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Walidah Imarisha explores Octavia E. Butler and the connection between visionary fiction and social justice movements.
Writer and educator Walidah Imarisha will explore the idea of "visionary fiction," fantastical art that aids in imagining and building new just futures. She will do so engaging with the work of Octavia E. Butler, renowned Black feminist science fiction writer and public intellectual. Connecting science fiction to social change, Imarisha will show the necessity of imagination to change the world.
This program is made possible with support from Oregon Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Oregon Cultural Trust.
A historian at heart, reporter by (w)right, rebel by reason, Walidah Imarisha is an educator, writer, public scholar and spoken word artist. She edited two anthologies, Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements and Another World is Possible
. Imarisha's nonfiction book Angels with Dirty Faces: Three Stories of Crime, Prison, and Redemption
won a 2017 Oregon Book Award. She is also the author of the poetry collection Scars/Stars, and in 2015, she received a Tiptree Fellowship for her science fiction writing.
Imarisha has taught in Stanford University's Program of Writing and Rhetoric, Pacific Northwest College of the Art's Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Master in Critical Studies Program, Portland State University's Black Studies Department, and Oregon State University's Women Gender Sexuality Studies Department.
For six years, she presented statewide as a public scholar with Oregon Humanities' Conversation Project on topics such as Oregon Black history, alternatives to incarceration, and the history of hip hop. She was one of the founders and first editor of the political hip hop magazine AWOL.
She has toured the country several times performing, lecturing and challenging, and has shared the stage with folks as different as Angela Davis, Cornel West, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, Kenny Muhammad of the Roots, Chuck D, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Robin D.G. Kelley, Umar bin Hassan from The Last Poets, Boots Riley, Saul Williams, Ani DiFranco, John Irving, dead prez, Rebecca Solnit, and Yuri Kochiyama.