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CHEIKH ANTA DIOP The Pharoah of Knowledge http://afgen.com/cheikh.html On the 7th of February, 1986, Africa lost one of her illustrious sons, Cheikh Anta Diop, an exceptional African whose singular destiny and contributions were in tune with an Africa sometimes (promising), hopeful and some times despondent. While leaving us, Professor Cheikh Anta Diop bequeathed to Africa a heritage of liberation without precedence: the knowledge of one's origin. Cheikh Anta Diop Diop, Cairo 1974 in one of his very appearances in the International Colloquium about Ancient Egypt populating and deciphering of Meroitic writing. It would not strike the mind of any historian of the ancient Mediterranean civilizations to deny the crucial role played by black Egyptian peoples, in deed Ethiopians, in the development of sciences, arts, techniques, and it was from distant antiquity. The idea of "black tabula rasa", (Africa devoid of history (culture); in short, devoid of humanity, dear to colonial histography is largely posterior. Cheikh Anta Diop led throughout his life a pathetic struggle so that Africa might at long last get rid of the claws of cultural alienation which had lasted far too long, so that they would again become masters of a history which they had not lost before colonialism. "Black nations and culture" was within the context of an intense ideological struggle opposing the most awakened and conscious elements, the most politically awakened of the African elites to the tenants of colonial order who, to be witnesses to its collapse, were nonetheless less solid and untouchable. The European Africanists schools (all tendencies mixed) were unanimous in rejecting, more often without examining, the fundamental theses of Cheikh Anta Diop relating to the "cultural unity" of Africa to the migrations which, taking their source from the original neolithic basin had ended up in the present peopling of the continent; to the continuity of the national historical past of Africans. It is that, in the eyes of some, the works of the Senegalese historian appear a dangerous precedent susceptible, like every pioneering and innovative work, to incite dangerous vocations. This concern was based on at at least one point: the disintegration by Cheikh Anta Diop of the fundamental postulates of the European Africanist discourse. Thus we read: "This false attribution of values of Egypt qualified as white to a Greece equally white reveals a deep contradiction which is not the least proof of the black origin of Egyptian civilization" (Nations Negres et Culture, page 40, Vol II, Presence Africaine, 3 em edition). Cheikh Anta Diop in his last lecture in Paris before his definitive back in Senegal in 1960.In that fragment Cheikh Anta Diop links up the well being with the "umbilical cord" which links "black" ancient Egypt to the rest of the continent. similarly, the insoluble contradiction which made that pharaonic Egypt, the mother of civilizations, does not the least objectively belong to a continent judged to be savage, primitive and barbarous, finally finds a rational solution. In that regard, to measure the same time the revolutionary character of Cheikh Anta Diop's thesis and the extent of the mystification of colonial histography, let us listen to Frederich Hegel, its most qualified and profound representative: "She (Africa) is no part of the historic world, she neither shows movement nor development........., that is to say, from the north originates the Asiatic and European worlds. Cartage was in that regard an important and transient element. But it belongs to Asia a Phoenician colony. Egypt would be examined through the passage of the human mind from the east to the west, but it does not depend on the African mind." (La raison dans L'Histoirem, p 269, collection 10-18). Through this odious falsification of history, which Karl Max qualifies a idealist, a road was made which led to the myth of anti historicity of the African continent; which continent is seen to be, in perspective of Cheikh Anta Diop, the cradle of all civilizations. It is against such allegations, qualified rightly, by the first historian of African renaissance Cheikh Anta Diop, as "fascist" and "racist" (in the sense that they implied the incapacity of Africans to create viable political institutions), that his major work "Nations Negres et Culture", reacted. It can be deplored that his prodigious erudition, his epic style, his liberating breath had not inspired all the African intellectualls of that epoch. Worst still, African history as it is taught today in our schools does not take the Negroid dimension of ancient Egypt. But an important question arises: in what measure do the works of Cheikh Anta Diop allow to respond to the challenges of the future? For Theophile Obenga, a disciple and a companion of the author, "with Cheikh Anta