Summer Reading With W. E. B. Du Bois

WEBD Image Biography May 2016 Post

As part of my ongoing research on the life, thought, and history of W. E. B. Du Bois, this month I offer a bibliography of recent and forthcoming work on Du Bois just in time for summer reading. Books on the Black scholar and intellectual continue to pour hot off the press, and a number of important articles add to the conversation. (Readers aware of works not listed below, please post them in the comments section and I’ll update the post.)


Aiello, Thomas. The Battle for the Souls of Black Folks: W. E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and the Debate That Shaped the Course Civil Rights. Praeger, 2016.

Alexander, Shawn Leigh. W. E. B. Du Bois: An American Intellectual and Activist. Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Dorrien, Gary. The New Abolition: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Black Social Gospel. Yale University Press, 2015.

Du Bois, W. E. B. The Problem of the Color Line at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: The Essential Early Essays. Edited by Nahum Dimitri Chandler. Forham University Press, 2015.

Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. Edited by Jonathan Scott Holloway. Yale University Press, 2015.

Morris, Aldon. The Scholar Denied: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology. University of California Press, 2015.

Mullen, Bill V. Un-American: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Century of World Revolution. Temple University Press, 2015.

Mullen, Bill V. W. E. B. Du Bois: Revolutionary Across the Color Line. Pluto, forthcoming September 2016.

Murrell, Gary. “The Most Dangerous Communist in the United States”: A Biography of Herbert Aptheker. University of Massachusetts Press, 2015. (While Murrell’s biography is not about Du Bois as such, his chapters on Herbert Aptheker’s editorial efforts on behalf of Du Bois’s vast archive warrant inclusion in this list, not to mention Aptheker’s work in Black history more generally.)

Wright III, Earl. The First American School of Sociology: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Atlanta Sociological Laboratory. Ashgate, 2016.


Alridge, Derrick P. “On the Education of Black Folk: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Paradox of Segregation.” Journal of African American History 100/3 (Summer 2015): 473-493.

Back, Les and Maggie Tate. “For a Sociological Reconstruction: W. E. B. Du Bois, Stuart Hall and Segregated Sociology.” Sociological Research Online 20/3 (2015).

Beilfuss, Michael J. “Iconic Pastorals and Beautiful Swamps: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Troubled Landscapes of the American South.” Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 22/3 (Summer 2015): 486-506.

Burch, Kerry. “Platonic & Freierean Interpretations of W.E.B. Du Bois’s, “Of the Coming of John.”” Educational Studies 52/1 (2016): 38-50

Curry, Tommy J. “It’s for the Kids: The Sociological Significance of W.E.B. Du Bois The Brownies’ Books and Their Philosophical Relevance for our Understanding of Gender in the Ethnological Age.” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 36/1 (2015): 27–57.

Douglas, Andrew J. “W. E. B. Du Bois and the Critique of the Competitive Society.” Du Bois Review 12/1 (January 2015): 25-40.

Du Bois, W. E. Burghardt. “A. D. 2150/W.E.B. Du Bois Looks at the Future from Beyond the Grave.” Edited by Nagueyalti Warren. African American Review 49/1 (Spring 2016): 53-57.

Du Bois, W. E. B. “The Princess Steel.” Edited by Adrienne Brown and Britt Rusert. PMLA 130/3 (2015): 819-829. [See Jane Carr’s Slate essay on Du Bois and the wider world of Afrofuturism, another important blog topic here.]

Green, Dan S. and Robert A. Wortham. “Sociology Hesitant: The Continuing Neglect of W. E. B. Du Bois.” Sociological Spectrum 35/6 (Nov/Dec 2015): 518-533.

Hunter, Marcus Anthony. “W. E. B. Du Bois and Black Heterogeneity: How The Philadelphia Negro Shaped American Sociology.” American Sociologist 46 (2015): 219-233.

Itzigsohn, José and Karida Brown. “Sociology and the Theory of Double Consciousness: W. E. B. Du Bois’s Phenomenology of Racialized Subjectivity.” Du Bois Review 12/2 (Fall 2015): 231-248.

Lee, Seok-Won. “The Paradox of Racial Liberation: W. E. B. Du Bois and Pan-Asianism in Wartime Japan, 1931-1945.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 16/4 (2015): 513-530.

New Centennial Review 15/2 (Fall 2015): 1-257. “Special Section: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Question of Another World, II: (Or, Another Poetics and Another Writing—Of History and the Future).”

  • Nahum Dimitri Chandler, “Introduction: Dry and Heavy: Or, Another Poetics and Another Writing—of History and the Future,” 1-22.
  • Alexander G. Weheliye, “Diagrammatics as Physiognomy: W. E. B. Du Bois’s Graphic Modernities,” 23-58.
  • Christopher Powers, “Figurations of Passage through “Of the Coming of John,” 59-82.
  • Kevin Thomas Miles, “Place Post-Paradise: Poetic Epistemology in The Souls of Black Folk,” 83-106.
  • Allison Blackmond Laskey, “Of Forms and Flow: Movement through Structure in Darkwater’s Composition,”107-118.
  • Payal K. Patel, “On the Path of the Maharajah of Bwodpur: The Global Problem of the Color Line in W. E. B. Du Bois’s Dark Princess,” 119-156.
  • Lily Wiatrowski Phillips, “The Black Flame Revisited: Recursion and Return in the Reading of W. E. B. Du Bois’s Trilogy,” 157-169.
  • Ainsworth Clarke, “W. E. B. Du Bois’s Fugitive Writing, or Sociology at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” 171-209.
  • R. A. Judy, “Lohengrin’s Swan and the Style of Interiority in “Of the Coming of John,” 211-257.

