THE POLITICS OF KNOWLEDGE: SELECTED BLACK CRITIQUES OF WESTERN EDUCATION 1850-1933
Abstract (Summary)This study posits that as an academic discipline, Black Studies has as its historical antecedent more than a century of vigorous struggle for interpretive power and definitional control of the Black experience. The demands of Black students on black and white campuses for an education relevant to the needs and aspirations of the Black community shook the foundations of the Academy. Yet the thrust of angry Black students during the late 1960s was not the first serious intellectual offensive launched against white-controlled education. Though distinguished by its passion and polemics, Black Studies was not new. Rather, the Black Studies movement represented a resurgence of Black nationalist sentiment inextricably linked with the quest for the redemption of Black history and its meaningful interpretation. At least a century prior, Dr. Edward W. Blyden of St. Thomas and Liberia devoted his life to challenging the West's racist, ahistorical image of Blacks. An educator, Blyden was profoundly committed to the development of what he termed "the African personality" and politically espoused repatriation of Disasporan Africans. A generation later, his "disciple", Joseph E. Casely-Hayford of the former Gold Coast was equally concerned with the "African nationality" and the appropriate role for the emerging Western-educated elite. In the United States a decade later, Carter G. Woodson, "the father of Black history" grappled with the same issue, charging the West with the deliberate "miseducation of the Negro". This study examines the politics of knowledge in the context of these three Black responses to the West's distortion of Black history and Black humanity. Their indictment of Western education as a retarding factor in racial uplift and the complicity of Western academicians in the perpetuation of racism is central to the focus of this study. It is argued that Afrocentric Black Studies create a constant tension in the Academy due to inherent ideological differences.
School Location:USA - Massachusetts
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/1985