Africology, Black studies, African American studies, Africana studies, or African world studies? What’s so important about a given name?

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African American Studies


This article reviews existing literature on nomenclatural debates within the discipline of Africology and African American Studies. It highlights key issues in the debate, such as subject- matter approaches to the definition of the discipline, disciplinary permeability, epistemological perspective or worldview approaches to the definition of the discipline, the centrality of the African American experience, diasporic visions of the discipline, global visions of the discipline, outsiders' versus insiders' perceptions of the scope of the discipline, and disciplinary marketability or viability as a gate-way to both intellectual development and job opportunities. The paper also summarizes the case-study of the Department of Africology and African American Studies at Eastern Michigan University that went through a recent name change from "African American Studies" to "Africology and African American Studies."

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