Two Required Textbooks
(The other being Dr. Amos Wilson’s Blue Print for Black Power)
Chapter 1, Utamawazo: The Cultural Structuring of ThoughtArchaic European Epistemology: Substitution of Object for Symbol
The African world-view, and the world-views of other people who are not of European origin, all appear to have certain themes in common. The universe to which they relate is sacred in origin, is organic, and is a true “cosmos.” Human beings are part of the cosmos, and, as such, relate intimately with other cosmic beings. Knowledge of the universe comes through relationship with it and through perception of spirit in matter. The universe is one; spheres are joined because of a single unifying force that pervades all being. Meaningful reality issues from this force. These world-views are “reasonable” but not rationalistic: complex yet lived. They tend to be expressed through a logic of metaphor and complex symbolism.
Rob the universe of its richness, deny the significance of the symbolic, simplify phenomena until it becomes mere object, and you have a knowable quantity. Here begins and ends the European epistemological mode. What happened within embryonic Europe that was to eventually generate such a radically different world-view? What part did Platonic thought play in this process? Whether or not all of Western philosophy is “but a footnote to Plato,” certainly his influence on the European style of speculative thought and ultimately on the utamawazo—the general premises and assumptions of the culture—has been formulative and seminal. Any discussion of the nature and origin of European epistemology must focus on, if not begin with Plato. This is not to say that he was not influenced by the pre-Socratic African philosophies that preceded him. But what Plato seems to have done is to have laid a rigorously constructed foundation for the repudiation of the symbolic sense—the denial of cosmic, intuitive knowledge. It is this process that we need to trace, this development in formative European thought which was eventually to have had such a devastating effect on the nontechnical aspects of the culture. It led to the materialization of the universe as conceived by the European mind—a materialization that complemented and supported the intense psycho-cultural need for control of the self and others.
Contrary to our image of the philosopher as being otherworldly and remote, even irrelevant (Aristophanes, The Clouds), Plato appears to have been very much aware of himself as a social and ideological architect. His success was eventually overwhelming. The power of his ideas is evidenced by the way in which they have contributed to the growth and persistence of a new order. This is precisely the power of the Euro-Caucasian order; its ability to sustain and perpetuate itself. Plato’s innovations were ultimately incorporated into the culture because they were demanded by the asili.
—Marimba Ani, Yurugu, Africa World Press, New Jersey, 1994, pages 29-30.
Dr. Marimba Ani – Yurugu
Dr. Marimba Ani – Afrikan Rebirth
“Without the African connection, we are a disjointed people …begging for entry into somebody else’s house.”Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Notes for an African World Revolution Trenton: Africa World Press, 1991, P.418.
Marimba Ani was brought to the Department of Africana and Puerto Rican GYE NYAME (jeh-N-yah-mee) “Except God” or “Tis Only God” Symbol of the omnipotence, omnipresence and immortality of God.“Except God, I fear none.”Studies by Dr. John Henrik Clarke in 1974 as she was completing her PhD dissertation at the Graduate Faculty of New School University. She had worked as a field organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Mississippi from 1963 to 1966, and had acted as Director of Freedom Registration for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964 which challenged the all-white Mississippi delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City that summer.
Dr. Clarke became her Jegna (“warrior- teacher, intellectual father, ideological influence”) as she moved back to New York and into graduate school. It was through his influence that she became committed to Pan Afrikan liberation.After having traveled in Afrika, Marimba Ani (born “Dona Richards”) began formal study of the nature of Afrikan Civilization, focusing on the “deep thought” which underlies its fundamental common cultural themes and the varying constructs of Afrikan social organization. She has done extensive work on Afrikan spiritual conceptions and systems.
She is using her articulation of the Afrikan world view as a frame of reference from which to critique European cultural thought, and to construct paradigms for Pan-Afrikan reconstruction.Marimba Ani has developed the concepts of Maafa, Asili, Utamawazo, and Utamaroho as part of the on-going process of Afrikan-centered reconceptualization in which several Pan-Afrikan scholars are involved.
She has helped to initiate an intellectual and ideological movement, the purpose of which is to construct a theoretical framework which will allow people of Afrikan descent to explain the universe as it reflects their collective interests, values and vision.Her most recent work has been the development of the Maat/Maafa/Sankofa paradigm SANKOFA BIRD (sang-ko-fah) GO BACK TO FETCH IT Symbol of the wisdom of learning from the past to build for the future.as an analytical tool for understanding and explaining the Afrikan experience in the Diaspora and to suggest modalities for cultural reconstruction. Dr. Ani has been lecturing throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Afrika on this new theoretical construct which is part of her endeavor to develop a pragmatic Afrikan Cultural Science. This new science becomes the basis for the creation of Afrikan institutions and Nation-Building in the Diaspora. Having taught at Hunter College for the past 25 years, Dr. Marimba Ani has had the opportunity to develop a number of courses on various aspects of the Pan-Afrikan experience. She teaches Afrikan Civilization, Afrikan Spirituality in the Diaspora, The Afrikan World View, Theories of White Racism, Afrikan Traditional Healing Systems, Nile Valley Civilization, Afrikan-centered theory, Women in Afrika, Men in the Afrikan Diaspora, and a number of other courses.
The following are some of the scholarly writings which have resulted from her work:
* “The Ideology of European Dominance,” The Western Journal of Black Studies. Vol. 3, No. 4, Winter, 1979, and Presence Africaine, No. 111, 3rd Quarterly, 1979. * “European Mythology: The Ideology of Progress,” Contemporary Black Thought, eds. M. Asante and A. Vandi, Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1980, (59-79).
* Let The Circle Be Unbroken: The Implications of Afrikan Spirituality in the Diaspora. New York: Nkonimfo Publications, 1988 (orig. 1980).* “The Nyama of the Blacksmith: The Metaphysical Significance of Metallurgy in Afrika,” Journal of Black Studies. Vol. 12, No. 2, December, 1981. * Yurugu: An Afrikan-centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior. Trenton: Africa World Press, 1994. * “The Afrikan Asili,” Selected Papers from the Proceedings of the Conference on Ethics, Higher Education and Social Responsibility, Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1996.
* “The Afrikan ‘Aesthetic’ and National Consciousness,” The African Aesthetic, ed. Kariamu Welsh-Asante. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1993. (63-82) and To Heal a People, ed. Erriel Kofi Addae, Columbia, MD.: Kujichagulia Press, 1996 (91-125).
* “Writing as a means of enabling Afrikan Self-determination,” Defining Ourselves; Black Writers in the 90’s, ed. Elizabeth Nuñez and Brenda M. Greene. New York: Peter Lang, 1999 (209-211).Marimba Ani is an active organizer in the Afrikan Community. She has conducted Rites of Passage programs for Afrikan youth and young adults. She travels frequently to Ghana, West Afrika, where she is continuing her study and support of Afrikan traditional healing concept and practices. She is part of a “think tank” of Afrikan-centered scholars currently spear-heading the socially and politically dynamic “To Be Afrikan” campaign. She is Director of the Afrikan Heritage Afterschool Program, a voluntary effort which has been operating in the Harlem Community for the past 14 years. Marimba Ani holds a BA degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago, and the MA and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology from the Graduate Faculty of the New School University. She is Professor of Afrikan Studies in the Department of Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York City. Her daughter Dzifa graduated in May of 1999 from Howard University with a BS degree in biology.
Source of Bio:
RBGz New Afrikan Education Course Link Table:
A People’s History Of The United States / by Howard Zinn : RBGz Audio and History Is A Weapon e-Books
A RBG Street Scholar Educational Design