The Aquatic Turn in Afrofuturism: Women and Other Critters in Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon (2014) and Wanuri Kahiu’s Pumzi (2010)

Daniela Fargione (Università degli Studi di Torino)


Il recente profluvio di narrazioni e opere artistiche divenute oggetto di studio di Blue Humanities (Mentz 2009), Critical Ocean Studies (DeLoughrey 2019), Hydro-Criticism (Winkiel 2019) o New Thalassology (Horden & Purcell 2006) testimoniano una svolta culturale che dalla terra sposta lo sguardo verso il mare. Nel presente articolo l’idrosfera è analizzata in due opere afrofuturiste – il romanzo Lagoon (2014) di Nnedi Okorafor e il cortometraggio Pumzi (2010) di Wanuri Kahiu – con l’intento di affrontare il globale ordine capitalista e immaginare un’estetica acquafuturista multispecie nata dalla contromemoria del Middle Passage con i suoi miti sottomarini.

DOI: 10.17456/SIMPLE-173

Parole chiave: Blue humanities, Afrofuturismo, immaginazione acquatica di genere, multispecie, umanArboreo.


Adejunmobi, Moradewum. 2016. Introduction: African Science Fiction. Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, 3, 3: 265-272.

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. 2009. The Danger of a Single Story. TEDTalks, https://www. (consulted on 12/05/2021).

Assa, Shirin. 2017. Pumzi; the labirinth of futureS. Journal of the African Literature Association, 11, 1: 58-69.

Braidotti, Rosi. 2017. Four Thesis on Posthuman Feminism in Anthropocene Feminism. Richard Grusin ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Boast, Hannah. 2020. The Water Wars Novel. Humanities, 9, 76: 1-15.

Canavan, Gerry. 2014. ‘If the Engine Ever Stops, We’d All Die’: Snowpiercer and Necrofuturism. SF Now. Mark Bould & Rhys Williams eds. Paradoxa, 26: 41-66.

Chen, Cecilia Ming Si, Janine MacLeod & Astrida Neimanis eds. 2013. Thinking with Water. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press.

Colebrook, Claire. 2014. Death of the Posthuman: Essays on Extinction (vol. 1). Ann Arbor: Open Humanities Press.

Concilio, Carmen & Daniela Fargione eds. 2021. Trees in Literatures and the Arts. HumanArboreal Perspectives in the Anthropocene. Lanham (MD)-New York-London: Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield.

DeLoughrey, Elizabeth. 2019. Toward a Critical Ocean Studies for the Anthropocene. English Language Notes, 57, 1: 21-35.

DeLoughrey, Elizabeth & Tatiana Flores. 2020. Submerged Bodies. The Tidalectics of Representability and the Sea in Caribbean Art. Environmental Humanities, 12, 1: 132-166.

Dery, Mark. 1994. Black to the Future: Interviews with Samuel R. Delany, Greg Tate & Tricia Rose. Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture. Durham: Duke University Press, 179-222.

Dery, Mark. 2008. Black to the Future. Afro-Futurism 1.0. Marlene S. Barr ed. Afro-Future Females. Black Writers Chart Science Fiction’s Newest New-Wave Trejectory. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 6-13.

Durkin, Matthew. 2016. Pumzi dir. Wanuri Kahiu (review). African Studies Review, 59, 1: 230-232. Eshun, Kodwo. 2003. Further Considerations on Afrofuturism. The New Centennial Review, 3, 2: 287-302.

Gipson, Grace. 2019. Creating and Imagining Black Futures through Afrofuturism. Abigail De Kosnik & Keith P. Feldman eds. #identity. Hashtagging Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Nation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 83-103.

Helmreich, Stefan. 2009. Alien Ocean. Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Horden, Peregrine & Nicholas Purcell. 2006. The Mediterranean and “the New Thalassology”. American Historical Review, 111, 3: 733-36.

Jue, Melody. 2017. Intimate Objectivity: On Nnedi Okorafor’s Oceanic Afrofuturism. WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, 45, 1-2: 171-188.

Kahiu, Wanuri. 2013. Africa and Science Fiction. Interview with Wanuri Kahiu, (consulted on 23/05/2021).

Kahiu, Wanuri. 2010. Pumzi. Kenya: Inspired Minority Pictures.

Lavender, Isiah, III. 2007. Ethnoscapes: Environment and Language in Ishmael Reed’s ‘Mumbo Jumbo’. Colson Whitehead’s ‘The Intuitionist’ and Samuel R. Delany’s ‘Babel-17’. Science Fiction Studies, 34, 2: 187-200.

Lathers, Marie. 2010. Space Oddities: Women and Outer Space in Popular Film and Culture, 1960-2000. New York: Continuum.

Konior, Bogna M. 2019. Climate Change Goes Live, or Capturing Life? For a Blue Media Studies. Symploke, 27, 1-2: 47-63.

Mackey, Allison. 2018. The Affective Climate of Global Anthropocene Fictions. Science Fiction Studies, 45, 3: 530-544.

Mentz, Steve. 2009. Shakespeare and the Blue Humanities. SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, 59, 2: 383-392.

Neimanis, Astrida. 2014. Alongside the Right to Water, Posthumanist Feminist Imaginary. Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, 5, 1: 5-24.

O’Connell, Hugh Charles. 2016. “We are change”: The Novum as Event in Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon. Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, 3, 3: 291-312.

Okorafor, Nnedi. 2009. Organic Fantasy. African Identities, 7, 2: 275-286.

Okorafor, Nnedi. 2014. Lagoon. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Okorafor, Nnedi. 2017. Sci-fi Stories that Imagine a Future Africa, talks/nnedi_okorafor_sci_fi_stories_that_imagine_a_future_africa?language=en (consulted on 29/05/2021).

Okorafor, Nnedi. 2019. The Many Faces of Fiction. Plenary Lecture. Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. 13th Biennial Conference, University of California, Davis (26-30 June).

Opperman, Serpil. 2019. Storied Seas and Living Metaphors in the Blue Humanities. Configurations, 27, 4: 443-461.

Reid, Michelle. 2005. Postcolonial Science Fiction. Science Fiction Foundation, https://www. (consulted on 12/05/2021).

Rico, Amnada Renée. 2017. Gendered Ecologies and Black Feminist Futures in Wanuri Kahiu’s Pumzi, Wangechi Mutu’s The End of Eating Everything, and Ibi Zoboi’s “The Farming of Gods”. Women’s and Gender Studies, 18: 81-99.

Rieder, John. 2008. Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.

Thomas, Ebony Elizabeth. 2019a. The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games. New York: New York University Press.

Thomas, Ebony Elizabeth. 2019b. Notes toward a Black Fantastic: Black Atlantic Flights beyond Afrofuturism in Youth Adult Literature. The Lion and the Unicorn, 43, 2: 282-301.

Trexler, Adam. 2015. Anthropocene Fictions. The Novel in a Time of Climate Change. Charlottesville-London: University of Virginia Press.

Winkiel, Laura ed. 2019. Hydro-criticism. English Language Notes, 57, 1: 1-10.

Views: 566

Download PDF

Downloads: 1364