Africana is a peer reviewed, multidisciplinary journal on all matters related to Africa. Established in 2005 at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, the journal was moved in 2010 to the African Studies Center at Boston University, where it is currently based.
It is in the spirit of facilitating an open dialogue on all matters related to Africa (to include the African Diaspora), as advocated by W.E.B. DuBois and others, that this journal has been established. We at AFRICANA concur with the foucauldian notion that contributions to the arts, literature, and the realm of social science ideas are, and have always been, biased in favor of the interests and perspectives of the powerful. Unfortunately, as we enter the 21st-century, the basic notion that power is inextricably linked to what passes as "knowledge" has been, by and large, ignored in scholarship.
Ergo we at AFRICANA are concerned about the pretense of objectivity among many social scientists who continue to maintain that the merit of social science arguments is not affected by time or place. Bates et al. maintain, for example, "Arguments are not privileged by their origins, geographic or cultural; arguments become knowledge when they have been refined by logic and method..." (Bates et al. 1993: xii). This self congratulatory stance not only celebrates the relative value of their own work, it also perpetuates a continuance of the status quo, whereby their own culturally Eurocentric and allegedly scientific work dominates. Social scientists' topics for research are not, and never have been, randomly picked out of a proverbial hat; they are mostly selected on the basis of subjective concerns and interests, and notably where there exists financial support. Research is therefore a rather luxurious undertaking, if one is to think humbly about the matter, undertaken by a minuscule percentage of the world's population.
We maintain that scholars are actually in a rather unique position in society and that, as a group allegedly waiting for the merit of arguments from elsewhere, they should be more historically and contextually aware and, frankly, more humble about their own lot in life. Not immune to material realities in life, most scholars are nevertheless in a better position than most to - if they choose - reach out and engage (geographically, culturally, or otherwise marginalized) individuals or groups. Moreover, many if not most scholars engage in scholarship with one or another agenda; the notion of objectivity in the social sciences is more often a guise, motivated by the scholar's never-ending concern for credibility, than a reality.
AFRICANA's mission is to purposefully engage those who are interested in all matters related to Africa, with the clear understanding that there is a very long way to go before there is more balanced attention to the unfortunate plight of so many of our fellow men and women on this earth. In other words: "Today, more than ever, the ongoing marginalization of Africa within the discipline[s] is simply a matter of choice. We can do better." (LaMonica 2010)
Robert H. Bates, V.Y. Mudimbe, and Jean O’Barr, eds., Africa and the Disciplines: The Contributions of Research in Africa to the Social Sciences and the Humanities, (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1993): xii. To be fair, though it is still rather odd: later in the book, contributors contradict the comments made in the Preface. In other words, even within this one book, one sees that there are dynamics of power at play, where those in "control" of the book as a project have different understandings of the entire endeavor.
Christopher LaMonica in Peyi Soyinka-Airewele and Rita Kiki Edozie, eds., Reframing Contemporary Africa: Politics, Economics, and Culture in the Global Era, (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2010): 351.