Development of African American Studies

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  • Topic: American studies, African American, Interdisciplinary fields
  • Pages : 4 (1163 words )
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  • Published : October 5, 2010
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Development of African American Studies

Scholars have dedicated their time and attention to furthering the discipline of African American Studies and can define the field with many different definitions. Through looking at the origins and development in the study we can see how it became a legitimate academic field. As we study the writings of the African American intellect, it will fully explain the importance of the discipline. Their work will justify the study of cultural and historical experiences of Africans living in Africa or the African Diaspora. When examining the scholar’s arguments we can develop our own intellectually informed rationalization of the field of African American Studies.

The intellectual development of African American Studies according to Robert Harris is broken down into four stages. From the 1890’s and until World War II there were historical and literary societies. In 1915, Carter G. Woodson established the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. The association published African history journals and never missed an issue even during the Great Depression. In 1939, Gunnar Myrdal from Sweden started the study of black life, which was funded by the Carnegie Corporation. The years following were periods of debate and legitimization of the discipline. (Harris) The 1960’s were a period of vision and change, so it only makes sense that Black Studies fostered during this time. A time where people were dedicated to ending the struggles and making strides for black power, liberation, and equal rights. This movement was not only a social shift but also a mission of developing academics.

This expedition to generate a field of African American Studies began in Universities around the country. The 1960’s gathered the younger generation together in a time where they could speak out about the problems and inconsistencies they saw in their school. The movements began all over America. The strives to create a field of...
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