There is an ongoing debate as to whether African American Studies is a discipline, or multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary field. Some scholars assert that African American Studies use a well-defined common approach in examining history, politics, and the family in the same way as scholars in the disciplines of economics, sociology, and political science. Other scholars consider African American Studies multidisciplinary, a field somewhat comparable to the field of education in which scholars employ a variety of disciplinary lenses-be they anthropological, psychological, historical, etc., --to study the African world experience. In this model the boundaries between traditional disciplines are accepted, and researches in African American Studies simply conduct discipline based an analysis of particular topics. Finally, another group of scholars insists that African American Studies is interdisciplinary, an enterprise that generates distinctive analyses by combining perspectives from different traditional disciplines and synthesizing them into a unique framework of analysis.
Talmadge Anderson is professor emeritus of the Department of Comparative American Cultures and Marketing at Washington State University. He is the founder and former editor of the Western Journal of Black Studies, a professional journal in African American and African Studies. His publications include the volume Black Studies: Theory, Methods, and Cultural Perspectives and numerous articles that examine various dimensions of the African American experience.James Stewart is professor of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations and African and African American Studies at Penn State University, where he was formerly vice provost for Educational Equity and director of the black studies Program. He has written over seventy articles and has autho4red and co-authored, or edited and co-edited ten books, one of which is a collection of essays about Africana studies, Flight in search of Vision. He is a former editor of the Review of Black Political Economy and a former president of both the National Economic Association and the National Council for Black Studies.