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 issue33Guest editorial for themed section Black Panther and Afrofuturism: theoretical discourse and reviewWakanda rising: Black Panther and commodity production in the Disney universe author indexsubject indexarticles search
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On-line version ISSN 2617-3255
Print version ISSN 1021-1497

Abstract

BURGER, Bibi  and  ENGELS, Laura. A nation under our feet: Black Panther, Afrofuturism and the potential of thinking through political structures. IT [online]. 2019, n.33, pp.1-30. ISSN 2617-3255.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2617-3255/2018/n33a2.

In this article, the focus is on Black Panther: a nation under our feet, a comic book series written by American public intellectual Ta-Nehisi Coates. The point of departure is Coates's idea of 'the Mecca', a term he uses in his earlier non-fiction. It refers to a space in which black culture is created in the shadow of collective traumas and memories. We argue that in a nation under our feet the fictional African country of Wakanda functions as a metaphorical Mecca. This version of Wakanda is contextualised in terms of the aesthetics of Afrofuturism and theories on the influence of ideology in comic books. The central focus of the article is how this representation of Wakanda questions the idea of a unified black people and how Wakanda, like the real world Meccas described by Coates, display internal ideological and political struggles among its people. We argue that the various characters in a nation under our feet represent different and conflicting ideological positions. These positions are metaphors for real world political views and in playing out the consequences of these ideologies, Coates explores African and global political structures without didactically providing conclusive answers to complex issues.

Keywords : A nation under our feet; Afrofuturism; Black Panther; comic books; ideology; social criticism; Ta-Nehisi Coates.

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