Black Athena 30 Years On

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

A Stolen Legacy or Spurious Afrocentrism Masquerading as Scholarship?

18.00 – Registration
18.30 – Event start
19.30 – Event close

Speakers include:

  • Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Conservative Member of Parliament for Spelthorne
  • Tom Holland, Author and Commentator; Leading Writer on the Ancient World
  • Professor Edith Hall, Classics Department and Centre for Hellenic Studies, King’s College London
  • Lindsay Johns, Writer and Broadcaster; Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research, Harvard University
  • Warwick Lightfoot, Director of Economics and Social Policy, Policy Exchange (chair)

About the event:

2017 is 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.

This event will not merely be 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.

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



Policy Exchange, 6th Floor, 8 – 10 Great George St, Westminster, London, SW1P 3AE

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