Summary: On February 17th, 2012 three intellectual panels convened at the University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with the posthumous appointment of Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois as Honorary Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies. The video features a wide array of remarks and reflections from a number of intellectuals, including Tukufu Zuberi, Lawrence D. Bobo, Mary Patillo, Anthony Monteiro, Howard Winant, and Elijah Anderson. Excerpts from the video can be readily used to spur discussions about particular aspects of Du Bois' scholarship. The video begins with sociologist Tukufu Zuberi (1:40 to 4:10) outlining many of Du Bois' early accomplishments, including the fact that in 1895 he became the first African American to receive a PhD in history from Harvard University. Highlighting Du Bois' methodological contributions, sociologist Aldon Morris (4:45 to 6:00) discusses Du Bois' advancement of empirical methodologies, and later in the video Zuberi (10:00 to 11:10) notes that Du Bois arrived at a number of his remarkable insights in Black Reconstruction of Democracy in America, despite being barred from primary source materials due racial segregation. Underscoring the enduring significance of Du Bois' work, sociologist Howard Winant (13:40 to 15:10) notes the fact that Du Bois reclaimed the narrative that African Americans were central in the movement to achieve an advanced democracy, and Winant explains that Du Bois' work powerfully argues that Blacks were also centrally involved in their own emancipation. At the 11:10 mark, Zuberi argues for the significance of Du Bois' work in the face of persistent racism within the academy. He notes that despite the fact that Du Bois' work foreshadowed a number of celebrated sociological works from authors like Immanuel Wallerstein, Barrington Moore, Jr., and Theda Skocpol, Du Bois is not cited by these authors. Finally, a number of panelists passionately argue that Du Bois was one of the first truly public intellectuals. For instance, Stephanie Y. Evans (6:00 to 6:50) likens Du Bois to a conductor, facilitating communication and exchange between intellectuals and non-intellectuals alike. At the 6:50 mark, Mary Patillo similarly discusses the way Du Bois' concepts have permeated outside the academy, and how his work has contributed to black studies movements that seek to make connections between campus and off-campus struggles.
Submitted By: Tukufu Zuberi