Journal of African American Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 236–250 | Cite as

Africana Studies’ Epistemic Identity: An Analysis of Theory and Epistemology in the Discipline

  • Serie McDougalIIIEmail author


The present study explores what is revealed about the epistemetic characteristics Africana Studies through an analysis of theories in the discipline. Race/ethnic specific theories in Africana Studies are subjected to a reductive analysis to identify the most common qualities they possess. The results indicate that although Africana Studies theories seek to explain a wide range of dimensions of the lives of people of African descent, they have several common characteristics, such as: Recognition of the Necessity of Cultural Specificity, Prioritization of Africana Needs and Interests, Heterogeneous Collectivism, Collective Emancipation and Empowerment, Agency and Self Consciousness, Historical Location, Cultural Situating, Recognizing the Shaping Effects of Oppression and Liberation, and Intersectionality. The present study helps to distinguish the unique approach to knowing in Africana Studies. Moreover, the data may be utilized to guide theory development in the discipline.


African epistemology Theory Paradigm 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Africana StudiesSan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA

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