Afrofuturism in Black Panther: Gender, Identity, and the Re-making of Blackness, through an interdisciplinary and intersectional analysis of Black Panther, discusses the importance of superheroes and the ways in which they are especially important to Black fans. Aside from its global box office success, Black Panther paves the way for future superhero narratives due to its underlying philosophy to base the story on a narrative that is reliant on Afro-futurism. The film’s storyline, the book posits, leads viewers to think about relevant real-world social questions as it taps into the cultural zeitgeist in an indelible way. Contributors to this collection approach Black Panther not only as a film, but also as Afrofuturist imaginings of an African nation untouched by colonialism and antiblack racism: the film is a map to alternate states of being, an introduction to the African Diaspora, a treatise on liberation and racial justice, and an examination of identity. As they analyze each of these components, contributors pose the question: how can a film invite a reimagining of Blackness?
Renée T. White is provost and executive vice president at The New School.
Karen A. Ritzenhoff is professor of communication and women, gender, and sexuality studies at Central Connecticut State University.
Zeinabu irene Davis
Chapter 1: I Dream a World: Black Panther and the Re-Making of Blackness
Renée T. White
Chapter 2: The Power in Numbers: Ensemble Stunt Performance in Black Panther and Histories of Practice
Chapter 3: From Expressivity to Equanimity: New Black Action in Black Panther
Chapter 4: Paid the Cost to be the Boss: Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther, and the Future of the Black Biopic
Mikal J. Gaines
Chapter 5: Let Ayo Have a Girlfriend: Resisting Black Lesbian Erasure on Twitter
Sarah E. S. Sinwell
Chapter 6: “Tell Me a Story Baba”: Black Panther and Wakanda’s Foreign Policy in the Age of Neo-liberalism
Chapter 7: The Underground Railroads as Afrofuturism: Enslaved Blacks that Imagined Freedom, Future, and Space
dann j. Broyld
Chapter 8: The Evolution of Dora Milaje: Wakanda’s Greatest Warriors in Comics and Film
Chapter 9: “The Prince Will Now Have the Strength of the Black Panther Stripped Away”: Reading Disability and Queerness in Killmonger
Chapter 10: Only When She Wants To: Code-Switching in Black Panther
Chapter 11: The Dore Milaje in Real Life: A Continuing Legacy of African Warriors
Myron T. Strong, K. Sean Chaplin, and Giselle Greenidge
Chapter 12: Echoes of the History of Black Utopian Visions, “Black Manhood,” and Black Feminism in the Making of Black Panther
Chapter 13: Tradition, Purpose, and Technology: An Archaeological Take on the Role of Technological Progress in Black Panther
Chapter 14: Reflections on Black Panther and the Traditions of Third Cinema
Chapter 15: The Depiction of Homeschooling, Black Identity, and Political Thought in the Film Black Panther
Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman
Chapter 16: Two Paths to the Future: Radical Cosmopolitanism and Counter-Colonial Dignity in Black Panther
Chapter 17: My Blood Right: A Critical Analysis of Black Panther’s Killmonger, Colonialism, and Hybrid Identity
Gabriel A. Cruz
Chapter 18: The Other Worlds of Black Panther’s Purple Heart-Shaped Herb
About the Contibutors
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther (2018) is not only a billion-dollar superhero film but also a profound examination of Black life in the global diaspora. Given this, a collection of essays on the film was inevitable. The essays White and Ritzenhoff gathered are not only impressive but also surpass expectations in considering Black Panther and its importance to new conceptions of Blackness in US culture. The essays survey a wide range of topics, connecting Coogler’s film to such subjects as neoliberalism, Black lesbianism, Afrofuturism, action aesthetics, Black manhood, colonialism, and the cosmopolitan. What binds the essays together, however, is the commitment to exploring the film in its historical and cinematic contexts, tying it to films such as Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman and Peter Farrelly's The Green Book (both also 2018) but also paying close attention to cinematic production and industry issues. The essays gathered in this collection speak to one another fluently despite their wide variety of topics, making the collection cohere in insightful ways. This collection is required reading for anyone seeking to understand the enduring importance of Black Panther to understanding Blackness in US culture. Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
This remarkable collection examines the complexities, power and significance of Black Panther from a wide range of highly pertinent perspectives, revealing the film's importance as both a piece of cinema and as a pointed intervention into cultural, social and political histories of representation. The editors have brought together a rich collection of rigorous and illuminating contributions, making this the key reference work on this ground-breaking film.
A rich and enticing book that offers multiple perspectives on a genuine cultural phenomenon. A must read for anyone interested in Black Panther and the politics of contemporary US popular culture.
Featuring reflections by filmmakers, artists, fans, and scholars across disciplines and around the world, this book is more than just a resource for a critical reading of Black Panther; it is a veritable tome of the different threads present within this ever-evolving film. Superhero and fantasy films have an important role in producing and commenting on culture: they take us out of reality while helping us critically dissect the patterns of reality. This phenomenon is complicated but necessary, and each chapter methodically guides the reader through a different facet of media, identity, history, and reception, encouraging them to return to the film to watch it again with new knowledge and a new perspective.
Evidence that Black Panther hit a raw nerve rests in this serious treatment of the copious topics instigated by this afrofuturistic superhero film. Praise for this collection of essays for the far-reaching implications the authors suggest for the study of Black Panther as an interrogation of the multibillion dollar industry that produced it and the state of the human condition for which the film serves as window and mirror. Afrofuturism in Black Panther: Gender, Identity, and the Re-making of Blackness explores why Black Panther is not merely an important film that you have to see just because it seemingly replaces the Hollywood white superhero with a black superhero, but why it’s a film we want to see as it centers black governance, black feminism and black culture within the convergence of global politics and technology in the context of real histories of enslavement, colonization, apartheid, racism and discrimination. The essays invoke the persistence of vision of black filmmakers, writers, actors, designers, scholars and spectators who expertly employ the master’s tools to re-imagine. An essential text for the study of Black Panther.
Renée T. White’s & Karen A. Ritzenhoff’s book is a tour-de-force about the highly popular Marvel comic and its film adaptation. The impressive assemblage of contributors boldly theorizes concepts of Black identity, queer erasure, counter-colonialism dignity, Afrofuturism, and Black utopian visions that are celebratory and critical. This work is a page-turning essential read for academics, popular culture, and science fiction enthusiasts who seek to have their assumptions and principles about Black Panther challenged while exploring new historical, symbolic, and pedagogical frameworks on various dimensions of Blackness.
4/4/22, The New School: Co-editor Renée T. White talked about how Black Panther, and particularly the realm of Wakanda, evolved into a potent looking glass for further Afrofuturist imaginings.
10/24/22, Choice Reviews: This book was highlighted in this "review of the week" feature.