York Sociology Seminar Series
Scholarship on W. E. B. Du Bois now flourishes. Despite the newfound attention, few critically engage the complicated and contradictory uses of divinity, prayers, transcendental virtues, and otherworldly dimensions that circulate within Du Boisian social theory. This absence looms large within sociology, wherein only a fraction of Du Bois’s vast oeuvre endures. As a remedy, Matthew plumbs lesser-engaged works like “A Vacation Unique” (1995 ), “The Princess Steel” (1995 [1909c]), Prayers for Dark People (1980 [1910c]) and “The Comet” in Darkwater (1920) to illumine a “Du Boisian Sociological Spirituality”: (1) a ritualized blend of materialist instrumentalism and pedagogical idealism; (2) a pragmatist- underpinned social interactionism that sanctifies the Black self, and; (3) a sociology of knowledge predicated on otherworldly dimensions and metaphysical standpoints. Matthew argues that Du Bois’s poiesis animates his analysis of the color-line and his understandings of both Whiteness and White Supremacy.