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African American Studies

The Discipline and Its Dimensions

Series:

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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A Note to the Reader

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African American Studies: The Discipline and Its Dimensions defines bodies of knowledge, methodologies, philosophies, and disciplinary concepts; its contents, its scope, and the types of topics with which its scholars have concerned themselves; and the growth, development, and present status of the discipline. Its purpose is to prove that African American Studies is a unique and significant discipline—one that intersects almost every academic discipline and cultural construct—and to confirm that the discipline has a noteworthy history and a challenging future. Thus, this text represents a discipline committed to producing and disseminating knowledge about African Americans. This text includes the contents of knowledge necessary for African American Studies in the 21st century.1 The true value of this volume will become most clear to students when they venture on to more specialized courses within and outside the discipline. At another level, this textbook answers a question asked by hundreds of college students: “African American Studies—what is that?” The author hopes that some of the excitement which pervades the study of African American history and culture, and which attracted students to the discipline, will transform and empower students who read this textbook.

The introductory course2 within Africana Studies on the undergraduate and graduate levels must provide the foundation in the discipline.3 The intellectual history of the field and introduction to various worldviews found in African societies across the world must provide that foundation. Most African American Studies programs across the country have diverse definitions and missions....

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