Ancient Egypt’s Afrocentricity Essay
Ancient Egypt’s Afrocentricity
Thesis: Due to geographic, cultural, and historic evidence, Egypt is an Afrocentric so studying it should be considered Afrocentric. However, due to social constructs and the colonization of Africa, many wrongly do not consider studying Egypt as Afrocentric.
Abstract: Egypt, like all other African countries has an extensive history rich with a unique culture and belief system. Unfortunately, Ancient Egyptian culture and history is buried under a synthesized backdrop for what is European history. Though the nation was influence by many cultures over the years, Egypt must still hold onto its true origins by rediscovering and challenging it’s own history in order to reinvent it as an Afrocentric nation that founded a unique Afrocentric cultural ideology that deals with the self determination of the Pan-African ideology in culture, philosophy, and history.
Critical Review of Scholarship: In an article by Shahira Amin, an Egyptian journalist, that discussed how modern day Egyptians perceive themselves, their history, and their culture. Surprisingly, rather than consider their culture and selves as African, Egyptians consider themselves as “Arab Muslims.” Identity of self encompasses many factors, including religion, however, it is because the culture was buried under a backdrop for what is European history, and modern day Egyptians don’t view themselves as Africans. Amin’s article also emphasized Egyptians revisiting their true African roots.
In Egypt, Africa and the Ancient World by Joseph Cervello Autuori and Is Studying Egypt in Its African Context ‘Afrocentric? by S.O.Y. Keita discusses the history of Egypt before and after the colonization era. Similar to all African countries that were colonized by Europeans, Egypt was influenced by the cultures of the people who occupied it, however, initially, Egypt has an Afrocentric culture like the one that of it’s African counterparts. In addition, online articles, Egypt’s Place in Modern Africa by Saidis Aswan Egy and Afrocenity by Dr. Molefi Kete Asante helped to ground the ideas of Afrocentism into modern Egypt and how they should draw power from their ancient roots and strengthen their identity.
Discussion: A person’s identity can be based on many factors such as race, culture, and class. A group of persons make up a community and groups of communities make a nation. Egypt is a country in Africa; however most people forget their true roots, or choose to let geography and European history define it. Based on geography specifically, Egypt is in Africa so studying it should be considered Afrocentric. However, due to social constructs and the colonization of Africa, many wrongly do not consider studying Egypt as an Afrocentric nation.
Africa is a continent composed of many diverse and powerful countries. Afrocentric means to study something in its African context and origin. Its purpose is to shift peoples’ thinking from what they have been taught previously that was based on a Eurocentric point of view. “Afrocentricity becomes a revolutionary idea because it studies ideas, concepts, events, personalities, and political and economic processes from a standpoint of black people as subjects and not as objects, basing all knowledge on the authentic interrogation of location.” When Africa was torn apart during the Berlin Conference, Egypt was valued for its technology and architecture. Later when this same architecture was being studied and was trying to be reproduced, it was found to be very complex and made of intricate patterns the Europeans had not even thought of. However, they could not believe anyone that was not a European could be smart. So instead of the European being inferior to an African, people were led to believe that Egyptians were not Africans. The problem of Egyptians not being recognized as Africans also arose when the Arabs colonized Africa whilst spreading Islam. Many nations tried to control Egypt and shape it in a way that made them feel better about themselves. This, unfortunately left – and still leaves Egypt – the people of Egypt to shun their African ethnicity instead of being relating to it.
Despite Egyptians being brainwashed into believing they are not a part of Africa, it can be seen that they are as integrated as the other 53 countries that share its continent. This can be seen through Egypt’s language and archeology. Language is important because, though it is diverse throughout the world, if its origins can be traced, it can determine how a nation began. In the case of Egypt, “Egyptian is a member of the Afro-Asiatic family which originated in Africa and was not imported from Asia or Europe”. When the complete history of Egypt is looked at, it can be seen that it is, in fact Afro-centric despite the influences from other countries. In relation to archaeology, it suggests that early Egyptian culture rose directly through indigenous Africans. Archaeologists have also found that crops from the other side of the Nile River were integrated into the lifestyle of early Egyptians. In short, despite how much Egyptians refuse to accept Afrocentism as describing them; there are clear details that can prove Egypt’s core is African, not European or Mediterranean influence.
Geography and race also play a big part in Egypt recognizing itself as African. In contrast to “traditional contextualization of Egypt in the ‘Mediterranean’ or ‘Near Eastern’” geographically, Egypt is in Africa. So naturally, the people in the nation share physical characteristics with those around them, as well with Africans as a whole (though they might be minute). Ancient Egypt emerged on the banks of the Nile River, which flows from the core of Africa. Three African countries on its east, south, and west border Egypt while it is separated from Asia by the Mediterranean Sea. It is simply ignorant to disregard the physical barriers that separate Egypt from Asia and Europe, and to disregard the borders that keep it within Africa.
When studying Egypt people should not forget to include Africa and how Egypt being in Africa has also influenced and advanced the nation to what it is today, therefore, studying Egypt’s history should be considered Afrocentric.
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