Introduction: The African Centered Paradigm.


Any meaningful and authentic study of peoples of African descent must begin and proceed with Africa as the center.

-----Abu Shardow Abarry Journal of Black Studies (vol.21, no.2, December 1990, p.123)

The African centered paradigm rest on the work of scholars and activists who have articulated the importance of grounding the study and research of Africa and African people in African ideals and values. And as a result, most issues concerning the African centered perspective surround the question of knowledge and paradigm construction. Therefore, our first challenge is to articulate a paradigm, and secondly, to ensure that it is a working organism in service to human development, and understanding. To this end, this anthology examines patterns, examples, ideas and orientations to constructing theory and institution building consistent with the ethos of the African world community experience. (1)

As we work to develop this paradigm, we must also remain cognizant of detractors in our midst, working in their own way to define, distort and simply box the African centered paradigm into an ill-defined ghetto of "Afrocentrism" that equates the Afrocentric dialectic as a narrowly focused and divisive enterprise. (2)

In contrast, after a through reading of the books listed in this text, and a basic understanding of some of the complexities of Afrocentricity (an intellectual orientation) and the African centered paradigm (a process of implementation), it should be clear that the aim of the African centered project rest on a progressive social and theoretical development agenda.

As with other debates, this discussion may continue unrestricted, however, those who have a working and theoretical knowledge of the Afrocentric project must judiciously begin to define the African centered paradigm as a critical multidisciplinary humanistic, intellectual and cultural dynamic involving:

* cosmology

* epistemology

* axiology

* aesthetics

* critique

* human dignity

* a commitment to African world community knowledge development

* questioning ideas related to the African experience

* the placement of African ideals and values

Hence, a perspective that allows African people to be the subjects of historical data rather than the objects of historical experience; a forum for victorious consciousness development and consistent dialogue with African history and culture; scholarly methodology; centrality of Africa as a starting point for analysis and synthesis; an orientation that utilizes the affective, collective, metaphysical, spiritual and humanistic character thesis in its paradigmatic; a concern for the maintenance and enhancement of interpersonal and organizational relationships; and a quest to free the study of Africa and African people from the monopolistic and racist claws of European scholarship.

This matrix provide the essence of this presentation, and give viability to an African...

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