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Black Athena

Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Volume I: The Fabrication of Ancient Greece, 1785-1985

Martin Bernal

Could Greek philosophy be rooted in Egyptian thought? Is it possible that the Pythagorean theory was conceived on the shores of the Nile and the Euphrates rather than in ancient Greece? Could it be that Western civilization was born on the so-called Dark Continent? For almost two centuries, Western scholars have given little credence to the possibility of such scenarios.

In Black Athena, an audacious three-volume series that strikes at the heart of today's most heated culture wars, Martin Bernal challenges Eurocentric attitudes by calling into question two of the longest-established explanations for the origins of classical civilization. The Aryan Model, which is current today, claims that Greek culture arose as the result of the conquest from the north by Indo-European speakers, or "Aryans," of the native "pre-Hellenes." The Ancient Model, which was maintained in Classical Greece, held that the native population of Greece had initially been civilized by Egyptian and Phoenician colonists and that additional Near Eastern culture had been introduced to Greece by Greeks studying in Egypt and Southwest Asia. Moving beyond these prevailing models, Bernal proposes a Revised Ancient Model, which suggests that classical civilization in fact had deep roots in Afroasiatic cultures.

This long-awaited third and final volume of the series is concerned with the linguistic evidence that contradicts the Aryan Model of ancient Greece. Bernal shows how nearly 40 percent of the Greek vocabulary has been plausibly derived from two Afroasiatic languages-Ancient Egyptian and West Semitic. He also reveals how these derivations are not limited to matters of trade, but extended to the sophisticated language of politics, religion, and philosophy. This evidence, according to Bernal, confirms the fact that in Greece an Indo-European people was culturally dominated by speakers of Ancient Egyptian and West Semitic.

Provocative, passionate, and colossal in scope, this volume caps a thoughtful rewriting of history that has been stirring academic and political controversy since the publication of the first volume.

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Black Athena

Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization; Volume III: The Linguistic Evidence

Edited by Martin Bernal

Could Greek philosophy be rooted in Egyptian thought? Is it possible that the Pythagorean theory was conceived on the shores of the Nile and the Euphrates rather than in ancient Greece? Could it be that much of Western civilization was formed on the “Dark Continent”? For almost two centuries, Western scholars have given little credence to the possibility of such scenarios.

            In Black Athena, an audacious three-volume series that strikes at the heart of today’s most heated culture wars, Martin Bernal challenges Eurocentric attitudes by calling into question two of the longest-established explanations for the origins of classical civilization. To use his terms, the Aryan Model, which is current today, claims that Greek culture arose as the result of the conquest from the north by Indo-European speakers, or “Aryans,” of the native “pre-Hellenes.” The Ancient Model, which was maintained in Classical Greece, held that the native population of Greece had initially been civilized by Egyptian and Phoenician colonists and that additional Near Eastern culture had been introduced to Greece by Greeks studying in Egypt and Southwest Asia. Moving beyond these prevailing models, Bernal proposes a Revised Ancient Model, which suggests that classical civilization in fact had deep roots in Afroasiatic cultures.

            This long-awaited third and final volume of the series is concerned with the linguistic evidence that contradicts the Aryan Model of ancient Greece. Bernal shows how nearly 40 percent of the Greek vocabulary has been plausibly derived from two Afroasiatic languages—Ancient Egyptian and West Semitic. He also reveals how these derivations are not limited to matters of trade, but extended to the sophisticated language of politics, religion, and philosophy. This evidence, according to Bernal, greatly strengthens the hypothesis that in Greece an Indo-European–speaking population was culturally dominated by Ancient Egyptian and West Semitic speakers.

Provocative, passionate, and colossal in scope, this volume caps a thoughtful rewriting of history that has been stirring academic and political controversy since the publication of the first volume.

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Black Dogs and Blue Words

Depression and Gender in the Age of Self-Care

Kimberly K. Emmons

Winston Churchill called his own depression his "black dog." Black Dogs and Blue Words analyzes contemporary rhetoric surrounding depression and maintains that the techniques and language of depression marketing strategies target women and young girls, encoding a series of gendered messages about health and illness and encouraging self-diagnosis and self-medication. As depression and other forms of mental illness move from the medical-professional sphere to the consumer-public, the boundary at which distress becomes disease grows ever-more encompassing, the need for remediation and treatment increasingly warranted.

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Black Female Sexualities

Trimiko Melancon

Western culture has long regarded black female sexuality with a strange mix of fascination and condemnation, associating it with everything from desirability, hypersexuality, and liberation to vulgarity, recklessness, and disease. Yet even as their bodies and sexualities have been the subject of countless public discourses, black women’s voices have been largely marginalized in these discussions. In this groundbreaking collection, feminist scholars from across the academy come together to correct this omission—illuminating black female sexual desires marked by agency and empowerment, as well as pleasure and pain, to reveal the ways black women regulate their sexual lives. 

