Sep 26, 2023  
Catalogue 2021-2022 
Catalogue 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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POLI 379 - Reading Black Reconstruction

1 unit(s)
(Same as AFRS 379 ) W.E.B. Du Bois’ Black Reconstruction can be understood as a sort of Rosetta Stone of US history. By taking enslaved people seriously as political subjects, Du Bois permits us to understand how it was slaves themselves who determined both the meaning and the outcome of the Civil War, but who also sought to build an ambitious vision of “abolition-democracy” from the ashes of the slave order. All history is not past, however, and Black Reconstruction has become an increasingly necessary foundation for grappling with the persistent tangle of race and class in the US today. This seminar works through the essential contours of Du Bois’ mammoth text—the stretching of Marxist categories like class and general strike, the autonomous transformative capacity of slaves in struggle, and the ultimate betrayal of Reconstruction. But we also emphasize underdiscussed elements of the text, Du Bois’ analysis of a burgeoning imperialism and his own blind spots to gender and indigenous struggles. This seminar takes place in conjunction with a symposium of the same name, featuring the participation of some of the most important intellectual voices of our time, and an edited volume to be published by Duke University Press.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2021/22.

Course Format: CLS

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