Cover image for Afrotopia : the roots of African American popular history
Afrotopia : the roots of African American popular history
Moses, Wilson Jeremiah, 1942-
Publication Information:
Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
ix, 313 pages ; 24 cm.
Introduction -- Varieties of black historicism : issues of antimodernism and "presentism" -- From Superman to man : a history of decline -- Progress, providence, and civilization : Alexander Crummell, Frederick Douglass, and others -- W.E.B. Du Bois and antimodernism : Section 1: Arminianism, antinomianism, and Africanity in religion ; Section 2: Barbarism, civilization, and decadence -- Afrocentrism, cosmopolitanism, and cultural literacy in the American Negro Academy -- Caliban's utopia : modernism, relativism, and primitivism -- Barbarism grafted onto decadence -- Conclusion : Afrocentrism, antimodernism, and utopia.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.625 .M66 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Afrocentrism and its history has long been disputed and controversial. In this important book, Wilson Moses presents a critical and nuanced view of the issues. Tracing the origins of Afrocentrism since the eighteenth century, he examines the combination of various popular mythologies, some of them mystical and sentimental, others perfectly reasonable. This is a rich history of black intellectual life and the concept of race.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this work Moses (Pennsylvania State Univ.), a noted authority on African American intellectual history, explores the phenomenon of Afrocentrism, i.e., the concept that African ancestry is a key facet of black identity throughout the world. In so doing, he goes far beyond what he terms "Egyptocentrism," the exuberant but ill-founded school of thought that dynastic Egypt was a black civilization. Judiciously, he explores and finds lacking in historical validity both the Egyptocentrism of Martin Bernal's Black Athena (CH, Jun'88) and the countervailing thesis exemplified by Mary Lefkowitz's Not Out of Africa (CH, Jul'96) that the Egypt of the pharaohs was a Caucasian artifact of the classical Greco-Roman world. Moses makes his argument convincingly and provides an invaluable resource for scholars and advanced students of the African and African American experience, but Afrotopia is a very difficult read. Recommended for graduate students and faculty/ researchers. R. A. Fischer; University of MinnesotaDSDuluth

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Varieties of black historicism
3 From superman to man
4 Progress, providence, and civilization: Crummell, Douglass, and others
5 W. E. B. Du Bois: modernism and antimodernism
6 William H. Ferris
7 Afrocentrism versus relativism
8 Conclusion