Du Bois reading assignments.docx - Du Bois(1868-1963 Du...

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Du Bois (1868-1963)Du Bois “was perhaps the first social theorist to critically remark on the global racial order, and to understand not only the economic, but also the racial dimensions of the European colonizationof Africa, Asia, India, and Latin America.” (Edles and Appelrouth, p. 346)Du Bois was virtually ignored by fellow American sociologists in his day … despite the fact that he was the first African American to receive a PhD from Harvard… and despite the fact that his most famous book of essays, The Souls of Black Folk… has been called one of the most important books ever on the subject of race.” (Edles and Appelrouth, p. 346)During the early part of the 20thcentury, “Du Bois stood virtually alone in his quest to sociologically explain the complex, intertwined dimensions of race and class. … Du Bois set the theoretical as well as empirical parameters in the field of race relations. His recognition of the interconnections between race and class continues to steer sociological inquiry to this day.” (Edles and Appelrouth, p. 347)“Du Bois conducted three types of research: (1) empirical studies illuminating the social conditions of African Americans …; (2) interpretive essays informed by careful historical research and personal experience, as well as keen observation … that emphasized the subjective experience and sources of inequality; and (3) explicit political essays focusing on Pan-Africanist and socialist soluti’]’?ons to inequality and racism.” (Edles and Appelrouth, p. 353)“Du Bois maintained that ‘the better classes of Negroes should recognize their duty toward the masses,’ an idea that would become one of Du Bois’s most famous. Du Bois believed that the burden for winning freedom and justice for all African Americans rested on the shoulders of those who were best prepared, educationally and economically. It would thus fall to the so-called Talented Tenth to lead the fight against racial discrimination.” (Edles and Appelrouth, p. 354)“[Du Bois] explicitly rejected the sterility of a cloistered research approach in favor of an interventionist social science, even though this kind of sociology would not be accepted (and in some circles, has yet to be accepted) for another 50 years. In both his history and his sociology, Du Bois refused to write from a position of value neutrality even as he strove for the truth – a stance that makes perfect sense in the contemporary context of humanistic and interpretive socialscience, but was quite unheard of in his day.” (Edles and Appelrouth, p. 354)The Souls of Black Folk(1903)The Souls of Black Folkcontains a crucial methodological lesson: the workings of such complex phenomena as race and class cannot be fully understood using on ‘scientific’ means. DuBois explored subjectivity because he believed that race and racism did not work at a strictly rational level. … Du Bois sought to combine empirical, scientific, and historical data with more subjective, intuitive understandings …” (Edles and Appelrouth, p. 366-367)The Souls of Black Folk

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