Aithiopians in Herodotus’ Histories
Speaker Sarah Derbew with Respondent Caroline Stark
Join us on Friday, October 19 at 6:00 pm EDT for a live-stream of the lecture “Blazing with Blackness: Aithiopians in Herodotus’ Histories“: https://media.video.harvard.edu/core/live/harvard-chs-live.html
(best viewed with Safari or Firefox).
Derbew will examine the geography and literary presence of black people in ancient Greek literature. In particular, Herodotus’ description of the Persian-led, Egyptian expedition to Aithiopia (Hdt. 3.17-26) offers telling insight into the cross-cultural connections among non-Greeks. Through layers of mediation, Egyptians and Aithiopians narrate their customs and hear from their distant neighbors. At the core of this layered report is an ethnography that exposes the slipperiness and mobility of “foreignness” at the boundaries of the Greek world.
This dialogue is part of the Black Classicists Exhibition Event Series.
About the Speaker and Respondent
Sarah Derbew is a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. She received her PhD in Classics from Yale University. Her research interests include: ancient Greek literature (tragedy, historiography, novel) and art, focusing on the presence of black people in these texts and media. She is currently working on a monograph provisionally entitled Decolonizing Blackness: Literary and Artistic Representations of Black People in Greek Antiquity.
Caroline Stark received a PhD in Classics and Renaissance Studies from Yale University and is Assistant Professor of Classics at Howard University. Her research interests include ancient cosmology, anthropology, ethnography, and the reception of classical antiquity in Medieval and Renaissance Europe and in Africa and the African Diaspora. She is co-editing A Companion to Latin Epic 14-96 CE for Wiley-Blackwell and has published numerous articles on the reception of classical antiquity in the literature and art of Medieval and Renaissance Europe and in African American literature and film.
About the Exhibit
The Black Classicists exhibition celebrates the important role of African Americans in the field of Classics and provides a unique opportunity to reflect upon the purpose of higher education and its place in the struggle for equality and human enrichment.
The African American men and women featured in this exhibition taught Greek and Latin at the college or university level and made groundbreaking achievements in education. Their academic accomplishments bolstered a new tradition of black intellectualism and resulted in greater opportunities for future generations of African Americans.