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Africana Studies Subject Guide — Afrofuturism

Interdisciplinary guide for Africana/African American Studies


This page features a small selection of UConn library and external resources to support learning and research pertaining to Afrofuturism. This list is meant to be exploratory and is not a comprehensive representation or list of the library's holdings.

For additional assistance, please contact Stephanie Birch, Research Services Librarian for Africana Studies at

The term Afrofuturism was coined by Mark Dery in Flame Wars: The Discourse of CyberCulture (1994, pg 180). Dery described it as: "Speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African American concerns in the context of twentieth-century technoculture and...that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future-might.... Afrofuturism gives rise to a troubling antimony: Can a community whose past has been deliberately rubbed out, and whose energies have subsequently been consumed by the search for legible traces of its history, imagine possible futures?"

Essential Readings: 

Afrofuturism is...

is a multiverse that spans media, and genres. Its inventors and visionaries imagine possible future realities in worlds enriched with new technologies, engaging with technology in creative practice or utilizing current or future tech to re-imagine Black pasts. Often intertwining the scientific and the ancestral, Afrofuturists reach back and forth across time, space, and dimensions to construct new worlds and ways of being. Afrofuturism is resistance and liberation.

Image: Art installation by Alisha Wormsley in Detroit Michigan, 2019. Photo by Steve Neavling, courtesy of the Detroit Metro Times

Afrofuturist music emerged in the 1960s and 70s with the advent of science fiction and the space race. Contemporary musical artists continue to take inspiration from early Afrofuturist artists, along with new-age digital technologies. Afrofuturism takes many forms across music -- influencing sound, lyrics, costuming, music videos, stage design, and performance.

Watch the full-length film, Space is the Place (197), by Sun Ra on YouTube 

Pioneers of Afrofuturist music: Sun Ra Arkestra; George Clinton; Earth, Wind, and Fire; LaBelle; Lee "Scratch" Perry; Jimi Hendrix

New Age Afrofuturists: Doja Cat; Lil Nas X; FKA Twigs; Solange; Willow; Janelle Monae; Jidenna; Travis Scott; Rico Nasty; Ebony Bones!; Sudan Archives; Corinne Bailey Rae; Cookiee Kawaii; Beyoncé; Nicki Minaj; Chloe x Halle; Azaelia Banks; Jojo Abot; Juan Atkins; THEEsatisfaction

Listen to these artists and more on my curated Afrofuturism playlistMothership Mixtape, available on Spotify or YouTube


Visual Artists to Know: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Wangechi Mutu, Renée Cox, Ellen Gallagher, Laylah Ali, Robert Pruitt, Kaylan Michel, Cyrus Karibu

*Access to titles via streaming services like Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBOmax, and Netflix is subject to change based on licensure agreements. Please check IMDB pages (see title links above) for up-to-date streaming access.

Note: Check with your local public library for possible access options to streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBOmax, Netflix, and Hulu via Rokustick or a similar loanable device.