African American Studies: Trends and Developments

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The definition of African American studies has been a much debated topic for years. Surely, it is a necessary program to be taught in schools to educate students on the black experience through a political, social, and legal understanding. In order to appreciate the purpose and denotation of the curriculum, we must first look at the history of the field itself, the key elements that make up the program and its role in society, as well as what the future holds for the advancement of African American studies. These elements will allow us to recognize and comprehend its status in our society. Regarding these various matters, African American studies is an multidisciplinary field created from the history and development of the African American culture, viewed through an afro-centric mindset.

The emergence of black studies can be traced back to the nineteenth century, particularly in the 1880’s. It first began as a movement to discuss the inferiority of blacks, and was originally defined as the study of black people. (Hayes 1) Essays and journals can be found dating back to the nineteenth century which examine elements of the black experience. Some of which handle the topic of literature, others deal with education, and several examine language and literature. Most of these essays were written by black scholars, who can be traced from historically black colleges. The historical importance of these black colleges shaped the foundation upon which African American studies was built. But why initially investigate black studies? The primary goal of these black scholars was to counteract racism and the discrimination of the African-American race in America. The field also drew its strength from the struggle for self-determination, academ...

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...ence of the discipline, African-American studies will hopefully be integrated into all areas of higher education.

Works Cited

• Asante, Molefi K. "Afrocentricity." Latest Books. N.p., 13 Apr. 2009. Web. 08 Feb. 2014.

• Bailey, Ronald W. "Black Studies." Oxford AASC: Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2014

• Gates, Henry Louis, and Jennifer Burton. Call and Response: Key Debates in African American Studies. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2011. 586-600. Print.

• Hayes, Floyd W. "African American Studies: Trends, Developments, and Future Challenges." A Turbulent Voyage: Readings in African American Studies. Lanham, MD.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. N. pag. Print.

• Jordan, June. "Black Studies: Bringing Back the Person." Civil Wars. Boston: Beacon, 1981. N. pag. Web.

• Karenga, Maulana. "Black Studies." Sage Knowledge. N.p., 15 Sept. 2007. Web. 07 Feb. 2014.
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