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Unformatted text preview: Blackness, The Rise of Black Studies, and Debates on Afrocentricity, Black Feminism, and Africana Womanism Blackness and Course Context Review of African Studies Rise of Black Studies Black Feminism Afrocentricity Debates Africana Womanism According to the Supreme Court the Constitution viewed African Americans as, "beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." The Supreme Court also feared that a positive ruling for Scott, "would give to persons of the negro race, ...the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, ...the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went." I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people ... I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied every thing. I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife. My understanding is that I can just let her alone. What 4 terms did people of African decent use to African Pro= Con= Colored Pro= Con= Negro Pro= Con= Black Pro= Con=Pejorative Terminology (give examples) Blassingame Article define themselves and what were the pros and cons to those terms? Why was it (is it) important for people of African ancestry to debunk negative stereotypes? Angela Davis bell hooks Black Is Black Ain't What stereotypes issues are used to describe people of African ancestry throughout history? Ghetto, Athletes, Dance, Fried Chicken, Hypersexual, sing, loud, big lips, criminals, female attitude, carry guns, thugs, African community in SC versus Essex Hemphill Gumbo Analogy What is blackness? Why African Studies was needed Attempt to debunk fallacies and redefine ideology Fallacies: No History (written records), Dark Continent, Darwinism (a weak, barbarian people), Stereotypes of Africa, White Man's Burden to "civilize" (includes missionary interpretation church & state) Ideology: Refute Ethnocentrism Ethnocentrism= belief that one culture is superior to another. In this regard, Western culture and civilization assumed it could define the complexities of Africa (300) What is African Studies? Definition= A broad field or area of interdisciplinary studies that examines and attempts to understand Africa and its people from all facets (their origin, history, culture, experiences, achievements, contributions, aspirations, and even human and physical environment) History Pros and Cons of Interdisciplinary approaches Pro = African History taken seriously Con = African History was examined on the margins, not the center. Western approach to African History representing a societal disconnect (e.g. Leopold Von Ranke) What is African Studies continued Pros and Cons cont. Anthropology Pro = Sought to study African culture and civilization Con = Early Ethnographers maintained an exoticism on Africa (tribes, the primitive) Sociology Pro = Serious attempt to understand social groups and it did not theoretically ignore colonialism Con = Used western framework to define African societies (e.g. nuclear family). Represented disconnect with reality 3 Suggestions for Anthropologists #1= They must have a mastery of the language, #2 = they must be willing to learn from African scholars, #3 = they must allow African scholars to do basic ground research 4 Models of Analysis for African Studies Scholars 1) = Traditional Model 2) = Colonial Model Pro = study early African civilizations Con = Africa no longer is "Traditional" (old and new) Pro = Recognizes impact of colonization (Partition of Africa) Con = Portrays Africa as helpless and in need of separation from all things Western 3) = Marxist Model Pro = Attempts to analyze the class dynamic in Africa Con = Does not take racism into consideration and assumes a 3) = PanAfrican Model Diaspora Western approach on class would succeed in Africa (vertical vs. horizontal societies) Pro = Focuses on commonalities of experiences of black people Con = The experiences of black peoples differ throughout the African Studies Association (ASA) and future challenges (AHSA break 1969 Montreal) 7 Criticisms from Thandika Mkandawire Started in 1957 with the intent of studying Africa 1) = White gatekeepers 2) = Dubious western frameworks 3) = Assumption white scholars ignore African scholars 4) = African scholars on the margins of research projects (funding) 5) = Dismissal of scholarship by African scholars 6) = Western arrogance on understanding Africa 7) = "Afropessimism" or the "CNN Factor" (negative portrayal) Rise of African American Studies (Purdue University), NCBS (1975) Brief Historical Context 1968 (San Francisco State) 1974 SFSU= Nathan Hare, 5 month