Diop, history is not defined as the study of the past of human kind, but as the construction of the future in the name of life." Cheikh Anta Diop, young student in Paris Cheikh Anta Diop was not only an intellectual, he also had a past as a man of action who did not hesitate to embrace political militantism when he judged it necessary. It was in that regard that he published scathing and brilliant articles in "La voix d'Afrique", a journal of students of the RDA (Rassemblement Democratique Africain). One of his articles appeared in February, 1952, and already he had put (at an epoch where most African parliamentarians opted for a policy of compromise - not to say betrayal) on the agenda the question of independence and the federation of the ex-colonies. One sees it, the political doctrine of Cheikh Anta Diop, consigned to "the economic and cultural foundations", having as a philosopher's stone the notion of unity under its federal or confederal; form. A certain number of factors converged to render indispensable a political unity: the imperatives of economic independence, industrial development, the inconstances of political entities issuing from colonialism, and the cultural unity of Black Africa. These theses, to say the truth, are neither new nor original. One remembers the iterinary of Kwame Nkrumah, almost all of whose works and, in particular the famous book entitled "Africa Must Unite", offer a brilliant illustration. Nevertheless, in the light of the political experiences of African states since 1960, one realizes that as regards the economic, political and cultural necessities of unity in order to formulate an ideology of development and liberation, they are notoriously insufficient. Such a move can only end up in a voluntarist and idealist practice which substitutes the categorical imperative of unity for contradictions and objective movements of African societies - the pseudoSenegambia Confederation is a patent example of it. Here resides one of the major contradictions which undermines the work. In effect, no infallible mathematical law has yet demonstrated that because the ancient past of a people was brilliant, so its future must, with the fatality of bronze law equally be. Undoubtedly, it has to be underscored (and deplored) that in his persistence, by the way quite judicious, to defend the thesis of "Black Egypt", the author did not analyse the concrete social realities of the African peoples in a satisfactory way; far from being homogeneous, far from constituting the only and same group of democratic and colonized, (who were disunited by interests fundamentally antagonistic, which explain the present impasses having names such as Rwanda-Burundi, Nigeria an so on and so forth. Only these contradictions explain the relatively inefficient character of an action which, at the RDA, as at the level of the Senegalese block of masses (which later became RND - National Democratic Assembly), only realized ephemeral successes. It is now the lot of today's African generation and that of tomorrow to tap the energy emanating from the monumental heritage that Cheikh Anta Diop has bequeathed to us, to propel Africa into the first row of the international community in order to remake it as a continent of inventions and liberty. This is the challenge that the pharoah of knowledge (the ancestor of our future) has bequeathed as heritage to the African youth. FOROYAA (Freedom) February, 1997 ISSN: 0796-0573 A Brief Biography of Cheikh Anta Diop . Cheikh Anta Diop with his children. July 1983 in Brazzaville."In practice it is possible to determine directly the skin colour and hence the ethnic affiliations of the ancient Egyptians by microscopic analysis in the laboratory; I doubt if the sagacity of the researchers who have studied the question has overlooked the possibility." --Cheikh Anta Diop Cheikh Anta Diop, a modern champion of African identity, was born in Diourbel, Senegal on December 29, 1923. At the age of twenty-three, he journeyed to Paris, France to continue advanced studies in physics. Within a very short time, however, he was drawn deeper and deeper into studies relating to the African origins of humanity and civilization. Becoming more and more active in the African student movements then demanding the independence of French colonial possessions, he became convinced that only by reexamining and restoring Africa's distorted, maligned and obscured place in world history could the physical and psychological shackles of colonialism be lifted from our Motherland and from African people dispersed globally. His initial doctoral dissertation submitted at the University of Paris, Sorbonne in 1951, based on the premise that Egypt of the pharaohs was an African civilization--was rejected. Regardless, this dissertation was published by Presence Africaine under the title Nations Negres et Culture in 1955 and won him international