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This is an examination of the intellectual formation of W.E.B. Du Bois, tracing the scholar and civil rights leader's thought from his undergraduate days in the 1880s to the 1903 publication of "The Souls of Black Folk", and offering a reading of his work from this period. Bringing to light materials from the Du Bois archives, Shamoon Zamir explores Du Bois's deep engagement with American and European philosophy and social science. He examines the impact on Du Bois of his studies at Harvard with William James and George Santayana, and shows how the experience of post-Reconstruction racism moved Du Bois from metaphysical speculation to the more instrumentalist knowledge of history and the new discipline of sociology, as well as toward the very different kind of understanding embodied in the literary imagination. Providing a detailed reading of "The Souls of Black Folk" in comparison with Hegel's "Phenomenology of Mind", Zamir challenges accounts that place Du Bois alongside Emerson and James, or characterize him as a Hegelian idealist. This reading also explores Du Bois's relationship to African American folk culture, and shows how Du Bois was able to dramatize the collapse of many of his hopes for racial justice and liberation.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780226978536
ISBN-10: 0226978532
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 163mm x 18mm)
Pages: 308
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 19-Oct-1995
Country of Publication: United States

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