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“What is the Spirit of Afrofuturism?”
Wednesday Session: Free and open to the public (In-person)
Friday Session: $25.00 (In-person) | $10.00 (Virtual)
A program of the Seminole State College of Florida Speakers Series
Free and open to the public (In-person)
January 25, 2023
from 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Seminole State College of Florida
(Sanford/Lake Mary Campus Building C, 100 Weldon Boulevard, Sanford 32773)
Assistant Professor of English and U.S. Literatures
Chesya Burke is an Assistant Professor of English and U.S. Literatures at Stetson University. Her primary areas of study are in African American literature, race and gender studies, comics, and speculative fiction. She received her Master’s degree in African American Studies from Georgia State University and her Ph.D. at the University of Florida. Her dissertation, "#Hashtag, Black Girl Magic: Reimaging Black Women Fluid Artists Within the Spirituality of Womanism," situates Black Girl Magic within a theoretical continuum which examines Black women’s use of social activism to voice change and how this social activism influences social consciousness and popular culture. http://chesyaburke.weebly.com/
The Ghanaian word of Sankofa’s literal translation means that “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.” Afrofuturism quite literally is the act of acknowledging the practice of Sankofa (“reaching back”) to the ancestors, while calling on histories, spirituality, and lived experiences to imagine new futures for Black people, despite the lack of representation in mainstream society. When looking at a literal act of Sankofa within Black American literary tradition, one needs only to look at Alice Walker’s act of “finding” and “bringing back” Zora Neale Hurston into modern Black consciousness. The dynamic woman known as much for her off-page antics as her on-page talent, Zora Neale Hurston is considered an important writer of her time, skilled in Southern interpretation of dialect and culture. A complicated figure, Hurston’s contribution to Afrofuturism cannot be dismissed. But as Afrofuturists, who center Black voices and lived experiences, how do we reconcile Hurston, who claimed that “slavery is the price she paid for civilization.” In this presentation, I will discuss the tenets of Afrofuturism, Sankofa and the importance of reaching back to never forget Black complex voices of the past.”
Open reception and book signing after presentation
January 27, 2023
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
UCF Downtown, Dr. Phillips Academic Commons (West Wing, Rm. 106, 528 W Livingston St, Orlando, FL 32801)
Associate Professor of History
University of Central Florida
Scot French is an Associate Professor of History, Associate Director of the Center for Humanities and Digital Research, and Director of Public History at the University of Central Florida. He is author of The Rebellious Slave: Nat Turner in American Memory(Houghton Mifflin, 2004) and has published extensively on African American community history and sites of memory. Since 2018 he has curated three exhibits on Zora Neale Hurston’s ties to her “native village” of Eatonville, Florida, and published a peer-reviewed article, “Social Preservation and Moral Capitalism in the Historic Black Township of Eatonville, Florida: A Case Study of ‘Reverse Gentrification,’” in Change Over Time: An International Journal of Conservation and the Built Environment (2018). For the past two years he has taught a 1-credit course, AFA 3930: Afrofuturism & the Hurston Legacy, and curated the ZORA Festival! Academic Conference Afrofuturism Syllabus. He is chair of the ZORA! Festival’s Academics Committee and local organizer of its annual UCF-hosted conference.
Director of Housing, PolicyLink
Founder, The AfroFuturist Affair
Co-founder, Black Quantum Futurism
Co-creator, Community Futures Lab
Rasheedah Phillips is a queer housing advocate, parent, writer, interdisciplinary artist, and cultural producer who uses web-based projects,zines, short film, archival practices, experimental non-fiction, speculative fiction, printmaking, performance, social practice, installation and creative research to explore the construct of time, temporalities, and community futurisms through a Black futurist cultural lens and experience. As the Director of Housing, Phillips leads PolicyLink’s national advocacy to support the growing tenants’ rights, housing, and land use movements in partnership with grassroots partners, movement leaders, industry, and government leaders. Previously serving as Managing Attorney of Housing Policy at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Phillips has led various housing policy campaigns that resulted in significant legislative changes, including a right to counsel for tenants in Philadelphia, and the Renter’s Access Act, one of the strongest laws in the nation to address blanket ban eviction polices having a disparate impact on renters of color. Phillips' writing and artwork has appeared in The Funambulist Magazine, e-flux Architecture, Flash Art Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, Recess Arts, and more. Phillips is the founder of The AfroFuturist Affair, founding member of Metropolarity Queer Speculative Fiction Collective, co-founder of Black Quantum Futurism, co-creator of the award winning Community Futures Lab, and creator of the Time Zone Protocols, Black Women Temporal Portal, and Black Time Belt projects. Recognized as a national expert in housing policy, Phillips is a 2016 graduate of Shriver Center Racial Justice Institute, 2018 Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity, and 2021 PolicyLink Ambassador for Health Equity.
Dr. Scot French, Associate Professor of History, University of Central Florida10:30-11:30 AM
Lunch On Own - Local Options11:45-1:00 AM
Rasheedah Phillips, Esq., Director of Housing, PolicyLink; Founder, The AfroFuturist Affair; Co-founder, Black Quantum Futurism; Co-creator, Community Futures Lab
“Time and Place Have Had Their Say:” The Time Binder’s Role in Black Space-Time Mattering
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