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Empire of Ruin – Black Classicism and American Imperial Culture - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Empire of Ruin: Black Classicism and American Imperial Culture

John Levi Barnard


This book traces the development of a critical practice within African American literature, art, and activism that identifies and critiques the widespread appropriation of classical tradition to the projects of exceptionalist historiography and cultural white supremacy in the United States. This appropriative method has typically figured the United States as the inheritor of the best traditions of classical antiquity and thus as the standard bearer for the idea of civilization. Where dominant narratives—articulated through political speeches and editorials, poetry and the visual arts, and the ... More

Keywords: American literature, African American literature, American history, empire, slavery, classicism, classical tradition, black classicism, monumental culture

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780190663599
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190663599.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

John Levi Barnard, author
Assistant Professor of English, The College of Wooster