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Dr. Renzo Baas

Photo Academy_R.Baas Dr. Renzo Baas
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Short Bio

Renzo Baas was a wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum from 03.2020 until 08.02022. He received his PhD at the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies in 2017 and was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal from 2018-2020.

He has published articles on memorial cultures, Afrofuturism, and post/-colonialism. His focus is the intersection of spatial theory and speculative narratives and has taught courses ranging from Moby Dick and Shakespeare to Black Panther and Afrofuturism. Although literature is his field of inquiry, he is also interested in film, art, as well as popular and memorial cultures.

Currently, he is working on his second monograph, tentatively called Speculative Spatialities


Selected Publications


  • R. Baas. Fictioning Namibia as a Space of Desire. Basel: Basler Afrika Bibliographien (BAB). 2019.


  • R. Baas. “The Rider and the Coffee Maker. Sites and Practices of Remembrance in Contemporary Namibia.” In: Journal of African Cultural Studies, vol. 34 no.1. 2022: 48-67. 
  • Baas, Renzo. “Travel Beyond Stars: Trauma and Future in Mojisola Adebayo’s STARS.” In: Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, vol. 9, no. 1. 2021: 95-113.
  • R. Baas. “Fictional Dreams and Harsh Realities. Linking Joseph Diescho’s Born of the Sun, Kaleni Hiyalwa’s Meekulu’s Children, and Neshani Andreas’ The Purple Violet of Oshaanti to the Current Namibian State.” In: Matatu Journal for African Culture and Society. vol. 50 no.2. 2018: 407-429.

Book Chapter:

  • R. Baas. “Surrounded by Ghosts: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Amos Tutuola and the Persistence of the Ghostly.” In: Fink, Katharina, Marie-Anne Kohl and Nadine Siegert (eds.). Ghosts, spectres, revenants: Hauntology as a means to think and feel future. Bayreuth and Johannesburg: iwalewabooks. 2020: 189-199.
Photo Academy_R.Baas

Project Description

The proposed research and publication project Speculative Spatiality is situated in the recent scholarship on African and Afrodiasporic speculative and science fiction which emerged in the context of an increase in anti-Black violence worldwide. This research project thus aims to locate these speculative narratives as forms of resistance and interventions into the current climate of anti-Blackness, following Samuel R. Delany’s understanding of the function of science fiction as being about intervening in the present. Africanist speculative narratives and aesthetics have been part of academic interest since the beginning of the early 1990s, especially in the context of the very diverse and multiple forms of expression (literature, art, music) often discussed under the umbrella term Afrofuturism. While the majority of Afrofuturist and African SF scholarship to date has primarily focussed on the question of time, this research project explores how space and spatiality feature in these speculative forms of worlding which the proposed workshop aims to address on at least three levels. Firstly, it brings Africanist speculative fiction from Africa, Europe and the US into conversation and explores how certain ideas, politics and aesthetics circulate between the three continents and where they differ. The basis for this conversation centres around the narratives’ negotiation of Black and minority inclusive future spaces, the role of language and technology in these spaces, and to what extent different traditions of thoughts are being mobilized (from pan- Africanism to magic realism). Secondly, the workshop explores the different spatialities that emerge in the speculative practices and narratives and how they relate to and reflect back on so-called real spaces.

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