James Turner is the founding director of the Africana Studies and Research Center established in 1969 at Cornell University.  Having himself been part of and impacted by burgeoning political and cultural movements from around the world he would become and has been among the most stalwart participants in what is often described as the intellectual arm of a continuing African world liberation struggle.  Among his many contributions academically and otherwise he has helped established and define the field now known as “Africana Studies.”  This field, as summarized by Dr. John Henrik Clarke, is meant to incorporate the experiences and histories of African people, collectively, studied as a whole, in an interdisciplinary fashion and disregarding the false literal and cognitive boundaries inspired by European imperialism.*

* This event took place at the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University February 17, 2011 and was arranged and hosted by Dr. Carole Boyce Davies.  See also the new book on Dr. Turner by Dr. Scot Brown and hear more on Dr. Turner from Dr. LaTasha Levy


  1. It is interesting how old people can wax poetically about how their worldview was carefully shaped and nurtured within a caring, strong, yet oppressed, environment. Where is that environment for the youth of today after all of their ‘institution building’ and their integration into this hostility? Old folks are too busy blaming to teach or build the next generation. But then again, just imagine if a John Henrik Clarke existed today… where would he find his young people to nurture? Not in a gentrified Harlem, that’s for sure. If it wasn’t for the internet, I wouldn’t know half of the things that I know about Africa, or anything else of critical importance for that matter because I certainly did not learn it in any institution of “higher education.” I wonder how my look back on the history of my education will be if some young whipper-snapper asked 40 years in the future… definitely not as awe-inspiring, that’s for sure.

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