Notes on Black to the Future

Safiya Miller
Note by Safiya Miller, updated 9 months ago
Safiya Miller
Created by Safiya Miller about 1 year ago



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Mark Dery- Black to the Future

Quotables: "technology is too brought to bear on black bodies (branding, sterilization, the Tuskegee experiment, and tasers come readily to mind)" (180)  "Speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of twentieth  century technoculture- and, more generally, African-American signification that appropriates images of technology prosthetically enhanced future- might, for want of a better term, be called "Afrofuturism".  "... the problem is the idea of anybody's having to fight the fragmentation and multicultural diversity of the world, not to mention outright oppression, by constructing something so rigid as an identity, an identity in which there has to be a fixed and immobile core, a core that was structured to hold inviolate such a complete biological fantasy as race, whether white or black." (190) (A quote from Samuel Delany interviewed by Mark Dery Delany introduces a rhetorical strategy of James Baldwin's; Baldwin realized there was such as "whiteness". He determined it was actually an anxiety fantasy, a social conviction, a way to define oneself against what they are not. There is power in this knowledge.  "... I can deject the possibility of a naive assumption that the redistribution of commodities is somehow congruent with the redistribution of wealth - which it is not. Just as seriously, I can detect an assumption that the distribution of commodities is at one with access to the formation of those commodities and the commodity system - the simple choice of what commodities are to be made, as well as access to how those commodities are to be formed and organized." (193) A quote from Delany in conversation with Dery " has to specify that [black culture is] a technological culture that's almost entirely on the receiving end of a river of "stuff," in which the young consumers have nowhere near what we might call equitable input." (193)  

Terms to know: exegesis (oed)- An explanation or interpretation of a text demur (eod)- to raise objection  political unconscious peripatetic (oed)- A person who walks about; a traveller; an itinerant dealer or trader.


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