Maulana Karenga: An Intellectual Portrait

Overview

In this book, the most prolific contemporary African American scholar and cultural theorist Molefi Kete Asante leads the reader on an informative journey through the mind of Maulana Karenga, one of the key cultural thinkers of our time. Not only is Karenga the creator of Kwanzaa, an extensive and widespread celebratory holiday based on his philosophy of Kawaida, he is an activist-scholar committed to a "dignity-affirming" life for all human beings. Asante examines the sources of Karenga's intellectual ...

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Overview

In this book, the most prolific contemporary African American scholar and cultural theorist Molefi Kete Asante leads the reader on an informative journey through the mind of Maulana Karenga, one of the key cultural thinkers of our time. Not only is Karenga the creator of Kwanzaa, an extensive and widespread celebratory holiday based on his philosophy of Kawaida, he is an activist-scholar committed to a "dignity-affirming" life for all human beings. Asante examines the sources of Karenga's intellectual preoccupations and demonstrates that Karenga's concerns with the liberation narratives and mythic realities of African people are rooted in the best interests of a collective humanity.

The book shows Karenga to be an intellectual giant willing to practice his theories in order to manifest his intense emotional attachment to culture, truth and justice. Asante's enlightening presentation and riveting critique of Karenga's works reveal a compelling account of a thinker whose contributions extend far beyond the Academy. Although Karenga began his career as a student activist, a civil rights leader, a Pan Africanist, and a culturalist, he ultimately succeeds in turning his fierce commitment to truth toward dissecting political, social, and ethical issues. Asante carefully analyzes Karenga's important works on Black Studies, but also his earlier works on culture and his later works on ethics, such as The Husia, and Odu Ifa: The Ethical Teachings.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Asante provides an informative background reading on a scholar for whom the Kwanzaa celebration represents the tip of the iceberg in his activist and academic achievements."
Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies

"To have the seminal thinker Molefi Asante writing on the legendary Maulana Karenga is a grand treat! This work is an historic encounter of great significance and contemporary relevance."
Cornel West, Princeton University

"Asante has given us the first in-depth study of the thought of Maulana Karenga. A major cultural influence in the sixties, Karenga's Kawaida Philosophy serves as a primary source of Afrocentric thinking today."
Charles Henry, University of California, Berkeley

"In this remarkable study, Professor Asante not only provides an intellectual biography of Karenga, undertaken with rare devotion and deep understanding, but also renders homage to an outstanding scholar whose work, spanning some four decades, has been fundamental in the development of African American cultural awareness in our time."
F. Abiola Irele, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745648286
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/9/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Molefi Kete Asante is Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Temple University.

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Table of Contents

  • CONTENTS
  • Foreward - by Ama Mazama, Temple University
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements Chapter One - Karenga and the Drawing of the Cultural Grounds
  • Chapter Two - The Cultural Narrative
  • Chapter Three - Controlling Intellectual Territory Chapter Four - Creating Historical Possibilities Chapter Five - Implementing the Lessons Notes
  • Bibliography of Key Writings of Maulana Karenga
  • References
  • Index
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 12, 2010

    Finally, a dignity-affirming portrait of a scholar-activist giant whose contributions to & influence on the world African Community is comparable to that of the Honorable Malcolm X. A very serious must read for all who want African Liberation.

    Dr. Molefi Asante's work on the life, legacy and lessons of Dr. Maulana Karenga's work is an inspiration. The book portrays the dedication, discipline and sacrifice of an activist-scholar whose life is a "monument" to the struggle for maximum human flourishing and a model for all freedom loving people. Dr. Karenga is "correctly" depicted as a man whose life work has truly changed the course of human history, by changing the way African people, continental and disaporan, think, act and view themselves in what he calls "dignity-affirming" ways. His ongoing sense of "boldness, lack of fear and leadership" exhibited over more than four decades, in the midst of the most savage personal, professional and organizational attacks, provides a guiding light to those of us who are not always as "African" as we would like to be. His philosophy, Kawaida, is a blueprint for struggle that has been used the world over by all freedom loving people as a road map to to be the best that which is needed to to live moral and meaningful lives. Dr. Karenga's "commitment" to the liberation of African people and love of freedom is truly a source of personal inspiration for all of us who are constantly bombarded with diversions and the "dancing dolls" which are designed to assist in resigning ourselves to a compromise with evil and all things African. Dr. Karenga's life and Dr. Asante's careful and depthful treatment of his work and achievements forms an excellent model of what many Black people need, especially Black men, and that is examples of Black people engaged in mutually respectful collegial, professional and personal relationships devoid of the distrust, jealously and unwarranted criticisms of one another. Dr. Asante's work on Dr. Karenga is such an example. Finally, I recommend Dr. Asante's work MAULANA KARENGA, AN INTELLECTUAL PORTRAIT to all of those who yearn for a deeper understanding and meaning of African/Black Spirituality as it will lead you to his seminal works on Ancient African ethics and the life saving and life enhancing values which grew out of our ancestors struggle for freedom and human dignity. Dr. Karenga's works on African Spirituality - Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics, Odu Ifa: The Ethical Teachings, and the Husia - are not only amazing as it relates to what he had to do to unearth the rich and engaging wisdom and the social justice tradition(s) inherent in various texts and African cultures that created them, but with equal importance, they serve as a way and means for us to regain the best of what it means to truly be African "men and women of worth and weight" in today's world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2010

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