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Literary scholars and historians have long considered W. E. B. Du Bois (1868--1963) an extremely influential writer and a powerful cultural critic. The author of more than one hundred books, hundreds of published articles, and founding editor of the NAACP journal The Crisis, Du Bois has been widely studied for his profound insights on the politics of race and class in America. An activist as well as a scholar, Du Bois proclaimed, "I stand in utter shamelessness and say that whatever art I have for writing has been used always for propaganda for gaining the right of black folk to love and enjoy."

In A Political Companion to W. E. B. Du Bois, Nick Bromell assembles essays from both new and established scholars from a variety of disciplines to explore Du Bois's contributions to American political thought. The contributors establish a conceptual context within which to read the author, revealing how richly and variously he engaged with the aesthetic and theological modalities of political thinking and action. This volume further reveals how Du Bois's work challenges and revises contemporary political theory, providing commentary on the author's strengths and limitations as a theorist for the twenty-first century. In doing so, it helps readers gain an understanding of how Du Bois's work and life continue to stimulate lively and constructive debate about the theory and practice of democracy in America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813174907
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 03/22/2018
Series: Political Companions to Great American Authors Series
Pages: 376
Sales rank: 715,179
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Nick Bromell is professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of several books, including The Time Is Always Now: Black Thought and the Transformation of US Democracy.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword Patrick J. Deneen ix

Introduction Nick Bromell 1

Part I Du Bois and Political Philosophy

1 W. E. B. Du Bois: Black Radical Liberal Charles W. Mills 19

2 An Africana Philosophical Reading of Du Bois's Political Thought Lewis R. Gordon 57

Part II Du Bois, Politics, and Poetry

3 Alightings of Poetry: The Dialectics of Voice and Silence in W. E. B. Du Bois's Narrative of Double-Consciousness Anthony Reed 85

4 The Imperial Miracle: Black Reconstruction and the End(s) of Whiteness James Edward Ford III 101

Part III Du Bois in the Space between the Known and the Imagined

5 The People, Rhetoric, and Affect: On the Political Force of Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk Melvin L. Rogers 123

6 "Honest and Earnest Criticism" as the "Soul of Democracy": Du Bois's Style of Democratic Reasoning Nick Bromell 159

7 A Democracy of Differences: Knowledge and the Unknowable in Du Bois's Theory of Democratic Governance Robert W. Williams 181

Part IV Du Bois and the Challenges of Black Polities

8 The Cost of Liberty: Sacrifice and Survival in Du Bois's John Brown Alexander Livingston 207

9 On Democratic Leadership and Social Change: Positioning Du Bois in the Shadow of a Gray To-come Arash Davari 241

10 A Splendid Failure? Black Reconstruction and Du Bois's Tragic Vision of Politics Vijay Phulwani 271

11 "Love Is God, and Work Is His Prophet": Decolonial Extension and Gandhian Exploration in Du Bois's Interwar Years David Haekwon Kim 303

Acknowledgments 345

List of Contributors 347

Index 351

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Superb. Bromell has done a tremendous job representing the full range of Du Bois's work in this volume, and the theoretical frame he provides to unite that work is persuasive and insightful." — Jason Frank, Cornell University

"The Du Bois that this volume presents is powerful and original. I have no doubt that a wide range of readers, students, and scholars from many different disciplines will find the contributors' analyses vitally useful, provocative, and illuminating." — Shannon L. Mariotti, author of Adorno and Democracy: The American Years

"The essays collected by Nick Bromell in this superb volume open new avenues for understanding W. E. B. Du Bois's contributions to historical struggles for racial and economic justice, democracy and the end of colonial rule, on one hand, and demonstrate why it is so urgent that we struggle with Du Bois's words today, on the other. Individually and collectively, these pieces offer fresh interpretations of Du Bois's intertwined vocations as a thinker, literary artist, and activist. An essential collection that will inspire further debate and scholarship!" — Lawrie Balfour, Editor of Political Theory

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