The Hip-Hop legacies of Cheikh Anta Diop's Nations nègres et culture (Paris: Présence Africaine, 1954)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


This essay explores the legacies of this landmark text by Senegalese historian and scientist, Cheikh Anta Diop, with a particular focus on its resonance within Senegalese hip-hop. Best known for its affirmation of the black African origins of pre-dynastic Egyptian and Ethiopian culture, Diop’s book paved the way for subsequent research in this area, notably Martin Bernal’s Black Athena (1987) and the work of Afrocentrists such as Molefi Asante (1994; 2007). Diop’s ‘audacious’ (Césaire, 1955: 3) historical work sought to challenge existing racial, geographic, and discursive ideas of Africa. In doing so it also destabilised the foundations of European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern historical thought. The article traces the early publication history and reception of Diop’s text as it relates to concurrent epistemological debates regarding historiography in the period of decolonization. By then turning to its recent recuperation by artists and intellectuals in Senegal, this case study seeks to reposition Nations nègres et culture as an anti-colonial beacon long overshadowed, especially in the anglophone world, by its ideologically charged afterlives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFighting Words
Subtitle of host publicationFourteen Books That Shaped the Postcolonial World
PublisherPeter Lang International Academic Publishers
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Black Humanities


  • Cheikh Anta Diop
  • History
  • Hip-hop
  • Egypt
  • Linguistics
  • Africa
  • Boubacar Boris Diop


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