Sahara: A Thousand Paths Into the Future is devoted to the ideas, images, poetics, politics, fictions, and movements of this vast desert and its myriad voices.
Focused on the cultural productions, lines of political and aesthetic thought, and multiple epistemologies and cosmologies of the Sahara, and the accompanying Sahel, this book understands the region as both an ancient space of connection and circulation—from its northern to southern shores, its dunes and volcanic mountains, to its lusher savannahs—and as a contemporary site of exchange between strikingly singular societies and communities on all sides of the desert, that aspect of the Sahara most often imaged and imagined. If the Sahara is habitually narrated as a space of radical heat and intense light, and of barren-like emptiness, this anthology approaches the region with a decolonial lens that privileges the Saharan communities and nonhuman entities who live within all aspects of its circadian rhythms, including the constructive opacity of the desert night. The violence of enlightenment and its imperialisms have often been practiced under the glare of some narcotic sun—the imaginaries of coloniality still do—yet in the desert, it was the elaborating darkness of its night skies, with their spectral constellations, that often directed caravans on their historical routes. They still do. Thus the thinkers, artists, poets, choreographers, composers, activists, elders, novelists, historians, and translators whose voices and sensibilities score and structure this anthology create a more full-spectrum and polyphonic sense of what the Sahara means, in all its waves and forms. Sahara: A Thousand Paths Into the Future indicates a prismatic space of cultures, ecologies, knowledges, conflicts, languages, lights, and relations. That is, of numerous pasts and possible futures.
Copublished by Culturescapes to accompany "Sahara 2023", a festival running throughout October and November 2023, and part of Sternberg Press' series focusing on world biomes, following the publication Amazonia that linked to 2021 festival.