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The Study of African American Problems: W.E.B. Du Bois's Agenda, Then and Now

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The articles published in this special issue of The Annals were prepared for a conference titled The Study of African American Problems held in February 1999. The articles are a manifestation of the rich scholarly legacy created by W.E.B. Du Bois at the end of the nineteenth century-a legacy that continues to bear fruit at the start of the twenty-first century. While the works in this volume of The Annals are based on Du Bois’s prospectus, "The Study of the Negro Problems," originally published in this journal ...

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Overview

The articles published in this special issue of The Annals were prepared for a conference titled The Study of African American Problems held in February 1999. The articles are a manifestation of the rich scholarly legacy created by W.E.B. Du Bois at the end of the nineteenth century-a legacy that continues to bear fruit at the start of the twenty-first century. While the works in this volume of The Annals are based on Du Bois’s prospectus, "The Study of the Negro Problems," originally published in this journal 100 years ago and reprinted in this volume, they follow strongly the spirit rather than the letter of that article.

Du Bois’s lifework was to focus the attention of society on the problems of African Americans, and these were centered on the need to develop leadership and social capital for blacks within a wider system that was unwilling to include them. In order to help develop the most complete possible picture of the black community, he identified four broad areas of study: social interpretation, historical study, statistical investigation, and anthropological measurement. The articles in this important issue of The Annals expand these practical categories, adding issues (of gender, for example) to some and broadening the definition of others. However, all the topics fall within the purview of what Du Bois saw as affecting all African Americans.

Du Bois felt that scholars were missing an important opportunity by not studying blacks. He pushed the academic community to take blacks seriously from a scientific perspective, while at the same time making an important contribution to world scholarship. This outstanding volume of The Annals is not a critique of Du Bois, but rather a reflection on the issues that were first raised by him and an effort to relate those themes to work that is being done today. Here scholars write both of their work and of the inspiration provided to them by this seminal and highly regarded thinker.

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS
Preface
Introduction
The Study of African American Problems
The Study of the Negro Problems
Black Feminists and Du Bois
Respectability, Protection, and Beyond
Gender, Black Feminism, and Black Political Economy
The Emerging Philadelphia African American Class Structure
Rising Inequality and the Case for Coalition Politics
Du Bois as Social Activist
Why We Are Not Saved
Race, Poverty, and Welfare
Du Bois's Legacy for Policy
Identity and Economic Performance
Anthropology
From Bones to Human Genome
Anthropological Measurement
The Mismeasure of African Americans
Deracializing Social Statistics
Problems in the Quantification of Race
Reclaiming a Du Boisian Perspective on Racial Attitudes
W.E.B. Du Bois and the Encyclopedia Africana, 1909-63
Being an African in the World
The Du Boisian Epistemology
W.E.B. Du Bois and "The Negro Church"
Romancing the Body Politic
Du Bois's Propaganda of the Dark World
Du Bois's Humanistic Philosophy of Human Sciences
W.E.B. Du Bois on the Study of Social Problems
The Washington and Du Bois Leadership Paradigms Reconsidered
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