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UK Black Women’s Conference to Explore ‘Literature, Digital Media and the Afrofuture’

image of UK Black Women's Conference poster
Now in its 26th year, this year's virtual conference will focus on critics, creators and consumers of textual and digital media, including video games, and will feature discussions on representations of race, gender and sexuality in 21st century media.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2021) — Today and Saturday, University of Kentucky African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) and the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies will present the 26th annual Black Women’s Conference, titled “Literature, Digital Media, and the Afrofuture.”

The conference will focus on critics, creators and consumers of textual and digital media, including video games, and will feature discussions on representations of race, gender and sexuality in 21st century media.

Regina Hamilton, assistant professor in English and AAAS, helped organize this year’s conference.

“Afrofuture is a term used to refer to futures created by Black authors, video game developers, filmmakers and other artists, particularly those futures that center the experiences, stories, struggles and aspirations of Black people,” Hamilton said. “I hope audiences leave understanding that African American literature is a multifaceted field, and that Black speculative fiction is not a subgenre, but central to our critical understanding of African American culture and thought.”

The conference will take place virtually Feb. 26-27, 2021, and will feature three main events:

Friday, Feb. 26

 

  • 10:30 a.m.: “The Future of Black Speculative Literature” panel. On this panel, Hamilton will be joined by two scholars, Ebony Thomas and Michelle Commander, who have both recently released books related to Black speculative fiction. The panel will discuss the future of the Black speculative fiction genre.

 

  • 6 p.m.: Keynote address by award-winning author Nalo Hopkinson.

 

Saturday, Feb. 27

 

  • 3 p.m.: Hamilton and digital studies and gaming scholar Kishonna Gray will play "Hair Nah" and "Bad Hair” as part of a community gaming event on the UK Esports Twitch channel. Both games were created by artist and game developer Momo Pixel. A keynote discussion with Pixel will follow at 4 p.m. The discussion will focus on the diversification of players and developers of video games.

The conference is free and open to the public. Register for all three events at www.eventbrite.com/e/university-of-kentucky-26th-annual-black-womens-conference-2021-tickets-136850566729.

“I hope it is clear to the audience that how we imagine ourselves in various futures says so much about us and our world in the present,” Hamilton said. “Finally, I hope that as we all continue to reckon with racism in our institutions and in our media, that it is clear we still have so much work to do for us all to live in an equitable world."

The conference is open to everyone and media may attend. However, recording of the conference is prohibited. To access video clips from the conference, please contact jenny.wells@uky.edu

The Black Women’s Conference was initiated 26 years ago by Doris Wilkinson, who was the founder of what was then UK's African American Studies and Research Center in the 1990s. The conference has focused on themes relating to Black women for a quarter of a century.

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