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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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16. African American Science and Technology

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CHAPTER 16

African American Science and Technology

Asase Ye Duru “The Earth has weight” Symbol of providence and the divinity of Mother Earth

The African Antecedent

Science and technology generally are the exploration of the methods by which human beings attempt to negotiate their existence vis-à-vis nature or the environment. This process of creating the necessary tools for survival as well as the formulation of ideas about the environment originated in Africa. Archaeological evidence points to Africa as the birthplace of humanity and logically the birthplace of the first humans who were faced with creating methods for sustaining life on the planet. The idea that these traditions early on created the foundation for African notions of science and technology have been the subject of a number of scholars seeking to arrive at a genealogy of both the African and human presence on Earth. As a continuing paradigm for the discipline of African American Studies, the examination of early African cultural contributions to a working concept of science in their situational contexts is necessary to uncovering African contributions to humanity as well as linking those traditions to the contemporary era. In other words, the essence of African “science” must be explored in order to fill a genealogical gap, but also to improvise how human problems can be conceptualized and solved today. A comparative study as to how Africans utilized science and technology to arrive at solutions, and those methods...

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