Sarah F. DerbewOct 4, 2022
Untangling Blackness in Greek Antiquity
Cambridge University Press 2022
Sarah Derbew’s new book Untangling Blackness in Greek Antiquity (Cambridge UP, 2022) asks how should articulations of blackness from the fifth century BCE to the twenty-first century be properly read and interpreted? This important and timely book is the first concerted treatment of black skin color in the Greek literature and visual culture of antiquity. In charting representations in the Hellenic world of black Egyptians, Aithiopians, Indians, and Greeks, Derbew dexterously disentangles the complex and varied ways in which blackness has been co-produced by ancient authors and artists; their readers, audiences, and viewers; and contemporary scholars. Exploring the precarious hold that race has on skin coloration, the author uncovers the many silences, suppressions, and misappropriations of blackness within modern studies of Greek antiquity. Shaped by performance studies and critical race theory alike, her book maps out an authoritative archaeology of blackness that reappraises its significance. It offers a committedly anti-racist approach to depictions of black people while rejecting simplistic conflations or explanations.
Get 20% off a copy of Untangling Blackness in Greek Antiquity using promo code UBGA2022 at Cambridge University Press (valid until February 2023).
@amandajoycehall is a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University in the Department of African American Studies.