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Du Bois' Global Sociology: The Intersections of Race, Class and Colonialism

Sat, August 12, 4:30 to 6:10pm, Palais des congrès de Montréal, Floor: Level 5, 513E


Sociology is finally starting to recognize the foundational work of W.E.B. Du Bois. Much progress has been made demonstrating Du Bois leading role in the emergence of scientific Sociology in the United States and in analyzing his contributions to urban and community studies. This paper explores Du Bois’ analysis of the intersections of race, class, and colonialism in historical capitalism. It was as the result of his encounter with Marx’s though that Du Bu Bois fully incorporated class analysis—as the analysis of the formation of class collective actors and class struggle—as well as the systemic analysis of modern capitalism into his work. But Du Bois did not simply adopt Marx’s analytical framework. His understanding of racialization and colonialism led him to incorporate Marx’s ideas in original ways. For Du Bois’ racialization was a structuring element of historical capitalism. Furthermore, he understood historical capitalism as a global system rooted in colonialism. The result of Du Bois combination of Marx class analysis and his own analysis of global racialization yielded a thoroughly novel perspective that puts the exploitation of colonized and racialized workers and the intersections of class and race at the center of the analysis of global capitalism. In analyzing Du Bois global sociology this paper contributes to expanding the scope of Du Bois’ work addressed within the discipline.


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