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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.

African American Studies: The Discipline and Its Dimensions is a rare text with as much depth as breadth. It stands alone as a comprehensive guide to the history, present and future of the fields of African American and Africana Studies and is a highly readable, engaging indispensable resource for teachers, students and the all others who want to better understand the breathtakingly interdisciplinary contributions of Black Studies to higher education and the world at large.”—Noliwe Rooks, Professor, Africana Studies, and Director, American Studies, Cornell University

“Nathaniel Norment, Jr has produced an impressively vital, thoroughly researched, and engagingly written overview of African American Studies. He illuminates the significant African American contributors to the development of Black culture, history, politics, and liberation movements with special focus on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. African American Studies: The Discipline and Its Dimensions explores and provides insights into Black life, struggles, creativity, and the endless social movements for freedom and justice. The impressive bibliography, primary documents, and profiles of African American leaders and creative artists will encourage readers to delve even deeper into the Black past and to participate in the continuing quest for freedom and justice. This textbook places African American Studies on a solid foundation and insures its continuation as a dynamic field of intellectual inquiry.”—Darlene Clark Hine, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of History, Michigan State University

African American Studies: The Discipline and Its Dimensions (by Nathaniel Norment, Jr., a professor with decades of experience) is a roadmap to the evolution of Black Studies, past and future. He rends his way through the history and development of a complex and comprehensive account, connecting African American Studies to other bodies of knowledge to reveal and display the elusive underbelly and underpinnings of the discipline, exposing its variety of parts of the discipline and what they mean, painting the contours of the difference between Black Studies and the study of blackness while incorporating and integrating the multidiscipline. After poring over the manuscript in recent months, I can testify that it is a monumental snapshot of a fountain of knowledge as well as a new pedagogy for the elevation and empowerment of those who lost their roots in the tangled horror and mean and rushing waters of the Middle Passage to a strange land and corrosive centuries of enslavement and inhumane destruction as segregated and marginalized chattel. This book will bolster the academic and public appreciation of the history of the field and is likely to become the number one bible of African American studies, a multifaceted blueprint, for years to come.”—Nathan Hare, professor, sociologist, psychologist; the first person to coordinate/chair a Black Studies program at a U.S. university (San Francisco State University); co-founder of The Black Think Tank with Julia Hare and co-founder of The Black Scholar: A Journal of Black Studies and Research with Robert Chrisman

“Confronted with a volume this size the knee jerk reaction is to use terms such as ‘definitive,’ ‘comprehensive,’ and ‘indispensable’. With African American Studies: The Discipline and Its Dimensions these have been earned and are well deserved. Nathaniel Norment, Jr engages a subject that is broad in scope, evolving in complexity, steeped in scholarly debates, and now a half-century old in its current phase. After a learned and balanced discussion of the origins and development of African American Studies in the broadest sense, Professor Norment devotes seventeen chapters to areas and disciplines where it is both relevant and has had an impact. This book is such a treasure trove of persons, events, organizations, facts and analysis that it should be on the desk of every professor and teacher in the field from middle and high schools through undergraduate and graduate institutions. The bibliographies are reliable starting points for additional reading and research for teachers and students alike. Clear in its point of view, free from the factual errors, polemics and out right falsehoods that can appear on some. internet sites, African American Studies: The Discipline and Its Dimensions is a trustworthy resource. Well done, Professor Norment. Well done.”—John H. Bracey, Professor and former Chair, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“Nathaniel Norment, Jr.’s African American Studies: The Discipline and Its Dimensions is a comprehensive anthology on various streams in disciplinary and interdisciplinary African American Studies from an African-centered perspective. His approach is to address some of the gaps in African American Studies by illuminating some of the new trends, theories, and methods that have emerged. Professor Norment, a well-known, respected scholar in his own right, provides a view of African American experiences that looks more fully at the wholeness of African peoples from the perspective of those people. This book stands as an asset for students at all levels.”—Tara Green, Linda Carlisle Excellence Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Professor and Former Director (2008–2016) of African American and African Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro

"African American Studies: The Discipline and Its Dimensions is an ambitious and successful project. Wonderfully balanced and nicely nuanced, the text examines a variety of conventional academic disciplines through the lenses of the Black experience, as well as Black scholars who study the black world. Nathaniel Norment, Jr. has brought together various elements of African American Studies as an intellectual enterprise that seeks a comprehensive exploration of that field of study grounded in an African-center perspective. In a single text, he contributes to our understanding of the limits of traditional Western conceptions of knowledge, as well as the unswerving commitment of black scholars and African American Studies to advance counterarguments, theories, and methodologies related to the ongoing struggle for Black freedom and liberation.”—Floyd W. Hayes, III, retired Senior Lecturer, Center for Africana Studies, Johns Hopkins University

“Nathaniel Norment, Jr.’s African American Studies: The Discipline and Its Dimensions is the most comprehensive mapping of the field to date. Ambitious and learned, this text grounds Black thought in an African context before demonstrating how Black intellectuals have engaged, challenged and transformed Eurocentric bodies of knowledge housed in conventional Western disciplines. Ranging over sixteen areas including, but not limited to, philosophy, anthropology and history, this work is sure to shape our understanding of, and debates about, African American Studies for generations. It is a brilliant achievement, a singular contribution.”—Farah Jasmine Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies, Columbia University