The twelve original essays in Black Female Sexualities reveal the diverse ways black women perceive, experience, and represent sexuality. The contributors highlight the range of tactics that black women use to express their sexual desires and identities. Yet they do not shy away from exploring the complex ways in which black women negotiate the more traumatic aspects of sexuality and grapple with the legacy of negative stereotypes. 

Black Female Sexualities takes not only an interdisciplinary approach—drawing from critical race theory, sociology, and performance studies—but also an intergenerational one, in conversation with the foremothers of black feminist studies. In addition, it explores a diverse archive of representations, covering everything from blues to hip-hop, from Crash to Precious, from Sister Souljah to Edwidge Danticat. Revealing that black female sexuality is anything but a black-and-white issue, this collection demonstrates how to appreciate a whole spectrum of subjectivities, experiences, and desires.  

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Black Movements

Performance and Cultural Politics

Soyica Diggs Colbert

Black Movements analyzes how artists and activists of recent decades reference earlier freedom movements in order to imagine and produce a more expansive and inclusive democracy. Through an exploration of the way that black movements create circuits connecting people across space and time, Colbert offers important interventions into performance, literary, diaspora, and American studies.
 

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Black Political Organizations in the Post-Civil Rights Era

Edited by Ollie A. Johnson III, Karin L. Stanford

We know a great deal about civil rights organizations during the 1960s, but relatively little about black

political organizations since that decade. Questions of focus, accountability, structure, and relevance have surrounded these groups since the modern Civil Rights Movement ended in 1968. Political scientists Ollie A. Johnson III and Karin L. Stanford have assembled a group of scholars who examine the leadership, membership, structure, goals, ideology, activities, accountability, and impact of contemporary black political organizations and their leaders. Questions considered are: How have these organizations adapted to the changing sociopolitical and economic environment? What ideological shifts, if any, have occurred within each one? What issues are considered important to black political groups and what strategies are used to implement their agendas? The contributors also investigate how these organizations have adapted to changes within the black community and American society as a whole.

Organizations covered include well-known ones such as the NAACP, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Urban League, and the Congress of Racial Equality, as well as organizations such as the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. Religious groups, including black churches and the Nation of Islam, are also considered.

 

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Black Resonance

Iconic Women Singers and African American Literature

Emily J. Lordi

Ever since Bessie Smith’s powerful voice conspired with the “race records” industry to make her a star in the 1920s, African American writers have memorialized the sounds and theorized the politics of black women’s singing. In Black Resonance, Emily J. Lordi analyzes writings by Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Gayl Jones, and Nikki Giovanni that engage such iconic singers as Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Mahalia Jackson, and Aretha Franklin.

Focusing on two generations of artists from the 1920s to the 1970s, Black Resonance reveals a musical-literary tradition in which singers and writers, faced with similar challenges and harboring similar aims, developed comparable expressive techniques. Drawing together such seemingly disparate works as Bessie Smith’s blues and Richard Wright’s neglected film of Native Son, Mahalia Jackson’s gospel music and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, each chapter pairs one writer with one singer to crystallize the artistic practice they share: lyricism, sincerity, understatement, haunting, and the creation of a signature voice. In the process, Lordi demonstrates that popular female singers are not passive muses with raw, natural, or ineffable talent. Rather, they are experimental artists who innovate black expressive possibilities right alongside their literary peers.

The first study of black music and literature to centralize the music of black women, Black Resonance offers new ways of reading and hearing some of the twentieth century’s most beloved and challenging voices.

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Black Robes, White Coats

The Puzzle of Judicial Policymaking and Scientific Evidence

Rebecca C. Harris

Combining political analysis, scientific reasoning, and an in-depth study of specific state supreme court cases, Black Robes, White Coats is an interdisciplinary examination of the tradition of “gatekeeping,” the practice of deciding the admissibility of novel scientific evidence. Rebecca Harris systematically examines judicial policymaking in three areas —forensic DNA, polygraphs, and psychological syndrome evidence.

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Black Sexualities

Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies

Edited and with an Introduction by Juan Battle and Sandra L. Barnes

From questioning forces that have constrained sexual choices to examining how Blacks have forged healthy sexual identities in an oppressive environment, Black Sexualities acknowledges the diversity of the Black experience and the shared legacy of racism. Contributors seek resolution to Blacks' understanding of their lives as sexual beings through stories of empowerment, healing, self-awareness, victories, and other historic and contemporary life-course panoramas and provide practical information to foster more culturally relative research, tolerance, and acceptance.

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Blacks, Reds, and Russians

Sojourners in Search of the Soviet Promise

Joy Gleason Carew

One of the most compelling, yet little known stories of race relations in the twentieth century is the account of blacks who chose to leave the United States to be involved in the Soviet Experiment in the 1920s and 1930s. In Blacks, Reds, and Russians, Joy Gleason Carew offers insight into the political strategies that often underlie relationships between different peoples and countries. Interviews with the descendents of figures such as Paul Robeson and Oliver Golden offer rare personal insights into the story of a group of emigrants who, confronted by the daunting challenges of making a life for themselves in a racist United States, found unprecedented opportunities in communist Russia.

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