Navigating Trauma: Pasts, Presents, and Futures in African American Literature (Part 1) (Roundtable)
Regina Hamilton (University of Kentucky)
In “Further Considerations on Afrofuturism”, Kodwo Eshun argued that the
impact of the Middle Passage and slavery could still be felt in African
American authorship today. The erasure of their African past, culture
and heritage leaving them disconnected and made strangers, black writers
look to the future as a way of dealing and engaging with the present.
The term counterfutures is thus used to describe those writings that
explore the potentiality of a dissonant life that emerges from these traumas, ones which reimagine the
futures that the current path of human experience seems to lead to, as well as the pasts that have or might catalyze real or imagined futures.
panel aims at evaluating how African American authors grapple with different manifestations of trauma through a variety of (sometimes conflicting) notions of
futurity, be these in science fiction, fantasy or any other genre. Some
questions the panel will address include:
-What are the social, political, literary or other functions of writing about futurity? -What do futures (counter-, afro-, etc.) tell us about the past and/or present?-What can we extract from the interaction between trauma and identity in these texts? -What is the significance of the temporal, positional or spatial to trauma narratives? -What occurs when we revisit these authors’ texts from the futures about which they write?
panel welcomes submissions that engage with texts from all literatures,
music, film and/or art. Prospective panelists should submit a short bio
and 300-word abstract through the NeMLA portal.
How do African American authors utilize the concepts of alternative pasts, presents, and futures to navigate, process, witness, narrate, or otherwise engage with trauma?