W
.
E.B.
Du Bois at the Horizon of History and Sociology
Presentation by Dr. Robert W. Williams,
Political Science, Bennett College,
at the Second Annual Conference of the
African American Intellectual History Society,
Vanderbilt University, on 24 March 2017.
(Note: This is a DRAFT version, with later clarifications.)

To continue, click "NEXT" in the footer or press the letter "N" key
© 2017  Robert W. Williams
W.E.B. Du Bois at the Horizon of History and Sociology
Presentation by Dr. Robert W. Williams,
Political Science, Bennett College,
at the Second Annual Conference of the
African American Intellectual History Society,
Vanderbilt University, on 24 March 2017.
(Note: This is a DRAFT version, with later clarifications.)
© 2017  Robert W. Williams

0.1. Abstract:
"W
.
E.B.
Du Bois at the Horizon of History and Sociology"


The engaged scholarship of W.E.B. Du Bois helped to fur­ther the strug­gles of persons of color for equality and freedom. His histor­i­cal and soci­o­log­i­cal proj­ects com­batted the inac­cu­ra­cies and false­hoods about Afri­cana peo­ples, while also using enhanced methods of schol­ar­ly inves­ti­ga­tion. His ef­forts have earned well deserved praise, but sub­tleties in his think­ing about knowl­edge pro­duc­tion likewise must be examined.
Du Bois expressed his conception of knowledge not only in terms of the evi­dence for human actions and events (as well as their tra­jec­tories and ef­fects), but also in terms of uncer­tainty and unknow­a­bil­ity. Later scholars are aware of Du Bois's nuanced insights into knowl­edge and its limits. Yet they have not explored ex­ten­sively his per­spec­tives on what we cannot know (i.e., nesc­ience) in conj­unc­tion with what we can know via sci­en­tific means (which include his­tory and soci­ol­ogy, according to Du Bois).
It is my contention that, for Du Bois, understanding what we cannot know—and indeed that we will never know some things—is as phil­o­soph­ical­ly mean­ing­ful and polit­i­cal­ly con­se­quen­tial as what we can know about now or may know about in the fu­ture. His im­plic­it con­cept of nesc­ience does not oblit­er­ate knowl­edge or under­mine its value. Rather, his con­cept is better grasped as being vitally im­pli­cated within the proc­ess of know­ing, a proc­ess that for Du Bois in­volves an epis­te­mo­log­i­cal dynam­ic of sci­ence and nesc­ience (or Du­Bois­ian ne/sci­ence, so to speak). At the hori­zon of our re­search is ne/sci­ence: the realm of what we can know about human actions and expe­ri­ences ex­tends to the bound­ary of our meth­ods and evi­dence. But the know­able does not ex­tend to the domain beyond that bound­ary, where­in are em­bodied the uncer­tain and unknow­a­ble dimen­sions of human actions, expe­ri­ences, and values.
In the presentation I will:
(1) reconstruct the philosophical basis for DuBoisian ne/science as con­veyed in many of his meth­od­o­log­i­cal works on histor­i­cal and soci­olog­ical research (both pub­lished and unpub­lished); and
(2) delineate some of the consequences of Du Bois's science/nesc­ience dy­nam­ic with rele­vance to the prac­tices of insti­tu­tion­al poli­tics (and his sup­port for a de­moc­ra­cy of dif­fer­ences), as well as to social ac­tiv­ism (and his use of lit­er­ary im­ag­i­na­tion) and to schol­ar­ly re­search (as it pertains to human agen­cy, reduc­tion­ism, and the knower/known frame­work of vari­ous modes of in­quiry).
♦—♦♦—♦
The main PRESENTATION BEGINS after proceeding through the follow­ing pages of the front matter:
Navigating the Hypertext Presentation (Help Page)
Online Availability of Texts [and access to the one-page version]
Acknowledgments
Dr. Robert W. Williams: Who I Am
Sub/Section Outline of the Presentation
Note 1: I consider the content of this presen­ta­tion, which also includes sub­seq­uent clari­fi­ca­tions, to be a draft version. Herein, I explore ideas and lines of interpre­ta­tion that may change in a future, more finalized form. Indeed, some aspects of the text may require further elabo­ra­tion. Thank you.
Note 2: I designed this hyper­text-oriented pres­en­tation and coded it. I may modi­fy or aug­ment the funct­ion­ality and appearance of the inter­face over time and without notice. The Navi­ga­tion Help page (0.2.) con­tains details on the inter­face's features, but does not indi­cate what may have been added or changed. Thank you for under­stand­ing that this is a work in prog­ress.
— Robert W. Williams
To continue, click "NEXT" or press the letter "N" key

