African Athena


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The appearance of Martin Bernal's Black Athena: The Afro-Asian Roots of Classical Civilization in 1987 sparked intense debate and controversy in Africa, Europe, and North America. His detailed genealogy of the 'fabrication of Greece' and his claims for the influence of ancient African and Near Eastern cultures on the making of classical Greece, questioned many intellectuals' assumptions about the nature of ancient history. The transportation of enslaved African persons into Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean, brought African and diasporic African people into contact in significant numbers with the Greek and Latin classics for the first time in modern history. In African Athena, the contributors explore the impact of the modern African disapora from the sixteenth century onwards on Western notions of history and culture, examining the role Bernal's claim has played in European and American understandings of history, and in classical, European, American and Caribbean literary production. African Athena examines the history of intellectuals and literary writers who contested the white, dominant Euro-American constructions of the classical past and its influence on the present. Martin Bernal has written an Afterword to this collection.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 496 pages
  • 142.24 x 220.98 x 35.56mm | 725.74g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199595003
  • 9780199595006

About Associate Professor in Classics and Ancient History Daniel Orrells

Tessa Roynon teaches English and American literature at the University of Oxford. Her current research centres on the classical tradition in modern American fiction; additionally she is writing The Cambridge Introduction to Toni Morrison. She studied English at Clare College, University of Cambridge, has an M.A. from Georgetown University, where she was a Fulbright Scholar, and was awarded her PhD by the University of Warwick in 2007.

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Review quote

African Athena evokes with a breath-taking scope of vision the different ways in which Black Athena has acted as a foundational text for those interested in teasing out the dynamics of cultural engagements between Europe and Africa in both antiquity and modernity. African Athena is a triumph and will serve as the starting point for research in the field for many years to come. Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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Table of contents

INTRODUCTION ; PART I: MYTHS AND HISTORIOGRAPHIES, ANCIENT AND MODERN ; 1. Believing in Ethiopians ; 2. Black Apolloa Martin Bernal's The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization Volume III and Why Race Still Matters? ; 3. Greece, India and Race among the Victorians ; 4. Black Minerva: Antiquity in antebellum African American history ; 5. Black Athena before Black Athena: The Teaching of Greek and Latin at Black Colleges and Universities ; 6. Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God: Garveyism, Rastafari and Antiquity ; 7. Between Exodus and Egypt: Israel-Palestine and the break-up of the Black-Jewish Alliance ; 8. Beyond Culture Wars: Reconnecting African and Jewish Diasporas in the Past and the Present ; 9. Egyptian Athena, African Egypt, Egyptian Africa: Martin Bernal and Contemporary African Historical Thought ; 10. The After-lives of Black Athena ; PART II: CLASSICAL DIASPORA / DIASPORIC CLASSICS ; 11. In the House of Libya: A Meditation ; 12. Hellenism, nationalism, hybridity: the invention of the novel ; 13. The Idea of Africa in Lucan ; 14. Was Black Beautiful in Vandal Africa? ; 15. Identifying Authority: Juan Latino, an African Ex-Slave, Professor and Poet in Sixteenth-Century Granada ; 16. John Barclay's Camella Poems: Ideas of Race, Beauty and Ugliness in Renaissance Latin Verse ; 17. 'Lay in Egypt's lap each borrowed crown': Gerald Massey and Late-Victorian Afrocentrism ; 18. 'Not equatorial black, not Mediterranean white': Denis Williams Other Leopards ; 19. Wole Soyinka's Yoruba Tragedy: Performing Politics ; 20. Mythopoeia in the Struggle against Slavery, Racism, and Exclusive Afrocentrism ; 21. Dislocating Black Classicism: Classics and the Black Diaspora in the Poetry of Aime Cesaire and Kamau Brathwaite ; 22. The Africanness of Classicism in the Work of Toni Morrison ; AFTERWORD ; CONCLUSION

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