January 13, 2021

The 32nd annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities, or ZORA!®Festival, runs now through January 31. The festival celebrates Zora Neale Hurston, beloved author and anthropologist from Eatonville. The UCF College of Arts and Humanities is a long-standing partner and is hosting events in conjunction with the festival.

This year’s theme of “Afrofuturism: What is its Sound?” will feature a two-day conference from UCF, as well as supplementary Afrofuturism course material from Associate Professor of History and Director of Public History Scot French. Events will be offered with limited in-person attendance and virtually.

UCF events and content include:

Afrofuturism Conference: “Afrofuturism: What is its Sound?”

Afrofuturism explores the intersection of African diaspora culture with technology. Last year, the ZORA! conference focused on defining it. This year, the conference will explore the music and oral traditions that define “the sound” of Afrofuturism. Four speakers will offer keynote presentations and lead a panel discussion investigating Afrofuturism in music, performance and Black Sound Studies. This two-day conference, sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities and the UCF Center for Humanities and Digital Research, will feature a limited in-person event at the downtown campus and a live stream of speakers in a Zoom webinar format. Advance registration is requested by Monday, January 25. To view the full conference program, click here.

Afrofuturism Syllabus

French is providing a free, instructor-led Afrofuturism Syllabus to the public. The syllabus features podcast interviews, webinars and other festival-generated educational resources to guide understanding of Afrofuturism and the Hurston legacy. Afrofuturism Conference attendees are encouraged to explore the syllabus before attending the conference.

UCF Class: Afrofuturism and the Hurston Legacy

In addition to providing ZORA!®Festival content, French is teaching a one-credit class, “Afrofuturism and the Hurston Legacy,” this semester. From January 11 through May 4, enrolled students will learn about Afrofuturism and how it is connected to the Hurston legacy.

The college’s involvement in the festival since its inception highlights the role of UCF in the Central Florida community. “For our organization, the approval by UCF for this course is very important,” says N.Y. Nathiri, executive director of the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community Inc., the festival organizer. “The university course further validates the quality of the intellectual content we strive to offer our guests.”

For a full calendar of events and to get involved, visit zorafestival.org.