Finalist, 2019 Lambda Literary Award in LGBTQ Studies
A profound intellectual engagement with Afrofuturism and the philosophical questions of space and time
Queer Times, Black Futures considers the promises and pitfalls of imagination, technology, futurity, and liberation as they have persisted in and through racial capitalism. Kara Keeling explores how the speculative fictions of cinema, music, and literature that center black existence provide scenarios wherein we might imagine alternative worlds, queer and otherwise. In doing so, Keeling offers a sustained meditation on contemporary investments in futurity, speculation, and technology, paying particular attention to their significance to queer and black freedom.
Keeling reads selected works, such as Sun Ra’s 1972 film Space is the Place and the 2005 film The Aggressives, to juxtapose the Afrofuturist tradition of speculative imagination with the similar “speculations” of corporate and financial institutions. In connecting a queer, cinematic reordering of time with the new possibilities technology offers, Keeling thinks with and through a vibrant conception of the imagination as a gateway to queer times and black futures, and the previously unimagined spaces that they can conjure.
"Just when the world seems to be collapsing, Queer Times, Black Futures guides us towards an anti-fragile future that exists here and now. The key? Embracing and holding in tension: Afro-futurist freedom dreams, the queer temporalities that animate Black Swans, and the radical refusal and opacity of Herman Melville's Bartleby and Eduoard Glissant's philosophy. If we haven't realized the possibilities that lie waiting in the present, its because the frame of black experience has not yet registered. Moving seamlessly from James Snead to Sun Ra, from Gilbert Simondon to Beth Coleman, Audre Lorde to Gilles Deleuze, Keeling helps us imagine the (im)possible. Stop reading this blurb and start reading this book. Now." ~Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, author of Updating to Remain the Same
"Not satisfied to leave readers in the abyss of endless critique, Keeling is concerned with alternative futures and the ethical imagination of 'the time after the future.' Queer Times, Black Futures is masterful--deeply engaging, wide ranging, carefully researched, and creative in its use of allegory to demonstrate the potential and effect of opacity for black futures and possibilities." ~Herman Gray, Emeritus Professor, UC Santa Cruz