Black Athena 30 Years On

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  •  Thursday, 16 November, 2017
     18:00 - 19:30

2017 saw the 30th anniversary of Martin Bernal’s incendiary book Black Athena, which sent shockwaves through the worlds of classical and Afrocentric scholarship on its publication in 1987. In it, Bernal argued that classical Greek wisdom and culture (and thus the very basis of Western civilisation) in fact came from Africa, specifically ancient Egypt and Phoenicia, challenging many assumptions about the provenance of knowledge, and with it, historic intellectual justifications for white superiority.

Policy Exchange seized the opportunity afforded by this anniversary to re-examine the importance of Black Athena and investigate its intellectual, social and racial legacy.

Kwasi Kwarteng MP, author and commentator Tom Holland, classicist Professor Edith Hall, and writer and broadcaster Lindsay Johns held this engaging discussion not merely about a scholarly tome on the classical world from yesteryear, but also very much about our contemporary attitudes to a book whose thesis has huge ramifications for today’s rapidly changing modern world, including the #BlackLivesMatter, Rhodes Must Fall and “Decolonizing The Curriculum” debates.

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