Molefi Kete Asante
A Critical Afrocentric Reader
Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- Advance praise for Molefi Kete Asante
- This eBook can be cited
- Table of Contents
- Chapter One: History
- Editor’s Notes
- Ideological Significance of Afrocentricity in Intercultural Communication (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- “Litany of Horror: A Survey of Newspaper-Reported Lynchings” (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- Are You Scared of Your Shadow?: A Critique of Sidney Lemelle’s “The Politics of Cultural Existence” (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- African Renaissance Conferences of the 21st Century: Dakar and Salvador in Perspective (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- “Systematic Nationalism: A Legitimate Strategy for National Selfhood” (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- The Afrocentric Idea in Education (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- Africology: Naming an Intellectual Enterprise in our Field (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- Chapter Two: Mythology
- Editor’s Notes
- Harold Cruse and Afrocentric Theory (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- A Discourse on Black Studies: Liberating the Study of African People in the Western Academy (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- Barack Obama and the Dilemma of Power: An Africological Observation (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- Chapter Three: Motif
- Editor’s Notes
- Africology and the Puzzle of Nomenclature (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- Controversy Multiculturalism: An Exchange (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- Communication, Urban Culture, and The Twentieth Century (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- Chapter Four: Ethos
- Editor’s Notes
- Intellectual Dislocation: Applying Analytic Afrocentricity to Narratives of Identity (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- The Rhetoric of Globalization: The Europeanization of Human Ideas (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- The Rhetorical Condition as Symbolic Structure in Discourse (Molefi Kete Asante / Deborah F. Atwater)
- Communicating Africa: Enabling Centricity for Intercultural Engagement (Asante, Molefi Kete)
- Chapter Five: Reflection Essays
- On Molefi Kete Asante and Africana World History (Dr. Troy Allen)
- The Voice of Invocation: On Molefi Asante and Afrocentricity (Dr. Reiland Rabaka)
- On Molefi Kete Asante and Africana Literacy History (Dr. Christel N. Temple)
- Series Index
Communication is a simple, yet obscured term of explanation. Expressed in a cultural context, ones' appreciation of others exhibits their respect for: continuity, peace, and reflection. Plainly put, to say thank you extends common sense, good manners, and human decency. As academicians, we often times lose ability to see our base foundations of being social beings. Committed to the study of Africana phenomena, this reader contributes to the body of literature in Black Studies by organizing and locating the writings of Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, in four categorical areas of culture—history, mythology, ethos, and motif. Situated in either discourse or congruence, the subject has made impact on the study of Africana people from a global Pan Africanist perspective.
To present disclosures, I am a member of the Temple University Circle of African American Studies. Many prolific scholars and gifted graduate students have walked the corridors of Gladfelter Hall. Memories are reflexive of graduate students having debates and ciphers, regarding the state of Africana America. Nonetheless, this facility provided and offered sanctuary for the sacred study of Africana phenomena from an Afrocentric perspective. Leading onward, these colloquial circles arranged a: base, context, and ecology for me to locate consciousness in place, space, and time. Directly, my family is always the base to begin creative, critical, and common-sense thought of analysis. As one matures, the context of stillness and silence is appreciated. Referencing myself as an adult-orphan, refers to meditating and reflecting on the life lessons and wisdom shared by my parents. ← ix | x →
As in the case of any individual merit, there exists a shadow cabinet of family, friends, and detractors who provide an impetus for us to grind and unpack the merit of tenacity to extend ourselves. Jacqueline (Jack) I. Pierce-Conyers, is a spiritual core for our family concerning reclamation. Furthermore, my sons, Chad A. Hawkins, Sekou Conyers, and Kamau Conyers, are muse’ which stretch my common sense and spiritual uplift. Likewise Kimberly Gay, is my companion, girlfriend, Bestee, and prolific reference librarian.
Other family members and colleagues, who have provided support continuously are: James Qawi Jamison, Anthony Robinson, Zane Corbin, Joe Taylor, and James Bullock. Faculty mentors to whom I am forever grateful is: Drs. James B. Stewart, Molefi Kete Asante, James Turner, Delores Aldridge, Maulana Karenga, and Linda James Myers. Colleagues who have supportive and we continue to be sounding boards for each other are: Drs. Christel Temple, Shawn Donaldson, Reiland Rabaka, Scott Brown, Malachi Crawford, Marcia Walker McWilliams, Vincent Willis, Drew Brown, Brittany Slatton, Gerald Horne, Lawrence Hogue, Shayne Lee, Bruce Jones, Janis Hutchinson, Abul Pitre, Kenyatta Cavil, Billy Hawkins, Demetrius Pearson, Angela Branch-Vital, Akilah Carter-Francique, and Antonio Tillis. Equally important, the African American Studies Program staff at the University of Houston consisting of Tanja Simmons, Dormese Senegal, and Angela Williams Phillips are great team members and provide support to coordinate the navigation of unit forward.
