The W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures

The W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures, established in 1981 with funding from the Ford Foundation, recognize persons of outstanding achievement who have contributed to our better understanding of African American life, history, and culture. The lectures were named to honor W. E. B. Du Bois as one of the most influential intellectuals, scholars, public figures, and writers of 20th-century America. Du Bois was a doctoral student at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University (in 1895), and was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Humboldt-Universität in 1958.

Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.

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Cover: Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change

Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change

Edelman, Marian Wright

Cover: Race Men

Race Men

Carby, Hazel V.

A searing critique of definitions of black masculinity at work in American culture, Race Men shows how these defining images play out socially, culturally, and politically for black and white society—and how they exclude women altogether. A powerful statement by a major voice among black feminists, Race Men holds out the hope that by understanding how society has relied upon affirmations of masculinity to resolve social and political crises, we can learn to transcend them.

Cover: The Anatomy of Racial Inequality

The Anatomy of Racial Inequality

Loury, Glenn C.

Glenn C. Loury describes a vicious cycle of tainted social information that has resulted in a self-replicating pattern of racial stereotypes that rationalize and sustain discrimination. His analysis shows how the restrictions placed on black development by stereotypical and stigmatizing racial thinking deny a whole segment of the population the possibility of self-actualization that American society reveres—something that many contend would be undermined by remedies such as affirmative action. On the contrary, this book persuasively argues that the promise of fairness and individual freedom and dignity will remain unfulfilled without some forms of intervention based on race.

Cover: Big Enough to Be Inconsistent: Abraham Lincoln Confronts Slavery and Race

Big Enough to Be Inconsistent: Abraham Lincoln Confronts Slavery and Race

Fredrickson, George M.

This book focuses on the most controversial aspect of Lincoln’s thought and politics—his attitudes and actions regarding slavery and race. Drawing attention to the limitations of Lincoln’s judgment and policies without denying his magnitude, George M. Fredrickson provides the most comprehensive and even-handed account available of Lincoln’s contradictory treatment of black Americans in matters of slavery in the South and basic civil rights in the North.

Cover: Darker than Blue: On the Moral Economies of Black Atlantic Culture

Darker than Blue: On the Moral Economies of Black Atlantic Culture

Gilroy, Paul

Paul Gilroy seeks to awaken a new understanding of W. E. B. Du Bois’s intellectual and political legacy. With his brilliant, provocative analysis and astonishing range of reference, Gilroy revitalizes the study of African American culture. He traces the shifting character of black intellectual and social movements, and shows how we can construct an account of moral progress that reflects today’s complex realities.

Cover: Three Ancient Colonies: Caribbean Themes and Variations

Three Ancient Colonies: Caribbean Themes and Variations

Mintz, Sidney W.

As a young anthropologist, Sidney W. Mintz undertook fieldwork in Jamaica, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. Fifty years later, the eminent scholar of the Caribbean returns to those experiences. These reflections illuminate continuities and differences between these cultures, but even more they exemplify the power of people to reveal their own history. Mintz argues that in Jamaica and Haiti, creolization represented a tremendous creative act by enslaved peoples: that creolization was not a passive mixing of cultures, but an effort to create new hybrid institutions and cultural meanings to replace those that had been demolished by enslavement. Globalization is not the new phenomenon we take it to be.

Cover: A Home Elsewhere: Reading African American Classics in the Age of Obama

A Home Elsewhere: Reading African American Classics in the Age of Obama

Stepto, Robert B.

In this series of interlocking essays, which had their start as lectures inspired by the presidency of Barack Obama, Robert Burns Stepto sets canonical works of African American literature in conversation with Obama’s Dreams from My Father. The elegant readings that result shed surprising light on unexamined angles of works ranging from Frederick Douglass’s Narrative to W. E. B. Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk to Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon.

Cover: Racial Conflict and Economic Development

Racial Conflict and Economic Development

Lewis, W. Arthur

Is economic equality necessary for social peace? Why do the strong oppress and impoverish the weak? How are developing nations overcoming the legacy of colonialism? These are a few of the many thought-provoking concerns addressed in this book. The first in a new series—The W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures—it tackles a wide range of topics dealing with the economics of racial conflict in important areas of the world.

Cover: What Was African American Literature?

What Was African American Literature?

Warren, Kenneth W.

Rather than contest other definitions, Kenneth W. Warren makes a clear and compelling case for understanding African American literature as creative and critical work written by black Americans within and against the strictures of Jim Crow America. Within these parameters, his book outlines protocols of reading that best make sense of the literary works produced by African American writers and critics over the first two-thirds of the twentieth century.

Cover: Seeing Through Race

Seeing Through Race

Mitchell, W. J. T.

According to W. J. T. Mitchell, a “color-blind” post-racial world is neither achievable nor desirable. Against claims that race is an outmoded construct, he contends that race is not simply something to be seen but is a fundamental medium through which we experience human otherness. Race also makes racism visible and is thus our best weapon against it.

Cover: Define and Rule: Native as Political Identity

Define and Rule: Native as Political Identity

Mamdani, Mahmood

When Britain abandoned its attempt to eradicate difference between conqueror and conquered and introduced a new idea of governance as the definition and management of difference, lines of political identity were drawn between settler and native, and between natives according to tribe. Out of this colonial experience arose a language of pluralism.

Cover: Blacks In and Out of the Left

Blacks In and Out of the Left

Dawson, Michael C.

The radical black left has largely disappeared from the struggle for equality and justice. Michael C. Dawson examines the causes and consequences, and argues that the conventional left has failed to take race seriously as a force in reshaping American institutions and civil society. Black politics needs to find its way back to its radical roots.

Cover: Lines of Descent: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity

Lines of Descent: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity

Appiah, Kwame Anthony

W. E. B. Du Bois never felt so at home as when he was a student in Berlin. Germany was the first place white people had treated him as an equal. But anti-Semitism was prevalent, and Du Bois’ challenge, says Kwame Anthony Appiah, was to take the best of German intellectual life without its parochialism—to steal the fire without getting burned.

Cover: Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia, 1880–2012

Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia, 1880–2012

Kilson, Martin

After Reconstruction, African Americans found themselves largely excluded from politics, higher education, and the professions. Martin Kilson explores how a modern African American intelligentsia developed amid institutionalized racism. He argues passionately for an ongoing commitment to communitarian leadership in the tradition of Du Bois.

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