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W.E.B. DuBois and the Chicago School

Friday, May 17, 2019
10 am-5 pm

The writings of W.E.B. DuBois have a broad influence in disciplines from history to literature to critical race and ethnic studies. Yet, his development of empirical research methods to illuminate and counter racial inequality, seen most critically in his book The Philadelphia Negro, and his critical role in the rise of American sociology at the turn of the 20th century has been – until quite recently – marginalized within canonical histories of the discipline.  This symposium uses Aldon Morris’ award-winning book, The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. DuBois and the Birth of Modern Sociology (2015) as an opportunity to re-examine the role that the key figures in the Chicago School of Sociology – touted in many histories and textbooks as the first American sociology department – played in marginalizing DuBois’ contributions to the emerging discipline.  This one-day symposium brings an influential collection of sociologists, historians, political scientists, and literary scholars to honor DuBois’ contributions to sociology and other disciplines, to engage with the exclusionary politics of disciplinary histories, and to imagine the legacy and the future of race scholarship at the University of Chicago Department of Sociology.