Stephen Howe. Afrocentrism: Mythical Pasts and Imagined Homes
Verso | 1999-08 | 1859842283 / 9781859842287 | 352 pages | PDF | 28 Mb
A vigorous challenge to the Afrocentric rewriting of African history. For centuries, racist, colonial and Eurocentric bias has blocked or distorted knowledge of Africans, their histories and cultures. The challenge to that bias has been one of the greatest intellectual transformations of the late twentieth century.
But alongside this challenge has arisen a counter mythology, proclaiming the innate superiority of African-descended peoples. In this provocative study, Stephen Howe powerfully argues that this Afrocentric movement is guilty of reproducing all the central features of the outmoded Euro-racist scholarship. Offering a mostly fictional history of Africa and its Diaspora, centered on bizarre ideas about ancient Egypt, Howe argues that Afrocentrism is a symptom of, rather than a cure for, desperate political and economic problems.
In Afrocentrism, Howe traces the sources and ancestries of the movement, and closely analyses the writings of its leading proponents including Molefi Asante and the legendary Senegalese historian Cheikh Anta Diop. Martin Bernal's contribution is also assessed. Hard-hitting yet subtle and scholarly in its appraisal of Afrocentric ideas, and based on wide-ranging research in the histories both of Afro-America and of Africa itself, Afrocentrism not only demolishes the mythical "history" taught by black ultra-nationalists but suggests paths towards a true historical consciousness of Africa and its Diaspora.
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