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African American Studies

The Discipline and Its Dimensions

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Nathaniel Norment, Jr.

African American Studies: The Discipline and Its Dimensions is a comprehensive resource book that recounts the development of the discipline of African American Studies and provides a basic reference source for sixteen areas of knowledge of the discipline: anthropology, art, dance, economics, education, film, history, literature, music, philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology, political science, science and technology, sports and religion. African American Studies defines bodies of knowledge, methodologies, philosophies, disciplinary concepts, contents, scope, topics scholars have concerned themselves, as well as the growth, development, and present status of the discipline. African American Studies validates that African American Studies is a unique and significant discipline—one that intersects almost every academic discipline and cultural construct—and confirms that the discipline has a noteworthy history and a challenging future. The various bodies of knowledge, the philosophical framework, methodological procedures, and theoretical underpinnings of the discipline have never been clearly delineated from an African-centered perspective.

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9. African American Political Science

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CHAPTER 9

African American Political Science

Wo Nsa Da Mu A “If your hands are in the dish” Symbol of participatory government, democracy, and pluralism

The African Antecedent

Political science is an increasingly attractive field for scholars in African American Studies because of its broad implications for the current sociopolitical status of individuals of African descent in the United States and the diaspora. The study of American domestic and foreign policy is central to many of the aims and objectives of African American Studies social science inquiry. Scholars within political science seek to understand how these various policies interact with the African American community as they relate to its stability as a group and to provide strategies for the African American community to combat unjust legislation within the existing political framework. Black politics is thus concerned with a holistic interpretation of how power is meted out within African American communities and is not simply limited to electoral strategies and participation in the public sphere. African American political scientists have analyzed both the external social structure and the internal governance structure of African American communities. This section explains some of antecedent traditions of political control of African civilizations that were employed, in an effort to provide alternative solutions for the study of African American political science. Specifically, it will investigate how African governance structures provide models for political theorists to examine and possibly apply in the contemporary era vis-à-vis...

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