The Africana Studies Philosophy
The purpose of the Africana Studies concentration is to provide students with an introduction to and understanding of the continental and diasporan African experience through space and time. Based on the histories, literatures, cultures, political and social systems of African peoples in Africa, the United States, the Caribbean and South America, the department's perspective is pre-eminently pan-Africanist. With a systematic exposure to the history, literature, religions and spiritual systems, politics, anthropology, sociology and philosophies of African peoples in their different locations, the Africana Studies concentrator should emerge with a broad and deep understanding of the course of independent developments and experiences of African peoples and societies; the conditions and impact of their encounters with other peoples and societies, and their historically evolved cultures and worldviews.
The variety of analytical and ideological approaches offered by the various disciplines in history, literature, culture and the social sciences should enable students to understand that there are several valid, culturally grounded epistemological lenses and intellectual frameworks through which events and experiences in the world can be perceived and interpreted apart from the dominant Eurocentric one. These Africa-centric frameworks apart from their basis in questions of race, culture, geography and history, are also derived from independently evolved African intellectual traditions and thought systems. But they are not static or uniform. They are diverse and dynamic. They have evolved historically and have come to incorporate and embrace multiple heritages. This worldview and thought system, is thus eclectic, but informed by a distinctive African cultural and intellectual sensibility, mode of perception and philosophizing about the world.
The Africana Studies concentrator brought up on this complex and rich philosophical, cultural, literary and historical pedagogy, should emerge on graduation as a broadly educated and well-rounded individual. This should equip the concentrator with factual and analytical foundations to be able to interact with diverse peoples; and to enter various careers in government, journalism, social work, teaching etc. It should also prepare them to be able to undertake graduate work in history, literature, sociology, political science, education, law and other such fields.