Afro-futurism is a movement that incorporates elements of black history and culture. The purpose is to reclaim black identity through art, literature, and political resistance. It provides an alternate narrative for understanding Black experiences, often by chronicling stories and futuristic societies. The film Black Panther is an excellent example of the literary and musical movement that explores black identity, culture, and struggles through the lens of science fiction. The film takes place in Wakanda that is believed to be a poor place by the rest of the world but is secretly a vibrant part of Africa that is untouched by European colonization. The film takes steps away from what people typically stereotype Africa to be like and instead displays a society rich in Afrocentric perspectives. The film presents cultural aspects of ancient African traditions with the potential of the future where black people can restore their heritage.

Afrofuturism allows people of color to write the story from their point of view without having to be influenced by what the era we live in defines how we are. It allows for not a single story through people that haven’t experienced it, but for people to make their own story. Osborne Macharia is a Kenyan commercial photographer and digital artist that focuses his work on Afrofuturism in culture, identity, and fictional narratives. He is responsible for the artwork for the Black Panther movie. He has been named “The master at creating alternate black universes” because of all the incredible work he does on so many different projects. He bases his work on telling a different narrative about the continent than what people usually assume. His work focuses on embracing the history and present culture in futuristic works we wouldn’t often see. His work removes the negative outlook that people generally display about the continent and instead places positivity that will help people connect with other people of color to see people like them prosper.


References: Magazine, Contexts. “Afrofuturism and Black Panther.” Contexts,

HouseGardenSA. “A Master at Creating Alternate Black Universes.” Condé Nast House & Garden, Condé Nast House & Garden – South Africa’s Finest Decor Magazine, 4 July 2019,



Black Panther Origins

Before watching Black Panther, it is interesting to know its origins as a comic. With the rise of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Marvel was under scrutiny of not having any black superheroes. African Americans wanted a superhero they could relate to. In an interview with The Comics Journal, co-creator Jack Kirby stated, “I had a lot of black readers. My first friend was a black! And here I was ignoring them because I was associating with everybody else” (Groth,1). Marvel recognized they needed to correct their faults. Thus, the Black Panther was created. 

It is most interesting to note when the Black Panther was created America was undergoing an extreme civil rights movement and racism was a part of everyday society. Creating an African superhero was extremely risky for Marvel. They could have possibly angered thousands of their readers. However, they did what was right and moved forward with the creation of the character.  Black Panther was created in 1966 and was featured in Marvel’s Fantastic 4 comic. The superhero was created by comic icons Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This would be Marvel’s first superhero of African descent. In 1968 Black Panther joined the ranks of the Avengers, Marvel’s elite class of superheros. 

The Black Panther name was shared by a political party designed to challenge police brutality on African American people. Although the comic superhero was created before this party, people questioned if the character had any associations with them. Comic legend Stan Lee denied any correlation with the group. However, to further address this issue, Marvel changed the name of the superhero to the Black Leopard. This was short lived and in 1973 the character was named once again the Black Panther. The Black Panther comic has been created off and on ever since its creation and new Black Panther comics are still coming out today. 

Work Cited

Groth, Gary. “Jack Kirby Interview.” The Comics Journal,

Sanderson, Peter, and David Roach. “Black Panther.” Encyclopædia   Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 26 Apr. 2018,

Thomas, Roy (August 2011). “Stan Lee’s Amazing Marvel Interview!”.    Alter Ego. TwoMorrows Publishing (104): 38–39.

