Playing Africa: Imagining African lives on stage and online
Dreaming, imagining, performing are at the heart of making new ways of being and living in the world. Africa’s presence in the world has all too often been shaped by western imaginings of the continent and its people – imaginings grounded in classic tropes like primitiveness, violence and helplessness. But African dreams of their own lives and worlds have not only pushed back against these kinds of stories but also imagine worlds that prefigure futures and hopes, ways of being and transformations that claim African futures beyond western claims and imagination. Africa is a powerful site of worldmaking, where it is possible to see new formations outside the hegemony of the North and where theory is made in practice as well as through scholarship. By exploring theatrical and gaming sites on the continent, especially as they encounter existing ideas about what it means to be African, this panel will show the ways Africans resist and reform the futures others imagine for them. They create and design cities in which gamers can move through African spaces, dance and sing ways to change control over African bodies and reimagine historical and contemporary violence to tell their own stories. Primarily grounded in ethnographic and anthropological work in collaboration with practioners, performers and game designers, we ask what it might mean when we are really able to dream/hallucinate a different version of the worlds we think we live in and the bodies we are told to inhabit.
Please email me a brief title and description or abstract if you have one. We would welcome proposals based in performance and other forms as well as papers. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than March 31.