W.E.B. Du Bois

In Simon Choat & Manjeet Ramgotra (eds.), Reconsidering Political Thinkers. New York: (forthcoming)
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This chapter introduces W.E.B. Du Bois’s original political thought and his strategies for political advocacy. It is limited to explaining the pressure he puts on the liberal social contract tradition, which prioritizes the public values of freedom and equality for establishing fair and inclusive terms of political membership. However, unlike most liberal theorists, Du Bois’s political thought concentrates on the politics of race, colonialism, gender, and labor, among other themes, in order to redefine how political theorists and activists should build a democratic polity that is truly free and equal for all. Additionally, this chapter defines some key concepts Du Bois developed to scrutinize a white-controlled world that does not welcome black and brown persons as moral equals. These trailblazing concepts include: the doctrine of racialism, double consciousness, and Pan-Africanism. Finally, this chapter defends Du Bois’s contributions to black feminist thought and American labor politics, which inspired major social justice movements in the twentieth century, in which he played a notable role.
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