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African American Studies

The Discipline and Its Dimensions


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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15. African American Education


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African American Education

Hwe Mu Dua “Measuring stick” The need to strive for the best quality … in human endeavors

The African Antecedent

Education and educational practices in Africa before the development of the European colonial schooling system consisted of groups of older people (elders) teaching aspects of life and rituals that would help girls and boys in adulthood. In some areas, education in early Africa included such things as artistic performances, ceremonies, games, festivals, dancing, singing and drawing. Boys and girls were taught separately to help prepare each sex for their adult roles. Every member of the community had a hand in contributing to the educational upbringing of the child. The high point of education experience in certain societies in Africa was the ritual passage ceremony from childhood to adulthood.

Education essentially speaks to the socialization process of a particular society. Wherever human beings find themselves in the context of world history, institutions are created to perpetuate the essential practices of their humanity. However, the age of the West and also of the Western way of ordering knowledge has been the most salient idea of education in global societies. In other words, the processes of socializations created in Western contexts have become the norm in most societies. What we are faced with vis-à-vis this Western consensus is, of course, the reality of creating and maintaining alternative forms of education and socialization based upon specific...

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