Jasper Lauderdale

PhD Candidate

Jasper Lauderdale


Title: After the end of the world: Black radical alterity and the decolonizing of space and time in the speculative and the fantastic

Supervisor: Manthia Diawara

My dissertation proposes that the critical and artistic paradigm I call Black radical alterity illuminates and coalesces oppositional, subversive, and utopian aesthetic strategies embedded and deployed in Black speculative art, in particular those works that conceive alternate pasts, presents, and futures. Speculative art, produced throughout the diaspora and across decades, offers potentially limitless possibilities for writing the Black body into existence by circumventing the restrictions of realist representation, thereby countering the shared and systematic denial of history begot by colonial oppression and chattel slavery and allowing for the foundation of new forms of sociocultural consciousness and the maintenance of diasporic communities. I demonstrate that such texts serve not only to produce possible futures, but can also reclaim and retrofit the past and comment radically on the conditions of the present. By drawing together a corpus of works from a wide range of traditions, movements, and forms that center Blackness in fictive accounts and explorations of the fantastic and the otherworldly, I am able to consolidate beneath the banner of Black radical alterity surrealism and science fiction, marvelous realism and horror, in film, television, the novel, and the visual album, pursuing throughout the variously supernatural body (witch, time-traveler, astronaut, alien, android/cyborg, vampire) and focusing especially on the reactive dimension of Black creative expression and the potentially liberatory appropriation of preexisting cultural forms.


Jasper Lauderdale is a doctoral candidate and adjunct assistant professor in cinema studies at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, where he studies race, gender, sexuality, and temporality in radical speculative art, with particular emphasis on reparative hermeneutics, the supernatural body, the surreal, and the liberatory transformation of given materials. He holds an MA in film studies and international relations from the University of St Andrews and an MA and MPhil in cinema studies from Tisch. Jasper trained as a documentary filmmaker and editor at Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky, and his work for such artists as Lydie Diakhaté, Manthia Diawara, Amie Siegel, and David Hammons has appeared at the 56th Venice Biennale, the 23rd New York African Film Festival at Lincoln Center, Dia:Chelsea, and Dak’art 2018. He has published in Synoptique and The Routledge Handbook of Remix Studies and Digital Humanities, with articles forthcoming in Black Camera and Screen Bodies, and has taught courses on film history, feminist media, cinematic bodies, and vampire culture at Brooklyn College, Hunter College, and NYU.