The Costumes of Black Panther

The Marvel film Black Panther has been widely celebrated since its release in 2018. One well-loved aspect of the movie has been its imagery, particularly the costumes! Oscar nominated Ruth E. Carter has spent over 30 years of her career as a costume designer for African American movies, including Do The Right Thing and Selma. Her work designing the costumes for Black Panther has been the subject of many interviews and articles due to its incredible detail and backstory! Because the storyline for the movie was so secretive, Carter didn’t even have the fully story before she began the 6 moth long pre-production journey of designing the costumes. She decided to take certain aspects of regions of the fictional African nation of Wakanda as inspiration to draw from cultures of actually existing African regions and countries for the costumes. She sent her team on a mission to find and source jewelry, clothes, and accessories from different parts of Africa to use as inspiration for her work. Most of the costume elements, down to even her use of color, was inspired by what they found! The deep and vibrant reds of the costumes for the Dora Milaje, the elite women warriors, were inspired be Maasai warriors, and the beading of their costumes was inspired by the Turkana and Maasia. Their leather harnesses were crafted in South Africa. While the costume for the Black Panther was mostly done by Marvel, as they design all superhero costumes, Carter added the raised, triangular silver motif, which she refers to as “the sacred geometry of Africa.” The wrap W’Kabi wears drew from Lesotho blankets. Queen Ramonda’s crown was based on hats that Zulu women wear. Carter’s inspiration was based in indigenous African culture, but she also wanted the costumes to have a futuristic feel to them. Thus she also drew on the field of Afro-Futurism in her designing! All together, Carter’s work came together to create an incredibly detailed, thorough, and beautiful set of costumes for Black Panther that brings her life work portraying Black history and culture through costume into the future.



Alleyne, Allyssia. “How ‘Black Panther’ Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter Wove an Afrofuturist Fantasy.” CNN, Cable News Network, 21 Feb. 2019,

“Looking Marvel-Ous: Designing Costumes for ‘Black Panther’.” Public Radio International, 2AD,

Ryzik, Melena. “The Afrofuturistic Designs of ‘Black Panther’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Feb. 2018,

Social Impact of Black Panther

'Black Panther'

Movies are a passion of mine and they have been around for well over a century now. From Gone With the Wind to The Godfather and other movies like Star Wars; these classic films have changed the film-making industry and the world entirely. Then on February 16, 2018, the world witnessed another monumental success in this beautiful culturally colorful movie: Black Panther. With the movie grossing well over $1 billion worldwide, it has been seen as more than just a typical action-packed Marvel movie to most. Tre Johnson, a writer with Vox explains the importance of the movie when he states, “With an all-star collection of the majority-black talent both in front of and behind the camera, Black Panther, under the direction of Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale StationCreed), is about more than the latest superhero’s journey; it’s also about black culture’s journey, and it points toward a future where it could be the culture.”(Johnson, 2018) Johnson writes about how the Black Panther’s character, story, and culture has exponentially influenced the black community here in America. Not only has the film’s massive success been recognized by moviegoers, but the Academy Awards as well. The movie’s costume designer Ruth E. Carter became the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Costume Design. Also, Hannah Beachler was the first African American to win an Oscar in the category for Best Production Design. This film has not only changed the way movies are being made, but who makes them and what they stand for. I believe this movie was not only a continuation into the Marvel universe but a statement to all those who are viewing it. The social and cultural impact that the Black Panther has made are continuing to shape the hearts and futures of the next African American generation.



Johnson, Tre. “Black Panther Is a Gorgeous, Groundbreaking Celebration of Black Culture.” Vox, Vox, 23 Feb. 2018,

History of Lahore, Pakistan

Lahore is second largest city in Pakistan and is the capital of the Punjab province. It is a relatively rich, progressive, and cosmopolitan cities in Pakistan. Many different emperors came through the city of Lahore bringing with them the culture and people of their home towns. Surely Lahore is a favorable city to have been utilized by so many different types of people. During the 16th and 18th centuries, Lahore reached it height and glory under the Mughal empire After ward the Sikh empire came to house the city and finally the British had power over the land before independence was reached. Independence came in the for of the Pakistan Movement which called for the declaration of independence and the establishment of Pakistan. In 1941 the city was 64.5% Muslim and 35% Hindu and Sikh. Tensions over the boundary lines during the partition period, after British rule, were high as citizens argued over how much the Muslim majority should give power to some people and take power from others. This was a very violent period for the city of Lahore and there were riots, destroyed homes and fires that destroyed buildings and hurt people. This caused many of the Hindu and Sikh citizens to vacate the area for their safety and for refuge. Pakistan’s independence was declared on August 14, 1947 and Lahore was declared the capital until, after the riots, an unstable population and decrease in manufacturing created an economic decline. The new capital was made Karachi which was more prosperous. Until 1970, Lahore was in a reconstructive phase recovering from the riots and rebuilding the city. With a population decline, jobs were left unfilled and this partly kept the manufacturing production levels down. In 2009, there was an attack on the Sri Lanka national cricket team in Lahore committed by a militant organization. That is the biggest and most recent event in Lahore.

