About the Course: "Afrofuturism & the Hurston Legacy"


Welcome to Afrofuturism & the Hurston Legacy, the open-access course syllabus for the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts & Humanities and its 2020-2024 Afrofuturism Conference Cycle.

Our mission, as stated by Afrofuturism Conference Cycle curator Dr. Julian Chambliss, is to "bring together scholars, artists, teachers, the public -- people who are animated by Afrofuturism as it exists today -- and connect them to a broader legacy of The Black Imaginary."

The 2020-2021 syllabus bridges the first two years of the five-year Afrofuturism Conference Cycle:

  • ZORA! 2020: What is Afrofuturism?
  • ZORA! 2021: What is the Sound of Afrofuturism?
  • ZORA! 2022: What is the Vision of Afrofuturism?
  • ZORA! 2023: What is the Spirit of Afrofuturism?
  • ZORA! 2024: What is the Space of Afrofuturism?

Syllabus/Course Structure

The course consists of weekly Conversations & Explorations leading up to, through, and beyond the live-streamed 2021 Afrofuturism Conference. New materials will be released weekly, beginning Nov. 1, 2020, and will remain open once published.

  • Part I of the course will recap the 2020 Afrofuturism Conference and its organizing question -- "What is Afrofuturism?" -- through interviews, podcasts, and prerecorded webinars.

  • Part II of the course will incorporate presentations/conversations from the 2021 Conference -- "Afrofuturism: What is its Sound?"
  • Part III of the course will showcase Afrofuturist readings/viewings/listenings of Black cultural production, from Zora Neale Hurston's Mules and Men to Sun Ra, Beyonce, Grace Jones, and Janelle Monae.

    • Instructors/Presenters

      This course has no single instructor. It is a collaborative effort of the ZORA! Festival Academics Committee, Afrofuturism Conference organizers, and participating scholars and artists who have agreed to share their research and reflections on Afrofuturism with the public. We invite you to participate in this ongoing conversation/exploration and make plans to attend the 2021 Afrofuturism Conference scheduled for Jan. 28-29, 2021!


      Questions about the design/content of this open-access course syllabus may be directed to:

      Dr. Scot A. French
      2020-2024 ZORA! Academics Committee Chair / Open Course Coordinator
      Associate Professor of History / Director of Public History
      University of Central Florida

      Content posted here will remain publicly accessible and may be incorporated into other courses, in part or in full, via links to this site. Suggested citation: French, Scot. Syllabus for ZORA! Festival Afrofuturism Course, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fall 2020-Spring 2021. STARS, https://stars.library.ucf.edu/afrofuturism_syllabus_about/.


      We are grateful to the following individuals and institutions for their contributions to this pilot course.

      Featured Scholars/Keynote Speakers

      • Dr. Reynaldo Anderson, Harris-Stowe State University
      • Dr. Kinitra Brooks, Michigan State University
      • Dr. Isiah Lavender III, University of Georgia
      • Ishmael Reed, Poet and Author

      Preserve the Eatonville Community, Inc.

      • Dr. N.Y. Nathiri, Executive Director
      • Rhea Posey, Social Media/Marketing

      ZORA! Festival Academics Committee

      • Dr. Julian C. Chambliss, Michigan State University
      • Dr. Michelle Robinson, Spelman College
      • Trent Tomengo, Seminole State College
      • Dr. Clarissa West-White, Bethune-Cookman University
      • Maria Ferguson, Full Sail University
      • Dr. Anna Lillios, University of Central Florida
      • Jason Gregory, University of Central Florida
      • Kimberly Williams, University of Florida
      • Dr. Scot French, University of Central Florida (Chair)

      Every Tongue Got To Confess Podcast Series

      • Dr. Julian Chambliss, Michigan State University - Series Host/Creator
      • Holly Baker, University of Central Florida - Interviewer/Editor
      • Grace Chun, University of Florida - Interviewer
      • Tiffany Pennamon, University of Florida - Interviewer
      • Kimberly Williams, University of Florida - Interviewer

      UCF Libraries/STARS Repository

      • Lee Dotson, Associate Librarian, Technology Solutions & Digital Initiatives
      • Anna Kephart, Digital Archivist/Graduate Research Assistant