Monday, September 19, 2022

USA Africa Dialogue Series - On the Significance of Multidisciplinarity in African Studies: From Historical Study to Theorizing Systems of Thought and Action: A Few Words ( Edited)

On the Significance of Multidisciplinarity in African Studies: From Historical Study to Theorizing Systems of Thought and Action: A Few Words (Edited)

Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju
Comparative Cognitive Processes and Systems

The historian Moses Ochonu, on the USA-Africa Dialogue Series Google group, suggests the need for theories of African democracy founded on studying  the history of African experiences and orientations.

This is striking, stimulating reflection on how the study of the history  of  endogeneous theories and activities of human political behavior may guide the further  development of such theories.

What is the sudy of history, if not the study of the totality of human progression?

Does the study of history not delve into the history of ideas, the development of systems of social organization, the construction of theory and practise in relation to experience?

The ideational neighbourliness of the humanities and social science disciplines should facilitate the construction, from the matrix of, of  an insightful body of ideas in relation to any of them, even, to some degree, in relation to the sciences, after all there is a discipline called the history and philosophy of science, which is different from the practise of science.

One could sense such  possibilities and either take them forward or suggest  how the work could proceed.

The pioneers in African Studies who created the foundations of various disciplines in the field are  representative of an era of  scholarship which African Studies needs to build upon,  complementing their discipline  centred work by not only doing more of such work but also maximizing the possibilities of the field through multidisplinary scholarship,  as various disciplines feed each other in a critically enabled synergy.

Toyin Falola's multidisciplinarity, for example, moving from a  grounding in history to engaging the full scope of the humanities and social sciences,  suggests not only the power of intense focus in particular disciplines represented by the work of earlier summits in the field but also that of a critical gaze engaging the entire field in terms of a creatively synthesising intelligence.

Akinwumi Ogundiran's The Yoruba : A New History, for one, is primarily a history book, but it makes strategic contributions to philosophy of religion in Yoruba cosmology and suggests creative possibilities at the intersection of social and metaphysical imagination in the philosophy of religion in general, as local insights may illuminate universal questions, as his contribution may be interpreted.

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