Market Fundamentalism

Market fundamentalism (also known as free market fundamentalism) is a term applied to strong belief in the ability of regulated laissez-faire or free-market capitalist policies to solve most economic and social problems. The single word “Fundamentalism” means a religious movement characterized by a strict belief in the literal interpretation of religious texts, especially within American Protestantism and Islam, and it is originated from the American Protestant fundamentalism movement which arose in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in reaction to modernism, while the term “Market Fundamentalism” was coined by Nobel Prize winner and former chief economist of the World Bank itself –Joseph Stiglitz.

Critics of such policies have used the term to denote what they perceive as an unfounded misguided belief, or deliberate deception, that free markets provide the greatest possible equity and prosperity, and that any interference with the market process decreases social well-being. Users of the term include adherents of interventionist, mixed economy and protectionist positions, capitalists, as well as economists. Critics cite as fundamentalist the unshakable belief, even against the evidence, that unfettered markets maximize individual freedom, that they are the only means to economic growth and that society should adhere to their specific ideas of progress means. Stiglitz (2015) stated in an recent interview “The theories that I (and others) helped develop explained why unfettered markets often not only do not lead to social justice, but do not even produce efficient outcomes. Interestingly, there has been no intellectual challenge to the refutation of Adam Smith’s invisible hand: individuals and firms, in the pursuit of their self-interest, are not necessarily, or in general, led as if by an invisible hand, to economic efficiency.”

The myths of Market Fundamentalism include:

  1. The market is the only source of innovation and it must be left alone if we want to accelerate technological change.
  2. Government will always spend money less productively than private citizens; this is why tax cuts are almost always a good idea.
  3. Regulation of business is wasteful, unproductive and usually unnecessary.
  4. Financial markets thrive when regulation is kept to a minimum.
  5. Private firms will always produce a good or a service more efficiently than the government.
  6. It is wrong to regulate wages or executive compensation because markets always get prices right.
  7. Government assistance always ends up hurting the people it is supposed to help.

Market Fundamentalism has dominated public policy debates in the United States since the 1980’s, when financial markets started to become globalized and the US started to run a current account deficit, serving to justify huge Federal tax cuts, dramatic reductions in government regulatory activity, and continued efforts to downsize the government’s civilian programs. While Republicans and conservatives have embraced Market Fundamentalist ideas, many Democrats and liberals have also accepted much of this mistaken belief system.

During the 1990s, Williamson’s original conception of the ‘Washington consensus’ became distorted as it was popularized, and evolved ‘to signify a set of ‘neoliberal’ policy prescriptions’. The Washington consensus quickly became associated with market fundamentalism. In Stiglitz’s view, all versions of the Washington consensus, but especially the neo-liberal or market fundamentalist interpretation, are fundamentally flawed. Their policy prescriptions, concept of development and agenda for government all embrace far too narrow a perspective. With respect to the modern role of government Stiglitz argues that the “ideological debates should be over; there should be agreement that while markets are at the center of the economy, governments must play an important role. The issue is one of balance, and where that balance is may depend on the country, the capacity of its government, the institutional development of its markets. In other words, development advice should be adapted to the circumstances of the country” (Stiglitz, 1998). Further, Dani Rodrik has argued that “The idea of a mixed economy is possibly the most valuable heritage that the twentieth century bequeaths to the twenty-first in the realm of economic policy”, and that “successful development requires markets underpinned by solid public institutions” (Rodrik, 2000).


Stiglitz, J.E. (1998), “Towards a new paradigm for development: Strategies, policies, and processes”. The Prebisch Lecture at UNCTAD, October. n.d. Market Fundamentalism — Longview Institute.

Stiglitz, Joseph E. The pact with the devil. Beppe Grillo’s Friends interview”. Beppe Grillo’s Blog. Jan. 24, 2015.

Stiglitz, J.E. (1998), “Towards a new paradigm for development: Strategies, policies, and processes”. The Prebisch Lecture at UNCTAD, October.




