There is partial criticism targeting the African American studies due to the fact that it is totally essential to view experiences of African Americans in the US in an international context due to the fact that this is the way it is in many publications. It is important at the same time to use the most suitable and logical methods in analysis of certain circumstances of each distinctive subset in the large population of African decent individuals. This was what the book was set out to target. Hopefully, it will support parallel comprehensively handling of other collectives in the African Diaspora including Afro-Brazilians and Afro-Canadians as well as on the continent of Africa (Anderson & Stewart, 2007). In order to treat the rich experiences of all groups adequately, a multi-volume works would be required. This book caution that it is significant to maintain feasible balance between coverage and detail so that handling of each group are not superficial overly, though it will also welcome the development of an introductory text that tries to capture the history and experiences of all main African and African Diasporan communities.
The idea of African worldview is brought up within the first two chapters of Introduction to African American Studies in addition to its effect upon comprehending accurately the conditions and experiences of African descended individuals. The African worldview is also brought up in relation to Afrocentricity since it forms a theoretical viewpoint in the black/African Studies (American Psychological Association, 2005). In order to create an accurate comprehension of the experiences and lives of African descended individuals, there is an elaboration on the understanding of the African worldview and its need.
In part, the African worldview is made up of the belief and values created and applied by persons of African descent so as to shape inter-personal associations with other people, and relationships to the environment. This conception is not aimed at denying the extensive disparities in values and belief among various African people. Nevertheless, the construction means that there are elements of values and beliefs which are shared that can be differentiated from those created by groups in other sections of the world when viewed collectively. This is a debate improved by Cheikh Anta Diop and many others. The concept of African worldview aims at the model expressions of these shared valued and beliefs and does not need that every group pledges uniformly to one belief system or set of practices. According to American Psychological Assoction (1999), fighting the concept that traditional African beliefs are merely historical relics of pre-modern life is one of the primary hurdles facing African Studies specialist. A voluminous body of writings that deforms the experiences of African descent people has been produced by this concept. Creation of a reverence for the antecedents of modern Western thought and proliferation of the concept that these antecedents goes on to hold that value in addressing modern and prospect challenges confronting humans throughout the world are the two of the main success of Eurocentrism to date.
These concepts are rejected by many African studies specialists and are examining actively the extent to which traditional and modern variants of African beliefs and practices can offer alternative strategies for addressing human difficulties everywhere but particularly among individuals of African decent (Anderson & Stewart, 2007). In that process, the initial step is to produce works that allow a more accurate comprehension and approval of the complexity of our experiences with a unique emphasis on historical and modern attempts to shape fortune of African people as opposed to merely serving as passive consumers of Western concept and products.
Given the different approaches to the discipline of African/Black Studies, philosophical perspective’s questions within Black/African Studies will be usually controversial. The fact that this book includes a discussion of multiple approaches to the discipline is one of many aspects of this text. However, Paradigm of Unity of Abdul Alkalimat is one perspective approach that is not discussed by this text hence leading readers of this book to question reason as to why this concept was not discussed in the book provided that its effects on certain schools of thought in the subject (Anderson & Stewart, 2007).
There is no question that the Paradigm of Unity (POU) deserves treatment as an important approach to periodizing the experiences of Blacks in the U.S. and in identifying structural changes in the circumstances of Black people. I have written elsewhere extensively about the strengths and weaknesses of the POU. The decision not to discuss the POU in this text results from the concern that it could not be treated adequately without disrupting the flow of the book. I also know that Abdul Alkalimat and Ronald Bailey are in the process of updating the POU so any discussion of the present formulation would have been outdated and would not do justice to their approach. We do plan to incorporate a discussion of the POU in the next edition (Anderson & Stewart, 2007).
The subject/content area approach has been the most consistent way of introducing students to the content and structure of Africana/Black Studies. Can you explain the value of this approach as exemplified by the organization of knowledge within your contribution in Introduction to African American Studies?
The challenges are many, but must be addressed head on because understanding the distinctions among the various approaches is critical to the design of viable Ph.D. curricula in Africana Studies, and also for the assessment of credentials in hiring new faculty. Much of what is labeled as “interdisciplinary” is actually “multi-disciplinary.” Interdisciplinary means that there is a conscious and systematic effort to blend or integrate theories and methods from one or more traditional discipline in an individual study. Hypothetically, this can be accomplished by a single author or by a team of researchers representing different disciplines. However, there are very few examples of this type of research in any field, much less within Africana Studies.
Conversely, multidisciplinary means that there is a conscious effort to examine a particular topic using different disciplinary approaches, either sequentially in the same study, or in parallel as, for example, in an edited volume with contributions from writers associated with different disciplines. One of the shared characteristics of both approaches is that they are reactive with respect to the prevailing boundaries established by traditional disciplines. In contrast, transdisciplinary approaches reject the existing disciplinary boundaries as starting points for the organization of research and instruction and seek to develop new ways of synthesizing various approaches to understanding the world. The development of such approaches is a major challenge.
W.E.B. Du Bois is used as a guide in exploring the possibility of transdisciplinary methods in this work.currently, most new facility employed into African Studies units are educated in a customary subject and maintain primary commitment to the subject other than to a transdisciplinary idea of African Studies (American Psychological Association, 2005). The core of graduates of Temple’s Ph.D. program which exemplifies a transdisciplinary technique but use a different terminology is the main exception of the course. It is unfortunate that failure to address problems developed by the perpetuation of the multidisciplinary theory will lead to future scholarship in African Studies going on to be shaped by trends in traditional subjects that have been less than friendly or progressive interpretation of the cultures of individuals of African descent.
In this studies, it is my observation that there more women included in the pre-institutionalization stage of African/Black Studies (American Psychological Association, 1999). I also feel that this change makes this text to be stronger than other preceding versions and other introductory texts in the subject. Secondly, this edition relate to the development of a more holistic comprehension of the African experience.