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Saturday, September 05, 2015

Rewriting the history of American sociology

"Power, money and racist ideology marginalized W.E.B. Du Bois, professor argues." writes Northwestern University

Photo: Northwestern University

In his groundbreaking new book, Northwestern University’s Aldon Morris has done no less than rewrite the history of sociology by making a compelling case that black sociologist and activist W.E.B. Du Bois was the primary founder of modern sociology in America at the turn of the 20th century. It is a sociology that bases its theoretical claims on rigorous empirical research.

Pulling from over a decade of research in primary sources such as personal letters, conference proceedings and scholarly writings, “The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology” (University of California Press, August 2015) argues that power, money, politics and the ideology of white supremacy led to W.E.B. Du Bois being “written out” of the founding of sociology. Moreover his intellectual breakthroughs were marginalized in the field for the last century.  

Photo: Aldon Morris

Morris, the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, argues that Du Bois’ pioneering work was often characterized in the academy as unscientific and politically motivated while systemic racial biases colored the intellectual work of leading white sociologists, even those with liberal bents throughout the 20th century...

Morris’ book has already garnered high praise from leading scholars of race and social thought.
  • “The Scholar Denied” is “sure to be a major book.” -- Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University
  • “Aldon Morris has given us a great gift: the truth of Du Bois’ genius and America’s denial of it! Don’t miss this pioneering text.” -- Cornel West, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice, Union Theological Seminary
  • “One of those landmark studies that changes the way we think. A must-read.” -- William Julius Wilson, Harvard University
  • “A stunningly original history that should inspire both debate and self-reflection within and beyond the discipline of sociology for years to come.” -- Mitchell Duneier, Princeton University
  • “An eye-opening book! Morris turns the lens of sociological analysis on the discipline itself, with bracing and essential conclusions.” -- Frances Fox Piven, City University of New York
  • “The Scholar Denied” a “fascinating study.” -- Publishers Weekly
Morris hopes that “The Scholar Denied” will inspire social scientists and humanists to produce more rigorous and critical scholarship, especially pertaining to the contemporary nature of race.  Du Bois provided a model of such scholarship throughout the first six decades of the 20th century.
Read more... 

Additional resources

The Scholar Denied:
W. E. B. Du Bois and
the Birth of Modern Sociology
In this groundbreaking book, Aldon D. Morris’s ambition is truly monumental: to help rewrite the history of sociology and to acknowledge the primacy of W. E. B. Du Bois’s work in the founding of the discipline... 

Source: Northwestern University

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