Cover

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Title, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiii

Largely because it came on the heels of my book Afrocentricity1 and numerous articles, the first edition of The Afrocentric Idea created an extraordinary amount of response. In fact I was not prepared for the varieties of criticism, commentaries, and controversies the book engendered. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xx

Acknowledgments I do not stand alone in this enterprise; in fact, I am supported on every side by intellectual ancestors. The tradition of David Walker, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Cheikh Anta Diop, and George James serves as my inspiration. I consider myself a "Diopian"; that is, my aim is to advance the study and enhance the appreciation of the complexity ...

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Dancing Between Circles and Lines

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pp. 1-24

What has fascinated me is the manner in which most of my colleagues have written theory and engaged in the social sciences in relationship to African people . They have often as- sumed that their "objectivity," a kind of collective subjectivity of European culture, should be the measure by which the world marches. I have seldom fallen ...

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Part 1: The Situation

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pp. 25-26

Orature represents the total body of oral discourses, styles, and traditions of a people. Attempts to understand African American orature have failed because they misconstrue the nature and character of African American discourse, written o...

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Rhetorical Condition as a Conceptual Field

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pp. 27-45

Einstein said that modern quantum physics "is theory which decides what we can observe.", What he meant was that the scientist's freedom is restricted by the language he or she accepts. It is impossible to break out of a narrow frame of reference if you are not given the capability to dream of what can be. Only certain kinds of information ...

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The Idea of a Metatheory

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pp. 45-70

A metatheory or paradigm is a conception that includes a multiplicity of theories; as such. it allows us to develop better interpretations. fuller understandings. and more effective articulations of the meaning of human goals and interactions. A metatheory suggests the character and content of theories by prescribing what a theory ...

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African Foundations of Nommo

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pp. 71-92

Any interpretation of African culture must begin at once to dispense with the notion that, in all things, Europe is teacher and Africa is pupil. This is the central point of my argument. To raise the question of an imperialism of the intellectual tradition is to ask a most meaningful question as we pursue African rhetoric, because Western ...

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Part 2: The Resistance

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pp. 93-94

This section addresses the invention of African American communication-the substance and form of discourse, particularly in its oral dimension, orature. Drawing on its African heritage and its unique American experience, the African American community ...

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African American Orature and Context

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pp. 95-107

The study of African American oratory is intricately inter- woven with the study of history, and a central aspect of Af- rican American history is the persistent public discussions related to our American experience . Having to defend our humanity, to agitate for minimal rights, and to soothe the raw emotions of mistreated fellows, our speakers have been forced to develop articulate and ...

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Mythoforms in African American Communication

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pp. 107-122

Myth, conventionally defined as a traditional story or tale that has functional value for a society, usually serves as a way of dealing with mystery . For example, all known cultures have creation myths that relate humans to nature, explaining where we came from and where we are going. In the modem Western world, myth has become synonymous ...

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Rhetoric of Resistance

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pp. 122-138

We invent out of the substance of our culture and from nothing else. If by accident we create something-say, a dis- course-that is not based in our culture, then it is not truly invented and not a matter of rhetoric. As a creation, my...

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Choosing Freedom

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pp. 138-159

The Europeanization of human consciousness masquerades as a universal will. Even in our reach for Afrocentric possibilities in analysis and interpretation, we often find ourselves having to unmask experience in order to see more clearly the transformations of our history. Nat Turner and Henry Highland Gamet represent two ...

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Africa as Concept

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pp. 160-170

The Back-to-Africa Movement in the early twentieth century was a concrete manifestation of the discourse of frustration; it was African Americans' radical critique of the American Dream. As a movement with mass appeal among working- class blacks, the Back-to-Africa Campaign represents the first major collective response to racism and ...

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Part 3: The Liberation

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pp. 171-172

This section examines the search for an Afrocentric method that can serve as the basis for the analysis and synthesis in African and African American discourse. Fundamental African concepts ...

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The Search for an Afrocentric Method

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pp. 173-196

Throughout this book, I have been arguing that all analysis is culturally centered and flows from ideological assumptions; this is the fundamental revelation of modern intellectual history. An Afrocentric method is concerned with establishing a world view about the writing and speaking of oppressed people. Current literary theorie...

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Transcendence: The Curved Line

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pp. 196-212

I have been dealing so far with the abiding dilemma of self- aggrandizement in Western formulations of all sciences and arts. Even in its reach for diversity , a Western philosophy or Transcendence: The Curved Line 197 science creates, inter alia, limitations. In the West , one may tolerate diversity of viewpoints and then establish a single set of criteria for what constitutes validity. In this formulation, neither African nor ...

Notes

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pp. 213-230

Index

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pp. 231-235

Back Cover

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