Poverty Porn

Poverty Porn by definition is “any type of media, be it written, photographed or filmed, which exploits the poor’s condition in order to generate the necessary sympathy for selling newspapers or increasing charitable donations or support for a given cause”, and it is something that we all at one point in our lives have witnessed or seen with our own eyes, whether we realize it or not. This used to be showcased with photos of frail looking individuals sitting by their bare-boned homes, today we see it in TV commercials and even more prevalent on social media. The day and age has changed, but the content of what poverty porn is has remained the same. The creation or commercialization of Poverty Porn has many different goals but the main outcome that is hoped to achieve is to generate sympathy for their own good. Much of the time people who organize poverty porn Ads or campaigns want to use these images to raise money and gain momentum for their campaign and their fight.

Poverty Porn has benefits for the people that are trying to exploit the usage of it, but all in all it’s very harmful. It’s harmful to the individuals that are in these photos and in these videos. Poverty Porn is an absolute invasion of privacy. In these photos we see people who are struggling, they are struggling most of the time in the place they call home. At home is where we should most feel safe and most feel that sense of privacy, these images do not allow for that or provide that. When I see these images on TV or on social media I sometimes think about what I would do if it were me in their position and I can’t help but feel I’d feel a sense of embarrassment. And that’s not their fault, those who are using these images to exploit feelings of sympathy for their own selfish use are at fault. Some may make the argument that the people running these ads and making these commercials genuinely want to help, and they make make the argument that they’re not trying to exploit these struggling people. But if they truly are, I’d say they’re going about it the complete wrong way. There are people all over the world that truly do need help, and they can be helped. I don’t think they need their faces plastered all over the internet and television networks to accomplish that. I don’t believe they want or need our sympathy, they need our help.

The Problems with Poverty Porn

I’m sure we’ve all seen commercials on TV or adds on social media that depict thin, emaciated kids, a row of small, run-down houses, or homeless people begging on the streets. This is known as poverty porn. Poverty porn is defined as “any type of media, be it written, photographed or filmed, which exploits the poor’s condition in order to generate the necessary sympathy for selling newspapers or increasing charitable donations or support for a given cause”. Poverty porn was introduced in the 1980s when charity campaigns became popular. Organizers of these campaigns found the most heart wrenching photos and videos to show to the audiences to generate sympathy and increase donations. While poverty porn has been successful in helping to raise more money for people who are in need, it also has its faults. Many people argue that poverty porn is inappropriate in many ways.

First of all, it can be seen as an invasion of privacy. No, American people who see poverty porn will probably never cross paths with the people in the photos, however that’s not the point. If any of us were in that position, we wouldn’t want our face to be broadcast all over the world. It is just simply not right to exploit people because of their circumstances to make money – even if that money is supposed to help them. There are other ways to make money. Second of all, poverty porn creates stereotypes. For example, there is a stereotype of the starving African. For some people, poverty porn is the only exposure to Africa that they have. When this is the case, it can lead someone to believe that everyone in Africa is starving and poverty stricken, and living with false stereotypes like that can cause problems. There are no doubt lots of people in this world that need help, however exploiting them and turning them into puppets that charities play with the create sympathy is probably not the best way to help them.



Origin and Impact of the Indian Caste System

Quick note from Caroline: this is a great big-picture overview of the history of caste in India. I want to point out that the word “Aryan” as used here is not what the Nazis meant. The Nazis borrowed a lot of their language and symbols about race superiority from 19th-century pseudoscience about White northern Europeans moving across Eurasia and founding all the great civilizations. This is nonsense. The origin of the term Aryan in ancient Hindu texts (ca. 1500-500BCE) is uncertain, but in this context, it refers to the people who dominated what is now northern India and Pakistan. Ethnic, cultural, and linguistic differences are also tied to caste in India historically and today…but not Nazis. Now, back to Xixiang’s summary.

The caste system (tied to Hinduism) has a long history and there has long been contentious in the origin of this system. In recent years, the most accepted explanation of the origin is related to the Aryans since many pieces of research support this hypothesis. For example, Dr. Sharma’s team proved that there exists a strong relationship between the status in the caste system and a special chromosome which is the trait of the Aryans (Sharma, et al. 50).

