Afro-FabulationsThe Queer Drama of Black Life

Afro-FabulationsThe Queer Drama of Black Life

Tavia Nyong'o

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9781479856275

Publisher: NYU Press

Abstract

In Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life, the cultural critic and historian Tavia Nyong’o surveys the conditions of contemporary black artistic production in the wake of post-blackness. Moving fluidly between the insurgent art of the 1960s and the intersectional activism of the present day, Afro-Fabulations challenges genealogies of blackness that ignore its creative capacity to exceed conditions of traumatic loss, social death, and archival erasure. Tracking how the bodies that were speculated in as commodities became speculative bodies, he develops an account of black fabulation that is always already feminist and queer. In so doing, he revises accounts of post-humanism and new materialism that ignore the subversive potential of life lived outside the sovereign coordinates of the human. If black survival in an anti-black world often feels like a race against time, Afro-Fabulations looks to the modes of memory and imagination through which a black polytemporality is invented and sustained. “Angular sociality” names the gate and rhythm of black social life as it moves in and out of step with itself, providing its internal dynamism and drama. To outline his theory of afro-fabulation, Nyong’o takes up a broad range of sites of analysis, from speculative fiction to performance art, from artificial intelligence to blaxploitation cinema. Reading the archive of violence and trauma against the grain, Afro-Fabulations summons the poetic powers of world-making that have always been immanent to the fight and play of black life.