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The Ancient African Past and the Field of Africana Studies Author(s): Ayele Bekerie Source: Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 37, No. 3, Sustaining Black Studies (Jan., 2007), pp. 445460 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40034785 . Accessed: 08/05/2013 12:40 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

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THE ANCIENT AFRICAN PAST AND THE FIELD OF AFRICANA STUDIES
AYELE BEKERIE
CornellUniversity

The ancient African to of pastrefers deeds and events African peoples documented narrated or oral traditions other or means through or written from timeof humanbeginnings the untilthe modern period.Africana studies a transdisciplinary ofstudy is field to tradipertaining intellectual tions and practicesof Africanand African-descended peoples. The ancient African is valuedin thefieldofAfricana studies. The value past to Africa within field the given ancient mayserveas a critical conceptual of challengeto the colonial history Africa.This articlecalls for an of Africana that and scheme to philosophy history, is, a vision interpretive reflect thehistorical ofconcerns. seeksan intellectual on field It critically endeavorto recapture historical spaces, thereby leading not only to autonomous of ancient African butalso to engaging in readings history thedevelopment explanatory of for paradigms thefield. studies;African Keywords: ancient African past; Africana Diaspora; Rosetta stone; Africacolonialism;historicallinguistics; centered paradigm rivers: known I've rivers ancient theworldand olderthan as I've known bloodin human veins. theflowofhuman - Langston Hughes(1920/1997)

African initsbroadest refers deedsand to Theancient sense, past, oralorwritten of events documented, traditions, peoples by through in from earliest, African the which descent Africa African or time, era. now standsat about7 millionyears,to the contemporary to Sevenmillion yearsis a dateassigned a hominid (commonly in as datedhumanlike known Toumai Chad),theearliest species.1 is field to Africana studies a transdisciplinary of study pertaining 2007 445-460 JOURNALOF BLACK STUDIES, Vol. 37 No. 3, January DOI: 10.1177/0021934706290085 © 2007 Sage Publications

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JOURNALOF BLACK STUDIES /JANUARY 2007

intellectual and and traditions practices African African-descended of Fromitsinception, and Africana studies' peoples. "field-forming I may use Lucius Outlaw's, 1998, apt (if tradition-defining" includetheteaching researching ancient and of phrases)efforts African and to The history civilizations. importance given ancient Africawithin fieldnot onlyhighlights linking the its attribute, butitalso serves a critical as to thecolonial conceptual challenge of hereis and theAfrican history Africa Diaspora.Colonialism defined itcovers eraofenslavement direct and or the and broadly indirect colonialism the 19thand 20thcenturies of (Eze, 1997). As Eze (1998) putsit, we understand indescribable disthe crisis Bycolonialism, should suffered endured theAfrican in and proportionately by peoples their encounter theEuropean with from beginthe world, tragic of fifteenth the nineteenth...
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