0.1. Abstract


The engaged scholarship of W.E.B. Du Bois helped to fur­ther the strug­gles of persons of color for equality and freedom. His histor­i­cal and soci­o­log­i­cal proj­ects com­batted the inac­cu­ra­cies and false­hoods about Afri­cana peo­ples, while also using enhanced methods of schol­ar­ly inves­ti­ga­tion. His ef­forts have earned well deserved praise, but sub­tleties in his think­ing about knowl­edge pro­duc­tion likewise must be examined.
Du Bois expressed his conception of knowledge not only in terms of the evi­dence for human actions and events (as well as their tra­jec­tories and ef­fects), but also in terms of uncer­tainty and unknow­a­bil­ity. Later scholars are aware of Du Bois's nuanced insights into knowl­edge and its limits. Yet they have not explored ex­ten­sively his per­spec­tives on what we cannot know (i.e., nesc­ience) in conj­unc­tion with what we can know via sci­en­tific means (which include his­tory and soci­ol­ogy, according to Du Bois).
It is my contention that, for Du Bois, understanding what we cannot know—and indeed that we will never know some things—is as phil­o­soph­ical­ly mean­ing­ful and polit­i­cal­ly con­se­quen­tial as what we can know about now or may know about in the fu­ture. His im­plic­it con­cept of nesc­ience does not oblit­er­ate knowl­edge or under­mine its value. Rather, his con­cept is better grasped as being vitally im­pli­cated within the proc­ess of know­ing, a proc­ess that for Du Bois in­volves an epis­te­mo­log­i­cal dynam­ic of sci­ence and nesc­ience (or Du­Bois­ian ne/sci­ence, so to speak). At the hori­zon of our re­search is ne/sci­ence: the realm of what we can know about human actions and expe­ri­ences ex­tends to the bound­ary of our meth­ods and evi­dence. But the know­able does not ex­tend to the domain beyond that bound­ary, where­in are em­bodied the uncer­tain and unknow­a­ble dimen­sions of human actions, expe­ri­ences, and values.
In the presentation I will:
(1) reconstruct the philosophical basis for DuBoisian ne/science as con­veyed in many of his meth­od­o­log­i­cal works on histor­i­cal and soci­olog­ical research (both pub­lished and unpub­lished); and
(2) delineate some of the consequences of Du Bois's science/nesc­ience dy­nam­ic with rele­vance to the prac­tices of insti­tu­tion­al poli­tics (and his sup­port for a de­moc­ra­cy of dif­fer­ences), as well as to social ac­tiv­ism (and his use of lit­er­ary im­ag­i­na­tion) and to schol­ar­ly re­search (as it pertains to human agen­cy, reduc­tion­ism, and the knower/known frame­work of vari­ous modes of in­quiry).
Note: I consider this presentation, which also includes subsequent clarifications, to be a draft version. Herein, I explore ideas and lines of interpretation that may change in a future, more finalized form. Indeed, some aspects of the text may require further elaboration. Thank you. — Robert W. Williams

0.2. Navigating the Hypertext Presentation (Help Page)


0.2.1.

Keyboard Shortcuts

a.

Along with clickable links, keyboard shortcuts can be used for nav­i­gating the hypertext presentation. The shift key is not needed.
Next page: "N" or ">" [period key]
Previous page: "P" or "<" [comma key]
Start (title) page: "S"
End (Last) page: "E" or "L"
TOC (toggle to show/hide it): "T", and "C" to Close
One-page version (toggle to show/hide it): "O" or number "1"
Return to the hypertext format (from the one-page version): "R"
Display all hidden notes (=Show button): "D"
Whisk away (hide) all displayed notes (=Hide button): "W"
View the History queue of pages visited: "V"
Backwards to the prior page viewed (as listed in the History): "B"
Forwards to the following page viewed (as listed in History): "F"
Help in brief (toggle to show/hide it): "H"
eXit the entire presentation (from the END page): "X"

b.

See below for details on the navigation functions.

0.2.2.

Footer: Next and Previous Pages; Start and End Pages

a.

