Other Free Encyclopedias » Science Encyclopedia » Science & Philosophy: Adrenoceptor (adrenoreceptor; adrenergic receptor) to Ambient » Afrocentricity - Historical And Intellectual Context, Afrocentric Organizing Principle And Concepts, Afrocentricity As The African-american Studies Metaparadigm

Afrocentricity - Afrocentricity As The African-american Studies Metaparadigm

program temple cultural paradigm

The implications of Afrocentricity for African-American studies have been considerable. Indeed, Asante argues that only when African-American studies scholars center themselves mentally and intellectually in the African cultural and historical experience will genuine African-American studies come into existence. Until then, Asante maintains, Eurocentric studies of African people and phenomena will continue to parade as African-American studies, with the latter existing only as a subfield of European studies. First, Afrocentricity insists, it must be realized that any idea, concept, or theory, no matter how "neutral" it claims to be, is nonetheless a product of a particular cultural and historical matrix. As such, it carries specific cultural assumptions, often of a metaphysical nature. Hence to embrace a European theory or idea is not as innocent an academic exercise as it may seem. In fact, it is Afrocentricity's contention that unless African scholars are willing to reexamine the process of their own intellectual conversion, which takes place under the guise of "formal education," they will continue to be the easy prey of European intellectual hegemony. What is suggested, instead, is that African intellectuals must consciously and systematically relocate themselves in their own cultural and historical matrix, from which they must draw the criteria by which they evaluate the African experience. Their work must be informed by "centrism," that is, "the groundedness of observation and behavior in one's own historical experiences" (Asante, 1990, p. 12). Africology is the discipline to which those who study African people and phenomena from an Afrocentric perspective belong.

Thus it can be said that Afrocentricity emerged as a new paradigm to challenge the Eurocentric paradigm responsible for the intellectual disenfranchisement and the making invisible of African people, even to themselves in many cases.

In that respect, Afrocentricity therefore presents itself as the African-American studies metaparadigm. As such, it includes three major aspects: cognitive, structural, and functional. The cognitive aspect involves the metaphysical foundations—such as the organizing principle and set of presuppositions that were outlined above, a methodology, methods, concepts, and theories. The structural aspect refers to the existence of an Afrocentric intellectual community, such as is found at Temple University. Finally, the structural aspect of the Afrocentric paradigm refers to the ability of the latter to activate African people's consciousness and to bring them closer to freedom, the ultimate goal of Afrocentricity. Hence Asante concludes that what can be called the discipline of African-American studies itself is intimately linked to the development of Afrocentricity and the establishment in the late eighties of the Temple doctoral program, the first Ph.D. program in African-American studies in the United States.

The Temple Ph.D. program in Africology was immediately successful, as hundreds of national and international applicants sought admission in order to be a part of the Afrocentric epistemological watershed. Although the program has suffered serious setbacks since its inception, there can be little doubt about its influence on African-American studies. Over four hundred dissertations employing the Afrocentric paradigm have been defended, at Temple and at other institutions. Indeed, the Temple Ph.D. program opened the path for the creation of other African-American studies Ph.D. programs in the United States in subsequent years.

Afrocentricity - Afrocentricity And Its Critics [next] [back] Afrocentricity - Afrocentric Organizing Principle And Concepts

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