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Five Things to Know about W.E.B. DuBois in Sociology

W.E.B. DuBois is a popular figure, with many sociologists considering him one of the founders of sociology. Decades of sociology textbooks will tell you that Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber are the core foundational members in the field. Due to systemic racism both within society and in the field of sociology, DuBois has not received enough credit.

In more recent years sociologists have begun to call for greater recognition for DuBois and his work. While this is great, for years sociologists and students have become familiar with Marx, Durkheim, and Weber. But, maybe not as familiar with DuBois. Here are Five Things to Know about W.E.B. DuBois.

W.E.B. DuBois was a Poet

W.E.B. DuBois was talented in many facets of his life. Aside from being a founder of sociology, DuBois was also a poet. Much of his poetry describes experiences of black oppression. Sometimes it appears his poetry may express his own experiences and in other poems he seems to be expressing the experiences of black communities.

In either case it is worth reading DuBois’ poetry. His poems can be a good supplement in a course where students are asked to read his original sociological works.

W.E.B. DuBois was one of the Founding Members of the NAACP

W.E.B. DuBois was both a researcher and an advocate. As sociologists we may think of DuBois as a rigorous research methodologist or theorist, but he was an influential figure in the civil rights movement.

As part of his leadership in the civil rights movement, DuBois became one of the founding members of the NAACP.

DuBois was both a civil rights leader and a rigorous methodologist!

DuBois was Educated at Harvard

W.E.B. earned his PhD from Harvard in 1895. It is incredible to think that a Harvard trained sociologist with revolutionary ideas could go under noticed for his work. It is not like he attended a university that no one had ever heard of, this is Harvard.

DuBois earned his BA, MA, and PhD from Harvard University from 1890-1895.

DuBois was a Highly Skilled Methodologist

Anyone that has read The Philadelphia Negro will know how skilled a methodologist DuBois was. This is a study of black communities in Philadelphia in the era following the abolition of slavery. This book is full of data. You can just simply thumb through the book to see how much DuBois relayed upon his research methods and data in his analysis.

Some have made the claim that DuBois felt as if he needed to overcompensate in the rigidity of his research because he was black in a white dominant space. Considering DuBois’ work has been undervalued for so long, it seems he really knew what he was talking about.

Final Thoughts About these Five Things to Know About W.E.B. DuBois

W.E.B. DuBois is one of the founding fathers of sociology. Despite the fact that he has not received the same recognition as Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber, DuBois’ accomplishments were revolutionary.

DuBois brought race to the forefront of sociological study and laid the foundation for scholars, activists, and humanitarians alike.

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