Participant

Abstract:

African women on the continent and the Diaspora must often grapple with a lack of resources for various reasons: tradition limiting access, economic downturn and/or natural disasters. To address these problems and the possibilities of change, this essay aims to explore the role of Speculative fiction and/or Fantasy Literature in creating alternatives and forms of access. The loss of resources and its regeneration has been a concern of African Speculative Fiction- specifically the Africanfuturist genre as defined by Nnedi Okorafor. According to Okorafor who coined the term on her “Wahala Zone Blog,” “Africanfuturism is concerned with visions of the future, is interested in technology, leaves the earth, skews optimistic, is centered on and predominantly written by people of African descent (black people) and it is rooted first and foremost in Africa.  It’s less concerned with ‘what could have been’ and more concerned with ‘what is and can/will be’. It acknowledges, grapples with and carries ‘what has been’”. Following this aesthete of Africanfuturism, my presentation reads selected short stories from Okorafor’s Kabu Kabu as mapping new Afrofeminist ecologies aimed at generating supportive futures.

Dr. Uchechi Okereke-Beshel teaches courses in African literary studies in the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures (AMESALL) at Rutgers University. Her areas of research interest include African Folklore and Literature, Postcolonial Literature, African Diaspora Literature, Fantasy Literature, and Gender in Literature. She is also a poet.