In closing, there are several other personnel, who I have not named, but are imperative to my continued learning and continue to support my ideas and collective spiritual vocation.
Conceptually, the formation of this Asante Reader is a reflexive analysis of my space in the academy of higher education over the past three decades. As an historical assessment this Asante Reader is an epic which offers a constructive perspective of the subject. Truly, the sheer mentioning of the word, Afrocentricity, draws reaction, fear, and response from either uninformed or conventional personnel. Hitherto on the cutting edge of this philosophical movement, Dr. Molefi Kete Asante is recognized as the Jelle and leading academician in higher education to import this interchange. Since publishing the first edition of Afrocentricity: the Theory of Social Change in 1983, he remains stable in publishing, lecturing, and teaching on Africana agency.
The outliers of this Asante Reader are to coordinate selected writings of Asante, in drawing the intersection of this body of knowledge to advancement of Africana Studies, and the positioning of Africana phenomena in world history. Awkwardly phrased, this movement of the Afrocentric perspective has made an impact on the continual Eurocentric hegemonic perspective. Consequently, this phenomena of colonization plagues our social perception and enables domination of social dysfunctionalism as normative. On the other hand, Africana agency has requisitioned a base of humanism which is expressive in the Afrocentric perspective. In the revised and enlarged version of Afrocentricity published in 2003, Asante poised a reflective moment by writing: ← xi | xii →
More than twenty years have passed since I wrote the theory of Afrocentricity. What has transpired in the intervening years has been a major response to the concept of Afrocentricity. Indeed, the book Afrocentricity: The Theory of Social Change, reflected the best ideas of African agency of that period. What I contended at that time was that the book offered a philosophical inquiry into the future of the Afrocentric perspective. I also proposed the idea of Njia, the Way, the ideology of victorious thought, from ideas taken from the ordinary lives of African people. (Asante 2003, 1)
In an historical perspective, Asante who was a student activist during the 1960s in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee used an unfamiliar modus of protest and consciousness. As a graduate student at UCLA and the founding Director of the Afro-American Studies Center, he used his scholarship as an instrument to track the historical precedent of Africana struggle and advancement. Captured in a period of protest, the consciousness of oppressed and segregated communities in the United States began to query the conventional wisdom of authoritarian personalities. Indeed, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and SNCC were alliances which organized and provided impact by addressing the issues of disparate treatment of African Americans and working class communities. This takes us to what Nathan Hare refers to as the communiversity—bringing the campus to the community and in reverse, bringing the community to the campus. Diane Turner in an oral history narrative writes about Asante, saying:
Asante is not only a major contemporary scholar but also a prolific writer of 52 Books and 250 journal articles (see the appendix for a selected bibliography). In 1980, Asante wrote his landmark book Afrocentricity: The Theory of Social Change. Other pivotal works by Asante are The Afrocentric Idea as well as Kemet, Afrocentricity and Knowledge and, more recently, The Egyptian Philosophers: From Imhotep to Akhenaten and Scream of Blood: Desettlerism in South Africa. His debut novel, Scattered to the Wind, is published by Sungai Books of Princeton, New Jersey. As the founder, principal theorist, and authority of Afrocentrism, Asante is 1 of the 10 most widely quoted African American scholars, whose work on African culture and philosophy is cited in the Journal of Communication, the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and many other journals. Asante is also a prominent figure in the movement to rewrite curricula in public schools. His book African American History is the only high school textbook that provides students a view of history from an African-centered perspective by an African American scholar. His consultancies for education have included more than a dozen urban districts. (Turner 2002, 712–13)
Additionally, using the academy as the empire for the first line of protest, Asante positioned himself in the disciplines of Communications and Africana Studies, where he offered an alternative interpretive analysis of the African worldview. Etymologically, he coined the term Afrocentricity, which gave direct and indirect reference to people of African descent having agency and sovereignty to explain, enumerate, and expound on their experiences from their own human point of view. He narrates his theoretical ideas by noting: ← xii | xiii →
I wrote Afrocentricity because I was convinced, and I remain convinced, that the best road to all health, economic, political, cultural, and psychological in the African community is through a centered positioning of ourselves within our own story. We can never again be shoved to the side in our own history or relegated to being back up players to Europeans in the grand drama of humanity. Ours is remarkable journey of liberation over the past five hundred years. (Asante 2003, vii)
Whether or not Africana historical thinkers such as John Henrik Clarke, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther, King, Jr. used the terminology as predecessors is highly debated. Nonetheless, it is Asante who establishes an empire of intellectual thought and movement to advance the idea of Afrocentricity from theory to praxis. For many, we are still in a transitional phrase of praxis, yet the idea and engagement of global and continental Africana phenomena as humans is subjected to oversight by the criminal justice system and termination of Black Lives Matter.