Following the hypothesis related to the Aryans, around 1500 BC, the Aryans arrived at the Indian subcontinent and they conquered the local Indian tribes with their advanced technology (Deshpande, 19). To classify their ruler’s status from those local people, the class division between the conqueror and the conquered has been created. That is the prototype of the caste system. Later, as the interaction between the Aryan conquerors and the indigenous people, the social hierarchy has developed from two to four. The Aryans were divided into three levels internally: the Hindu priestly aristocracy – Brahmins; the military chiefs – Kshatriyas; and the free civilians engaged in various productive labor – Vaishyas. On the other hand, most local people are classified into the lowest level, which is Shudras who need to subordinate to Vaishyas, Kshatriyas, and Brahmins. Besides, some of the local people have been excluded from this system, and they are called Dalits or Untouchables who are in the lowest social status and being most discriminated against (Deshpande, 22). The graph below is a general presentation of the caste system hierarchy.

The Caste System Explained

To secure their status, the Aryans dominator set up several restrictions. The most essential one is that your caste is only determined by your parents. Also, the marriage across the caste is prohibited. Besides, people from low status are prohibited to pursue a high-level career (Mason, 648). For example, if you are born as a Shudras or Dalits, you can only do some dirty physical work since decent jobs are reserved for Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas. Combining those restrictions, we can find that there doesn’t exist any chance for the people from Shudras and Dalits to gain a better life in such social hierarchy.

Nowadays, with the help of the Indian government, the effect of the caste system has already been much less than before. In the rural area, movement out of caste specializing occupations and access to resources is still difficult, but in urban areas, people can pursue their desired job without considering their caste (Deshpande, 31). As time goes by, I believe that the impact of caste would keep decreasing, and Indian society would become more equal.


Work Cited

Deshpande, Manali S. “History of the Indian Caste System and Its Impact on India Today.” DigitalCommons@CalPoly, Dec. 2010,

Joe, and Thomas DeMichele. “The Caste System Explained.” Fact/Myth, 27 Nov. 2018,

Mason Olcott. “The Caste System of India.” American Sociological Review, vol. 9, no. 6, 1944, pp. 648–657. JSTOR, Accessed 16 Mar. 2020.

Sharma, S., Rai, E., Sharma, P. et al. The Indian origin of paternal haplogroup R1a1* substantiates the autochthonous origin of Brahmins and the caste system. J Hum Genet 5447–55 (2009).

History of Partition between India and Pakistan

1947, August 15th, British India was split into two different independent nation states. It consisted of Hindu majority India and Muslim majority Pakistan. The main vehicle for the Partition was the Indian National Congress with the best-known leaders including Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Before the 1940s, it had long argued for a single state with a strong centre. Unfortunately, other organizations supporting minorities felt their plan seemed sketchy. Because of Hindus taking up 80% of the population, people believed it could protect the political dominance. The situation sparked one the biggest migrations in human history. Tons of people and families traveled, and some did not make it. On the India side, societies that had lived there for years were suddenly fighting each other due to the shocking new reality of local violence. It was a mutual massacre that was unique and new. Additionally, there became “massacres, arson, forced conversions, mass abductions, and savage sexual violence. Some seventy-five thousand women were raped, and many of them were then disfigured or dismembered” (Dalrymple 2015). Many British soldiers and journalists who had experience with the Nazi death camps explained that the partition was worse – including “pregnant women had their breasts cut off and babies hacked out of their bellies; infants were found literally roasted on spits” (Dalrymple 2015). However, there was no comparison in these two distinct events.

By 1948, the journey came to a termination. Ayesha Jalal writes that it was a “defining moment that is neither beginning nor end, partition continues to influence how the peoples and states of postcolonial South Asia envisage their past, present and future” (Dalrymple 2015). This shows the suffering of so many people and families who have had to discover ways to understand background due to unforeseen acts by the partition. People are and were strong headed about their beliefs and would fight for that if they felt threatened and by any means necessary. “Many of the people concerned were very deeply attached not just to religious identity, but to territory” (The Conversation 2017). Additionally, both states had difficulty handling the needs and recovering post refugees from what had arisen. By the 1960s families were still migrating. Today, India and Pakistan are still trying to figure solutions out. This was by far one the most devastating times of history for South Asia.


William, Dalrymple. (2015, June 15). The violent legacy of Indian Partition. Retrieved from

Pant, Harsh. M. (2016, September 26). Kashmir flare-up puts India under new pressure to deal with Pakistan. Retrieved from