Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

On the Meta-Theoretical Orientation of Daudi Azibo's Nosology: Placing the Development of His African-Centered Diagnostic System against the Methodological Crisis Argued for by Dr. W. C. Banks

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

On the Meta-Theoretical Orientation of Daudi Azibo's Nosology: Placing the Development of His African-Centered Diagnostic System against the Methodological Crisis Argued for by Dr. W. C. Banks

Article excerpt

Introduction

Since the introduction of Daudi ya Azibo's Nosology model in "African-Centered Theses on Mental Health and a Nosology of Black/African Personality Disorder" (1989), Azibo's nosology has been well noted in the scholarly record (Anderson and Stewart 2007, Warfield-Coppock 1995) and engaged for its relevance in clinical practice (Abdullah 1998, Atwell and Azibo 1991, Azibo and Dixon 1998, Dennard 1998, Dixon and Azibo 1998, Richard 2002). Whereas multiple articles have utilized Azibo's Nosology for its practical interventions into the theory and practice of Black psychology, to date no articles have inquired into the methodological and theoretical genealogy of Azibo's system. To some psychologists and Black Studies scholars to pose such a question at the 25 year mark of the theory seems silly, or useless given its representation in the literature, but it is precisely the archival history of Azibo's nosology, specifically the special edition of the 1998 Journal of Black Psychology edited partially by Dr. Azibo himself that brought this question to mind.

The Journal of Black Psychology 24.2 (1998) begins with eulogies by Ewart Thomas and Howard Hall to the late W. Curtis Banks, who died January 14th of that year; and ends with a smaller section edited by Dr. Daudi Azibo himself on the clinical efficacy and theoretical intervention of his now popular nosology. The contrast of these two sections in this edition impressed me, and reignited an argument I developed as an undergraduate student in an African American Psychology class at Southern Illinois University Carbondale when I was asked to read Azibo and Banks works on African-centered thought. On the one hand, we see the death of one of the most philosophically astute and critical methodologists in Black psychology, next to the rise of a (then) young radical theorist who adamantly disagreed with Banks, but nonetheless was influenced by his intellectual opposition.

Many scholars do not know that Daudi Azibo was a post-doctoral student of the late Dr. W.C. Banks at the Educational Testing Service in the Fall of 1983 (Azibo 2002, 72). In fact, Daudi Azibo not only documents this in his article "Some Reflections on My Interactions with the Late Dr. W. Curtis Banks," but makes clear that he and Banks were from sharply different and oppositional intellectual tradtions. In thinking about his post-doctoral position under Banks, Azibo recalls that:

More than one Radical School psychologist advised me not to take the postdoc with Curtis, fearing an inevitable clash of perspectives. Although our perspectives indeed differed--me from the Radical School and Banks not--we clicked on an intellectual level. Curtis appreciated my theoretical skills, but really liked my bringing empiricism to Radical School theory (e.g., Azibo, 1983, 1991), which in the early 1980s was overall absent. (Azibo 2002, 72)

In this same article, Azibo cites his own work, specially the "Perceived Attractiveness and the Black Personality" (1983) and "An Empirical Test of the Fundamental Postulates of an African Personality Metatheory" (1991) as evidence that he was seeking to bring an "empiricism to radical school theory," a practice that was seemingly absent in the early 1980s. Six years later, Daudi Azibo would carry this empirical intervention forward, and present his nosology as "an African-centered diagnostic system of psychological functioning as opposed to the one African-centered diagnostic system" (Azibo 1989, 206) to the world in his now famous "African-Centered Theses on Mental Health and a Nosology of Black/African Personality Disorder."

What is most interesting about this essay is that Azibo concludes his 1989 article with a tribute to two seemingly divergent aspects of intellectual thought one paradigmatically African-centered and the other empirical. Azibo argues that his nosology; "this diagnostic system and the personality theory underpinning it are two examples of how the clarion calls of Wade Nobles and W. …

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