Speaker: Mathias Hanses, Assistant Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Penn State University
Title: "‘I Rode to Rome at Night’: The Ancient Mediterranean World in the Early Writings of W. E. B. Du Bois.”
Abstract: In this lecture, I trace within the works of W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) the gradual emergence of what, alluding to Martin Bernal’s much later argument for “The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization” (1987-2006), we may call a “Black Athena” reading of ancient history. As Professor of Classics at Wilberforce University (1894-96), Du Bois first began to present ancient Greece and Rome as contingent upon, as well as in perpetual exchange with, societies across Africa, Europe, and the ancient Near East. I argue that in doing so, Du Bois relied on numerous sources (including German sociologists), but he built especially upon foundations laid by the United States’ first generation of Black professional classicists to enter upon their careers after the abolition of slavery.
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