NIGHT section Week 5: Black History/ African Background


IMPORTANT SCHEDULE NOTE: No class next Monday (9/26) for Rosh Hashanah but we meet on Thursday (9/29) instead, which is a Monday schedule in CUNY!

Now back to your regularly scheduled course updates …

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 a copy of the two required course book if you haven’t done so already. You will need it to do the reading assignments for the rest of the semester.  If ordering online, you should order it now so it’ll arrive in time. Details on the books page.

Quick highlights from week 4 class on 9/19

  • Musical selection: Gregory Porter’s “1960 What?” (YouTube)
  • Reviewed Chapters 1 and 2 from Introduction to Black Studies
  • See the Lecture Notes page for a PDF of the slide deck presented in class
  • See the video of Temple University’s Molefe Asante defining Afrocentricity on YouTube

What to do for Week 5–THURSDAY September 29:

READ Chapter 3 (“Black History: African Background”) in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies (pages 65-102).

  • 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 in this chapter to the points in section 2.6 (“Classical African Studies”) to the sections from Chapter 2 and Dr. Karenga’s reasons for the importance of Egypt and Nile Valley civilization on pp. 56-57
  • Focus on Critical Thinking questions 2,3 and 5. You don’t have to write out extensive answers, but take brief notes on each. 

General reading strategies:

  • Underline/highlight key points in the text
  • Use the reading questions at the back of chapters to focus you: read those first
  • Try to understand the definitions of the key concepts listed at the back of the chapter
  • Make a note to ask the instructor to clarify anything you don’t understand
  • Note key issues, approaches, and dilemmas/challenges Dr. Karenga outlines

Key points:

  • Understand why African civilizations are foundational to the human and African experience in the world
  • Understand the major contributions of Nile Valley Civilization and following groups/areas
  • Understand the contributions to Europe (and European thought) of the Moors
  • Understand the decline of African societies and European conquest

What’s Next?

Chapter 4 in Introduction to Black Studies: “Black History: Africans in America”