The Intellectual Warfare of Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers and the Battle for Ancient Nubia as a Foundational Paradigm in Africana Studies: Thoughts and Reflections

Article excerpt

Abstract

This article is intended to remind Africana scholars about what Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop called the necessary "pluridisciplinary skills" encompassing what he described as three factors: Historical, Linguistic, and Psychological. This has vast implications for the field of Africana Studies. African-Centered scholars engaging in what Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers called "Intellectual Warfare" are struggling against well-financed and organized European intellectual armies preparing to do battle with us to the end. In order to combat these challenges Africana scholars must be grounded in African-Centered theory, methodology and pedagogy. In this article I first explain what led me to become a soldier in this battle for the liberation of the African mind. Then I explain the importance of Nubian Studies to Africana Studies as a form of emancipatory thinking against those interlopers, Black and white, who would dismiss our intellectual struggle. Until we recognize that it was through ancient Nubia that Kemetic civilization flowed, we will continue to engage in debates based on the "modern falsification" of African history (Diop, 1974). Finally, this article is a call to arms for those African-Centered scholars who are seriously engaged in this work to realize that we need many more intellectual warriors in this struggle. It also provides those reluctant Africana scholars who either have never found their way home or are still groping in darkness with tools to realize that there are African-Centered intellectual warriors waiting to train them in the necessary tools for battle.

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Introduction

The field of Africana Studies has been under attack since Newsweek published its expose on Afrocentrism in September, 1978 (Adler et al., 1991). It seemed that for the first time European America discovered that African people in the United States had discovered a counter narrative to their meta-narrative that maintained that people of African descent in their neocolonial possession were indeed, inferior. Our particular narrative is seated squarely in the civilizations of the Nile Valley, particularly ancient Kemet (Egypt) and Kush (Nubia). This was a difficult pill for the European intellectual community to swallow. Were the former colonized and ostracized now standing up for themselves and rewriting history, or what European American scholars referred to as revisionists' history? Even worse, were Afrocentrists actually teaching Black people about their connection to the Nile Valley and that the ancient people of Kemet and Kush were their ancestors? Was it possible that an area located in what has been called the North African Middle East and one of the birthplaces of Western society was now really the locus of African culture and civilization?

Europeans have had a monopoly on the construction of historiography relative to Kemet and Kush since the Napoleonic invasions of Egypt in 1798. From that point on there was a conscious and systematic effort to remove Egypt from Africa and consequently Africans from Egypt, replacing them, in the minds of naïve observers from afar, with an Arab population that did not arrive until 639 C.E. In Europe's haste to whitewash classical African history through the use of curricular and pedagogical planning, whole generations of African people were deprived of their rightful place in the history of humanity. Arguments made by European writers suggested that we fit firmly into the niceties of the Hegelian notion that we had no history or that we fit into G. Stanley Hall's view that we were part of the "great army of incapables" (Kliebard, 2004), who's attempt to know ourselves was impossible since, as a people, we were savages and childlike with no ethical or moral compass to guide us. Unfortunately, writers with these perspectives were mistaken.

We have a long and storied tradition of African scholars who have fought to keep the importance of our link to Nile Valley civilizations alive. …