W. E. B. Du Bois: Erasure from Classical Sociological Theory

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Hörsaal 18 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Aldon MORRIS, Northwestern University, USA
There is a major gap in classical sociological theory. In a new book, The Scholar Denied: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology, I demonstrate that for over a century mainstream sociology ignored and marginalized Du Bois's innovative work in sociological theory. In this paper, I show how Du Bois was first to develop a structural theory of racial inequality. He was the first to advance a social constructionist theory of race. He was the first to offer an intersectional theory of stratification highlighting the interactive nature of race, class, and gender. By excluding Du Bois's theoretical contributions, the field of sociology has only recently come to embrace Du Bois's seminal theoretical ideas. The paper argues that if this gap in theory had not occurred, the field would be far more advanced. Ideas are advanced as to how scholars can improved their theoretical work by taking Du Bois's work into account.