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Black Panther (2018) not only heralded a new future for representation in big-budget films but also gave an alternative vision of the past, one which recasts the Enlightenment within an African context. By going through its technological enlightenment in isolation from Western ideals and dominance, Wakanda opens a space for reflecting on alternate ways progress can—and still might—unfold. More specifically, this alternative history creates room for reimagining how modernity—with its myriad social, scientific, and religious paradigm shifts—could have negotiated questions of race, and, in turn, how race could have informed and redirected some of the lesser impulses of modernity. Similar to genetic critiques, such alternative genealogies are not primarily about history but about the future, providing an almost eschatological vision of how society could be restructured.
Lyonhart, Jonathan D.
"Gender, Race, and Religion in an African Enlightenment,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 26:
1, Article 50.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol26/iss1/50
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