that "it is very easy for [white] to degenerate into brown, but very much more
difficult for dark to become white, when the secretion and precipitation of
this carbonaceous pigment has once deeply struck root" (269).
It follows from Blumenbach's theory that Mongolians and Ethiopians
have degenerated farthest from the human norm. The norm itself sometimes
seems to be simply a matter of temporal priority; at other times the priority
is aesthetic, but never moral or intellectual. Blumenbach's attitude toward the
five races is reflected in his choices of exemplary individual portraits: each of
the five faces--all are male--positively glows with vigor and intelligence.
On Babylonian mathematics and astronomy see Neugebauer 1957. On Chinese
technology see Needham,
Ling, et al. 1965, 4, part 2: "Mechanical Engineering." On
Arabic technology see al-Hassan and
Hill 1986; Hill 1991. For Chinese and Arabic
influence on Western technology see L. White 1962. On Berlin art see Dark 1973, as
well as Ezra 1992, the catalogue of a major exhibition of Benin art at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art in New York City. On Benin technology see Garrard 1983. The high
status of Benin art has been validated not only by the application to it of traditional
art-historical methods but also by the crucial test of auction prices: according to a
story in the New York Times ( 26 January 1992, 2:33) a sixteenth-century Benin brass
head of a king was sold at auction at Christie's in London for $2.08 million.
For my attempt to formulate a balanced assessment of ancient Egyptian science, see my essay "Black Athena, Afrocentrism, and the History of Science," also in
One notable exception is Frank M. Turner's ( 1989) critique of Bernal's treatment
of the nineteenth-century historiography of classical scholarship; see also Bernal's
response ( 1989b).
Haley finds congenial Bernal's challenge to what she takes to be the very foundations of her discipline, but apparently she has no doubts about his competence as
a historian of modern Europe.
One writer (see Stevens 1993, 14) has even coined a phrase, "the Martin Bernal
syndrome," for what he sees as the tendency, in African studies, to privilege ancient Egypt.
See Montfaucon 1719-24, his ten-volume archaeological survey of ancient Egypt. According to J. S. Curl, Montfaucon "rejected the far-fetched interpretations of hieroglyphs, despised the admiration of 'Egyptian wisdom,' and denounced
Egyptian religion and art as monstrous. Here was the mind of the Enlightenment at
work: sober, discriminating, rational, unemotive, and sceptical" (1982, 69). Directly
contrary to Bernal's view, we shall encounter, as we proceed, many more examples
of this rejection of Egyptophilia by eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinkers.
Bernal, incidentally, fists Curl's book in his bibliography ( BA 1) but never refers to it
in his text. A new edition of Curl's book, by the way, contains the same remarks about
Montfaucon's attitude toward Egypt, with some small verbal changes (1994, 79).
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Black Athena Revisited.
Contributors: Mary R. Lefkowitz - Editor, Guy MacLean Rogers - Editor.
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press.
Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC.
Publication year: 1996.
Page number: 394.
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