Innovative connections of Africana cultures: issues and literatures with policy studies and analysis.

Author:M'Baye, Babacar
 
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The genesis of this special issue of the Journal of Pan African Studies goes back to the summer of 2005 when members of the Africana Cultures and Policy Studies Institute (ACPSI) gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina, under the hosting of one of its executive members and senior fellows Dr. Robert Smith, to examine key issues facing people of African descent in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. The ACPSI, then barely one year old, decided to edit a special journal issue that would gather the theories of various scholars of Africana Studies on this crucial topic. With the support of Dr. Itibari M. Zulu and of scholars of Africana Studies, including those of the ACPSI, the special issue has become a reality.

In 2003, the ACPSI was formed as a part of our intellectual community at Bowling Green State University. The ACPSI is a unique research think tank that examines the intersections and linkages among Africana culture(s) and policy (public and private), emphasizing an interdisciplinary approach comprised of disciplines including but not limited to history, cultures studies, literature, education, etc. Our main mission is the definition of the field of Africana Cultures and Policy Studies and the establishment of a new and innovative research paradigm for Africana Studies. The scholars of the ACPSI seek to develop methodologies that involve the canonization of Africana Studies texts and materials for the purposes of policy analysis, development, evaluation, and implementation. We believe that the next phase of the Africana Studies movement is the production of scholarship that centrally addresses the connections between Africa and African-descended peoples in an effort to substantively link theory and praxis and impact the policy process from both bottom-up and top-down approaches. More information about the Institute, including its Senior Fellows and publication projects, can be found at: http://www.theacpsi.org/.

The major objective of this special issue is to establish connections between people of African descent while providing answers to the following questions: How have forcefully imposed relations between haves and have-nots across the regions where Black populations live shape the inequalities that are plaguing the Black world? What roles do racism and prejudice play in constraining Africana populations? Can such challenges be overcome through revaluation of African cultures?

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