11:45 – Talk by Dr Reynaldo Anderson

Afrofuturism, Autonomy and Pan Africanism at the End of History

The music and cultural production of the avant-garde band leader Sun Ra emerged during the North American post World War II years of technocratic, bureaucratic, economic reorganization of the modern capitalist world system, and postmodernity.  Moreover, his body of work would largely influence the emergence of a philosophical worldview that would later be articulated as an early form of proto-Afrofuturism.

Afrofuturism is a concept originating in the North American African diaspora and is slowly being embraced by Africa, its larger diaspora, and non-African adherents. It is now a transnational, diasporic, and cultural worldview that interrogates the past, present and future in the humanities, sciences, religion, and challenges Eurocentric motifs of identity, technology, time and space. Furthermore, contemporary afrofuturism is maturing in the area of metaphysical components such as cosmogony (origin of the universe), cosmology (structure of the universe), speculative philosophy (underlying pattern of history) and philosophy of science (the impact of theoretical and applied science on society, culture and individuals) (Szwed, 1998, Anderson & Jennings, 2014).

However, afrofuturism lacks a critical standpoint in relation to contemporary and future forces of production and social reality (Bould, 2007). Yet, when the work of Sun Ra is systematically developed it emerges as a locus of critical inquiry in the areas of alienation, racism, urbanization, industrialization, technology, exploitation, bourgeoisie ideology and Eurocentrism.  

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