acclaim. Two additional attempts to have his doctorate granted were turned back until 1960 when he entered his defense session with an array of sociologists, anthropologists and historians and successfully carried his argument. After nearly a decade of titanic and herculean effort, Diop had finally won his Docteur es Lettres! In that same year, 1960, were published two of his other works--the Cultural Unity of Black Africa and Precolonial Black Africa. Cheikh Anta Diop (with the placard) and his wife Louise Marie (in the right), demonstrating in Paris for African politicians' release 50s During his student days, Cheikh Anta Diop was an avid political activist. From 1950 to 1953 he was the Secretary-General of the Rassemblement Democratique Africain (RDA) and helped establish the first Pan-African Student Congress in Paris in 1951. He also participated in the First World Congress of Black Writers and Artists held in Paris in 1956 and the second such Congress held in Rome in 1959. Upon returning to Senegal in 1960, Dr. Diop continued his research and established a radiocarbon laboratory in Dakar. In 1966, the First World Black Festival of Arts and Culture held in Dakar, Senegal honored Dr. Diop and Dr. W.E.B. DuBois as the scholars who exerted the greatest influence on African thought in twentieth century. In 1974, a milestone occurred in the English-speaking world when the African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality was finally published. It was also in 1974 that Diop and Theophile Obenga collectively and soundly reaffirmed the African origin of pharaonic Egyptian civilization at a UNESCO sponsored symposium in Cairo, Egypt. In 1981, Diop's last major work, Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology was published. Dr. Diop was the Director of Radiocarbon Laboratory at the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (IFAN) at the University of Dakar. He sat on numerous international scientific committees and achieved recognition as one of the leading historians, Egyptologists, linguists and anthropologists in the world. He traveled widely, lectured incessantly and was cited and quoted voluminously. He was regarded by many as the modern `pharaoh' of African studies. Cheikh Anta Diop died quietly in sleep in Dakar, Senegal on February 7, 1986. Here are some of the major works of Cheikh Anta Diop translated into English. There are however other important works that are published in journals such as dosage test. A technique developed by Diop to determine the melanin content of the egyptian mummies. The irony of this new technique was later adopted by the U.S. forensic department to determine the racial identity of badly burnt accident victims. Yet to date they have never acknowledged the author of this test! The African Origin of Civilization, Myth Or Reality The African Origin of Civilization, Myth Or Reality. The book presents Dr. Diop's main thesis that historical, archaeological and anthropological evidence supports the theory that the civilization of ancient Egypt, the first that history records, was actually Negroid in origin. Lawrence Hill Books ISBN 1-55652-072-7 Precolonial Black Africa Precolonial Black Africa. In the book, Diop compares the political and social systems of Europe and black Africa from antiquity to the formation of modern states. Lawrence Hill Books ISBN 1-55652-0088-3 Black Africa, The Economic and Cultural Basis for a Federated State Black Africa, The Economic and Cultural Basis for a Federated State. In the book, the late Cheikh Anta Diop presents a dynamic and convincing arguement for the creation of a unified black African state and there is an interview by Carlos Moore on Diop's vision of Africa's emergence as a major world power. African World Press ISBN 0--86543-058-6 Civilization or Barbarism - An authentic Anthropology Civilization or Barbarism - An authentic Anthropology This last work of Cheikh Anta Diop is a summation and expansion of his two previous volumes -Precolonial Black Africa (1987) and The African Origin of Civilization (1974) - 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. ISBN: 1556520484 Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated Pub. downloaded: 9/6/05 Source: http://home3.inet.tele.dk/mcamara/index.html Cheikh Anta Diop and Two Cradle Analysis: Conceptualizing Enslavement within Afrikan and European Cultural Thought and Practice Karanja Keita Carroll Cheikh Anta Diop (1989) proposed a mode of macro-historical analysis, which is commonly referred to as the Two-Cradle Theory. The Two-Cradle Theory will be employed to analyze the conceptions of ‘slavery’ within European and Afrikan cultural thought and practice. This comparative analysis will examine ancient civilizations, which in turn should exemplify a broader view and explanation for the subconscious manifestations of more recent institutions of ‘slavery’. I