Some Reflections on the Journey from African Studies to Africana Studies

The introduction and development of research on Africa and African Americans in United States academia is an on-going process. African studies, Africana studies and Black studies are each the result of scholarship and society evolutions. But each of these denominations also impacts on the institutionalisation of research, its shaping and the future of its enhancement. A review of their history shows the crucial issue of denomination in area studies. Alden Young is an Assistant Professor of African Studies and Director of the Program in Africana Studies at Drexel University, in the US. He graduated from Princeton University, where he wrote a PhD addressing decolonization, economic development and the process of state formation in post-WWII Africa, and more specifically in Sudan. Following this research, he is now developing a research project on elites’ role in managing economic development.   African Studies Beyond the Area Studies Paradigm In recent years scholarship on Africa has flourished within the American academy, even as African Studies as a discipline has struggled to find a model that would provide it with a stable institutional home. In this essay, I will discuss a variety of institutional approaches to African studies within the US academy; my overview will be biased towards the East Coast institutions with which I […]

Continue Reading 0

Japan’s Education Ministry Says to Axe Social Science and Humanities

Humanities and Social Sciences academic departments are being shut down by the Japanese government which has ordered their eventual closure all over the country. This decision concerns the majority of national universities, and starkly foregrounds questions surrounding the necessity of scholarship, the use(s) of HSS and how the ‘value’ of academic research is assessed. At least 26 of Japan’s 60 national universities that have departments of the humanities or the social sciences plan to close those faculties after a ministerial request from the Japanese government, according to a new survey of university presidents by The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. A June 8 letter from Hakubun Shimomura, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, to all of Japan’s 86 national universities and all of the nation’s higher education organizations asks them to take “active steps to abolish [social science and humanities] organizations or to convert them to serve areas that better meet society’s needs.” The call focuses on undergraduate departments and graduate programs that train teachers, and includes the areas of law and economics. To back up the request – which was made “in the light of the decrease of the university-age population, the demand for human resources and the quality control […]

Continue Reading 0