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What are Black Studies

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Black Studies are interdisciplinary. The field is associated with mature academic disciplines and is strongly connected to other fields. Over the time “Black Studies”  have institutionalized itself in research universities as well as liberal arts colleges. It also acts as an academic community whose social organization is more formalized than a research specialty. Also “Black Studies” have a very long history of evolution and legitimization as shown in the paragraphs below until it reached to a point were “Black Studies” have reached a stage of being referred as a semi-institutionalized field that depends heavily on other academic disciplines for personnel and teaching opportunities. 

According to Rojas the author of “Road to Black studies” says that black studies history is remarkable since its establishment in 1968. From the nineteenth century, black intellectuals had developed a corpus of historical literary and sociological work, but few colleges and universities explicitly dedicated themselves to this body of knowledge. According to the author Rojas Black studies were based on the fact that black identity was an inherently extracurricular concern, pursuing it could only distract students from honing their critical thinking skills and seeking job opportunities (78).

The author “Road to Black studies” further says that black studies advocates were mistaken in their belief that genuine black scholarship did not exist. They were mistaken in their thoughts that black studies were meant to encourage pride among black. Rojas also says that black intellectuals felt that colleges were unable to put into consideration black topics or to provide a useful education to blacks (80).  The author also noted that black studies encouraged a renewed emphasis on ethnic pride, cultural autonomy and institutional control was highly compatible with black studies and other forms of black oriented education.

In addition, Bobo, Hudley and Michel the authors of “The Black studies reader” indicated that black studies was fundamentally trans-disciplinary and it was grounded in a range of traditional disciplines within the social sciences, humanities research and natural and physical sciences. Black studies exist not as a negotiation between or at the intersection of multiple coexisting disciplines but as a separate yet integrated discipline concerned with questions that both encompass and transcend the individual field.

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The innovation of black studies research provides distinctive angles and critical perspectives from which facts and experiences are analyzed, presented, and written about. Bobo, Hudley and Michel the authors of “The Black studies reader” further say that Black studies expands, enhances and enriches traditional disciplines in profound and significant ways. It is important to note that the melding of cultures and research paradigms within Black Studies has shown a commitment to aspects related to social, educational, and economic disparities that define curricula vitally engaged with present day societal issues (4).

Moreover, Black Studies included issues related to historical and contemporary forms of resistance and resilience in response to local and global crises as noted by Bobo, Hudley and Michel the authors of “The Black studies reader”  the authors of “The Black studies reader”. During the period from mid 1960’s all the way to the mid 1980’s Black Studies entered a duration of legitimization and institutionalization and besides that it was a period in which the contemporary period of theoretical refinement, analysis and interpretation. Many scholars articulate that Black Studies have served as a critique of educational institutions in American society, challenging what is taught in the liberal arts curricular of Americas Colleges and universities. “Black Studies” played a major role in helping to correct fundamental problems in American higher education and consequently in society (Bobo, Hudley and Michel 5).

It is significant to note that Black Studies represented interdisciplinary and multidivisional approaches that created original and innovative bodies of knowledge that responded to the challenges of America’s divisive political, economic, and realized climate that continues to exclude and marginalize those who are not considered part of mainstream America (Bobo, Hudley and Michel 4). Black Studies in this context encourages the interactions between individuals while at the same bring them to positions in which they can commemorate their differences.  Activities in Black Studies help individuals especially those in the middle and upper middle classes to be more open minded and also experience the needs of others.

In addition, due to the continuing stereotypes and prejudices regarding Black Studies and black people perpetuate the relationship between the two (Gordon and Jane 138). It was noted that where black people were few they were likely to be housed in Black Studies departments or programs. It was also noted that many black academics in which Black Studies were offered, entered the profession with an intellectual mission so as to correct erroneous and pernicious notions about African Americans. The Black Studies scholarships was characterized by struggle, individuals concentrating on their own, besides being in full of stigmatization (Gordon and Jane 138).

In conclusion, Black Studies according to the authors “Gordon and Jane” offer the most hospitable setting for the pursuit of racial issues. The authors Gordon and Jane also noted that Americans for the most part place a high value on physical authenticity when it comes to Black Studies because the majority of individuals felt that it was right to have a black professors teach Black Studies. The major assumption in this context that still prevails is that Black Studies and black faculty members suited each other perfectly because the field is simple and that the people were not so smart (Gordon and Jane 138). Black Studies are most commonly found in research intensive institutions. According to Rojas the spread of black studies programs among research universities depended on factors such as; black student protest and follow the leader effect in which universities copy each other (168). The “Black Studies” field resembles many other academic disciplines. For example its professoriate is similar to other social science and humanities fields in its demographic profile.

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