protest, Fall 1968 Morehouse Revolution (1969) Purdue= PostMLK memorial at Courthouse (Greater Laf. Human Relations Committee, Sep 68) , 5/5/68 135 students at the exec. building w/ red bricks, creation of the BCC (Hovde) "(BCC) Would serve the sociological, intellectual, cultural, The Focus of African American Studies psychological needs of both black and the nonblack communities at Purdue University as these needs relate to black experiences in America" 1) = the experiences 2) = the problems 3) = the prospects of individuals and groups whose heritage is African Diversity in the discipline (p. 3538) At least 7 descriptors (pros and cons of interdisciplinary approach) Rise of African American Studies cont. Attempted to debunk ideological racism The movement promoted community building, black nationalist consciousness, class struggle, education opportunity and restructuring, employment creation, and anticolonial struggles through think tanks and study groups. Black Studies is descriptive, corrective, prescriptive, and experimental Impact of Carter G. Woodson (1915 Founder of the Association for the Study of AfroAmerican Life and History; 1926 Negro History Week, now Black History Month) Legitimatization of the Black Experience as central to the making of the American Experience (What would the U.S. be without black people and culture?) Frank Tannebaum = "Without the Negro the texture of American life would have been different...different in lore, family social organization, and politics, and equally important, different in economy...his (lang.) contribution to the population and settlement of this hemisphere is part of a common adventure of folk from across the sea who have molded a new and different social milieu for themselves. American colonization is therefore, a joint AfroEuropean enterprise." Slave and Citizen (1948) Challenges and Objectives in African American Studies Is it relevant? (Multiculturalism, color blind ideology, program versus a department) Faculty challenges Objectives A) create a new discipline B) become race relations generalists C) "Social Responsibility" versus research objectives Create an accurate, autonomous discipline free of Eurocentrism Develop and present factual material to students Define institutional foundations What is Afrocentricity? Do you have to celebrate Afrocentric ideals in order to be Afrocentric? General Background on Debates on Afrocentricity AfroEurocentric debate (Martin Bernal, Tony Martin, Mary Lefkowitz) Different Afrocentric schools of thought 1) Nile Valley Afrocentrists = Egypt/Kemet are at the center of black cosmology, epistemology, and teleology 2) Continental Afrocentrists = the entire African continent holds universal truths for people of African decent (more beneficial than European concepts) e.g. Kwanzaa 3) Afrocentric infusionists = intend to integrate Debates on Afrocentricity cont. African and American concepts of humanity to show universal commonalities (e.g. W.E.B. Du Bois 4) Social Afrocentrists = more concerned on present day issues faced by black peoples. Africa is a target of interest rather than inspiration (Ransby) Which school of Afrocentrism is correct or most feasible for black people (s)? Include Asante and Ransby (For Online Discussion due on Blackboard Vista next Friday) Definition = placing Asante's Afrocentricity African ideals at the center of any analysis that involves African culture and behavior (in contrast to being on the margins) Emphasis on objectivity and the center (who defines the center?) Does it replace one form of subjectivity with another? Are people of African decent concerned with nature more than people of European decent? Asante's Afrocentricity Who defines civilization and the ideological frameworks that shape the lives of Africana peoples? Objective = To unite the country based on mutual respect for the cultural agency of all its peoples. Pluralism Criticism of Eurocentrism = Assumption of universal objectivity Motivation = Impossible to understand African people without understanding its classical past (Cheikh Anta Diop). Need for a cultural center (Nile Valley as a point of reference for Africana peoples, like Greece and Rome for people of European decent) Diop (Cradle Theory)= Influenced Nile Valley Afrocentrists (Controversial due to essentialisms) Egypt (Africa)= Abundance of resources (natural, mineral), Definition = Placing African ideals at the center of any analysis that involves African culture and behavior agricultural, valued peace, justice and collective responsibility, cosmopolitan, matriarchal, literature favors fables and comedy Greek (Europe)= Barren