Chiekh Anta Diop (1923–86) has influenced contemporary African thought and broken ground in the fields of Egyptian history and linguistics. As a professor of history in Dakar and as head of a carbon dating laboratory, he was able to build up a public office of classical African antiquities.
Diop trained as a historian and a nuclear physicist. Although the Sorbonne did not accept his doctoral thesis in history, it was published and had a great influence on Egyptology, changing the traditional views of a great divide between Egypt and the rest of Africa (Nation nègre et culture, 1954). The discussion continued in the UNESCO General History of Africa, Volume II, which presents a balanced view of the ancient Egyptians who were united for the first time by Menes, a Proto-Saharan ruler.
Towards the African Renaissance: Essays in Culture and Development, 1946–1960 (1996) was originally published in French as Alerte Sous Les Tropiques (1990) and is based on essays Diop wrote between 1946 and 1960. Diop’s work has been criticized, but his hypothesis stimulated Meroitic studies and the results have been significant.
Related reading: The Linguistic Methods of Chiekh Anta Diop; The Writing System of Menes, the First Lawgiver