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Alegropolis: Wakanda and black Panther's hall of mirrors

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-135
Number of pages15
JournalCambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Published20 Apr 2020

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Abstract

The climax of the film Black Panther (directed by Ryan Coogler, 2018) shows the two heirs claiming the Black Panther's mantle battling it out in a tunnel that is modernity's dark hull. My article teases out the complex relationship between the film's doubled Black Panthers as a hall of mirrors, where the African American filmmaker and the assembled African and Afro-diasporic cast confront each other, their collective memories of slavery, and the complex relationship of those on the African continent to those memories. What in the structure of cinema might take us out of this hall of mirrors to a futurity beyond trauma? In answer, I offer a reading of Wakanda as “Alegropolis”: a lavish and loving cinematic creation that draws on Afro-Futurist play with temporality and technology to reinscribe this circum-Atlantic history within a planetary frame. An affiliative afro-modernity is generated thereby, which invites a global audience to share the film's ethical and emotional concerns as what Michael Rothberg calls “implicated subjects.”.

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