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The Dreamer and the Dream

Afrofuturism and Black Religious Thought

Roger A. Sneed

184 pp. 6 x 9
EXPECTED Pub Date: September, 2021

Subjects: Black Studies
Literary Studies, African Diaspora
American Studies

Series: New Suns: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Speculative

Preorder Hardcover $99.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-1479-4
Preorder Paperback $29.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-5806-4

“This book makes connections where they have not previously existed. As Sneed notes, there is little investigation of the intersection of Black religion (theology, in particular) and Afrofuturism—from either Black religious scholars or scholars of Afrofuturism. The Dreamer and the Dream admirably steps in to remedy that.” —Monica A. Coleman, author of Making a Way Out of No Way: A Womanist Theology

“There has been a lack of attention to Afrofuturism paid by Black religious thought or Black liberation theologies. Sneed’s work is innovative and certainly paves the way for other works to continue in this subgenre.” —Monique Moultrie, author of Passionate and Pious: Religious Media and Black Women’s Sexuality

In The Dreamer and the Dream: Afrofuturism and Black Religious Thought, Roger A. Sneed illuminates the interplay of Black religious thought with science fiction narratives to present a bold case for Afrofuturism as an important channel for Black spirituality. In the process, he challenges the assumed primacy of the Black church as the arbiter of Black religious life. Incorporating analyses of Octavia Butler’s Parable books, Janelle Monáe’s Afrofuturistic saga, Star Trek’s Captain Benjamin Sisko, Marvel’s Black Panther, and Sun Ra and the Nation of Islam, Sneed demonstrates how Afrofuturism has contributed to Black visions of the future. He also investigates how Afrofuturism has influenced religious scholarship that looks to Black cultural production as a means of reimagining Blackness in the light of the sacred. The result is an expansive new look at the power of science fiction and Afrofuturism to center the diversity of Black spirituality.

Author photo
Roger A. Sneed is the Dorothy and B. H. Peace Jr. Professor and Chair of Religion at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.

Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction


Part I Foundations

Chapter 1   Race in Science Fiction

Chapter 2   Black Religious Thought and Afrofuturism


Part II         Intersections

Chapter 3   Octavia Butler as Architect of Intersectional Afrofuturism

Chapter 4   “It’s Code”: Janelle Monáe, the ArchAndroid, and Queer Afrofuturistic Salvation

Chapter 5   Walking in the Path of the Prophets: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, “Far Beyond the Stars,” and Black Prophetic Visions

Chapter 6   “Wakanda Forever!”: Black Panther, the Divine Feminine, and the Subversion of Toxic Masculinity in the Western Superhero Monomyth


Part III       Afrofuturistic Thought Experiments

Chapter 7   Space Is the Place: Sun Ra, the Nation of Islam, Afrofuturism, Eschatology, and Utopia

Chapter 8   “Who Am I? Who Are You?”: Afrofuturism and Black Religious Identity


Conclusion “The Shape of Things to Come”: Future Directions in the Intersection of Afrofuturism and Black Religious Thought


Postscript

Bibliography

Index

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