[A new semester is upon us, so this week I’ll preview texts I’m excited to teach in my Spring 2022 classes. Leading up to a weekend update on my book project in progress!]
On three (of the
many) Du Bois texts that speak to our current moment.
Soldiers” (1919): It’s a tragic and telling irony that the explosion of
racial terrorism known as the Red
Summer of 1919 was caused by white supremacist backlash to the very sight—hell,
the very idea—of African American WWI veterans. No text helps us better
remember that backlash more than Du Bois’ Crisis
editorial—and none more succinctly reflects the alternative, vital idea of African
American critical patriotism as well.
Reconstruction in America (1935): In an era when the very idea of
teaching race and racism has somehow become divisive, it’s fair to say that we
need Du Bois’ magisterial work—to my mind still the single best historical and historiographic
text I’ve ever read—more than ever. “The
Propaganda of History” indeed.
The Souls of Black
Folk (1903): Du Bois’ best book, and one of the handful of best
American books I know, features perhaps my single favorite paragraph
in American writing. That would be more than enough to feature it in this post
and in this course, but Souls is so,
so much more—including some of the most poignant and devastating autobiographical
writing I’ve ever read. Can’t wait to teach that chapter and all things Du
Bois this Spring!
PS. What do you
think? Spring courses or other work you want to share?