The Past into the Future: Afrofuturism and Ancient Egypt

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Image: Stanford Carpenter

Mar. 17 & 18 @ Berkeley Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society, 470 Stephens Hall

This two-day conference introduces a new project, which explores the reception and cultural imagining of Ancient Egypt and of its monuments, arts, writing and religion in the Black visual arts, music and literature through the lens of scholars and artists inspired by Afrofuturism. This project aims at creating a channel and platform of communication and collaboration among egyptologists, scholars of African and African-American studies, artists and musicians from the African Diaspora inspired by the ancient Egyptian and Nubian culture.


Conference program:

Friday, March 17
Afrofuturism, myth, and reception of ancient Egypt and Nubia

2pm Rita Lucarelli (UC Berkeley): Introduction - “Space is the Place”: space-traveling and
endless pasts, from ancient Egypt to the Futures
2.30-3 pm Max Jefferson (UC Berkeley): The Space Program: Music as Transportation and the
Myth of Sun-Ra.
3 pm Ytasha Womack (Chicago) and John Jennings (UC Riverside): Afrofuturism's Ancient
Egyptian & Nubian inspirations
4 pm Break
4.15 pm: Vorris Nunley (UC Riverside): Sankofa Psychology: Being, Becoming, and World
Building a Past that Was Never Past
4.45 pm: Darryl Smith (UC Berkeley): A Boat-Sun in Orbit of the Pillars: Sacred Bearing in
William Melvin Kelley’s Book of the Dead
5.15 pm: Discussion (Discussant: Luciana Parisi, Duke University)

Saturday, March 18
Afrofuturism, Ancient Egypt and Black Visual Arts and Music

9.30 am Dexter Story (UCLA), Mothership Landing: Funk and The Afrofuturist Universe of ’77
10.00 am Stanford Carpenter (Oriental Institute, University of Chicago): Crafting Tomorrow's
Heroes from the Echoes and Trace Remains of Ancient Cultures
10.30 am Claudia Attimonelli (University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy) and Abu Qadim Haqq
(Detroit): The Book of Drexciya I & II, from the Bubble Metropolis to Techno-Electro vibes:
afrofuturism from the deep Black Sea

11.00 am Grace D. Gipson (Virginia Commonwealth University): Drawing and Mapping Black
Futures: Comics and the Black Imagination

11.30 pm Discussion and Final Remarks (Discussant: Luciana Parisi, Duke University and Rita Lucarelli, UC Berkeley)


Sponsored by the Center of Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)
With the support of:
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society (CSTMS)
Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM)
Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC)
Italian Institute of Culture, San Francisco





Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Berkeley
340 Stephens Hall, Berkeley, CA  94720-2314



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