• Title: Afrocentrism: Mythical Pasts and Imagined Homes
  • Author: Stephen Howe
  • Released: 1998-06-17
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 338
  • ISBN: 1859848737
  • ISBN13: 978-1859848739
  • ASIN: 1859848737
From Publishers Weekly Afrocentrism, asserts Oxford historian Howe in this forceful scholarly critique, is a dogmatic ideology promoting a mythical vision of the past that involves an erroneous belief in fundamentally distinct African ways of knowing and feeling. Using archaeological and other studies, he refutes the claims of influential Afrocentrist Senegalese historian Cheikh Anta Diop, who held that ancient Egypt was a black African civilization and that a single cultural system unified the African continent. Howe deftly exposes the shaky underpinnings of Cornell historian Martin Bernal's popular tome, Black Athena, which claims that classical Greece was massively indebted to Egyptian and Semitic sources, and to Egyptian colonization. Tracing the evolution of Afrocentric views from 19th-century pamphleteers, romantic anthropologists, occultists and political activistsAboth black and whiteAthrough contemporary Black Muslim doctrine and what he considers the distortions of U.S. academics such as Leonard Jeffries, Ron Karenga and Molefi Asante, Howe finds that much Afrocentric writing "slips from ethnocentrism and neoconservatism into full-blown racism, sexism and homophobia." A major contribution to the debate, this dense study will appeal mostly to scholars. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal Howe (Ruskin Coll., Oxford Univ.) sees "Afrocentrism" as "Ethnonationalism" and as a concept that "is accompanied by a mass of invented traditions, by a mythical vision of the past, and by a body of racial pseudoscience." Here he offers a provocative and critical analysis of the philosophical and historicist validity of Afrocentrism. Howe critically analyzes, and in some cases debunks, notions of prominent Africanists such as Marcus Garvey and Frantz Fanon, providing a useful overview of some of the ideological differences between African American scholars in their debates on multiculturalism vs. Afrocentricity. Unfortunately, he fails to realize that, however flawed, Afrocentrism is the newest concept emphasizing the social cohesion of African-origin people rather than the American individualism of the older Anglo conformity. Overall, Howe's book is an effective polemic that will appeal to scholars and students alike working on developing critical interpretations and/or a historical understanding of Afrocentrism, and he is to be commended for providing scholars with easier access to source materials and for his extensive bibliography and footnotes. Recommended for special collections.AEdward G. McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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