Demographics and Profile: The Most Cited Black Scholars in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

By Kaba, Amadu Jacky | The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online), January 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

Demographics and Profile: The Most Cited Black Scholars in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities


Kaba, Amadu Jacky, The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)


Abstract

This study presents a quantitative examination of the demographics and profile of the 2009 Journal of Blacks in Higher Education annual study of the most cited Black scholars in the Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities in the United States. Among the variables examined in this study are institution of employment, academic department, institution of terminal or highest academic degree attainment and academic major, geographic region of employment and where terminal degrees were attained, types of degrees, and year of graduation with terminal or highest degree.

Introduction/Background

The Black population in the United States is making remarkable progress in many important areas of life, despite the many daily obstacles that members in this group confront. These areas include business, military, politics, entertainment and sports. Another important area where Blacks in the U.S. are progressing in is the Higher Education sector. However, there is still a relative lack of in-depth academic or scholarly examination identifying these sectors where Blacks are flourishing and explanations as to exactly what is going on. In the area of Higher Education in the U.S. and the role of Black Americans in it, the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (JBHE) has made very useful contributions not only to Black America and the Black World (people of Black African descent all over the world), but also the U.S. as a whole and the world, because the study of Black Americans is the study of the U.S., just as the study of the U.S. is the study of the world.

Due to the fact that a substantial proportion of research on Black people tend to highlight negative stories of Black life, It is useful to also follow the model of the late Black scholar J.A. Rogers, whose body of work has influenced many people, to present information showing where Black people are not doing too well, but to also visibly or prominently present or highlight information showing Black people doing well or flourishing (see Kaba 2005, 2008; Kaba and Ward 2009). Joel Augustus Rogers (1880-1966), a Jamaican-born U.S. based scholar, contributed enormously by sharing with the world the great achievements of members of the Black race at a period in history when such information was urgently needed. Asulkile (2006) and Simba (2006) have both written important scholarly articles on the intellectual contributions of J.A. Rogers to the uplift of Black people all over the world.

This current study builds on the work of JBHE focusing on the progress of Black scholars in terms of the influence of their academic or scholarly writings. In early June 2009, JBHE published their 15th issue of a study entitled: "JBHE's Annual Citation Rankings of Black Scholars in the Social Sciences and the Humanities" (2009: 6-8). In the Social Science category a total of 39 Black scholars (38 in the U.S. and 1 in the United Kingdom) were listed showing that each one has had her or his work cited more than 10 times in 2008. The second category is a list of 30 Black scholars in the Arts and Humanities (29 in the U.S. and 1 in the United Kingdom) whose works have been cited 10 times or more in 2008. This current study does not focus on the number of citations of each of the scholars. Instead, it attempts to compile and explain important information pertaining to their demographics and profile.

One would ask: why is such a study relevant? Personally, as a professor who teaches three courses a semester and at least one course during the summer, I am certain that this information is very important to the young students that I teach because not only do I teach them, I also serve as their advisor or mentor and having such a study of these prominent Black professors and scholars ready to share with these young students helps enormously to motivate and inspire them to push themselves very hard to become like them if they intend to enter into the college or university teaching profession. …

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