Unquestionably, I must disclose to readers of the interconnection and limitations of this Reader, whereas, Asante is my mentor and dissertation advisor, playing an integral role in the formation and development of my continued learning. Going further with this narrative, as a former student and now colleague, I have learned from Asante and many others the ethic of the academic grind to publish and to provide community service. Nathan Hare refers to this concept as communiversity, in which we bring the campus to the community and the community to the campus (Karenga 2012, 18).
Nonetheless, this Asante Reader endeavors to organize Asante’s writings into four categories: (1) history; (2) mythology; (3) ethos; and (4) motif. Arranged theoretically, these four stations describe and evaluate culture from an Afrocentric perspective. History, the study of human events, is shaped in the image and interests of the personnel or narrators, who dispense this intelligence. Mythology is a version of historical information which takes shape and form, and which reflects the season of life in which it is currently engaged. Third, ethos is the achievement of memory which threads to accountability for past actions and occurrences. Finally, motif refers to as signs and symbols in which a people’s past is reaffirmed in their imagery.
Included in this publication are ruminative essays from selected Temple University alumni of the doctoral program in African American Studies. Designated alumnae are comprised of personnel for whom Asante served as dissertation advisor or collaborated with on research conference proceedings. Additionally, these contributors have also reached the rank of senior faculty at institutions of higher education nationally. Respective of their views, this last chapter provides trajectory and exemplifies the lasting contributions of the Temple University circle and movement for advancing the research regarding Africana phenomena. ← xiii | xiv →
To some, this Reader offers an assessment of the body of literature Asante has produced and that continues to position the philosophy and ideals of the Afrocentric movement internationally. In the context of being a public intellectual, the core of Asante’s analysis, by inference, locates Africana occurrences in place, space, and time. Advancing this idea onward, this presage assigns scholars in the field of Africana Studies who contribute to the intellectual history of W. E.B. DuBois, Maria Stewart, Carter G. Woodson, Jon Henrik Clarke, and the countless others by their research and writing. Phrased another way, citing James Turner, the tasks of the Black Studies scholar are to: (1) defend; (2) disseminate; (3) legitimate; and (4) preserve alternative epistemologies for Africana people. Possibly, this Reader is just one of the many contributions examining the research and writing of seminal Africana Studies scholars. I feel confident additional studies are in progress and will avail to locate agency describing and evaluating the Africana experience. For many cynics and associates, we are not vetted in probing the scholarship of Asante. Still, as a full Professor for over five decades, he continues to write, teach, and publish.
While attending professional meetings, as we all know, Asante is frugal with social time and is always focused on the next project. While providing the paradigm of levels of transformation, he outlines the prerequisites for the outliers of Afrocentric relationships. Directly or indirectly, Asante as an optimist formats the outliers of breakdown and breakthroughs for victorious thought of an Afrocentric perspective. Chronicled in Table I.1, I have provided a social ecology of African American history and culture threaded with the biographical profile of Molefi Kete Asante. This table thus locates Asante in place and time and illustrates how societal factors played a role in shaping and formatting his creativity, scholarship and political views.
Table I.1 Africana Social Ecology and Biographical Profile of Molefi Kete Asante
In summary, the aforementioned in the introduction of this edited Reader proposes an outline and basis for studying and locating the scholarship and political ethos of Asante.
- XXII, 238
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- ISBN (Hardcover)
- ISBN (Softcover)
- Publication date
- 2017 (July)
- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2017. XXII, 238 pp.