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African literatures: collective futures/ utopias [CRG African Literatures] 
Joanna Woods (Stockholm University)
Elara Bertho (CNRS)
Sreya Datta (University of Liverpool)
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Joanna Woods (Stockholm University)
Sreya Datta (University of Liverpool)
Language and Literature (x) Futures (y)
Neues Seminargebäude Seminarraum 13
Thursday 1 June, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

This panel will explore collective literary futures/utopias in Africa. It will diachronically explore African literary futures and utopias to understand what collective and common narratives are at stake and to reflect on the temporal possibilities for African literary studies and cultural forms.

Long Abstract:

As a new Collaborative Research Group under AEGIS, we propose a panel that aims to take stock of the African literary scholarship within African studies. What makes African literary studies a dispersed, yet discursively connected and collective enterprise? Our proposed panel aims to open up conversations about collective literary futures and utopias, both historical and experimental. The term "collective" here is understood as a multi-faceted and fluid concept, as applied to genre, form, collectives of readers and writers, "bodies", etc. Broadly, we are keen to explore how literary collectives/collectivities provide new—often utopian—modes of thinking about the future of Africa and how such collective imaginations are projected onto and shaped by literature.

We encourage proposals which address, but are not restricted to, the following:

● Africanfuturism, especially following the success of the blockbuster film "Black Panther", and the recent proliferation and visibility of African speculative narratives.

● The historical role of storytellers (e.g. griots) and writers in Africa who have been thinking about futures in-common and utopias for a long time with political, planetary, ecological and Pan-African dimensions.

● African socialist revolutions and literary activism.

● Contesting narratives of Afro-pessimism and the conceptual limits of the "future" for African literary studies.

● African communitarian knowledge frameworks (e.g. ubuntu), and their global applications.

● Gendered traditions and trajectories of African literature.

We warmly invite papers that think innovatively about trajectories of collective thought in Africa, and which bring into dialogue different historical strata of literary futures and utopias.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -