Week of September 13: Black Studies Definition and Origins

Image: NIA (“Purpose” in Swahili), the fifth principle of the Nguzo Saba and Kawaida philosophy.

First, a few housekeeping details:

  • Welcome to those joining the class for the first time this week! Please see the syllabus and be sure to note the course requirements and attendance policy. Also arrange immediately to get the required books so you can keep up [Edit: Dr. Clarke’s Africans at the Crossroads: Notes for an African World Revolution is on order at the college bookstore, but not in stock yet. You can order it online or wait until they get it.] Check last week’s post  for highlights and the readings (as PDF files) that you missed.
  • Please sign up for the class text message service run by Remind if you haven’t done so yet. Send a text to 81010 with the message “@introaas” to sign up. (Don’t include the quotation marks around the @introaas). If that doesn’t work, send a text with the message “@introaas”(again, no quotation marks around the @introaas) to (608)-467-4328. This gives me a simple way to contact the entire class for important updates or emergencies.
  • If you do not have a cell phone capable of text messages, sign up for email notifications at: rmd.at/introaas
  • Note that this class doesn’t use Blackboard. Check the course website every week for updates and detailed reading instructions.

For Wednesday 9/13:

  • Review key points in Dr. Karanja Carroll’s essay from last week. (PDF on the Readings page.) Focus on the following sections:
    • Worldview and Methodology, specifically pp. 8-9 understand the definitions and the difference between European and African worldview and how this affects methodology.
    • Axiology, epistemology, and logic: (pp. 10-13) look for definitions and how Africana Studies approaches each one
    • Cosmology, ontology, teleology, and ideology: (pp. 14-18) look for definitions and how Africana Studies approaches each one
    • It will be helpful to write out brief definitions of the key terms in your notes as you read
  • Read Chapters 1 and 2 in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies (pages 1-60).
    • Skim (read quickly and to gain an overview) the sections on history and development of the discipline.
    • Focus on the following sections: 1.3 (Relevance of the Discipline) and 1.4 (Scope of the Discipline) and sections 2.3-2.7 — the different developmental initiatives. This book is on reserve at Lehman’s library if yours doesn’t arrive in time.
  • Start with the Key Terms and Study Questions at the end of each chapter to guide your reading.
  • Buy a copy of the Amsterdam News newspaper, published weekly on Thursdays and bring the paper with you to class. Read one (news, not entertainment) story and be ready to discuss it in class.

Quick highlights from second class:

  • Review of the readings from Karanja Carroll and Dr. John Henrik Clarke (see last week’s post)
  • Viewing of first half of the John Henrik Clarke documentary film A Great and Mighty Walk. We’ll finish it next week and you can watch on your own if you want. Embedded below via YouTube: