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In United States education, Africana studies, or Africology[1] is the study of the histories, politics and cultures of peoples of African origin both in Africa and in the African diaspora. It is thus the sum of the fields of African studies and African diaspora studies (Afro-Latin American and Black Studies programs narrowly conceived as African American studies). Not that there is no value in specific studies, any more than English literature or American history have no value apart from European or world history.

Africana Studies departments at many major universities grew out of the "Black Studies" programs and departments formed in the late 1960s as black studies programs were reformed and renamed "Africana studies" with an aim to encompass the continent of Africa and all of the African diaspora in a more abstract and traditionally academic way. Africana studies programs also struggled to better align themselves with other college and university departments finding continuity and compromise between the radicalism of past decades and the multicultural scholarship found in many fields today. Thus it is a scholarship of compromise and acquiescence while black studies was motivated by the need for a scholarship of change. [2][3]



According to Robert Harris Jr, there have been four stages in the development of Africana studies: from the 1890s until the Second World War numerous organizations developed to analyze the culture and history of African peoples (African studies). In the second stage the focus turned to black Americans (Afro-American studies). In the third stage a bevy of newly conceived academic programs were established as Black Studies. Unlike the other stages, Black studies grew out of mass rebellions of black college students and faculty in search of a scholarship of change. The fourth stage, the new name "Africana studies" involved a theoretical elaboration of the discipline of black studies according to African cultural reclamation and disparate tenets in the historical and cultural issues of Africanity within a professorial interpretation of the interactions between these fields and college administrations.[3] Thus Africana Studies reflected the mellowing and institutionalization of the black studies movement in the course of its integration into the mainstream academic curriculum. Black Studies and Africana Studies differ primarily in that Africana Studies focuses on Africanity and the historical and cultural issues of Africa and its descendants while Black Studies was designed to deal with the uplift and development of the black (African-American)community in relatonship to education and its "relevance" to the black community. The adaptation of the term "Africana studies" appears to have derived from the late Northwestern University anthropologist Melville Herskovits and his legacy at the "Africana Studies and Research Center," which came under the directorship of the sociologist James Turner when he was recruited from graduate school at Northwestern to the faculty of Cornell University on the heels of the student rebellions of 1969. Studia Africana, subtitled "An International Journal of Africana Studies" was published by the Department for African American Studies at the University of Cincinnati in a single issue in 1977 (an unrelated journal called Studia Africana is published by the Centro de Estudios Africanos, Barcelona, since 1990). The "International Journal of Africana Studies" (ISSN 1056-8689) has been appearing since 1992, published by the National Council for Black Studies.

African-Centered Education

see African-Centered Education


The Journal of Pan African Studies (


  1. ^ Africology and You University of Milwaukee
  2. ^ Out of the Revolution: The Development of Africana Studies By Delores P. Aldridge, Carlene Young. Lexington Books 2000. ISBN 0739105477
  3. ^ a b The Intellectual and Institutional Development of Africana Studies by Robert l. Harris Jr. from The Black Studies Reader By Jacqueline Bobo, Cynthia Hudley, Claudine Michel Page 15 ISBN 0415945542
  • Talmadge Anderson, Introduction to African American Studies, Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 1993, passim. ISBN 0-7872-3268-8.
  • Maulana Karenga, Introduction to Black Studies. Los Angeles: The University of Sankore Press, 1993,passim. ISBN 0-943412-16-1.

External links

See also



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