Black Secret Technologies and Remaking of the Future

Posted on: October 8, 2018

Black Secret Technologies and Remaking of the Future

In 1997, filmmaker John Akomfrah created a short film called The Last Angel of History that was a love letter to Afrocentric electronica. In it, he refers to the Blues as a “Black Secret Technology.” This reference had a profound effect on how graphic artist and comics scholar John Jennings approached his work and his scholarship, and on how he began to posit his place in the cultural production space called “Afrofuturism.” In this talk, Jennings will address his work and theories around art, design, politics and how changing the narrative can change the future.

John Jennings is a Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California at Riverside. Jennings is co-editor of the Eisner Award winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art. Jennings is also a 2016 Nasir Jones Hip Hop Studies Fellow with the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Jennings’ current projects include the horror anthology Box of Bones, the coffee table book Black Comix Returns (with Damian Duffy), and the award-winning New York Times best-selling graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic dark fantasy novel Kindred.

John Jennings’s visit is sponsored by the Department of English, JMU Libraries, Graphic Design, the Office of Access and Inclusion, the College of Arts and Letters, Cross Disciplinary Studies, Justice Studies, and the Cohen Center. Refreshments will be provided.

Free parking is available in the Mason Street Parking Deck, levels 3 and higher. Questions? Please contact Kate Morris (, Head of JMU Special Collections.

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