The footer at the bottom of the screen, will present several links that allow one to return to the PREVious page within the outline structure or else to pro­ceed to the NEXT page in the outline. The footer links will vary depend­ing on the cur­rent page that is being visited.

b.

To access the start page or the final page within the flow of the presen­ta­tion, click the TOC (Table of Contents) link. The footer will now contain links to the START and END pages.

c.

When proceeding forwards through the presentation structure via click­ing the NEXT link, one ultimately will arrive at the END page. Similarly, when clicking the PREVious link, the viewer will return eventually to the START page of the entire presen­ta­tion.

0.2.3.

Outline Tree within Sections

a.

The outline that is displayed within each page (screen) has clickable links to other sections of the main content, as well as to subsections within the cur­rent section. Also, there are links to Navigation Help and to the one-page, full-text version of the presentation. (For more details on the one-page format see Section 0.3.3.).

b.

The visible outline structure covers the main content of the presentation; it does not include the END (final) page or the front matter (and the START page of the entire presen­ta­tion).

0.2.4.

Table of Contents (TOC)

a.

Clicking the TOC link will display a table of contents that lists all pages of the presen­ta­tion, including the START page (and the rest of the front mat­ter), as well as the END page.

b.

In addition, the TOC contains a link to the one-page, full-text version as well as links for accessing Navigation Help and for exiting the presen­ta­tion.

c.

To open the TOC, you also can press the "T" key. To close the TOC, press the "T" key again or else the "C" key. Using the standard navigation operations described above, such as the clickable links or the "N" or "P" keys, will also close the TOC and take you to that new page.

0.2.5.

The Show and Hide Buttons

a.

Clicking the SHOW buttons found on some of the hyper­text pages will dis­play fur­ther infor­ma­tion, such as notes and quota­tions.

b.

Once the previously hidden text is displayed, clicking the HIDE button will conceal it from view.

c.

The "D" key displays all hid­den notes, which are marked by the Show but­tons found on some hyper­text pages. Con­versely, the "W" key whisks awayhidesall revealed notes, which are labeled by the Hide but­tons on a hyper­text page. If either key is pressed where neither hid­den nor revealed text is avail­able, then a pop-up (alert) box ap­pears indi­cating this.

0.2.6.

Do Not Use the <Backspace> Key

a.

Do *not* use the <Backspace> key to navigate, because (at least in some browsers) it may not function as expected or may exit the presen­ta­tion.

b.

If you wish to go to the previous sequential page, then click the PREV link in the footer or use the "P" shortcut key.

0.2.7.

Exit the Presentation

a.

To exit the presentation and go to the W.E.B. Du Bois site:
click the link to "webdubois.org" located on the footer's left side; or
click the EXIT link found at the bottom of the TOC menu; or
click the EXIT link located in the footer of the END page; or
press the "X" key while at the END page.

b.

To exit the presentation and go to my Lectures page on the W.E.B. Du Bois site, click the "lectures" part of the link found on the left side of the footer.

c.

Note: One cannot exit from the one-page ver­sion. One must be viewing the hyper­text presen­ta­tion.

0.2.8.

History—or Pages Viewed—Feature (Hypertext Version)

a.

While in the hypertext presentation, one can return again the pages pre­vi­ous­ly viewed in the reverse order in which they were accessed. Press the "B" key for this back­wards move­ment through the History queue. Once one has been moving through the History queue, press the "F" key to move for­wards through it.

b.

If one has reached the beginning of the History queue (i.e., no earlier pages visited) or has arrived at the end of the queue (i.e., no further pages visited), then a pop-up, intra-browser window will appear notifying one of this condition. This pop-up window is actually a so-called alert box and is not a new browser window.

c.

Note: Once pages have been visited or revisited in the hypertext pres­en­ta­tion, then for each new page accessed the earliest page will be removed from the History queue so that the new page can be added to it. Pages removed from the queue in this process cannot be revisited through the History feature, only via the usual methods of navi­ga­tion described herein.

d.

To view all pages listed in the History queue, as well as the relative posi­tion of the cur­rently viewed page, press the "V" key to display a pop-up, intra-browser window (alert box) with those details.

e.

Note that when any page is accessed via the standard navi­ga­tion methods (i.e., Next, Previous, TOC, Outline tree) and not via the For­wards or Back­wards oper­a­tions of the History feature, that page is placed at the end of the queue. Hence, even if the newly navi­gated page were accessed while stepping through the History, it is still placed at the end of the queue.

