Terms & Concepts


Africology and 'Africalogy' as the Frameworks for Analysis

Discussions of African agency happen in both the fields of Area Studies and Black/African-American Studies. When that discussion centers inquiry on Africa and Africans; and seeks to improve the life chances of all Africans, Afrocentric theories arise. While Afrocentric scholars are guided by the same paradigm, the fields within which they associate influence their inquiry and theory construction. Scholars agreeing with the Afrocentric paradigm have given rise to the discipline of Africology within the field of Black and African-American Studies. While this field addresses a global African cultural experience, it has geographically focused on Africans in the Americas. In contrast, the field of Area Studies focuses on the exclusive examination of life in contemporary Africa. In each field Afrocentric scholars seek to conceptually reunite the African trans-Atlantic experience.

'Africalogy' is a term used in this study to name the disciplinary focus within the field of Area Studies, which examines the African continent and/or the populations residing within. Its scholars are Afrocentric and/or Pan-Africanist in outlook and this distinguishes them from their field colleagues, many of which are scholars based in colonial disciplines and therefore employ tools of analysis insufficient to improve Pan-African agency.

'Africalogy' differs from Africology in that the former focuses little on African descendents who reside outside of Africa as a result of European imperial dispersion. On the other hand, Africology is a disciplinary pinnacle within the field of Black, African-American, Afro-American, and Africana studies. Within this field, it is distinguished by its Afrocentric core location. Many scholars in the field however, are wedded to colonial disciplines in a similar fashion as Area Studies scholars.

Both, Africalogy and Africology, engage African-centered data and both employ a variety of positive synthetic approaches to gathering data. Certain concepts we will encounter, however, are rooted in one or the other of these approaches. The concept, "African world," for example, grows from the Black nationalism of Africology while the concept, "African Union," arises from the Pan-Africanism of Africalogy. These concepts are not exclusively placed in one field or the other, but are different points of vision within the same worldview. This site highlights the distinct points of views only when it adds to the descriptive analysis of Nkrumah's ideological and academic approaches.

'Twin Disciplinary' Approach

The method employed in this site is derived from the twin disciplines of Africology and Africalogy. However, it utilizes tools, when they are not in contradiction with core theories, of other disciplines. This approach is sure to become more widely used by scholars who research tributary sources of Pan-African agency.

This approach differs from the interdisciplinary approach because it is anchored by a general concern to improve African agency. In that sense, the core disciplines act as stars around which the other approaches revolve. The core concern remains the qualification of African agency. Satellite disciplines suggest approaches to measuring and categorizing data at best. Values for assessment, however, will be gleaned from the discipline, of Africology and Africalogy.

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African Liberation Movement (ALM)

This movement includes the collection of African organizations and key personnel that cooperated to bring a cessation to the European classical colonialism. They sought to dismantle the colonial apparatus that dominated Africa from the latter part of the Nineteenth century through the latter part of the Twentieth century. Tactical unity within the movement existed on the ideas of socialism and unity.

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"Centrism, the groundedness of observation and behavior in one's own historical experiences, it shapes the concepts, paradigms, [sic] theories, and methods of Africalogy [sic]" (Asante 1992, 12). The center becomes the filter of all experiences and the emanation of all decisions. Locating the center of an agent helps to provide awareness of the motive factors surrounding her, his, or its willful actions. Behavior, language patterns, and symbol preferences are processes that assist in the identifying locations.

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Collective African Personality

This concept speaks to the Pan-African national culture. While close to the African world in meaning this concept is not essentially a race-based one but a race conscious one. More importantly, it is an ideologically and culturally based identity. It speaks to an "African People," which Nkrumah referred to as the African masses and which S. Touré often called the People's Class. It speaks to the behavior and character of organized entities in their attempt to establish an optimal zone for continued cultural development.

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Composite African

Under a discussion of cosmological issues, Asante speaks to the concept of "composite African." "The fundamental assumptions of Africalogical inquiry are based on the African orientation to the cosmos. By "African" I mean clearly a "composite African" not a specific discrete African orientation which would rather mean ethnic identification, i.e., Yoruba, Zulu, Nuba, etc." (Asante 1992, 9) To these specific groups we will add, Nzema, Asante, Fante1, African American, and Ghanaian. The composite African is the foundation of Pan-African identity and the individual reflection of the African Personality.

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This concept is a dynamic one that is fully discussed in the Pan-Africanism section of this site (coming in January 2001). This term addresses a set of ideas and actions that seek to establish an optimal zone for macro-African agency. Nkrumah has stated it as an objective while others have described it in its adjectival form as an indicator of cross-group participation of African peoples. Some authors have also described it as an ideology. In this site, it is made synonymous with the African Personality, African Genius, and African Community as described by Nkrumah.

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Pan-African Nationalist Movement (PANM) and the African Unity Movement (AUM)

These are the monikers for that association of African agents committed to the rapid evolution and revolution of a continent-wide autochthonous government and cultural institutions. These nationalists are to be distinguished from regionalists and micro-nationalists.

The African Liberation Movement (ALM) was subsumed for a while under the rubric of the PANM but with the assertion of an African Union the PANM was brought into clearer focus and distinguished from the ALM which sought nationalisms wedded to colonial borders. PANM speaks to those who promoted the establishment of Africa as one nation.

The African Unity Movement (AUM) was a broader movement that included the PANM and federalist ranging from those that would accept a Union or Federal form of continental unity. Some of the participants of the Casablanca Group were a part of this movement.

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Philosophical Consciencism

Nkrumah offered a philosophy to help with decolonization. It is an applied philosophy that takes the social milieu of the philosopher(s) into consideration. It upholds certain traditional values while synthesizing incoming experiences. Finally, it maps out the creation of liberated territories through the formulaic application of "positive action."

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Traditional Rulers2

'Traditional rulers', in this text, refers to those kings and local leaders who, before European colonial intervention, managed the affairs of polities throughout Africa. It is a broad and sweeping term including a host of traditional interrelated leadership groups and public officials. All seekers of political control sought the collaboration or annihilation of these rulers.

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Synthetic Afrocentric Paradigm

A synthesis of Afrocentric paradigm constructed by Asante, and commented on by Keto, can provide an academic structure to evaluate Nkrumahism. Briefly stated, this paradigm involves the utilization of the following concepts:

  1. Individual and organizational agency in the intellectual and social landscape;
  2. Psychological, political, and philosophical location;
  3. Historicity and hermeneutics;
  4. Critique and delinking;
  5. Denunciation of Eurocentric and Sinocentric hegemony, and
  6. Assertion of an African culture, personality, and genius

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1 Alternate spellings exist throughout this site for the Nzima (Nzema), Asante (Ashanti), and Fante (Fanti) subculture groups.

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2 The term "Odikro" is occasionally used as is the term "chief." The first term is an indigenous one.

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