Four decades after the movement that directly led to a beach-head for African American Studies in higher education in the United States, the International Journal of Africana Studies is proud to offer two issues that focus exclusively on the field itself. The current issue is the record of a two-day conference convened and sponsored by the Ford Foundation in 2006, organized to systematically consider the state of Africana Studies at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
Specifically, the convening focused on nine tasks: 1) assessing the degree to which African American Studies has been integrated into higher education in the United States and the steps that need to be taken to more firmly institutionalize the field, 2) clarifying its ideological and pedagogical ties with sister perspectives and fields of study born of the same cultural shift of the 1960s and ’70s, 3) considering new directions for research in the field, 4) latter-day securing of funding, 5) establishing the relationship of national Black Studies organizations to institutionalization of the field, 6) evaluating the actual and scholarly engagement with the Black community, 7) specifying “best practices” in both pedagogy and program administration, 8) determining specific contributions that can be made by chief administrators, and 9) considerations for establishing leadership for the field in the younger academic generation. Heartfelt thanks go to Prof. marilyn m. thomas-houston and the group she assembled for their work in transcribing the discussions.
The second issue in Volume 14 features essays by five members of the board of directors of the National Council for Black Studies on the history, mission, and methodology of Africana Studies. Taken together, the Year 2008 issues of the International Journal of Africana Studies provide important considerations and evaluations of the field as it moves into a new century and into the hands of a new generation.