This chapter provides a discussion of Martin Bernal's third volume of Black Athena, published in 2006, with a view toward Bernal's continued relevance in a changing social, political, and intellectual landscape. Previous criticisms of Bernal's work to the contrary notwithstanding, I argue that Bernal examples the scholarly methods for historical inquiries about the past, particularly as they concern cultural heritage and cultural appropriation. The case of an African Apollo might resonate to those interested in African heritage, and even in a postcolonial context where hybridity trumps “origins,” the study of Apollo's African analogs leads us down many productive paths. The chapter examines Bernal's arguments for an African "origin" of Apollo, like a "Black Athena," and the attendant sociocultural and scholarly problems associated with such a claim.
Copyright © 2011 Oxford University Press. This book chapter first appeared in African Athena: New Agendas.
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Rankine, Patrice. "Black Apollo? Martin Bernal's Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, volume iii, and Why Race Still Matters." In African Athena: New Agendas, edited by Daniel Orrells, Gurminder K. Bhambra, and Tessa Roynon, 40-55. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.