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Presented By: Institute for the Humanities

Art & Afrofuturism Virtual Panel

An Octavia Butler Week Event

Octavia Butler Quote Octavia Butler Quote
Octavia Butler Quote
See all Octavia Butler Week events at https://myumi.ch/n8VAR.

Register to get the Zoom link at https://myumi.ch/n81Qe.

An exploration of Afrofuturism in a variety of art forms, including music, literature, film, video, and the visual arts. Featuring Naomi Andre, Tananarive Due, John Jennings, and Susana Morris. Moderated by Christopher Audain.

This is the second in a series of annual Art and Activism lectures as part of High Stakes Art, a project designed to enhance exhibitions and programming at the Institute for the Humanities Gallery. High Stakes Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Presented by the Institute for the Humanities and the U-M Arts Initiative.

About Octavia Butler Week:
Octavia Butler was a renowned African American author who received a MacArthur “Genius” Grant and PEN West Lifetime Achievement Award for her body of work. With Octavia Butler Week, we aim to explore the work and legacy of this visionary writer. It’s part of a larger series of events that include a community read, a multimedia performance, an open-mic night, and additional events that together comprise Parable Path A2Ypsi.

Culminating Parable Path A2Ypsi is Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon’s genre-defying musical adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s novel Parable of the Sower. UMS will present this powerful performance March 25-27, 2022 at the Power Center in Ann Arbor. Tickets and info at ums.org.

About the presenters:
Naomi Andre is a professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Residential College at the University of Michigan. She received her BA from Barnard College and MA and PhD from Harvard University. Her research focuses on opera and issues surrounding gender, voice, and race in the US, Europe, and South Africa. Her publications include topics on Italian opera, Schoenberg, women composers, and teaching opera in prisons. Her book, Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement won the Lowens Book Award from the Society for American Music and the Judy Tsou Critical Race Studies Award from the American Musicological Society. Her earlier books include Voicing Gender: Castrati, Travesti, and the Second Woman in Early Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera (2006) and Blackness in Opera (2012, co-edited collection). She has edited and contributed to clusters of articles in African Studies and the Journal of the Society for American Music. She is the inaugural Scholar in Residence at the Seattle Opera and a founding member of the Black Opera Research Network (BORN).

Tananarive Due is an award-winning author who teaches Black horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA. She is an executive producer on Shudder's groundbreaking documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror. She and her husband/collaborator Steven Barnes wrote "A Small Town" for Season 2 of "The Twilight Zone" on CBS All Access. A leading voice in black speculative fiction for more than 20 years, Due has won an American Book Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a British Fantasy Award, and her writing has been included in best-of-the-year anthologies. Her books include Ghost Summer: Stories, My Soul to Keep, and The Good House. She and her late mother, civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due, co-authored Freedom in the Family: a Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights. She is married to author Steven Barnes, with whom she collaborates on screenplays. They live with their son, Jason, and two cats.

John Jennings is a professor, author, graphic novelist, curator, Harvard Fellow, New York Times Bestseller, 2018 Eisner Winner, and all-around champion of Black culture. As Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California at Riverside (UCR), Jennings examines the visual culture of race in various media forms including film, illustrated fiction, and comics and graphic novels. He is also the director of Abrams ComicArts imprint Megascope, which publishes graphic novels focused on the experiences of people of color. His research interests include the visual culture of Hip Hop, Afrofuturism and politics, Visual Literacy, Horror, and the EthnoGothic, and Speculative Design and its applications to visual rhetoric. Jennings is co-editor of the 2016 Eisner Award-winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art (Rutgers) and co-founder/organizer of The Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He is co-founder and organizer of the MLK NorCal’s Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco and also SOL-CON: The Brown and Black Comix Expo at the Ohio State University.

Susana M. Morris is a scholar of Black Feminism, Black Digital Media, and Afrofuturism. She received her Ph.D. from Emory University and has previously taught at Spelman College and Auburn University. She is the author of Close Kin and Distant Relatives: The Paradox of Respectability in Black Women’s Literature (UVA Press 2014), co-editor, with Brittney C. Cooper and Robin M. Boylorn, of the anthology, The Crunk Feminist Collection (Feminist Press 2017) and co-editor, with Kinitra D. Brooks and Linda Addison, of Sycorax’s Daughters (Cedar Grove 2017), a short story collection of horror written by Black women. Morris is also series editor, along with Kinitra D. Brooks, of the book series New Suns: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Speculative, published at The Ohio State University Press. She is currently at work on her latest book project, which explores Black women’s relationships to Afrofuturism and feminism.

Christopher Audain is managing director of the U-M Arts Initiative.

Livestream Information

 Livestream
March 23, 2022 (Wednesday) 5:00pm

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