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Afro-GreeksDialogues between Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Classics in the Twentieth Century$
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Emily Greenwood

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199575244

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575244.001.0001

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The Athens of the Caribbean

The Athens of the Caribbean

Trinidadian Models of Athenian Democracy

(p.186) 4 The Athens of the Caribbean

Emily Greenwood (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter complicates the idea of any easy balance sheet of appropriation in which misappropriation always falls on the side of empire and colonialism and appropriation on the side of the anti‐ and postcolonial. The argument examines the different ways in which C. L. R. James and Eric Williams attempted to harness Athens as an empowering model for Trinidadian national identity. Although James and Williams approached Athens in different ways, they shared the determination to take back Classics from the colonial archive via which it had been transmitted. In the case of James, the discussion concentrates on his repeated analogies between the culture and society of Trinidad and the culture and society of classical Athens. In the case of Williams, the discussion focuses on his ability to make political capital out of his classical education in his early political career, focusing on his lectures and speeches for the PEM and PNM in the 1950s and 1960s.

Keywords:   C. L. R. James, Eric Williams, Athens of the Caribbean, Trinidad, speech culture, Athenian democracy, Demosthenes, classical appropriation, Aristotle debate, Massa day done

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