NIGHT section February 14: Black Studies definitions, founding, and structure

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.


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 required course book–Dr. Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies, 4th edition–if you haven’t done so already. You will need it to do the reading assignments for the rest of the semester.  Details on the books page and it’s also on reserve in Lehman’s library.
  • You might find it helpful to subscribe to new posts for this site: use the e-mail sign-up form on the main page.
  • Please sign up for the class text message service run by Remind(.com) if you haven’t done so yet. Sign up online here or send a text message to 81010 and type the following as the message: @aas166nite

General Announcements:

  • Lehman has emergency grants available to quickly provide money for housing, medical, food, transportation, and other needs. Details at the Student Affairs office.
  • The Lehman Food Bank offers food assistance. Details here.
  • Lehman has a very comprehensive page of students resources including laptop/tablet loans. Details here.

Quick highlights from second class on 2/7

  • Website review
  • Reviewed Dr. Leonard Jeffries Jr’s “The Essence of Black Studies” (handout and also on the Readings page). What’s his view of a Black Studies methodology (i.e. ways to analyze information and do research) and how should it approach the world?
  • Reviewed Dr. John  Henrik Clarke’s essay “Africana Studies: a Decade of Change …”
  • Reviewed
  • Music: Jazzmeia Horn “People Make the World Go Round” (YouTube)

DO THIS for Tuesday February 14:

REVISED reading assignment with student protest sources added!

READ the article “Revolution and CUNY: Remembering the 1969 Fight for Open Admissions” from the GC Advocate newspaper (link)

READ the sections from the  CUNY Digital History Archive (link): Click through all the pages at the site collected by CCNY Librarians

FINISH Chapter 1 in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies (pages 17-27)

  • Skim (read quickly and to gain an overview) pp 1-17 on history and development of the discipline.
  • Focus (read carefully and closely) on the following sections: (pp 17-27) 1.3 (Relevance of the Discipline) and 1.4 (Scope of the Discipline) and sections 2.3-2.7 — the different developmental initiatives.

READ Dr. Marimba Ani’s chapter from Let the Circle Be Unbroken. PDF on the Readings page. Read it slowly and carefully using some of the reading strategies in Dr. Jeffrey Kaplan’s video you watched last week. You’ll have to read it at least twice. (11 pages.)

Try to understand the following key points and be able to answer them:

  • How does the origin of the discipline shape the approach?
  • How does the issue of relevance shape the discipline?
  • What is worldview?
  • What’s the importance of worldview to the discipline of Africana Studies and how does Dr. Ani define African worldview?
  • What is the difference between African and European-based worldview?
  • What’s the significance of complementary pairs in the African worldview?
  • What’s the role of spirit/spirituality in the African worldview?

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

What’s Next?

Chapter 2 in Introduction to Black Studies