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Introduction: On Predications Of Africanity

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Chapter Summary

The Africa under discussion here does not refer to an entity that could be presumed to be given in any simple, self-evident fashion. It is not just a ?place' but a trope that encodes and evokes complex, historically sedimented, and contextually variable bodies of knowledge pertaining to the nature of human beings, social arrangements, and cultural forms that have variously entered into its semantic purview. The 'African Americanist field' came to be emblematic of conceptualizations of continuity that, in all but the most obvious cases of formal similarity, called for auxiliary formulations that, in Wirtz's terms, are perhaps best classified as the conceptual equivalents of divinatory instruments.

Keywords: Africa; African Americanist field; Wirtz



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