Black Athena First, Discuss Your Overall Thoughts Essay

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Black Athena

First, discuss your overall thoughts on the controversial Black Athena theory, and discuss the extent to which you think this theory holds weight (be specific: avoid empty answers like "I totally agree" or "this theory is stupid").

The theory itself is reasonable. That is, Bernal's critique of earlier historians and their failure to recognize the tremendous cultural influence of North Africa, noted by the ancient Greeks themselves, on Greece in their study of Greek history. However, much of the support that Bernal gives, regarding the presence of Greco-African contacts are not directly relevant to his major claim that the Greeks originated in Africa. The revelation of African contact and influence on ancient Greece during the Iron Age, though a valuable contribution to our understanding of the region, is not in itself sufficient to prove the origin of the Greek people.

Overall, Bernal's study is interesting and provocative. Also, the thesis is actually very solid. I believe that it is the book's provocative title which is responsible for the controversy surrounding it. The title is meant to be sensationalistic, perhaps in order to sell books.

Next, consider the history of Egypt in light of African history: do you consider Egypt to be historically and culturally as "African" as any other region of the continent?

The Afrocentric history movement is not only an academic movement, but a political movement. Academically, it is a reaction to Eurocentrism in the study of history. However, it also grows out of the unique race-relations of the United States. It is a product of a larger African-American emergence from injustice and misinformation. Because of the political dimension of Afrocentric history, many historians and scholars try to do too much with their findings.

Many of the impressions that scholars had of Africa and African history were informed by the unique relationship between "Africans" and whites. Thomas Jefferson, for example, made evaluations of the African intellect based off of a pitifully small sample size, his own slaves. For example, African-Americans originated from Western Africa. The Africa that Bernal discusses as "Black" is Northeastern Africa and the Middle East, separated from the West African centres of civilization by the vast Sahara. (Illike, 52). To lump these two centers of civilization into the term "Africa" is to gloss over the uniqueness of the West African civilizations, which are impressive in their own right. (Levtzion, 80).

Ironically, by treating Africa as a neat,…

Sources Used in Document:

Bibliography

Iliffe, John. Africans: The History of a Continent. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Print.

Levtzion, Nehemia; Hopkins, John F.P. eds. And trans. (2000), Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West Africa, New York, NY: Marcus Weiner.

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