African Athena: New Agendas

ISBN : 9780199595006

Daniel Orrells; Gurminder K. Bhambra; Tessa Roynon
496 Pages
148 x 222 mm
Pub date
Oct 2011
Classical Presences
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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.


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
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

About the author: 

Daniel Orrells was educated at King's College, University of Cambridge. He is Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick.; Gurminder K. Bhambra holds degrees from the University of Sussex and the London School of Economics. She is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Social Theory Centre at the University of Warwick, and has been Visiting Assistant Professor of Critical Social Thought at Mount Holyoke College, US. She won the Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for best first book in sociology in 2008 for Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination.; 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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