Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

A Genealogical Analysis of the Worldview Framework in African-Centered Psychology

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

A Genealogical Analysis of the Worldview Framework in African-Centered Psychology

Article excerpt

Introduction

Africana Studies organizes itself as an interdisciplinary discipline concerned with the development of an accurate description of the Africana condition, while also providing prescriptive solutions for transforming Africana reality. The term interdisciplinary discipline suggests that Africana Studies stands on its own feet much like any academic discipline, yet it is not confined within the singular particularism of traditional disciplines. In doing so, Africana Studies is an investigation of Africana history and culture from the perspective of Africana people that is concerned with using the knowledge gained in order to change the conditions of Africana people and by extension, the human condition. In a wholistic fashion, Africana Studies utilizes lenses that are available to all of humanity for the investigation of the Africana experience, but does so through a unified approach grounded in the sociohistorical experience of Africana peoples. Africana Studies organizes itself around such components as: Africana history, Africana politics, Africana education, Africana psychology, Africana sociology, Africana economics, Africana technology, Africana science, Africana aesthetics, Africana literature, etc. Together these subject/content areas work in the creation of a wholistic interpretation of Africana social reality.

Of the previously mentioned subject/content areas, Africana African/Africentric/African-centered) psychology has been instrumental in advancing theory and research which supports the cultural and intellectual autonomy of African descended peoples. While not the only subject/content area to provide theory and research which supports the African-centered dimension of Africana Studies, Africana psychology has consistently done so and functions as an important example for the development of African-centered theory and research within the entire discipline of Africana Studies. African-centered psychology has been able to produce such research through its usage, development and interpretation of the concept/framework of worldview. Through the connective relationship between scholars of African descent in the early 1970s, worldview became an essential component that would later be foundational to African-centered psychology.

Influential to this essay is Greg Kimathi Carr's "African-Centered Philosophy of History: An Exploratory Essay on the Genealogy of Foundationalist Historical Thought and African Nationalist Identity Construction." (1) Carr provides a systematic approach in the development of an African-centered genealogy of knowledge and knowledge production for African-centered scholars in Africana Studies. Carr is fundamentally concerned with the process by which ideas, concepts, assumptions and theories pass along a Pan-African intellectual continuum and how these ideas then inform current intellectual and philosophical trends in African-centered research.

By revisiting the work of influential African-centered scholars, Carr develops a connective web of ideas and thinkers which provides a useful map in laying out the development of an African-centered philosophy of history. Carr's usage of the concept of genealogy is reflective of a historical continuum across space and time throughout the African world. This understanding deviates from the common Eurocentric notion, which is defined as "[a] form of historical analysis ... [that] opposes th[e] traditional impulses of historical methods that attempt to discover continuity and patterns of development." Instead, the western notion of genealogy concerns itself with "ruptures, discontinuity, and surfaces, attempting as Michel Foucalt has written, to 'record the singularity of events outside of any monotonous finality'." (2) Consistent with this understanding of a Eurocentric genealogy is the importance of ruptures and discontinuity. However, from an African-centered perspective, it is paramount that we look for continuity and interconnected relationships as a formidable aspect of cultural connections among African people. …

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