Afrofuturism & Africanfuturism

What if...?

Books available to all Discussion Projects

In 2021 the Maine Humanities Council embarked on a multi-year engagement with Afrofuturism and Africanfuturism. We hope you will consider using one or more than one of these books with your Discussion Project. 

  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi 
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler 
  • Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler 
  • Of One Blood, or, The Hidden Self by Pauline Hopkins 
  • Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson 
  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland 
  • Binti Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor 
  • Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Dark Matter edited by  Sheri Thomas 
  • No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon 

What is Afrofuturism and Africanfuturism?

Although the artistic and aesthetic practice pre-dates 1994 by many decades, the term “Afrofuturism” was coined in Mark Dery’s 1994 essay, “Black to the Future.” He used the term as a way to characterize the artistic work African American artists had been creating that placed Black ways of being in an advanced technological future. 

Historically, Afrofuturism and Africanfuturism has and continues to embrace so much more than what Dery laid out in his essay. As an aesthetic, Afrofuturism and Africanfuturism bridges art, literature, and music. It uses a Black cultural lens to take in the past and the present and creates a speculative future or an alternative present for us to grapple with. Afrofuturism and Africanfuturism begins with the premise that there can be a future for Black and African-descended people that either begins with Black liberation or provides a clear pathway towards Black liberation. For all of us, the genre opens doorways to new ways to engage with natural environments, new ways to create community, and new ways to survive and thrive.