suggest that the foundation for the enslavement of Native Americans and subsequently Afrikans in the ‘New World’ can be found within the particular conceptualization of slavery that originally manifested in European cultural thought and practice. Just as 18th and 19th century forms of ‘slavery’ or servitude in Afrika can be linked to Afrikan cultural thought and practice, or in many cases to Islamic cultural thought and practice. Elucidating the foundation and discplinary basis of Black Studies via the works of Cheikh Anta Diop By Karanja Keita Carroll Most discussions of Cheikh Anta Diop limit him to his discussion of Ancient Egypt as a classical Afrikan civilization. Even scholars within Black Studies begin and end with the scientific evidence that Diop provided on the race and culture of the Ancient Egyptians. This limited use, analysis and application of the works of Diop stagnates our understanding of his contributions to Black Studies and knowledge production, in general. As Black Studies continues to create and recreate new interpretations of knowledge and the Africana experience, we must reevaluate the role of mentioned and unmentioned contributors to our discipline. Therefore, in our attempt to further establish the basis of Black Studies, as a culturally specific discipline, I would argue that we look at the works of Diop for a solid disciplinary foundation. This paper attempts to analyze the methodology and philosophy of Diop, in order to further substantiate the disciplinary basis of Black Studies. Foundations for Black Studies: Reevaluating Cheikh Anta Diop's Two Cradle Thesis By Karanja Keita Carroll Most discussions of Cheikh Anta Diop limit him to his discussion of Ancient Egypt as a classical Afrikan civilization. Even scholars within Black Studies begin and end with the scientific evidence that Diop provided on the race and culture of the Ancient Egyptians. This limited use, analysis and application of the works of Diop stagnates our understanding of his contributions to Black Studies and knowledge production, in general. Most relevant to the discipline of Black Studies is Diop's use and manipulation of culture as a tool of liberation. In fact, in an interview with Carlos Moore, Diop stated, "There is no doubt that culture will be used as a weapon in this struggle, this is indispensable. That is why it is important that this weapon be at all times adapted to the struggle for national liberation" (1991, p. 114). This speaks to the power which Diop As Black Studies continues to create and recreate new interpretations of knowledge and the Africana experience, we must reevaluate the role of mentioned and unmentioned contributors to our discipline. Therefore, in our attempt to further establish the basis of Black Studies, as a culturally specific discipline, I would argue that we look at the works of Diop for a solid disciplinary foundation. This paper attempts to analyze the methodology and philosophy of Diop, in order to further substantiate the disciplinary basis of Black Studies. Cheikh Anta Diop, Cultural Identity and the future of Black Studies By Karanja Keita Carroll Most discussions of Cheikh Anta Diop limit him to his discussion of Ancient Egypt as a classical Afrikan civilization. Even scholars within Black Studies begin and end with the scientific evidence that Diop provided on the race and culture of the Ancient Egyptians. This limited use, analysis and application of the works of Diop stagnates our understanding of his contributions to Black Studies and knowledge production, in general. As Black Studies continues to create and recreate new interpretations of knowledge and the Africana experience, we must reevaluate the role of mentioned and unmentioned contributors to our discipline. This paper uses Diop's model of Cultural Identity to show how certain curricula and course offerings fit within this construct. Ultimately, this paper will show the relationship between self-knowledge, cultural knowledge, cultural identity and Black Studies. Cheikh Anta Diop and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: A comparative analysis of their philosophies of history and the role of Afrika By Karanja Keita Carroll Introduction Afrika, the birthplace of humanity and the continent with the longest earth’s history continues to fascinate researchers and advance analysis, from the works of the African Studies Association to the developmental initiatives of the International Monetary Fund. While it would be logical for Afrikans to be the most influential in steering the course of Afrikan Studies, sadly to say, this is not the case. For sometime, it has been steered by the thoughts and philosophies of people of non-Afrikan ancestry. The most influential and problematic of these non-Afrikan thinkers was George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel who lived from 1770 – 1831. Hegel’s impact