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This panel will discuss the imaginations of futures in East Africa based on ethnographic research in the production and/or reception in genres like film, music, theatre, social media, contemporary art, new literary productions and text forms, as well as computer games and YouTube videos.
Since the early 2000s, there has been an immense change in the popular arts sector in East Africa. The availability of new media technologies has led to an explosion of art forms and genres and the establishing of new creative industries in the areas of digital film and music as well as the internet. These art forms are not only used to articulate critical views on past and present states of societies, but also to take a look into the future; to imagine and to virtually create alternative futures. This look into the future can touch upon debates such as gender, kinship, sexuality, politics and power, wealth and poverty, migration and refugees, and environment politics. The artists' view on the future can have an utopian, dystopian or ambivalent perspective. They may present how people with different backgrounds and lifestyles could live peacefully together, or how our present acts and ways of living lead to dystopian and dark worlds. Art and media productions also offer insights into the ways that people relate to the future in backward centered and repressive societies. This panel invites papers that discuss the imaginations of futures in diverse media and art forms in East Africa based on ethnographic research in the production and/or reception in the following genres: Film, music, theatre; Social media; contemporary art and intermedia productions; new literary productions and text forms (including science fiction), computer games and YouTube videos.