Africana studies  

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"Late in the afternoon of November 5, 1968, a group of black students presented San Francisco State College President Robert R. Smith with a list of 10 "nonnegotiable" demands. The list had already been published in the daily newspapers. Among other things, the black students ordered the college to establish at once a black studies department with 20 full-time faculty members. They insisted that the new department be controlled by its faculty and staff, free from interference by college administrators or the statewide Board of Trustees." --Shut it down! : a college in crisis : San Francisco State College, October 1968-April 1969 : a report to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence

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Africana studies, black studies, African-American studies or Africology, in US education, is the multidisciplinary study of the histories, politics and cultures of peoples of African origin in both Africa and the African diaspora.

It is to be distinguished from African studies, as its focus combines Africa and the African diaspora into a concept of an "African experience" with a Pan-African perspective. In essence, Africana studies and black studies are interchangeable terms stressing black studies in a global and comparative sense, whereas African-American studies frequently emphasizes the U.S. African-American experience. Programs of study range from interdepartmental programs to autonomous departments, and are offered from the undergraduate through the doctoral levels. In many institutions, Africana studies research and study takes place in departments combining African and African-American studies.

Africana studies departments at many major universities grew out of the black studies programs and departments formed in the late 1960s in the context of the US Civil Rights Movement, as black studies programs were reformed and renamed "Africana studies," with an aim to encompass the continent of Africa and all of the African diaspora using terminology rooted in geography and history rather than race. The first "Africana" studies department was formed after the Willard Straight Hall takeover at Cornell University, an Ivy League School located in Ithaca, New York.

The African-American historian and emeritus professor from this department, Robert L. Harris, offers a useful definition of the field in Jacqueline Bobo, Cynthia Hudley and Claudine Michel's anthology The Black Studies Reader: "Africana Studies is the multidisciplinary analysis of the lives and thought of people of African ancestry on the African continent and throughout the world. It embraces Africa, Afro-America, and the Caribbean, but does not confine itself to those three geographical areas. Africana studies examines people of African ancestry wherever they may be found—for example, in Central and South America, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Its primary means of organization are racial and cultural. Many of the themes of Africana studies are derived from the historical position of African peoples in relation to Western societies and in the dynamics of slavery, oppression, colonization, imperialism, emancipation, self-determination, liberation, and socioeconomic and political development."

Thus, it can be described as a "scholarship of compromise and acquiescence", contrasting with the historical black studies which were motivated by the struggle for civil rights.

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