on Afrikan Studies began and possibly continued a new course of Afrikan history that was anti-Afrikan and quite disparaging to people of Afrikan descent. Hegel’s arguments and ideas about the role of Afrika in world history were influential in validating the enslavement of Afrikans, Western Christian indoctrinization, colonialism, neo-colonialism and the present debacle over globalism. Similar Hegelian motivated arguments continue to destroy interpersonal relationships between Afrikans and non-Afrikans the world over. Hegel’s impact on Afrikan history is found throughout colleges and universities, who continue to use Hegel as a model on Afrikan history. Other colleges and universities, continue to hire professors and create initiates based upon Hegelian historical assumptions. None of these professors, departments, centers and/or institutes view Afrikan history from the cultural perspective of Afrikans, but rather impose non-Afrikan standards as a universal human norm. While Hegel has been influential in steering the direction of Afrikan historiography, the work of Cheikh Anta Diop has begun to place Afrikan history within its own cultural, philosophical and continental context. Thus, one can argue, that Diop’s work has begun to place Afrikan history within its correct cultural context. While Diop’s original arguments and ideas were initially produced in French, it was with the English translation of his major works that scholars across the Afrikan diaspora began to know and understand a logical, but yet practically unused approach to Afrikan historiography. This approach to Afrikan history was centered upon the cultural connections between the numerous Afrikan cultures. It is between Hegel and Diop that the warring ideals of Afrikan historiography have begun and continue to be fought throughout Afrikan Studies today. Many say that much of what is written today regarding Afrikan Studies, and particularly Afrikan history, is only a footnote to Hegel. In this intellectual climate the reassessment and usage of the works of scholars such as Diop is necessary. With the rise of Black Nationalism, Black Studies and other critical intellectual movements throughout the Afrikan diaspora many have begun to challenge and question many Eurocentric assumptions. In relation to Hegel, Keita (1974) an Afrikan philosopher, in an article entitled “Two Philosophies of African History: Hegel and Diop”, sketches a basic outline comparing both Hegel’s and Diop’s philosophy of history. Other scholars such as Kuykendall (1993) have analyzed the works of Hegel and have been very critical of Hegel’s discussion of Afrikan history and culture. Recently, with the usage of Afrocentricity as a tool of analysis (Asante, 1990) a contemporary comparison, which uses this framework is necessary. Afrocentric analysis argues that the researcher use Afrikan culture and history as one’s tool of analysis when interpreting and judging Afrikan phenomenon (Asante, 1990, pp. 5-6). This logical form of analysis is somewhat missing, or misplaced, throughout the works of both Keita and Kuykendall. While both researchers contribute to a basic understanding of the relationship between Hegel and Diop, it is their lack of usage of the Afrocentric paradigm which requires an extension of this comparative analysis (Mazama, 2001). This work attempts to reinterpret the dialogue regarding Afrikan historiography, from both Hegel and Diop, in light of the Afrocentric perspective. This analysis attempts to look at the philosophies of history proposed by both Hegel and Diop using the Afrocentric paradigm. An overall synopsis of Hegel’s philosophy of history and the place of Afrika within world history will be our starting point. Secondly, Diop’s philosophy of history will be analyzed along the same lines. Comparative aspects of Hegel’s and Diop’s philosophies of history will be analyzed, critiqued and further built upon. Cheikh Anta Diop and Pan-Africanism: Creating Bonds of Unity, Always in Familiar Waters By Karanja Keita Carroll “First thing when you wake up, say mama God knows I love you. Before you pick up your tea cup, remember to talk to the Father too, thanking him for everything and give I-s for the rising. On yours knees while we pray, each break of day and chase the devil away. If we wanna save the world, we gotta save the children. Set an example for the children to follow, make a better tomorrow…” Luciano – "Save the World" on A New Day (2001) In a separatist understanding of Pan-Africanism one often limits PanAfricanism to a political, ideological and/or abstract concept. This act is quite detrimental to the fact that Pan-Africanism is a way of life, a mode of reasoning and a necessary tool for African world liberation. By stepping away from the normal discussion of Pan-Africanism as a political mechanism, this present discussion attempts to locate elements of PanAfrican