Publisher: African Studies Association

Life Begins At Fifty: African Studies Enters Its Age of Awareness

Joseph C. Miller
KEYWORDS: Life Begins at Fifty: African Studies Enters Its Age of Awareness

ABSTRACT:

The impending fiftieth anniversary of the African Studies Association offers the occasion for a historian to reflect on the maturation of the field as a historical process. The essay employs metaphors from human development to highlight the inevitably incremental, always partial, steps by which people—including professional Africanists—accomplish significant change. For African studies these steps have moved from an initial social-science orientation and reliance on the abstractions of the high modernity of the mid-twentieth century to more experiential ways of understanding that have opened the door to new epistemologically African sensibilities. Africanists based in the United States are already moving beyond the limits of the external and objectifying tendencies inherent in “studying” anything and instead are listening to and learning from their full partners and collaborators in and from Africa




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