In the Loop

Dancing the Afrofuture: A Lecture by Dr. Halifu Osumare

  • Date & Time
    • Monday, February 19, 2024 12:50pm to 1:40pm
  • Cost
    • Free
  • Description

    Join Dr. Halifu Osumare as she shares research that appears in her book, Dancing the Afrofuture: Hula, Hip-Hop, and the Dunham Legacy, recently published by the University Press of Florida. With storytelling and video, Dr. Osumare will highlight her work in the legacy of Katherine Dunham and explore her concept of "connective marginality" as one of the driving forces of hip-hop's proliferation globally.

    Dancing the Afrofuture is the story of a dancer with a long career of artistry and activism who transitioned from performing Black dance to writing it into history as a Black studies scholar. Following the personal journey of her artistic development told in Dancing in Blackness, Halifu Osumare now reflects on how that first career—which began during the 1960s Black Arts Movement—has influenced her growth as an academic, tracing her teaching and research against a political and cultural backdrop that extends to the twenty-first century with Black Lives Matter and a potent speculative Afrofuture.

    Osumare describes her decision to step away from full-time involvement in dance and community activism to earn a doctorate in American studies from the University of Hawai‘i. She emulated the model of her mentor Katherine Dunham by studying and performing hula, and her research on hip-hop youth culture took her from Hawai‘i to Africa, Europe, and South America as a professor at the University of California, Davis. Throughout her scholarly career, Osumare has illuminated the resilience of African-descendant peoples through a focus on performance and the lens of Afrofuturism.

    Respected for her work as both professional dancer and trailblazing academic, Osumare shares experiences from her second career that show the potential of scholarship in revealing and documenting underrecognized stories of Black dance and global pop culture. In this memoir, Osumare dances across several fields of study while ruminating on how the Black past reveals itself in the Afro-present that is transforming into the Afrofuture. 

    Halifu Osumare is professor emerita of African American and African studies at the University of California, Davis. She has been a dancer, choreographer, educator, cultural activist, and scholar for over fifty years. Osumare is the author of the award-winning Dancing in Blackness: A Memoir.

  • Venue
    Reitz Union
    Room #
    Senate Chamber