symbols, ethics, values and morality. This will be looked at in light of Cheikh Anta Diop’s discussion on African matriarchy. By using Diop’s argument to create a framework and criteria for African matriarchy, three African world cultures are analyzed. These cultures consist of the Caribbean country and city realities of Lindsay Barrett’s (1974) Songs of Mumu, the African American Gullah culture of Julie Dash’s (1991) Daughter’s of the Dust; and a fairly recent ethnographic analysis of the Oru of Oguta Lake by Sabine Jell-Bahlsen (1997). These three cultures exemplify at some level, the connections that we are able to create around the idea of Pan-Africanism symbolism, ethics, values and moral systems. Before analyzing these works we must first understand the author’s framework and basic assumptions. As initially stated, this will begin with Cheikh Anta Diop’s thesis found in many of his works but specifically outlined in The Cultural Unity of Black Africa: The Domains of Matriarchy and Patriarchy in Classical Antiquity (1989). Works Cited Diop's Contribution to Pan-Africanism and Pan-Africanist Ideology: An Introduction By Karanja Keita Carroll Amongst many scholars Cheikh Anta Diop’s Pan-Africanist approach to scholarship is often neglected. This is evident by the lack of attention that is given to Diop’s work from those who consider themselves Diopian. One example of this can be found in Ivan Van Sertima’s Great African Thinkers, Vol. 1: Cheikh Anta Diop (1986). In this volume the only article that directly focuses on The Cultural Unity of Black Africa, Diop’s primary Pan- Africanist text, does not give any serious analysis to Diop’s reasoning for African matriarchy, one basis for African unity. Nor is African matriarchy the focus of any of the other essays. Neither does this text give an analysis of Diop’s conceptualization of cultural identity. These two areas of Diop’s scholarship (African matriarchy and cultural identity) are pervasive throughout all of his works and are Pan-African in nature. The closest this volume comes to touching upon Diop’s approach to Pan-Africanism is an interview conducted by Carlos Moore for Afriscope magazine. Because Diopian scholars limit their analysis only to Diop’s contribution to Ancient African Civilizations and the exact science, they have done a disservice to Diop and have overlooked his contributions to African world history. I would argue that understanding Diop means that one must use a holistic approach when studying his work. If we are to accept Diop, we must accept all of him, including all his arguments, faults and contradictions. In studying Cheikh Anta Diop’s contributions, we must first understand how people know of Diop, and then use this as a segue into an analysis of his contributions to Pan-African scholarship. Many people know Diop because he was able to provide empirical evidence to show that the Ancient Egyptians were Black Africans. His most widely known argument is that, Ancient Egypt was a Black African civilization. Diop went even further and argued that Egypt is to Africa, what Greece is to Europe. In this he meant Africans should be able to use Egypt as a cultural, social and scholarly foundation much as Europe has been able to use Greece for the same liberating reasons. In Diop’s own words he states, For us, the return to Egypt in all domains is a necessary condition for reconciling African civilization with history, in order to be able to construct a body of modern human sciences, in order to renovate African culture. Far from being a reveling in the past, a look toward Egypt of antiquity is the best way to conceive and build our cultural future. In reconceived and renewed African culture, Egypt will play the same role that Greco-Latin antiquity plays in Western culture. (1991, p. 3) Most scholars who focus on Diop limit their analysis to this aspect of his work. However, Diop was a multitalented and multitrained scholar, whose education was not only in history and Egyptology, but also in linguistics, anthropology, classics, archeology, prehistory and philosophy, among other areas. Diop’s interdisciplinary training allowed him to create numerous theoretical arguments with empirical evidence to support his position. The most disregarded of these arguments, can be found in The Cultural Unity of Black Africa: The Domains of Matriarchy and Patriarchy in Classical Antiquity (1989), Precolonial Black Africa (1987), Black Africa (1987), and Towards the African Renaissance (1996). The primary focus of this paper will be a holistic analysis of the relevance of Diop’s conceptualization of African matriarchy, cultural identity and their relevance to African cultural unity. In order to begin a discussion on Diop’s contribution to Pan-African scholarship, one must first understand what is Pan-Africanism. John Henrik Clarke, explains Pan-African by stating, “’Pan’ means