African-American studies

academic field focusing on peoples of the African diaspora and Africa

African-American studies is an interdisciplinary academic discipline devoted to the study of the history, culture, and politics of Black people from the United States.

Black studies must extend beyond the limits prejudice has placed on knowledge of black people. ~ Maurice Jackson


  • The current "Black Studies" programs are white studies programs in blackface.
    • S. E. Anderson, "Mathematics and the Struggle for Black Liberation," The Black Scholar, Vol. 2, No. 1 (September 1970), pp. 20-27
  • Despite the determinate role of Marxism in the historical development of Black Studies, it never developed an institutional niche. I argue that the rise of Afrocentricity was made possible by the political repression of Black left-radicalism/Marxism.
    • Stephen C. Ferguson, Philosophy of African American Studies: Nothing Left of Blackness (2015), p. 16
  • Black professors and militant academicians were hollering at white educational institutions for inclusion and relevancy. None spoke the language nor harnessed the energies of our street soldiers. The only organization that did so was the Black Panther Party - and that was destroyed by a potent combination of forces over three decades ago. Nothing ever replaced it.
  • Black studies, simply put, is the systematic study of black people. In this sense black studies differs from academic disciplines which stress white experience by being based on black experiences. Black studies is an examination of the deeper truths of black life. It treats the black experience both as it has unfolded over time and as it is currently manifested. These studies will examine the valid part that black people have played in man's development in society. In so doing, black studies will concentrate on both the distinctiveness of black people from, and their interdependence with, other people. To develop this kind of knowledge, black studies must extend beyond the limits prejudice has placed on knowledge of black people.
  • The content of black studies is to be relevant, meaningful, and significant to black people. Black studies is to give insights into the historical and contemporary roles of black people, with the objective of improving life in the black community. It can be assumed that improvement of the black life will be an improvement of the lives of other people as well. ... The model that is being generated here is analogous to that of medical scientist-medical doctor. In short, there will be a closer relationship between the pure and applied roles of science, with a greater stress on application of knowledge.
  • Black studies does not adhere to the requirement that black people can be studied only in a larger context. It assumes that black people can be studied on their own terms-that their behavior can be evaluated with respect to the standards and requirements prevalent within the black community, whether or not they are the same as in the white community.
  • The militant advocates of black studies fail to recognize that the purpose of the humanities and social sciences is, at the very least, to teach critical methods of thought. But this cannot be achieved in a black studies program whose ideological assumptions are ethnocentric, culturally xenophobic and authoritarian.
    • Martin Kilson, "Anatomy of the Black Studies Movement," The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Autumn, 1969), p. 723

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