Ways of knowing and experiencing the world are not universal, nor are they neutral and value free. They serve many different purposes, not all of which are healthy to the flourishing of people of the Africana World.
Knowledge forms can be imperialistic, seeking to bring the world under the power of its epistemological center and to expand its center outwardly to the margins so that people come to see only one way of knowing that is marked by domination and colonial expansion. For this reason, it is necessary for scholars and organic intellectuals to produce knowledge that reflects the ways that Africana people know and experience the world: their histories, cultures, religions, sciences and literatures. In other words, the study of the Africana World (AAAS), with special attention to data that are produced by Africana people and African Americans, is critical to a vision of an egalitarian world which can celebrate the contributions of all people and resist forces that flatten or deny the complexities of Black people in service of their subjugation in a hierarchical human taxonomy. This basic premise grounds the work that we do at LSU, and we invite you to share in the wonderful progress that we are making as an academic unit.
Reflections from Dr. Stephen C. Finley
Inaugural Chair Department of African and African American Studies