African American Studies

General Competencies

Critical Analysis: Ability to use the African-centered perspective to interpret and analyze, critique  ideas, texts, social, historical and cultural phenomena.

Disciplinary Knowledge: Understand the history of Black Studies, the social-political and academic arena in which it developed, its major contributors, and how Black Studies’ distinctive treatment of subject matter has been affected by its historical evolution.

Effective Communication: Abilities to effectively discuss, analyze, and present ideas in a variety of ways–orally, written, and through use of multi-media technology on a variety of assignments or tasks.

Understanding Human and Cultural Diversity: Knowledge of and respect for the culture, values, and belief systems of the global community of individuals and groups; understand the commonalities among members of the human race while also understanding how concepts such as  race, gender, culture, ethnicity and religion introduce real and contrived differences between and among groups.

Problem Solving: (a) Contribute to the betterment of society by identifying critical social issues and problems, (b) Employ appropriate empirical methods to pursue causes, effects, and solutions to those problems, and accept responsibility for presenting findings and solutions to appropriate agents of social change.

Technological Literacy: Demonstrate ability to appropriately choose and effectively use multiple methods of technology in locating and displaying socially relevant information in a public forum both large and small.

Specific Competencies for African American Studies

I. Critical Analysis

  • Define African philosophy.
  • Discuss the interconnections (or lack of) between African philosophy and African-American philosophy.
  • Define African centeredness and explain its transformation of the Black Studies discipline.
  • Apply the dentition of African philosophy to the cultural, social, economic, political, and spiritual Black global issues.
  • Describe/define the role of the Black intellectual.
  • Discuss the differences between the role of the mainstream Black intellectual and the African centered intellectual.
  • Discuss the uses of the anthropological, political, social, and economic uses of the concept of race.
  • Define and discuss the affective approach to knowledge.
  • Discuss bow the concept of race has affected the development of African and diasporan literature.
  • How do we defend the validity of an Afrocentric theory of Black personality? Outline a method of research analysis for scholarly investigation of a topic in the Black Studies social science/behavioral curriculum.
  • Outline the processes involved in conducting a specific study using ethnographic methods.
  • List five texts that are most responsible for the epistemological development of the discipline and explain their importance.
  • Explain the interrelationship between pedagogy and epistemology in Black Studies.
  • How does the study of Kemet (Ancient Egypt) attempt to re-define the Black Studies discipline?
  • Discuss the role of gender in the Black Studies curriculum.
  • Discuss bow the interconnections between race, gender, and class issues in the Black Studies discipline differ from those in mainstream disciplines.

II. Disciplinary Knowledge

  • Define the discipline.
  • Discuss the historical range of the discipline.
  • Be familiar with the names and ideas of the primary figures from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that have contributed to the discipline.
  • Discuss the politics of the 1950s and 1960s that are responsible for the institutionalization of Black Studies.
  • Explain why Black Studies was conceived as an interdisciplinary discipline and how the discipline has evolved to an independent status much like history, English, political science, and anthropology.
  • Define an African world view and delineate and discuss its components.
  • Discuss the diversity of the intellectual vends and scholars that make up the field of Black Studies.
  • Describe, characterize, or define the various methodologies used in research and ethnographic methods in the discipline.
  • Discuss the difference between method and methodology.
  • Apply the critical/analytical methodologies used to critique the creative arts.
  • Explain how/why the visual arts, music, dance, proverbs, epics, magic are all manifestations of the inextricable interrelationship between African religion and philosophy.
  • Define African Aesthetics.
  • Discuss the women who have intellectually and politically contributed to and influenced the development of the discipline.
  • Discuss the role sexism and class has played in the discipline.
  • Discuss the politics that distinguish Black Studies Departments from Black Studies Programs.
  • Discuss the significance of the study of Kemet (Ancient Egypt) and Mdw Ntr (hieroglyphics) to the history and evolution of Black Studies.
  • Explain the need for an emphasis on the Meatier, principles of truth, justice, and harmony to pedagogy in Black Studies.
  • Discuss the history of Afrocentricity, giving particular emphasis to its relationship to the broader field of Black Studies.
  • Define a Black Studies paradigm. Discuss the ideas of scholars whose works contribute to the conceptualization of this paradigm.
  • Define an African centered paradigm. Discuss how it differs from a broader Black Studies paradigm and discuss the ideas of scholars whose works contribute to the conceptualizations of this paradigm.
  • Discuss the historical reasons for the various names of departments that describe the discipline such as Black Studies, African American Studies, Africana Studies, Pan-African Studies, Black World Studies, Diasporan Studies, and New World Studies.
  • Discuss the history of African American literature, poetry, novels, essays, autobiographies, and emancipatory narratives.
  • Discuss the literary works of major (influential) African literary figures.
  • Discuss the characteristics of the Black church and its relationship to African religion.
  • Demonstrate reading knowledge of an African language.
  • Discuss the politics of Black popular culture, especially of Black music, the mass media and Black cinema.
  • Discuss the political, economic, and cultural development of Africa.
  • Discuss the development of African-American history.
  • Discuss the politics and culture of Blacks in the Caribbean and their relationship to Africa and North America.

III. Effective Communication

  • Proficiency in using Standard English in speaking and writing.
  • The ability to argue Black Studies issues orally and to write about them persuasively.
  • Development of listening skill.
  • Respect for the opinion of others.
  • The ability to argue both the negative and positive perspectives of an issue in Black Studies.
  • Competent and confident interviewing skill.

IV. Understanding Human and Cultural Diversity

  • Ability to work as consultants for Black Studies issues and to assist high-school teachers and administrators in developing Black Studies curricula.
  • Ability to use quantitative data to improve quality of secondary education.
  • Assist grassroots community organizations in understanding the psychological, sociological, economical, and health issues that relate to spouse and drug abuse in the Black community.
  • Lead dialogue inside and outside the academy on recent “Whiteness Studies.
  • Ability to discuss characteristics of a Eurocentric world view.
  • Dismiss the cultural differences and similarities between Blacks in Africa and the diasporas.

V. Problem Solving

  • Collection of Research Data and Application of that data to problem solving.
  • Conceptualization of specific thesis from broad, multi-layered aesthetic topic and organized, substantive support of that thesis.
  • Development of Research Questionnaires.

VI. Technological Literacy

  • Ability to create Black Studies Databases because of paucity of scholarship in the discipline on the Internet and because of the politics surrounding scholarship in the discipline.
  • Ability to create Black Studies web pages because of under representation on the Internet.
  • Ability to create multi-media presentations.
  • Ability to research competent sources for African American Studies on the Internet.
  • Be able to use software that analyzes statistical material that relates to research methods and ethnographic methods.
  • Ability to create desk-top publishing software in order to disseminate information about the discipline of Black Studies.