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Name: Omara Samirah Dyer-Johnson

PhD: Black Studies

Thesis Title:  Freedom & Resistance in Contemporary Afrofuturism

Thesis Description:

My PhD examines themes of resistance and freedom within Afrofuturism, a flexible artistic movement and theoretical practice that explores Black diasporic futurity. My PhD will also discuss the way Afrofuturists use a Western science-fiction aesthetic to challenge assumptions about race and a monolithic Black identity. My project will explore the links between Afrofuturism, Black freedom, and resistance and argue that these themes are central to Afrofuturism, helping to distinguish the cultural movement within science fiction/fantasy and speculative fiction.

I will be examining a variety of media, including comics/graphic novels, music, literature, film, and podcasts from the 1990s-present. The chapters of my thesis will be arranged around specific texts including the works of author N. K. Jemisin, music by Janelle Monae, and Milestone Media (DC) comics.

This project extends the interdisciplinary approaches I adopted in my MA dissertation, which compared the cultural activism of the Black Panther Party and the British Black Panther Movement.

Supervisors and Institution(s): Dr Karen Salt, University of Nottingham; Dr Nick Heffernan, University of Nottingham


Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:


  • April: "Keyword: Afrofuturism." Delivered as part of the panel: "Definitions Towards Solidarity: BAME Americanists in the UK and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies" at BAAS 2019, University of Sussex.
  • February: “Is Space the Place?: Afrofuturism in Black Panther: The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda.” Delivered at the "MSU Comics Forum 2019," Michigan State University, USA.


  • October: "Afrofuturism & the ‘Other’: Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer and Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti." Delivered at the "Fantastic Beasts, Monstrous Cyborgs, Aliens and Other Spectres: Exploring Alterity in Fantasy and Science Fiction Conference," University of Freiburg, Germany.


  • July: New Art Exchange, Blues on Planet Mars, Talk on Octavia E. Butler's Kindred and the graphic novel adaptation by Damian Duffy & John Jennings.
    • Promoted talk on BBC Radio Nottingham.


  • October: Nottingham Contemporary, Black Panthers at 50: Film Festival, Talk on the British Black Panther Movement.

Other Research Interests:

  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Studies
  • Popular Culture and Fan Studies
  • African Diasporic Studies
  • Comic, Graphic Novel & Sequential Art Studies
  • Protest Movements & Cultural Activism

University email address: <>

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