Lawrence A. Tritle
"Contrariwise," continued Tweedledee, "if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be: but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."
-- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
The second volume of Martin Bemal's projected tetralogy Black Athena, since its appearance in summer 1991, has continued the storm of controversy ignited by the first volume in 1987. 1 It has, however, aroused a far greater tempest in the United States than in Britain or continental Europe, as various commentators have noted. The grounds for conflict actually he outside the discipline, namely, in the political debates currently taking place on American university campuses. As E. K. Coughlin notes ( 1991), Black Athena now plays an important role in the multicultural controversy, and Afrocentric scholars have eagerly appropriated the work in their debate with classicists and those labeled (or tarred) as Eurocentric. Although Levine denies ( 1992a, 215) that Bernal's views have exerted any impact on the classics or on the ideas mentioned above, the video Black Atbena (late 1991) and numerous articles in the popular press (e.g., Newsweek, Ebony, New Republic), not to mention scholarly publications, clearly attest the role of Bernal's ideas in shaping these current intellectual debates.