This essay explores the construction of Africa as a critical aspect of modernity. Tracing the consequences of Africa's modern mapping, it reveals how the emergence and rise of Europe affected the temporal and spatial orientation of Africa, Africans, and religion in modern, objective knowledge. The essay goes on to propose an agenda for the study of Africa that pays attention to both cultural unity and diversity. Such an agenda includes the study of the African diaspora and its religious dimensions. While mysterious in meaning, the term Africana symbolizes the ways in which this academic enterprise can challenge the elitism and exclusivity that previous claims of objective scholarship sometimes fostered.

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