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Name: Omara Samirah Dyer-Johnson

PhD: Black Studies

Thesis Title: Resistance & Freedom 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 monolothic 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 disguish the cultural movement within science fiction/fantasy'speculative fiction.

I will be examining a variety of media, including comics/graphic novels, music, literature, film, and podcasts from the1990s-present. The chapters of my thesis will be arranged around case studies of specific texts such as the works of author N. K. Jemisin, music by Janelle Monae, and Milestone Media (DC) comics as case studies.

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

Other Roles

  • September 2018-: Research Assistant to Dr Karen Salt

Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:


  • October: "Afrofuturism & the ‘Other’: Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer and Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti." Delivered at theFantastic 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:

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

University email address: <>

Twitter: @O_Sam93

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