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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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Preface

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The discipline of African American Studies creates a space of intellectual agency that allows scholars to do academic work without being confined to the methodological paradigms of traditional disciplines. Hence, in African American Studies, all realms of knowledge become accessible to the scholar without concern for the embracing of traditional discipline-specific sanction. African American Studies as a discipline sought freedom from the enslavement of disciplinary boundaries and limitations. Therefore, this text gives honor to the invisible progenitors, that is, our founders who demanded our entry as equal and independent scholars.

African American Studies has taught the contributions of African people to the world. This textbook, African American Studies: The Discipline and Its Dimensions,1 includes the work of many scholars who have produced the knowledge content of this discipline. Contemporary scholars and students must be able to trace the evolution of the discipline in order to evaluate if the discipline has deviated from or stayed true to its original mission. It is absolutely necessary for students to know the original “blueprint/purpose”2 of Black Studies in order to understand arguments made for the discipline’s existence and to recognize its place in the academy and community.

This text presents the discipline’s subject matter about African Americans from an African-centered perspective.3 The various bodies of knowledge, the philosophical framework, methodological procedures, and theoretical underpinnings of the discipline have never been clearly delineated. This text attempts to do so. In order for any discipline to thrive, how...

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