Moody-Turner, Shirley, ““Dear Doctor Du Bois”: Anna Julia Cooper, W. E. B. Du Bois, and the Gender Politics of Black Publishing.” MELUS 40/3 (Fall 2015): 47-68.

Oliver, Lawrence J. “Apocalyptic and Slow Violence: The Environmental Vision of W. E. B. Du Bois’s Darkwater.” Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 22/3 (Summer 2015): 466-484.

Vaught, Seneca. “Du Bois as Diplomat: Race Diplomacy in Foreign Affairs, 1926-1945.” Journal of Race and Global Social Change 1/1 (Summer 2014): 4-29.

Viola, Michael Joseph. “W. E. B. Du Bois and Filipino/a American Exposure Programs to the Philippines: Race Class Analysis in an Epoch of ‘Global Apartheid.’” Race Ethnicity and Education 19/3 (2016): 500-523.


Several general observations emerge from this list of scholarly resources. With respect to the books and articles that address sociology and literature, diverse fields of inquiry continue to find analytical purchase in the work of W. E. B. Du Bois, including that of environmental studies. This speaks to the breadth of Du Bois’s own interests and intellect and suggests exciting opportunities for future work. Second, Alexander’s work and Mullen’s forthcoming book, aimed at popular audiences and designed for classroom use, document that biography remains a relevant and compelling avenue into Du Bois’s historical significance. Furthermore, Holloway and Chandler’s curation of primary sources along with several stand-alone articles present fresh aspects of the extraordinary documentary record that Du Bois left behind. This should further enliven classrooms with Du Bois’s voice. Finally, the collective range of topics included in the bibliography demonstrate that both the early and late career chapters of Du Bois’s 95 years of life continue to offer rewarding and worthwhile sites of scholarly investigation.

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Phillip Luke Sinitiere

Phillip Luke Sinitiere is Professor of History at the College of Biblical Studies. In 2018-19, he is a W. E. B. Du Bois Visiting Scholar at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As a scholar of American religious history and African American Studies, his publications examine the American prosperity gospel, the history of evangelical Christianity, televangelism, African American religion, Black intellectual history, and the work of W. E. B. Du Bois. He has published several books, including Protest and Propaganda: W. E. B. Du Bois, The Crisis, and American History with Amy Helene Kirschke (University of Missouri Press, 2014); and Salvation with a Smile: Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church, and American Christianity (New York University Press, 2015). At present, he is at work on several projects related to W. E. B. Du Bois, along with a short biography of James Baldwin for Rowman & Littlefield’s Library of African American Biography series.

Comments on “Summer Reading With W. E. B. Du Bois

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    I do research on bicyclists at the turn of the 20th century. I know that Du Bois was an avid cyclist. Have you ever seen a photograph of him with or on a bicycle?

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      As an avid rider and someone who writes about Black internationalism, i think I need to hear more about this!

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        Thanks for the questions. I have not seen a photo of WEBD on/and a bicycle. I know there are several references to cycling in the digital version of the WEBD papers. Perhaps the WEBD collection at Fisk contains the kind of photograph you are looking for. Sounds like a really interesting avenue of research!

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    Vaught, Seneca. “Du Bois as Diplomat: Race Diplomacy in Foreign Affairs, 1926-1945.” Journal of Race and Global Social Change 1 no. 1 (Summer 2014): 4-29.

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      Not necessarily hot off the presses, but maybe little known.

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        Thanks, Kenja. I’ll add this to the bibliography.

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    Alridge, Derrick P. “On the Education of Black Folk: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Paradox of Segregation.” Journal of African American History 100, no. 3 (Summer 2015): 473-493.

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      Thanks for the reminder about your article, Derrick. I’ll update the bibliography.

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    I didn’t realize that the work of W. E. B. Du Bois was such a hot topic!

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      Thanks for the addition, Lavelle! Agreed, a great book.

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    Thanks so much for this post! I’m reading *Black Reconstruction* (…I’m writing a piece on CLR James right now, and the book is central to the arguments he’s making in the documents I’m using) and one of the things I’m struck by is the absolute beauty of Du Bois’s writing. On top of everything else, the man was a wordsmith of the highest order. I have that recently-unearthed science fiction story he wrote on my hard drive and am looking forward to reading it soon, too.

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      Great point, Paul. There is more work yet to do on the construction of WEBD’s work, and writing in particular.

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      Thanks for linking the Slate article, Britt. That’s where I first read about your article! I’ll link it in the post.

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