spectacularly symbolized by the massive success of Marvel’s 2018 blockbuster film Black Panther, America’s first superhero of African descent. This revitalized attention to the literary and music movement that looks at sociopolitical issues through an Afrocentric futuristic and science fiction lens, points to the urgency of critical responses and political activism to imagine the possibility of attainable life-bearing future worlds in response to an unprecedented historical period of widespread anti-immigrant animus, anti-black racism, unguarded misogyny, homophobia, and white supremacy. In North America (US and Canada), the popular rise of Afrofuturism also parallels a flurry of activity in the arts and culture sectors that speak to a resurgence of contemporary art by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) artists influenced by the ideas of the movement. On many levels this is not surprising given the key tenets of Afrofuturism that include tackling issues of the present by imagining our continued existence in the future.

Focusing on moving image works (experimental film and video), performance art, AI and virtual reality artworks by Canadian-based BIPOC artists, this seminar will explore the convergence of artistic practice engaged with Indigenous and Afro-Asian futurist aesthetics, drawing from the interdisciplinary approaches and models of analysis from the fields of Afrofuturism, science fiction criticism, feminism, critical race theory, transatlantic slavery studies, and media archeology. Ultimately, this seminar asks: What is the political and cultural significance of this new art to not only art history and art criticism but also understanding a world increasingly characterized and driven by algorithms.

Back to top

© Concordia University