This book addresses the troubling dearth of knowledge that many American undergraduate students have about Africa. Many scholars with research interest in Africa are caught by surprise at the superficial knowledge that students bring to their classrooms; it is a knowledge base that is bereft of an insightful analytical framework of the pertinent issues just as it is deprived of a well-informed historical context of the events. There is no mistaking of the import the mass media and neighborhood folklore in shaping the students' perception about the realities of Africa's developments. Mitigating these effects requires access to a college-level introductory textbook on Africa covering a gamut of themes that are germane to the contemporary realities of the continent. It is a textbook that does not romanticize Africa, but addresses the persistent stereotypes that characterize issues about the region. The book does so in two significant ways. First, it offers a refreshing examination of African issues from an afrocentric perspective. This allows the writers to present issues from which they have practical experience, and for the reader to examine them from insider scholarship. Second, it provides an opportunity for scholars and readers to analyze the issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. Interdisciplinarity is a testament that issues are complex and no single discipline can sufficiently address them. A combination of these two approaches ensures that the book does not develop into a limited and parochial view of issues. The themes covered in the book include: disciplinary perspectives in African studies, ethnocentricism in teaching human geography of Africa, and topics of geography, religion and spirituality, mathematics, psychology, government and public policy, the transformation of higher education, rural development, communication and socio-economic development, culture and decision making styles all as they relate to Africa.
Publisher: Lexington Books
Number of pages: 330
Weight: 503 g
Dimensions: 231 x 156 x 24 mm
Munene (Northern Arizona Univ.) offers this collection as an intellectual salvo in support of Afrocentrism. This familiar position in African studies scholarship places Africans 'at the center of any knowledge produced about the continent.' Munene's iconoclastic introduction aims to follow in the large intellectual footsteps of Paul Zeleza (The Study of Africa, 2 vols., 2006-7)....The most notable essays are an illuminating discussion of psychology by James T. Gire and one on mathematics, which summarizes the fascinating work of Paulus Gerdes (Geometry from Africa, CH, Apr'00, 37-4620) and others. Overall, the book covers familiar ground - human geography, spirituality and religion, rural development, and neoliberal economics - but also explores a few unusual areas. Among these, Nabie Y. Conteh's contribution on African decision-making systems may be confusing to anyone outside the field of "decision sciences." As a primer, this collection provides an introduction to existing Afrocentric literature, frequently referencing Asante, Fanon, and others in numerous essays. For libraries, it complements collections covering the theory and history of the study of Africa. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. * CHOICE *
In An Interdisciplinary Primer in African Studies, a collection of international experts examine the production of knowledge about Africa and why African studies continues to flourish in spite of earlier pronouncements that minimized the role of area studies. As globalization unfolds, several questions arise: What are the limitations of ethnocentrism and how should it be countered? Which paradigms and approaches provide the lens through which the study of Africa is organized? And finally, to what extent are African perspectives on diverse focus areas such as religion, geography, cultures, rural development, governance, decision making, mathematics, and psychology deserving of mainstream recognition and acceptance? Contributors here address these critical questions by presenting case studies and theoretical insights from African settings. Professor Ishmael I. Munene should be lauded for putting together an excellent book that broadly examines the complexities involved in essentializing African Studies. This well written interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary book will, therefore, appeal not only to experts in area studies but to specialists in development studies, education, humanities, and social sciences generally. -- Eric E. Otenyo, Northern Arizona University
An Interdisciplinary Primer in African Studies is a collection of brilliant but accessible essays drawing from various academic disciplines and sources of information. It is an incredibly compelling volume that will invite both beginners and seasoned scholars in African studies to a conversation about development of the field. The authors have adeptly identified and used some of the misconceptions that have pervaded the different worlds of inhabitants of the continent of Africa about Africans in diaspora and vice versa to dispel misplaced myths and stereotypes that media and popular culture have disseminated bereft of in-depth analyses. Moreover, not only does the book offer the reader a compendium of knowledge about Africa but also provides pointers to possible research questions and methodologies for understanding the history and culture of the diverse continent. This interdisciplinary study is a remarkable contribution to the developing field of Africa and the African Diaspora, which will certainly benefit undergraduates and graduates students in various fields of study. -- Hannington Ochwada, Missouri State University