Shamoon Zamir: Dark Voices W E B Du Bois and American Thought 1888 1903



Mir feels compelled to get rather deep in the weeds on much of the intellectual context he examines Nevertheless the work in toto has the effect of enlivening one s sense of Du Bois struggles of self formation and placement vis a vis the larger African American community of the day Not for general readers Scholars who work on Du Bois or teach Souls surely need to grapple with the central chapters of this important text howeve. S accounts that place Du Bois alongside Emerson and James or characterize him as a Hegelian idealist This reading also explores Du Bois's relationship to African American folk culture and shows how Du Bois was able to dramatize the collapse of many of his hopes for racial justice and liberationThe first book to place The Souls of Black Folk in its intellectual context Dark Voices is a case study of African American literary development in relation to the broader currents of European and American though.

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Uasive reading situates Du Bois as ultimately a nuanced critic of James Also worthwhile is Zamir s extensive reconstruction of the reception and understanding of Hegel in late nineteenth century America a necessary bit of rereading that allows for a clearer appreciation of the intersections and divergences between Du Bois central notion of double consciousness and Hegel s ideas The going can sometimes get very thorny since Za. He examines the impact on Du Bois of his studies at Harvard with William James and George Santayana and shows how the experience of post Reconstruction racism moved Du Bois from metaphysical speculation to the instrumentalist knowledge of history and the new discipline of sociology as well as toward the very different kind of understanding embodied in the literary imagination Providing a new and detailed reading of The Souls of Black Folk in comparison with Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind Zamir challenge.

A strong intellectual biography not so much of Du Bois himself as of his most important work The Souls of Black Folk Zamir reconstructs meticulously the world of Du Bois reading and thinking in the ears leading up to the appearance of Souls This includes a careful reconsideration and recalibration of the received wisdom regarding Du Bois placement in the orbit of pragmatist and vitalist William James Zamir s thoroughly pers. Dark Voices is the first sustained examination of the intellectual formation of W E B Du Bois tracing the scholar and civil rights leader's thought from his undergraduate days in the 1880s to the 1903 publication of his masterpiece The Souls of Black Folk and offering a new reading of his work from this periodBringing to light materials from the Du Bois archives that have not been discussed before Shamoon Zamir explores Du Bois's deep engagement with American and European philosophy and social science.

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