The Past into the Future: Afrofuturism and Ancient Egypt

17 Mar, 2023

The Past into the Future: Afrofuturism and Ancient Egypt

with Rita Lucarelli (UC Berkeley), Max Jeferson (UC Berkeley), Ytasha Womack (Chicago), Vorris Nunley (UC Riverside), Darryl Smith (UC Berkeley), John Jennings (UC Riverside), Stanford Carpenter (University of Chicago), Claudia Attimonelli (University of Bari, Italy), and more.

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

Conference Schedule

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

2.30-3pm Max Jefferson (UC Berkeley): The Space Program: Music as Transportation and the Myth of Sun-Ra.

3pm 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

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

11.30 pm Discussion (Discussant: Luciana Parisi, Duke University)

12.30 pm Lunch followed by a guided tour of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)


The event is free and open to the public. Please contact info.bcnm [at] with requests or questions.

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