The Cultural Identity of Africa and the Global Tasks of Africana Studies

by Kwasi Konadu

Abstract

This essay is concerned with the cultural identity of Africa and the appropriate study of Africa (ns).  It is a direct response to the notion of conceptually and pragmatically situating Africa, in all its scope and dimensions, back into Africana Studies.  The paper raises a fundamental question: whether the vocation of ‘African Studies’ is really about the study of Africa (ns). The paper proposes that Africana studies is better suited to project a consummate cultural identity and approach to the study of Africa (ns).  To that end, the paper distinguishes ‘African studies’ from ‘Africana studies’ which is perhaps the first step in confronting the challenges faced by both enterprises, as well as how the latter can become an appropriate intellectual enterprise that would substantively contribute to African life and practice.

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Kwasi Konadu recently obtained his Ph.D in African Studies from Howard University.  He is the Executive Director of ASI, an African cultural and research consultancy group, based in Ghana and the U.S. His research interests include African indigenous knowledge systems, culture development and theory, language and society, and African historiography.