Category Archives: University

DuBois: The Scholar Denied – a review in 2 parts

Morris, Aldon. 2015. The Scholar Denied: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology. University of California Press.  ISBN: 9780520960480

Aldon Morris’ book The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the birth of Modern Sociology demonstrates how Du Bois 1890s empirical and statistical research on black communities and classes in the United States was suppressed by a version of sociology developed by Robert Park and others of the Chicago School. Du Bois was the first black PhD graduate of Harvard University and went on to study history at Humboldt University, Berlin (1892-4) and followed the lectures of Max Weber and Gustav von Schmoller. He some of the conducted the first empirical and statistical social studies, notably his pioneering urban sociology, The Philadelphia Negro (1899). As Chair of the Department of Sociology (1897-1910) and organizer of the Atlanta University Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems, he edited annual volumes from 1902.  Du Bois hypothesized that sociological and economic factors were the main causes of racial inequality in the United States, anchored in white racial oppression not black inferiority. Du Bois argued that social analysis would reveal the truth of race dynamics and education of talented blacks would allow them to succeed and to articulate this truth across many fields as leaders in business, the media and politics. Du Bois’ sociology was a weapon of liberation.

Continue reading DuBois: The Scholar Denied – a review in 2 parts

Ecole Polytechnique Massacre of Women – 25 years on

Tate Britain Mural
Tate Britain Mural: This arresting mural in Tate Britain reminds us, on the 25th anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique shootings of female students in which 14 women died, of womens’ contributions to invention, innovation and creative progress.

The Massacre of Women at the Ecole Polytechnique Engineering Faculty in Montreal remains an iconic moment in time and a location that has become synonymous with violent anti-feminisms and the persecution of women.  It has eluded the grasp of Canadian politics and public spaces of concern: it prompted a national registration of firearms which was later repealed by the Conservative Party, leaving unresolved questions.  Ecole Polytechnique remains a touch-point and a memory site toward which numerous memorials point, from across Canada and abroad, invoking the problem of violence against women.  The school is a site where this unresolved national trauma become starkly present; it witnesses to the sexual colonization of womens’ bodies and points to the scars of violent anti-feminisms that split Canada’s immigrant cultures and fractures the collective psyche.

-Rob Shields, University of Alberta