Tuesday, 20 February 2018

30 Years Black Athena, 30 Years Black History Month, 3 Martins, a goddess and a discipline

Black Athena – 30 Years On

2017 marked the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Martin Bernal’s controversial and divisive Black Athena, a challenge to what he saw a white Eurocentric view of the origins of Greek civilization. For Black History Month, along with two of my colleagues in Humanities at Roehampton, R. David Muir and Tony Keen, I took part in a session reassessing the legacy of Black Athena. We sought to explore why it mattered then and why it matters now, and what’s changed; how Classicists reacted at the time, and how the growth of reception studies has modified that; and how Black Athena can help students from diverse backgrounds think about the ancient world differently and find their own identity in relation to Ancient Greece. We hoped that, by exploring the text through the lens of Black History, we could foster a fresh and nuanced approach to the work, and explore how despite, or perhaps because of, its divisiveness, it may currently be more important than it ever was. The event was for the local branch of the Classical Association. The event was filmed - and here's my contribution:

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