Maulana Karenga

Academic specialties/ Area of interest:

  • Black/Africana Studies theory and history
  • Africana (continental and diasporan) philosophy
  • Maatian ethics (Ancient Egyptian)
  • Ifa ethics (Ancient Yoruba)
  • African American intellectual history and social thought
  • Ethnic Studies
  • The socio-ethical thought of Malcolm X
  • Swahili language and literature



  • Kawaida and Questions of Life and Struggle, 2008 (Best Book in Activist Scholarship 2009—The Diopian Institute Award for Excellence in Scholarship)
  • Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics, 2006; 2004 (Best Book 2004—The Cheikh Anta Diop Award for Excellence in Scholarship)
  • Handbook of Black Studies, co-edited with Molefi Asante, 2005
  • Introduction to Black Studies, 3rd Edition, 2002
  • Odu Ifa: The Ethical Teachings, 1999
  • Kawaida: A Communitarian African Philosophy, 1997
  • The Million Man March / Day of Absence: A Commemorative Anthology, co-edited with Haki Madhubuti, 1996
  • Selections From the Husia: Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt, 1984

Book Chapters

  • “Molefi Asante and the Afrocentric Initiative: Mapping the Terrain of His Intellectual Impact”, in Ama Mazama (ed.), Essays in Honor of an Intellectual Warrior: Molefi Kete Asante, Paris: Menaibuc, 2009, pp. 17-49
  • “The Nguzo Saba and the Black Family: Principles and Practices of Well-Being and Flourishing,” Maulana Karenga and Tiamoyo Karenga, co-authors, in Harriet Pipes McAdoo, (ed.), Black Families, 4th Ed, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2007, pp. 7-28.
  • “The Field, Function and Future of Africana Studies: Critical Reflections on Its Mission, Meaning and Methodology,” in Molefi Asante and Maulana Karenga, (eds.), Handbook of Black Studies, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2006, pp. 402-420
  • “Philosophy in the African Tradition of Resistance: Issues of Human Freedom and Human Flourishing”, in Louis R. Gordon and Jane Anna Gordon, (eds.), Not Only the Master’s Tools: African American Studies in Theory and Practice, Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2006, pp. 243-271
  • “Nommo, Kawaida and Communicative Practice: Bringing Good into the World,” in Understanding African American Rhetoric: Classical Origins to Contemporary Innovations, (eds.) Ronald L. Jackson II and Elaine B. Richardson, New York: Routledge, 2003, pp. 3-22
  • “Black Studies: A Critical Reassessment,” Dispatches from the Ebony Tower: Intellectuals Confront the African American Experience, Manning Marable, (ed.), New York: Columbia University Press, 2000, pp. 162-170

Journal Articles

  • “Names and Notions of Black Studies: Issues of Roots, Range and Relevance”, Journal of Black Studies, 40, 1 (2009), 41-64
  • “Maatian Discourse and Human Rights: Ancient Egyptian Textual Sources”, Africalogical Perspectives, 5, 1 (2008), 107-124
  • “The Moral Anthropology of Marcus Garvey: In the Fullness of Ourselves”, Journal of Black Studies, 39, 2 (2008), 166-193
  • “DuBois and the Question of the Color Line: Race and Class in the Age of Globalization,” Socialism and Democracy, 17, 1 (Winter-Spring, 2003), 141-160
  • “The Pan-African Initiative in the Americas: Culture, Common Struggle and the Odu Ifa,” National Political Science Review, 9, (2003), 156-172

Education Information (degrees and Universities attended)

  • Ph.D. in Social Ethics (emphasis in classical African ethics of ancient Egypt ), University of Southern California, 1994
  • Ph.D. in Political Science (emphasis in theory and practice of nationalism), United States International University, San Diego, 1976
  • B.A. and M.A. in Political Science (specialization in African Studies), University of California at Los Angeles, 1963, 1964.


  • AFRS 110: Introduction to Africana Studies
  • AFRS 150: Critical Thinking in Africana Studies
  • AFRS 215: U.S. Diversity and the Ethnic Experience
  • AFRS 319: Ethnic Experience in the U.S.
  • AFRS 332: Civil Rights and the Law
  • AFRS 353I: Religions of African Peoples
  • AFRS 498I: Ancient Egyptian Ethical Thought
  • AFRS 499: Directed Studies

Professional and community affiliations

Professional Affiliations

  • National Council for Black Studies, Board Member
  • African Heritage Studies Association, Member
  • California Black Faculty and Staff Association, Member
  • California Faculty Association, Member
  • Journal of Black Studies, Editorial Board
  • Western Journal of Black Studies, Editorial Board
  • The Black Scholar, Editorial Board

Community Affiliations

  • Kawaida Institute of Pan- African Studies, Los Angeles, Executive Director
  • African American Cultural Center (Us), Los Angeles, Executive Director
  • The Organization Us, National Chairman
  • National Association of Kawaida Organizations (NAKO), National Chairman
  • Knowledge Transfer Summit, Los Angeles, Member
  • Kwanzaa Ujima Collective, Chair
  • TransAfrica Forum, Member

Professional Awards (selected listing)

  • The Cheikh Anta Diop Award for Excellence in Scholarship, The Ankh Scientific Institute, The Annual Cheikh Anta Diop International Conference
  • C.L.R. James Award for Outstanding Publication of Scholarly Works that Advance the Discipline of Africana and Black Studies, National Council for Black Studies
  • The Diopian Institute Award for Excellence in Scholarship, The Diopian Institute for Scholarly Advancement, The Annual Cheikh Anta Diop International Conference
  • National Leadership Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievements in Black Studies, National Council for Black Studies
  • President’s Award for Scholarship and Service in the Development of Black Studies, African Heritage Studies Association
  • Paul Robeson-Zora Neale Hurston Award for Scholarly Work Significantly Contributive to the Understanding, Development and Appreciation of African World Culture, National Council for Black Studies
  • Legacy Award for Milestone Contributions, Institute of the Black World 21st Century
  • Diop Exemplary Leadership Award, Department of African American Studies, Temple University
  • Peace Education Award for Distinguished Leadership, Scholarship and Education in Building Bridges Among Africans Throughout the World, Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution, California State University—Sacramento
  • Richard Allen Living Legend Award, African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Pioneer Award, Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund

Special Distinction

  • Creator of the African American and pan-African holiday Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, community and culture, 1966
  • Author of the authoritative work on Kwanzaa, Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture, 1998