all. Pan-African means all African people. It refers to the oneness of all people of African descent and it infers African world unity” (1991, pp. 98-99). According to Dr. Clarke we are looking to see in Diop’s scholarship at what level is he able or does he attempt to unify African people. P. Olisanwuche Esedebe refers to Pan-Africanism as “a political and cultural phenomenon that regards Africa, Africans and African descendants abroad as a unit. It seeks to regenerate and unify Africa and promote a feeling of oneness among people of the African world. It glorifies the African past and inculcates pride in African values” (1994, p. 5). From Esedebe we will be looking to see at what level can Diop’s contributions see Africa, Africans and diasporic Africans as a unit. Does he attempts regenerates and unifies African people? Finally, at what level does he glorify the African past and African values? I would argue that Diop has approached Clarke’s Pan-African and Esedebe’s Pan-Africanism in the most historically accurate fashion. There are two intended objectives of this paper. The first is to see how Diop was able to use matriarchy as a tool to create African cultural unity. This will be done through an analysis of some of Diop’s most neglected texts, but also some of his more popular work. The second objective is to see how Diop was able to use his conceptualization of cultural identity, to create a second basis for African cultural unity. Among the different schools of Pan-Africanism, I would argue that Diop is a culturalist. Diop knew the importance of culture and understood its usefulness in creating African unity. In an interview when speaking about culture and its role in African liberation, Diop states, It is indispensable to spell out in what context we are discussing culture… To my mind, the notion of culture is tied to the emergence of a multinational state embracing almost the entire continent. This means that the cultural question can only be fully appreciated the day we will succeed through struggle and victory over colonialism achieving national independence at the continental level. There is no doubt that culture will be used as a weapon in this struggle, this is indispensable. That is why it is important that this weapon be at all times adapted to the struggle for national independence, for culture shall, essentially, be in the service of the struggle for national liberation. (1991, p. 114) It is from this fundamental tenet that we begin to evaluate Diop’s contribution to Pan-African scholarship. Culture, Cultural Identity, and Cheikh Anta Diop By Karanja Keita Carroll The eminent multi-trained scholar, Cheikh Anta Diop holds a central place in the scholastic endeavors of African-centered scholarship. The majority of scholars who use the arguments and research produced by Diop focus only on his arguments regarding the race and culture of the Ancient Egyptians. Because of the centrality of Egypt to Afrocentric scholarship these scholars limit their usage only to this element of Diop’s work. In doing this we often neglect the most important arguments put forth by Diop, those regarding culture and cultural unity. On Diop’s second attempt at his dissertation, which would be rejected much like the first attempt, he produced the arguments and evidence that would culminate in The Cultural Unity of Africa: Matriarchy and Patriarchy in Classical Antiquity. The Domains of This text was first published in French by Presènce Africaine in 1963, under the title: The Cultural Unity of Negro Africa. Two more publications in English would soon follow and this allowed for the accessibility of these very important ideas. This paper attempts to access the arguments of Cheikh Anta Diop in The Cultural Unity of Black Africa, particularly those which are in reference to what he terms the Southern Cradle. By analyzing Diop’s arguments and evidence the author attempts to strengthen his original argument. The sole foundation which Diop placed his arguments on, was the role and function of matriarchy in African culture. According to Diop the role of matriarchy separates African cultures from all other cultures, especially those of Europe which are characterized by patriarchy. By using matriarchy, Diop was able to create a mode of analysis based upon the characteristics which matriarchy creates. These including gender equality, an optimistic worldview, etc. The first objective of this paper is to attempt to access the arguments given by Diop in his explanation of the Southern Cradle/Africa. Secondly this paper attempts to understand Diop’s use of the concept, culture. In Diop’s Civilization or Barbarism, Diop creates a criteria for cultural identity, which can be applied to African people in their process of self-liberation. The author will look at all the elements of Diop’s understanding of cultural identity and all the ends of which it