Weeks of September 19/26: Black History/ African Background

Image: the sankofa bird, an Adinkra symbol translating into “return and fetch it”, meaning reaching back to the past for wisdom needed to go forward into the future.

There are no classes on Wednesday 9/19 for the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday so we don’t meet. (See the full class schedule –PDF!) We meet again on Wednesday 9/26. From now on we’ll be meting as scheduled except for the day before Thanksgiving.

First, a few housekeeping details:

  • Remember that this class doesn’t use Blackboard. Check the course website every week for updates and detailed reading instructions which will appear on this page
  • Get copies of the two required course books if you haven’t done so already. You will need them to do the reading assignments for 9/26 and the rest of the semester. The main textbook is on reserve at Lehman’s library. Dr. Clarke’s book is not. If ordering online, you should order them now so they’ll arrive in time. Details on the books page.
  • 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” to (608)-467-4328. This gives me a simple way to contact the entire class for important updates or emergencies.

For Wednesday 12/26:

  • Re-read section 2.6 (“Classical African Studies”). Focus on pp. 54-57, particularly the section on Cheikh Anta Diop.
    • Know why Diop is a significant figure and his intellectual contributions.
    • Also be able to explain Karenga’s reasons for the importance of Egypt and Nile Valley civilization on pp. 56-57
  • New reading: Chapter 3 (Black History/ African Background) in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies (pages 65-101).
    • As usual, start with the Key Terms and Study Questions at the end of the chapter to guide your reading. Focus on the following: the concepts of Maat, sankofa, and Sebait. And the following people: Imhotep and Ptah-hotep.
    • Read the sections “The Legacy of Egypt” and “The Decline of African Societies” slowly and carefully and take good notes. Connect points from these sections to the sections from Chapter 2 listed above
    • Focus on Critical Thinking questions 2,3 and 5. You don’t have to write out extensive answers, but take brief notes on each. 
  • You only need to bring the Introduction to Black Studies textbook to class; you do not need Dr. Clarke’s Africans at the Crossroads book

Quick highlights from previous class:

  • Covered Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s Africana Studies: A Decade of Change, Challenge, and Conflict” (PDF on the Readings page)
    • Dr. Clarke’s preference for “Africana” vs. “Black” Why?
    • What should Black scholars do?
    • What’s the contradiction/ dilemma of the Black writer?
    • Dr. Clarke presents a quick overview of some foundational people in Africana Studies in the second half of the reading: WEB Du Bois and Carter G. Woodson.
  • Covered chapters 1-2 in Introduction to Black Studies: see my lecture notes for highlights
  • Did not get to the Dr. Clarke documentary A Great and Mighty Walk. Hopefully next class, but it’s embedded below for the curious.

Musical interlude after the return from break, courtesy of Soul Brother #1, James Brown: