Intro to Afro-American Studies 005-02
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Intro to Afro-American Studies 005-02
How do we undertake the study of the African experience/experiences?
"In war, all strategies and tactics resolve around the shield and the spear. The defensive shield protects and consolidates one's own base. The spear attacks, the goal being the capture or destruction of the opponent's base, forcing him to retreat and surrender. Applying the metaphor of war to systems of domination, we see that colonialism attacks and completely distorts a people's relationship to their natural, bodily, economic, political, and cultural base. And with this base destroyed, the wholeness of the African subject, the subject in active engagement with his environment, is fragmented."
As a people, whether you identify yourself as black, African-American, Negro, Caribbean, or African, we have physically, mentally, spiritually, and intellectually been removed from our home: Africa. Once we realize that we all come from the same place with similar cultural aspects, including all cultural meanings and makings, we can begin to undertake the study of the African experience. We must expand our views further back from slavery and start at the inception of human civilization; since, the oldest human bones are found in Africa; it only makes sense. Once we realize this, we can actively engage with one another, read together, and propose a multitude of questions together with different answers. We undertake the study of the African experiences through the original human experience and through the African diaspora by reading African works, studying African culture and understanding how we are all connected.
Critical Review of Scholarship:
Throughout the first chapters of Something Torn and New An African Renaissance, Thiong'o critically describes the first stages our ancestors went through when they were removed from Africa. The dismemberment of Africa happened in two stages: the continent and its diaspora. (Gregory Carr) "Of course, colonialists did not literally cut off the heads of the colonized or physically bury them alive. Rather, they dismembered the colonized from memory, turning their heads upside down and burying all the memories they carried." Africans were forced to forget who they were, which includes their names, languages, and where they came from, and Europeans throughout history shoved their "culture" into our ancestors, first through naming and then ownership. There was a division of Africa: land, body and mind, including "…linguicide in the case of the diaspora and linguistic famine, or linguifam, on the continent." Ebonics (Gregory Carr) allowed our ancestors to reconnect with each other from the boat to the Americas and the Caribbean.
Chapter 2: Remembering Visions continues on to describe how our ancestors remembered our history and focuses on a conceptual category, movement and memory. "The psychological connections (link between the economic and political quest of African-Americans and those of Africans) are not as easy to explain in empirical terms, but they can be felt in the souls of black folk." Many African-Americans went through natal alienation, which is why so many of us are in the condition we are in today. The default which Ngũgĩ states is that blacks have nothing to revert back to. (Gregory Carr)
Ngũgĩ's text effectively and efficiently explains how we must undertake the study of Africana experiences. Of course, it is not written blatantly how we are supposed to directly touch on the subject; however, it gives a synthesis as to where we should start. The syllabus, along with the aliteracy form is the inception of what we should start with; a book. Read. Not only do we read, we read together, we ask questions, we "search for truth, and train new generations, in order to produce new knowledge." (Gregory Carr) Our ancestors did not risk their lives along with others for generations after them to be aliterate.
I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan to my mother, Janice Jones-Sow, and my father, Moustapha Sow. My dad is from Dakar, Senegal and my parents coincidentally met at the African World Festival in Detroit in the mid-1980s. I have 3 older sisters, one who graduated from Howard University and took your class, my second oldest sister graduated from College for Creative Studies and my third oldest sister is a senior at Parson's School for Design. My mother knew the importance of teaching my sisters and I
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