African studies are often characterized as interdisciplinary in nature. One wonders whether, as time passes and specific disciplinary studies become distinguished by ever more technical methodologies, this will be less true. However, since the objects of study are entire cultures that are for the most part alien to the researchers who study them, this interdisciplinary spirit may well endure.
With regard to the inventory of sub-disciplines within the general field of African studies, two relative late-comers are African art history and African philosophy. Previously the fields of interest that constitute their special concern were significantly influenced by anthropology. But when sufficient, relevant, fieldwork studies had accumulated to initiate the type of specialized inter-cultural understanding that is distinctive of these two sub-disciplines, there was reason to license them in their own right.
As African art history and African philosophy labored to accredit themselves these past decades, there are a number of expressed concerns which became common to the two disciplines. The aim of this paper is to reflect upon some of these, as expressed by African art historians, from the standpoint of students of African philosophy in the hope that their respective insights and problems may overlap, coalesce and perhaps prove mutually beneficial.