Intimacies to Apocalypso: Decolonizing Diasporas & Afro-Atlantic Worldviews
How do we map relations across the Afro-Atlantic? How do the diasporic cultural productions of the sole Spanish-speaking nation in Sub-Saharan Africa connect with works emerging from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic)? What insights do we gain by reading these contemporary works alongside each other? This lecture, “Intimacies to Apocalypso” will examine the long history of Atlantic crossings between Equatorial Guinea and the Latinx Caribbean and engage in a robust discussion about colonialism, diaspora, feminisms, decolonization, literature, and the human. We will trace how themes of intimacy, witnessing, dispossession, reparations, and futurities are remapped in a series of works and will consider how Black diasporic histories are impacted by interlocking structures of oppression, including public and intimate forms of domination, sexual and structural violence, sociopolitical and racial exclusion, and the haunting remnants of colonial intervention. By centering the often-peripheralize Afro-Atlantic through a set of diasporic texts we can come to understand how they not only reveal violence but also forms of resistance and the radical potential of Afro-futurities.
The lecture centers the cultural productions of peoples of African descent as Afro-diasporic imaginaries that subvert coloniality and offer new ways to approach questions of home, location, belonging, and justice.
Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez is an Afro-Puerto Rican writer, teacher, and scholar. She is Associate Professor of Global Afro-Diaspora Studies at Michigan State University and the author of Decolonizing Diasporas: Radical Mappings of Afro-Atlantic Literature (Northwestern 2020). Her published work can be found in Hypatia, Decolonization, CENTRO Journal, Small Axe, Frontiers Journal, Hispanofilia, Contemporânea, and SX Salon. She is a founder of the MSU Womxn of Color Initiative, #ProyectoPalabrasPR and the digital/material project Taller Electric Marronage.