and lacks resources, nomadic hunters, ferocious and warlike, individualistic, pessimistic, xenophobic, patriarchal, parochial, sexist, literature favors tragedy Asante continued Afrocentricity = agency and action (praxis) Africanity = identity Community in South Carolina and being (to be of African decent does not make one Afrocentric) Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice. Barack Obama? Ransby on Afrocentricity Definition = Afrocentrism simply reflects a perspective that people of African decent at the center of a particular inquiry, struggle, strategy, or analysis Is Afrocentrism essentialist (race, gender)? Do cultures change and evolve? What does Ransby say on gender in Afrocentricity? Definition = A perspective that places people of African decent (concerns, Ransby on Afrocentricity culture, and interests) at the center of a particular inquiry, struggle, strategy, or analysis (Where does Ransby fit?) Credits Asante (How?) On understanding Afrocentricity = must be contextualized in a broad universal context (The experiences of Africana peoples should not be separated from other peoples) Criticisms of Asante = #1. "Authentic African living" (language) #2. Race is rooted in a shared genetic heritage (rather, race as a social st Subjective (Asante understands what it means to be African but other blacks, like W.E.B. Du Bois, do not) What does it mean to be African and to share one African cultural system? (Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah versus Mobutu Sese Seko, Idi Amin, Jonas Savimbi, for ex.) construction) e.g. foreigners who come to the U.S. for the 1 time #3. Asante does not account for cultural (culture as dynamic and evolving), ethnic (Yoruba, Ibo, Hausa, Shona), class (upper, middle, lower, vertical, horizontal) and political differences (Democrat, Republican, Independent, Socialist, Black Nationalist) #4. "Asanteism" as a sexist, misogynist, and homophobic construction (women and homosexual leadership viewed as threatening) Homosexuality threatens the black family (Marlon Riggs, Essex Hemphill, Barbara Smith) Black Women as cheerleaders and people who threaten black men Black Feminism versus Africana Womanism Triple Jeopardy (race, class, gender struggle 1848 Seneca Falls (Convention), New York versus struggle against restrictions of affluence) Historical Context Race versus Gender E.g. Civil Rights and Black Power Movements and/or the New Negro Movement for Black Feminists Collins and Black Feminism Definition = Process of selfconscious struggle that empowers women and men to realize a humanistic vision of community. Gender equality needed to achieve racial equality and egalitarian community 4 Core Themes = #1. Legacy of Struggle (Triple Jeopardy) Common thread that binds all AfricanAmerican women #2. Need for a selfdefined voice that counters 4 essentialisms (the mammy, matriarch, welfare mother, jezebel) #3. An understanding of Praxis (thought, action, and experience) as related to the lives of black women allows for universal humanity Challenging these essentialisms makes black women visible (why is that important) Allows black women to see and make connections (thought and experience) and develop a voice Allows for mutual ownership and accountability #4. The empowerment of black women over the triple jeopardy Rejection of white feminism (too limited in a middle class gender analysis and also was exclusive) Suffrage for who? Biological Inferiority Broke away from Susan B . Anthony's stance Distinction = Africana Womanism is family centered (versus female centeredness) while black feminism exclusively centers on womanhood Descriptive terms = selfnamer, selfdefiner, genuine sisterhood, strong, in concert with male in struggle, whole, authentic, flexible role player, adaptable, ambitious, mothering, and nurturing Definition = To create a criteria for women of African decent that assesses their realities both in thought in action (Africa as a location of origin, woman versus female as a human term) Woman versus Female "Ain't I a Woman" (Sojourner Truth) & Human Race vs. Biology Feminist Mystique and Betty Freidan 1890= National American Woman Suffrage Association (Carrie Chapman Catt) HudsonWeems and Africana Womanism Rationale = #1. Africana women do not see men as their primary enemy #2. Distrust of white organizations as incapable of adequately countering race problem. HudsonWeems as a PanAfricanist and Continental Afrocentrist Image Example of Africana Womanism Ankh versus the cross Isis, Osiris, Horus (Ausar, Auset, Heru) Father, Son, Holy Ghost ...
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