Culture in W.E.B. Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk
Chike Jeffers (Dalhousie University)

November 10, 2017, 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Department of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario

Stevenson Hall 1145
1151 Richmond Street
London N6A 5B8


W.E.B. Du Bois deserves to be counted and is increasingly recognized as one of the great social and political philosophers. His work is especially valuable for exploring the relationship between politics and culture, which he does most prominently in relation to matters of race. This paper will examine his exploration of culture as it relates to politics and race in his most famous book, The Souls of Black Folk (1903). Topics will include: his use of the word "culture" as interchangeable with "civilization" and his concern with how slavery impeded African Americans from acquiring it; his interest in what we now recognize as the anthropological notion of culture, which slavery could not impede acquiring, although it transformed it; and his particular focus on black religion and black music, differentiated by his critique of political inefficiency in the black church and his praise of the political message he locates in the spirituals.   

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