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A Political Companion to W. E. B. Du Bois

Literary scholars and historians have long considered W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963) an extremely influential writer and a powerful cultural critic. The author of more than one hundred books, hundreds of published articles, and founding editor of the NAACP journal The Crisis, Du Bois has been widely studied for his profound insights on the politics of race and class in America. An activist as well as a scholar, Du Bois proclaimed, "I stand in utter shamelessness and say that whatever art I have for writing has been used always for propaganda for gaining the right of black folk to love and enjoy."

In A Political Companion to W. E. B. Du Bois, Nick Bromell assembles essays from both new and established scholars from a variety of disciplines to explore Du Bois's contributions to American political thought. The contributors establish a conceptual context within which to read the author, revealing how richly and variously he engaged with the aesthetic and theological modalities of political thinking and action. This volume further reveals how Du Bois's work challenges and revises contemporary political theory, providing commentary on the author's strengths and limitations as a theorist for the twenty-first century. In doing so, it helps readers gain an understanding of how Du Bois's work and life continue to stimulate lively and constructive debate about the theory and practice of democracy in America.

About the Authors

Nick Bromell is professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of several books, including The Time Is Always Now: Black Thought and the Transformation of US Democracy.

Reviews

"Superb. Bromell has done a tremendous job representing the full range of Du Bois's work in this volume, and the theoretical frame he provides to unite that work is persuasive and insightful."—"—Jason Frank, Cornell University

"The Du Bois that this volume presents is powerful and original. I have no doubt that a wide range of readers, students, and scholars from many different disciplines will find the contributors' analyses vitally useful, provocative, and illuminating."—"—Shannon L. Mariotti, author of Adorno and Democracy: The American Years

"The essays collected by Nick Bromell in this superb volume open new avenues for understanding W. E. B. Du Bois's contributions to historical struggles for racial and economic justice, democracy and the end of colonial rule, on one hand, and demonstrate why it is so urgent that we struggle with Du Bois's words today, on the other. Individually and collectively, these pieces offer fresh interpretations of Du Bois's intertwined vocations as a thinker, literary artist, and activist. An essential collection that will inspire further debate and scholarship!"—"—Lawrie Balfour, Editor of Political Theory

"This collection of essays offers an impressive study of Du Bois's work, showing real appreciation for the scope of Du Bois's scholarship."—Michael Benjamin, Journal of Southern History

"This important new collection offers readers a glimpse of the richness and complexity still to be found in W.E.B. Du Bois's writings. . . . The resulting picture of Du Bois attends not only to his incredible complexity as a thinker, but also to his legacy as a deeply literary author whose prose tends toward excess—stylistic, emotional, and rhetorical—and who refused to let the borders of his prose be, as Bromell says, 'policed.'"—American Literary History Review

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