Jeanette R. Davidson’s volume marks a valuable moment for recognition of the status that African-American Studies has achieved as a body of knowledge and a field of studies. This is a book about accomplishments in African American Studies and, in some cases, about recognizing that fundamental cultural issues do not get resolved so much as reframed. This book marks a point of maturity in which, for the first time, it is possible to see African American Studies—with nearly half a century of history behind it—in the act of renewing itself for the twenty-first century.
This renewal is strengthened by the presence in this volume of figures synonymous with innovative inquiry. Molefi Asante is the principal figure who has defined Afrocentricity in African American Studies. The actor and director Danny Glover reflects on African Americans in film and the arts. Manning Marable, Charles Jones, and Nafeesa Muhammad explore the dimension of social activism that is inextricable in African American Studies, and they are joined by a cadre of talented scholars who investigate the arts and social thought in a manner in keeping with the Black intellectual tradition.
This volume also shows that, beneath the interpretation of the social sciences and the arts in African American Studies, is a deeper concern. This volume demonstrates that the great power of African American Studies has never been limited to its choice of areas to investigate, but includes a commitment to critique the relationship of race and power in America—the relationship of the African American community and American society at large. From the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself (1845) through the recent work of bell hooks and