“Early Black Utopias” One-Day Symposium to be held Friday, March 29

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“Early Black Utopias” is a one-day symposium on race and utopia scheduled for Friday, March 29, and hosted by the Center for Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

The symposium brings together a group of scholars whose work reveals a tradition of speculative thought in black politics and aesthetics from the colonial period through the Garvey movement. We define utopianism broadly to include Black-authored fiction, visual art, music, and performance that speculates about black futures, including extraordinary survivals and outcomes; the utopian impulses of black nationalist political theory, theological millennialism and occultism, emigration projects, counterpublics, subcultures, print cultures, and imagined communities; black towns and other sites or representations of utopian longing or critique; analyses of contemporary texts and issues grounded in this earlier history; the racial politics of hope; critical theories of black utopianism that draw or depart from current iterations of Afropessimism and Afrofuturism, as well as from readings of utopianism developed in the contexts of feminist, Marxist, and queer theories.