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Uses of African Antiquity in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries


Jorge Serrano

African antiquity has been discerned both nullifyingly and constructively. Uses of African Antiquity in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries reveals how reading the past can be extended to understand sensitivities involving origins and how it imparts collective posture. The ancient historical imagery epitomized by writers and artists alike includes the distant past as well as an immediate past. Comparatively, representation of time long gone records transhistorical presence and civilizational participation and agentic validity. African antiquity can be construed as diasporic through time and space and in regards to nomenclature it extends understanding of peopleness, e.g. Libya, Ethiopia, Africa, Afrika, African Egypt, Kemet, Alkebu-lan, Nubia, Ta-Seti, Ta-Nehisi, Ta-Merry, Kush, Axum, Meroë, Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Zulu, and so many more are recognized in a time-spatial continuum linked to African, Colored, Negro, and Black, as various terms inform origins identity. Unfortunately, typologies disciplinarily stem from anthropological construction, yet here African antiquity as sign heralds clines and clusters; splintering Africana from humanitas ultimately contends against subjugation. African antiquity absorbs character and notions of diachronologically dispersed peoples reflect origins indulgence. African antiquity as a stretched concept and/or historicism triply adds understanding, grouping, and alterity. This primarily is a review of thinkers who defend against people erasure in the past with its socially and nihilistic affective ways.

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Chapter 3. The Afrotopic Argument


Chapter 3

The Afrotopic Argument

The Quest for African American Civilization via Nationalization

The multiplicity of Africana hermeneutics about place in history as perceived from literary texts (i.e., artifacts of a civilizational cognition) presents specified meanings in particular a conceived past that enables an intended future. Literary analysis about the writings of the civilizational past as represented from Du Bois’ writings must go beyond the question of narration and its fictive and or factual expressions.1 An analysis of literary texts can show that intertextualization can serve as a political device to end a people’s harsh existence as a disenfranchised group. One can glean an idea of the past from the writings of late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, specifically Du Bois’ literary endeavor to modify (via textualization and intertextualization) a people’s socioeconomic status.

Thus, African American literary narratives that refer to the civilizational past made use of perceived real and imagined stories. They retextualized biblical interpretations of the Hamitic genealogy (Genesis 10: 6–20) and Hamitic prophesy (Genesis 9: 25). They identified with the←65 | 66→ Exodus story via both Israelite enslavement and its people’s chosen-­ness. They also accepted the Ethiopian prophesy construed as a glorious pan-­African destiny (Psalm 68:31). The biblical reinterpretations were purposeful in more ways than just literary and artistic embellishment. Certain writers made use of biblical narratives because they empowered a people’s civilizational position. The interpretations of secular Egyptian depictions, e.g., statues, mummies, temples, pyramids,...

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