A Reader- Foreword by Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw
Edited By George J. Sefa Dei
21. Endarkened Feminism and Sacred Praxis: Troubling (Auto) Ethnography through Critical Engagements with African Indigenous Knowledges Cynthia B. Dillard & Charlotte Bell 337
JOURNEYING BACK TO GO FORWARD This chapter focuses on the centrality of spirituality in African-centered Indigenous knowledges.More particularly, this work is about the ways that engagements with Indigenous knowledges is deeply sacred work, often troubling the very Western discourses, cultural frameworks, and methodologies that we have used to think ourselves in our research and academic lives as teachers and scholars (Dillard, 2006; Dillard & Okpalaoka, in press; Smith, 1999). Many African ascendant1 scholars (Asante, 1988; Cruse, 1967; Dillard & Okpalaoka, in press; Hilliard, 1995; hooks & West, 1991; King, 2005) suggest that there is fundamental crisis that goes far beyond the biographical sit- uatedness of the researcher and the research project for African ascendant scholars. The crisis we speak of here is the difficulty of working within and against the hegemonic structures that have tra- ditionally and historically negated and impeded the intellectual, social, and cultural contributions of African (and African feminist) knowledge. These are structures that have also negated the spiritu- al contributions of African ascendant people, Indigenous knowledges that would not only contribute to our cultural and intellectual understandings, but that might ultimately save our lives (Alexander, 2005; Dillard, 2008; Nnaemeka, 1998; Walker, 2006). As African American women from the United States, a Western standpoint would posit that our orientation to the world began when our ancestors were sold into slavery, physically isolated us from our place of belonging in the world. The prevailing discourses have situated African American per- sonhood historically as freed slave, a personhood that began on this...
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