Jan 30

New Trajectories

Guest Lecturer: Tejumola Olaniyan, Associate Professor, Department of English

Tejumola Olaniyan is author of Scars of Conquest/Masks of Resistance: The Invention of Cultural Identities in African, African-American, and Caribbean Drama (New York : Oxford University Press, 1995) and an editor of West Africa Review. He teaches several courses that count toward the African American Studies major, including ENLT 247M: African-American Literature; ENTC 483: Modernism and Postcolonialism;and ENTC 517: African Literature.


This lecture will introduce students to the intellectual and political origins of African American Studies, examine its institutional and academic configurations, assess its impact so far, and speculate on its future directions.


I. Introduction: African and African American Studies
     A. Origins
         1. American Negro Academy, 1897
         2. Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, 1915
         3. Civil Rights activism
     B. Goals
         1. Research Black history and civilization
         2. Foreground Black achievements & genius
         3. Create non-racist intellectual culture
         4. Deploy the best of knowledge to solve the problems of blacks here and abroad

II. Problematics
     A. Is AAS a 'discipline' or an 'area' or 'theme' of study?
     B. A department or a program?
     C. Staffing, in black or white (Skin or ideology, OR, Skin and Ideology)

III. New Directions
     A. On the 'Credibility War'
     B. Conceptual convergence & clarity ('Afrocentrism' as overarching ideology)
     C. Relation to 'mainstream' 'agonistic' rather than 'antagonistic'

IV. Challenges, still
     A. African America, OR, Global Africa?
     B. Gender, in the Race


Adams, Russell L., 1994. "African American Studies and the State of the Art," 26-45. In Africana Studies: A Survey of Africa and the African Diaspora, ed. Mario Azevedo. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Olaniyan, Tejumola, 1995. "Afrocentrism," Social Dynamics 21(2):91-105.

Stewart, James B., 1997. "Reaching for Higher Ground: Toward and Understanding of Black/Africana Studies," 108-139 In James L. Conyers, Jr., ed., Africana Studies: A Disciplinary Quest for Both Theory and Method. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company.