In the Shadow of Du Bois: Afro-Modern Political Thought in Americaby Robert Gooding-Williams
The Souls of Black Folk is Du Bois’s outstanding contribution to modern political theory. It is his still influential answer to the question, “What kind of politics should African Americans conduct to counter white supremacy?” Here, in a major addition to American studies and the first book-length philosophical treatment of Du Bois’s/i>
The Souls of Black Folk is Du Bois’s outstanding contribution to modern political theory. It is his still influential answer to the question, “What kind of politics should African Americans conduct to counter white supremacy?” Here, in a major addition to American studies and the first book-length philosophical treatment of Du Bois’s thought, Robert Gooding-Williams examines the conceptual foundations of Du Bois’s interpretation of black politics.
For Du Bois, writing in a segregated America, a politics capable of countering Jim Crow had to uplift the black masses while heeding the ethos of the black folk: it had to be a politics of modernizing “self-realization” that expressed a collective spiritual identity. Highlighting Du Bois’s adaptations of Gustav Schmoller’s social thought, the German debate over the Geisteswissenschaften, and William Wordsworth’s poetry, Gooding-Williams reconstructs Souls’ defense of this “politics of expressive self-realization,” and then examines it critically, bringing it into dialogue with the picture of African American politics that Frederick Douglass sketches in My Bondage and My Freedom. Through a novel reading of Douglass, Gooding-Williams characterizes the limitations of Du Bois’s thought and questions the authority it still exerts in ongoing debates about black leadership, black identity, and the black underclass. Coming to Bondage and then to these debates by looking backward and then forward from Souls, Gooding-Williams lets Souls serve him as a productive hermeneutical lens for exploring Afro-Modern political thought in America.
Peniel E. Joseph
[Gooding-Williams] sets out to give Du Bois's writings the same sort of judicious close reading that was on display in his earlier book on Nietzsche's Zarathustra…By attending to Du Bois's relations to thinkers like Weber, Gooding-Williams helpfully places this American thinker against the background of the education he received in Berlin.
Kwame Anthony Appiah
- Harvard University Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)
What People are saying about this
Tommie Shelby, Harvard University
Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley
Meet the Author
Robert Gooding-Williams is Ralph and Mary Otis Isham Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >