3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2009
'Afrocentrism', a term sometimes lazily applied, typically refers to a type of therapeutic American pseudohistory that recasts the cultural history of the ancient world in simplistic racialist terms. Its account of the past is demonstrably incorrect - from the viewpoint of a trained specialist, Afrocentrism's proponents often lack fundamental evidence-handling skills and make embarrassingly basic errors - but it merits serious study, as a contemporary social phenomenon that purports to empower its disciples in the present day.
Walker is uniquely well positioned to develop this sympathetic but bracing critical account, which pours cold water on Afrocentrism's claims to authentic and historically meaningful empowerment of black Americans. His critique is all the more damning for being developed without animus, and without the slightest basis for suspicion of ideological interference, hidden agendas or ad personam axe-grinding. As a professional classicist with a keen interest in the Afrocentrism debate, I recommend his book very highly.
2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2005
"A SCIENTIFIC revolution, according to Kuhn [the scientist/linguist author of THE THEORY OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS], is not simply an addition to pre-existing knowledge. It is, within any field, 'a reconstruction of the field from new fundamentals'; a complete demolition of an old theoretical and conceptual structure and its replacement by a new one based on entirely different aims and premises. The old paradigm...attacked from the outside...cannot be defeated on the basis of its own rules for, as we have seen...these rules are not only inadequate to solve new problems which have begun to arise--THEY ACTUALLY PRECLUDE ANY DISCUSSION OF THESE PROBLEMS AT ALL."
Dr. Chris Knight, London
From BLOOD RELATIONS:
MENSTRUATION AND THE ORIGINS OF CULTURE
"Unable to detect any contradiction in the formal statements of the Ancients after an objective confrontation with total Egyptian reality, and consequently unable to disprove them, they either give them the silent treatment or reject them dogmatically and indignantly. They express regret that people as normal as the ancient Egyptians could have made so grievous an error and thus create so many difficulties and delicate problems for modern specialists. Next they try in vain to find a White origin for Egyptian civilization. They finally become mired down in their own contradictions...after performing intellectual acrobatics as learned as they are unwarranted. They then repeat the initial dogma...the White origin of Egyptian civilization.
"...Egyptians themselves--who should surely be better qualified than anyone to speak of their origin--recognize without ambiguity that their ancestors came from Nubia and the heart of Africa."
Chek Anta Diop
THE AFRICAN ORIGIN OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION
From Chapter Three, "Modern Falsification of History"
Chapter Seven, "Arguments for a Negro Origin"
This seemingly balanced look at the psycho-cultural history of Afrocentricity still shares with its more latently racist precursors one undeniable fact, when looking at history through the lens of science: they are all eerily reminiscent of the Biblical scholars and human biology scientists who brutally attacked Darwin in the mid 19th century, and the Newtonian physicists who joyfully and artfully dismissed the work of the postal clerk Einstein in the beginning of the 20th.
Dare to compare...and see if I'm right.
Compare this book to Chek Anta Diop's THE AFRICAN ORIGIN OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION, the archetypal lightning rod for Eurocentric criticism. Walker in HOME AGAIN clearly puts the underqualified "Amen" chorus of Afrocentricity on notice. However, this still does nothing to Diop, regarding the scientific basis of his work and the paradigmatic shift away from the corrupted integrity of Classicism it instigates.
Consider the following:
=Does Walker believe an "absence of evidence" (i.e. an absence of scholarly work on ancient African comparative linguistics that fortifies a preexisting Afrocentric theory about Egyptian/African cultures) "equals the evidence of absence" (i.e. equals proof that the post-Egyptian African cultures were not "racially" derivative of the more ancient African cultures of the Nile Valley [in the way the similarities of the ancient Greek, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French languages show their "Indo-European" origins])?
And does he believe secretly relying on THAT childish postulate to disprove an "African" influence on "Indo-European" cultures via Egypt is somehow good enough science, freeing him to talk about race relations and politics?
=How is it, really, that there are no comparative linguistics studies of the sub-Saharan African languages and Coptic, Demotic, or the most ancient Egyptian written in hieroglyphs for Walker to refer to (as Egypt is, geographically, a northeast African country)? Do they really not exist at all, or do they simply not support his point of view, therefore undermining the credibility of his thesis?
=Why are the startling similarities (to say the least) of the Greek mythological pantheon and the older Egyptian systematically ignored in both Biblical and ancient literature studies within the Classicist's paradigm? (Like, for example, the names Athena and Athens ["Athene"] proven to be derived from the Egyptian goddess Neith ["Nth"], the sophisticated worship of whom predates Greece as a culture by more than two thousand years?)
=What are Walker's credentials in archaeology, anthropology, linguistics or the applied physical sciences?
And why is it that his fan base in predominantly sociological academia (and of course, reactionary American politics) sees no reason to even ASK this question?
Only Diop's work truly answers these questions, revealing their unavoidable implications.
Diop breaks AFRICAN ORIGIN into the following chapters:
I- Preface: The Meaning of our Work
1) What were the Egyptians?
2) Birth of the Negro Myth
3) Modern Falsification of History
4) Could Egyptian Civilization have originated in the Delta?
5) Could Egyptian Civilization Be of Asian Origin?
6) The Egyptian Race as Seen and Treated by Anthropologists
7) Arguments Supporting a Negro Origin
8) Arguments Opposing a Negro Origin
9) Peopling of Africa from the Nile Valley
10) Political and Social Evolution of Ancient Egypt
11) Contribution of Ethiopian-Nubia and Egypt
12) Reply to a Critic
13) Early History of Humanity: Evolution of the Black World
The paradigm-shifting, scientific foundation of Afrocentricity is, in part, instituting a Freudian projection/transference from the intellectual institutions of Euro-American, Imperialist/Plantation-era capitalism: that which is the economic foundation of the modern "globalized" world. This is for which almost the entirety of Classicism is but an apologetic (as it was essentially designed to be); much like *craniometry* also was for the American Slavery and Jim Crow centuries that accompanied it (a "science" often equally heralded by 19th and early 20th century racist intellectuals before being discredited in this oh so pure academic world of ours). The evidence of this dynamic is, partly, the irrational celebration of underanalysed books like this. Galileos of ancient history, like the 19th century pre-Jungian mythographer Gerald Massey (ANCIENT EGYPT, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD; BOOK OF BEGINNINGS) and the 20th century African physicist/linguist Diop are said to herald a paradoxical return to Nazism (?), where non-scientific political essays like Walker's book are celebrated as the Gospel. WE CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN is Aryan theology masquerading as African-American historiography, masquerading as science.