could bring. The final results of this paper should allow an understanding of the usage of the concepts: culture and cultural unity, in the scholastic endeavors of Cheikh Anta Diop. ____________________ Diop, Cheikh Anta. (1989). The cultural unity of Black Africa: The domains of matriarchy & patriarchy in classical antiquity. London: Karnak House. Cheikh Anta Diop's Cultural Unity Thesis, Culture and an African Worldview: Understanding the Connections By Karanja Keita Carroll In our affirmation of an African Worldview it is of great importance that we understand the foundation upon which this worldview stands. One way of approaching this subject is through an analysis of Cheikh Anta Diop’s (1989) Cultural Unity of Black Africa: The Domains of Matriarchy and Patriarchy within Classical Antiquity. Inherent within Diop’s argument is the relationship between the concepts of culture and worldview. By defining these concepts we come closer to understanding their relationship to Diop’s thesis. Culture can neatly be defined as the way of life of a people. Worldview can agreeably be defined as the particular belief systems and assumptions of a people. Diop used a comparative historical approach to ground his argument. This present investigation looks only at the Southern cradle (Africa), for our appreciation of an African Worldview. Diop’s central argument is based upon the relationship between human beings and their environment. From this point, he analyzes how people react towards their environmental surroundings and behaviors/beliefs that manifest because of these surroundings. the The environment of the Southern cradle (Africa) can be characterized as having warmth, sunlight, flowing bodies of water, abundant vegetation, etc. These environmental conditions in turn create agricultural subsistence, motherfocused societies, a balance between male and female social functioning, burial of the dead as a form of ancestor worship, among other characteristics. These characteristics and the behaviors they produce create a worldview that is based upon balance, unity, harmony, interdependence and an all-encompassing optimistic spirituality. The final outcome of this paper should allow one to see the inextricable relationship between African culture, an African Worldview and the arguments Diop proposes in the Cultural Unity of Black Africa. In summation, Diop’s cultural unity thesis is the basis for the construction of the particular culture of a people. This culture in turn perpetuates and determines a particular worldview. ____________________ Diop, Cheikh Anta. (1989). The cultural unity of Black Africa: The domains of matriarchy & patriarchy in classical antiquity. London: Karnak House. _____ Diop, C. A. (1989). The cultural unity of Black Africa: The domains of matriarchy & patriarchy in classical antiquity. London: Karnak House. _____. (1991). Civilization or barbarism: An authentic anthropology. New York: Lawrence Hill Books. _____. (1996). Towards the African renaissance, essays in culture & development: 1946-1960. London: Karnak House. Works Cited Amadiume, I. (1987). African matriarchal foundations: the case of Igbo societies. London: Karnak House. Amadiume, I. (1997). Reinventing Africa: Matriarchy, religion & culture. New York: Zed Books. Ani, M. (1994). Yurugu: An African-centere critique of European cultural thought and behavior. Trenton: Africa World Press. Diop, C. A. (1974). The African origin of civilization: myth or reality. Brooklyn: Lawrence Hill Books. Diop, C. A. (1987). Black Africa: the economic and cultural basis for a federated state. Brooklyn: Lawrence Hill Books. Diop, C.A. (1987). Precolonial Black Africa. New York: Lawrence Hill Books. Diop, C. A. (1989). The cultural unity of black Africa: the domains of matriarchy and patriarchy in classical antiquity. London: Karnak House. Diop, C.A. (1991). Civilization or barbarism: an authentic anthropology. Brooklyn: Lawrence Hill Books. Obenga, T. 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Writings Currently, I am completing my dissertation in African American Studies, tentatively titled “Theory and Theory Production in Africana Studies: Cheikh Anta Diop’s Two Cradle Theory as a Metatheory ... o astro.temple.edu/~karanja/writings.htm o Cached page CHEIKH ANTA DIOP ... is seen to be, in perspective of Cheikh Anta Diop , the cradle of ... evidence supports the theory that the ... This last work of Cheikh Anta Diop is a summation and expansion of his two previous volumes - ... o afgen.com/cheikh.html o Cached page The Invention of Africa" and Intellectual Neocolonialism ... divides the African thinkers into two ... Aimé Caesar, Leopold Senghor and Cheikh Anta Diop ... angles he apparently exudes the Diop project, which seeks "to give Africa the moral benefit the cradle of ... o o afgen.com/black_nationalism7.html o Cached page Show more results from "afgen.com".