The Ferguson is the Future symposium brought together scholars, activists and artists and asked: what stories about power, difference, and belonging fuel the social crises we face today? How does visionary fiction offer us models for creating new possible worlds? Can the combined insights and interventions of artists, activists, and scholars plot a different course forward? The symposium, part of an ongoing collaboration called Black to the Future, served as a space to imagine and create alternative worlds that are more just and representative of humanity.
The work of the conference is part of an ongoing effort led by Professor Ruha Benjamin called Black to the Future: An Imagination Incubator. Students in Benjamin’s course, “Black to the Future: Science, Fiction, and Society” will help maintain a blog on the site, and symposium participants and other collaborators will also add resources to a portal on the site to keep the spirit and conversations from the symposium alive.
The videos from the symposium have been viewed by thousands. Find all sections below.
Opening Plenary: Sociological Imagination 2.0
Featuring Alondra Nelson and Dorothy Roberts
Facilitated by Sofia Samatar
Panel I: Parables of the Present Dystopia
Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, Andrea Hairston, Rasheedah Phillips, and Nisi Shawl Facilitated by Moya Bailey and Ayana Jamieson
Panel II: Filming the Future
Invisible Universe (M. Asli Dukan) Octavia: Elegy for a Vampire Talk (Dennis Leroy Kangalee and Numa Perrier) Black Radical Imagination (Erin Christovale and Amir George) Vow of Silence (Be Steadwell) Facilitated by Lisa Bolekaja
Panel III: Inner & Outer Spaces: Community Organizing and Social Justice
Octavia’s Brood (Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha) Ferguson Activists (Johnetta Elzie, Brittney Packnett, and DeRay McKesson) Scholar-Artists (Nettrice Gaskins, John Jennings and Reynaldo Anderson) Facilitated by Daniel Jose Older