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Tomorrow is the Question: Afrofuturism, Sound, and Spirit

February 13, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

PLEASE NOTE NEW LOCATION.  This event will now take place at:

Union Theological Seminary, Social Hall
3041 Broadway at 121st Street
New York, NY 10027
Enter through UTS main doorway on West side of Broadway.

Following the idea of a black radical tradition, African and African diasporic futurism refers to practices of technological agency to reimagine the past and enact alternative possible futures in the material world. This convening considers the sonic and spiritual dimensions of futurism throughout modern black culture, reflecting on the challenges and opportunities presented by sound technologies that enable the creation of an alternative tomorrow, real or mythic. Presenters will consider the intersection of sound technology, spirituality, and Africana studies in a wide-ranging discussion tracing relations between colonial legacies, technologies of liberation, and social movements in the modern world.

Panelists include:

Alexander Weheliye, Department of African American Studies, Northwestern University
Michael Veal, Departments of Music, African American Studies, and American Studies, Yale University
Beth Coleman, City as Platform Lab and Department of English Language and Literature, University of Waterloo
George E. Lewis, Department of Music, Columbia University, event moderator

The discussion will include a sonic performance by Haitian composer, percussionist, and turntablist Val-Inc.

This event is free and open to the public.  

This event is sponsored by the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life; and co-sponsored by Columbia’s Department of Music; Columbia University’s Edwin H. Case Chair in American Music; the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality; the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race; and the Department of Africana Studies at Barnard.

Poster design by Joaquin Jutt.  Event videography by Herman Jean-Noel.

Tomorrow is the Question: Afrofuturism, Sound, and Spirit is the fourth presentation from the IRCPL’s concert series, Spirit and Sound.  This series presents musical performances from different religious and cultural traditions, paired with conversations between scholars and performers, to look at the ways in which religion, faith, identity, community, and the political intermingle in musical expressions of faith. In the 2014-15 academic year, we looked at traditional music from African-American, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Eastern Orthodox traditions.  In 2015, we will look at popular music.


February 13, 2015
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Union Theological Seminary, Social Hall
3041 Broadway
New York, 10027
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