Faculty Discussion at a Mixer

Black Research Symposium

Afro-Diasporic Worldbuilding and a Sustainable Futurity
March 23 - 25, 2023

The African American Cultural Center and NC State University Libraries invite our NC State campus and surrounding community to our first annual Black Research Symposium. We center the theme “The Power of Community: Afro-Diasporic Worldbuilding and a Sustainable Futurity.”  As the first of its kind on NC State’s campus, the Black Research Symposium will feature Black diasporic learning, scholarship, and epistemologies via cutting-edge research, storytelling, creative works, discussion circles, community-based projects, and industry initiatives from the NC State campus and surrounding community. The symposium is a three-day event that will take place on March 23 – 25, 2023.

When envisioning a Black Research Symposium, we ask these central questions- What is required to create a Black futurity where Black people are thriving? What do we need to sustain our communities? What critical theory and frameworks must we engage in order to address social problems across the Black Diaspora? What type of political economics, systems, and institutions need to be abolished and dismantled? How do we build a future that is sovereign, just, and sustainable?

Invited are students, scholars, faculty, social justice activists, artists, creators, storytellers, entrepreneurs and community members. We encourage all to attend and submit proposals. Interdisciplinary and multimodal research, community-based projects and cultural work are encouraged in a variety of formats, which include but are not limited to, presentations, digital posters, workshops, panels, teach-ins, community discussions, photo essays, music demos, cyphers, art displays, multimedia presentations, performance, embodied movement, and more.

Join us as we engage in the practice of Sankofa, to promote futuristic thinking, to embody the principle of Ubuntu, to foster Harambee, and to assert rest as a revolution!

In the News

The Black Research Symposium explores storytelling across the African diaspora

Keynote Speakers

Join us for the keynote address for Black Research Symposium featuring Stephanie R. Toliver, PhD (University of Colorado Boulder) and Kamal Bell (Founder of Sankofa Farms). Stephanie Kamal will engage in a collaborative talk on Afrofuturism, worldbuilding, and sustainability. You won’t want to miss this highlight of the conference.

Guiding Principles

The symposium will embrace and reflect following guiding principles. Please download the Grounding Document to learn more about the symposium.

  • Practice Sankofa – learning from the past to build a future.
  • Be Futuristic – building on theories of afrofuturism (Womack, 2013), African futurism (Okorafor, 2019; Wabuke, 2020), and astro-Blackness (Anderson & Jones, 2016), these theories imagine a future where Black people do indeed exist, free from white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, extreme capitalism, and the violence of imperial wars. The “work of the imagination” as Robin D. G. Kelley frames it, offers us tools to craft “new visions” in a radical act of worldbuilding (Kelley, 2022).
  • Embody Ubuntu – build with and alongside community; increase capacity; honor our interconnectedness; build solidarity.
  • Each One Teach One – everyone has knowledge to share; decenter hierarchical power dynamics, center lived experiences and stories; cultivate intergenerational interactions and learning opportunities.
  • Foster Harambee – champion mutually supportive and relational ways of engaging with community, be relevant; offer solutions; share resources; ground theory in practice/praxis
  • Be Sustainable – create structures and systems that are equitable and just; be good stewards of our resources; build systems and institutions that can be replicated.
  • Be Emergent – value transformation, change, creativity, growth, and innovation; center relational ways of being; overstand that the process is just as important as the finished product (“emergent”) (Brown, 2017).
  • Rest as Revolution – nurture holistic practices and spirituality; be whole; be authentic.


“Marginality [is] much more than a site of deprivation. In fact I was saying just the opposite: that it is also the site of radical possibility, a space of resistance.” – bell hooks / Marginality As a Site of Resistance, 1990

 “Because black people have been excluded from the category human, we have a particular epistemic and ontological mobility. Unburdened by investments in belonging to a system created to exclude us in the first place, we develop marvelous modes of being in and perceiving the universe. I am claiming that there is real power to be found in such an untethered state—the power to destabilize the very idea of human supremacy and allow for entirely new ways to relate to each other and to the postapocalyptic ecologies, both organic and inorganic, in which we are enmeshed.”

– Jayna Brown/ Black Utopias: Speculative Life and the Music of Other Worlds (2021)