The Parthenon Sculptures, Race and British Identity

by Subhadra Das

Parthenon Sculpture: Centaur and Lapith. © 2020 Subhadra Das

In this podcast Subhadra Das speaks about an object Neil MacGregor had no choice but to include in The History of the World in 100 Objects. It lies at the heart of an iconic repatriation debate, and as such, is one that the 100 Histories of 100 Worlds in 1 Object project has no choice but to talk about too. It is one of the Parthenon sculptures. It is entitled:  

Parthenon Sculpture: Centaur and Lapith 
Marble relief from the Parthenon, Athens, Greece 

Subhadra explores how The Elgin Marbles, as they were once known, were a central focus for the project of establishing British, so-called Saxon, whiteness as a superior ‘race’. Among other things, this was a way of finding a biological justification for the nation’s actions to further the enslavement of African people and throughout the Empire more widely.


This podcast is introduced by Heba Abd El Gawad, and produced and edited by Alice Stevenson. The intro and outro music, an ensemble of Kpanlogo drum (female and male), Djembe drum, Gome drum (Frame drum), Kwadum drum (from ‘Kete’ ensemble), Twin bell (Dawuta) and Rattle (Ntorwa), was produced by Kwan Pa for 100 Histories of 100 Worlds in 1 Object.


We recommend citing this podcast as follows:
[Last Name], [First Name], host. “[Title]”. 100 Histories of 100 Worlds in 1 Object (podcast). [Date created]. Accessed [date]. [URL].

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