Book Chapter or Section
Daudi Ajani Ya Azibo's "Articulating the Distinction between Black Studies and the Study of Blacks: The Fundamental Role of Culture and the African-Centered Worldview" originally published in the Afrocentric Scholar and republished in both editions of Nathaniel Norment Jr.'s African American Studies Reader, provides much needed clarity on the philosophical foundations of Black Studies. However, Azibo's work is connected to an earlier project, Syed M. Khatib's (aka Cedric X. Clark) "Black Studies or the Study of Black People: Reflections on the Distinctive Characteristics of Black Psychology." Both Azibo and Khatib ask an important question related to the philosophical foundations of Black Studies. In a nutshell, how will the Africana Studies practitioner orient his/her research and analysis of Africana people, history, and culture? While both Azibo and Clark ask this question, Azibo dearly centers his answer on the usage of the African worldview. Azibo's work can be considered the first conscious usage of the worldview concept and framework within Africana Studies as it relates to the philosophical and conceptual foundations of the discipline. However, this is not the first usage of the worldview concept in Africana Studies-related theory and research. While acknowledging Azibo's role in bringing the worldview concept and framework into discussions related to the foundations of Africana Studies, it is arguably just as important to understand the manner by which the worldview concept has found its way into Africana Studies-related theory and research. While Azibo should be credited for consciously centering the philosophical foundations of Black Studies on the worldview framework, the worldview concept has a long history within Africana Studies-related theory and research, prior to Azibo's 1992 publication.
As a project of Africana intellectual history, this chapter etches out the manner by which the worldview concept and framework has found its way into Africana Studies-related theory and research. One of the many pressing issues that currently impacts Africana Studies i~ the lack of work on intellectual history, especially as it relates to the philosophical foundations of the discipline. Arguably, without this type of research and investigation, Black Studies has the potential to be misdirected and misguided on a course which is incongruent with its intellectual, historical, and social origins. In an attempt to alleviate this travesty, this project functions as a model for navigating through the development of concepts, models, and theories within Africana Studies-related theory and research. This project intends to inspire new and future Africana Studies. practitioners investigate critically the intellectual history of concepts, theories, and models that we argue are central to the disciplinary infrastructure and content of Africana Studies.