The question of oppositional critique and rhetoric in Afrocentric studies has often overshadowed implemented projects and programs that advance the African centered paradigm. In this chapter, the curriculum, paradigm, and activities of Amen-Ra Theological Seminary are outlined to illustrate how the theoretical roots and ideas Afrocentricity can be incorporated into a working paradigm.
Amen-Ra Theological Seminary as an idea was first developed in 1996 at the conclusion of a public Internet workshop held at the UCLA Center for African American Studies.
And after some general discussion about the potential of electronic information, the discussion turned to the question of religion and philosophy focused on the African experience and the possibility of establishing a seminary or university to advance our new interest.
Thereafter, I posed the question to those on my e-mail list and awaited responses. The response was favorable, and moreover, my colleagues Joseph D. Atkinson III and Phillip McAbee, both very aware of the power and potential of the Internet, encouraged me to explore the idea.
Subsequently, that summer I began a bibliographic search for content to determine if there was a body of work to support a full African centered curriculum on African religion and spirituality, and ultimately set a foundation for an educational institution that moved beyond the structural confines of token programs, departments or institutes based at predominately Euro-centric centers of higher education in the U.S.
After much reading and re-reading of books and articles on African world religion, philosophy and spirituality, I discovered that there was indeed a distinct body of literature on this important topic. And although, I had no doubt about finding sufficient supporting documentation to establish a curriculum and institution, the exercise assisted in forming a rational African centered paradigm conducive to institutionalization.
The curriculum of Amen-Ra Theological Seminary consists of twenty-five African centered courses focused upon the questions of moral principles and values (ethics), truth, the nature and origin of knowledge (epistemology), and general theocentric paradigms.
And thus, the curriculum is designed to provide an education of distinction that can lead learners to new knowledge and understanding in the area of African world religion, philosophy and spirituality.
In the development of the Amen-Ra Theological Seminary course of study, the curriculum of other theological centers was investigated to determine their scope and depth in African world community theological studies. In this search I found a number of courses devoted to African religion and philosophy at the University of the West Indies; Howard University; and the Interdenominational...