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February 17, 2024 75 mins

The Department of History's Sebastian Garcia spoke with Afrofuturism Academic Conference curators Dr. Julian Chambliss and Dr. Scot French about this year's edition of the ZORA! Festival Afrofuturism Academic Conference which was grounded in the theme of the space of Afrofuturism. This thematic approach was incredibly timely as Dr. Chambliss and Dr. French discussed thoroughly how they used the conference as a public platform to widen attention and draw support for the Robert Hungerford School in Eatonville, Florida, which is currently in a complex legal battle to retain its historical and cultural significance to Eatonville in the face of gentrification and urban renewal. In addition, since this was the final year of the 2020-2024 Afrofuturism Academic Conference Cycle, Dr. Chambliss and Dr. French reflected on the half-a-decade experience of developing, leading, and curating this tremendous scholarly and public event. 

 

Guest Bios:

Dr. Julian Chambliss is a Professor of English with an appointment in History and the Val Berryman Curator of History at the MSU Museum at Michigan State University. In addition, he is a core participant in the MSU College of Arts & Letters’ Consortium for Critical Diversity in a Digital Age Research (CEDAR). His research focuses on race, culture, and power in real and imagined urban spaces. His recent writing has appeared in the American Historical Review, Phylon, Frieze Magazine, Rhetoric Review, and Boston Review. Lastly, Dr. Chambliss was the curator of the 2020-2024 ZORA! Festival Afrofuturism Academic Conference Cycle.

Dr. Scot French is an Associate Professor of History, Director of Public History, and Associate Director of the Center for Humanities and Digital Research at the University of Central Florida. He is the author of The Rebellious Slave: Nat Turner in American Memory and has published extensively on African American history, cultural landscapes, and sites of memory. His research on Eatonville and its Hungerford School has been featured in the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, Winter Park Magazine, WUCF’s Central Florida Road Trip, and CBS Sunday Morning. Dr. French chairs the ZORA! Festival Academics Committee and serves as UCF’s lead organizer for the conference in collaboration with Afrofuturism Cycle curator Dr. Julian Chambliss.

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