Civilization or Barbarism
An Authentic Anthropology 3rd Edition
This last work of the well-known Senegalese scholar (1923-86) is a summation and expansion of his two previous volumes– Precolonial Black Africa (1987) and The African Origin of Civilization (1974)–and offers a refined statement of his life’s work, to prove the primacy of African culture by proving that ancient Egypt was a black society, first in many cultural achievements later claimed by the following Indo-Aryan cultures. To this end, Diop discusses the paleontology, sociology, anthropology, and intellectual history of the ancient Egyptians set against contemporaneous cultures and also the modern Wolofs. This is a fascinating and frustrating volume. The organization is patchy; one central section seems to have gone off-course into an apology for Marxist political theory; the translation stumbles badly, especially in the early chapters; and one feels that history is being stretched (a la Velikovsky) on the author’s Procrustean bed of African genesis. But Diop’s erudition is patent, his place in African letters is secure, and his major works should certainly be available. For academic and large public collections.