0.2.9.

Accessing Help within the Hypertext Presentation

a.

To access this Help page, you will find a clickable link in the table of contents (TOC) at item "0.2. Navigating the Presentation".

b.

Note: Press the letter "B" key to retrace your steps to the page you were viewing before the Nav­i­ga­tion Help was accessed. The number of pages involved in this retracing process depends on whether you were within the History queue or at its end point. Read Subsec­tion 0.2.8. above to learn how the History feature operates.

c.

Pressing the "H" key within any page (except this one) will acti­vate a brief version of the Help function, empha­siz­ing the key­board short­cuts and the ways to exit the presen­ta­tion. To close the "Help (in Brief)" press the "H" key again or else the "C" key. The standard navigation operations identified herein, including the clickable links or the "N" or "P" keys, will also quit the "Help (in Brief)" and put you on that other page.

d.

Also, the brief version of the Help can be accessed via a link, "Navi­ga­tion Help (Brief)", which is located at the bottom of the left-side navi­ga­tion bar and at the bottom of the table of contents.

0.2. Navigating the One-Page Format of the Presentation (Help)


a.

This page contains the full text of the hypertext-oriented presen­ta­tion arranged sequen­tially in one window. Any info, including images, revealed via the SHOW but­tons of the hypertext version are displayed herein.

b.

The one-page format does not display any images located on the pages that start each hypertext section.

c.

Within this one-page, full-text version one will find a navigation menu at the top and bottom of the page, as well as between the major sections.

d.

To return to the hypertext-based lecture, click the menu link labeled "Return to Hypertext Format". Or press the "R" key, or the "T" key again.

e.

Note: One can only exit the entire presentation while in the hyper­text ver­sion. Read the hyper­text Navi­ga­tion Help Section 0.2.7. for details.

f.

Do *not* use the <Backspace> key because it may exit the presentation.

g.

While in the one-page version you can view the Help info by pressing the "H" key once. To go back to the place where you ini­tially invoked Help, press the "B" key. Or else, pressing "H" a second time, but before pressing "B", will return you to your init­ial place (and render the "B" key moot).
Caveat: After tapping "H" to access Help, if next you scroll the page via navi­ga­tion keys or mouse wheel without having pressed "B" once or "H" a second time, then a later tap of "H" takes you to Help and makes the "B" key moot. This caveat does not apply if scrolling via touch screen or scroll bar.

0.3. Online Availability of Texts


0.3.1.

This presentation online:

a.

www.webdubois.org/lectures/aaihs2017.html

b.

Lectures page: www.webdubois.org/lectures/rwlectures.html

0.3.2.

W.E.B. Du Bois's texts:

a.

The reference sections (Sections 6.5 and 6.6.) contain links to online resources for many of the primary texts (and a few of the secondary sources) cited in this pres­en­ta­tion, especially those that reside on my Du Bois website.

b.

My website also provides links to various other DuBoisian primary sources. One can check the site map or visit the Sources page.

0.3.3.

The one-page, full-text version:

a.

For purposes of reading or printing, the full text of this other­wise hypertext-oriented pres­en­ta­tion can be accessed sequen­tially as ONE PAGE in the cur­rent window. Note that the images found on the pages that start each hypertext section are not displayed in the one-page version.

b.

Also, one can access the one-page, full-text version via the left nav­i­ga­tion menu and via the Table of Contents (TOC) menu.

c.

Within the one-page version navigation menus are located at the top and bottom of the page, as well as between the major sections.

d.

To exit the page of sequential text and resume the hypertext-based pres­en­ta­tion, click one of the links labeled "Return to Hypertext Format". They are located at the top and bottom of the full text, as well as between the major sections.

e.

Please do *not* use the <Backspace> key for navigation. Under specific conditions it will dump you completely out of the full-text page as well as the presentation itself, at least with some browsers.

0.3. Online Availability of Texts


0.3.1.

This presentation online:

a.

www.webdubois.org/lectures/aaihs2017.html

b.

Lectures page: www.webdubois.org/lectures/rwlectures.html

0.3.2.

W.E.B. Du Bois's texts:

a.

The reference sections (Section 6.5 and 6.6.) contain links to online resources for many of the primary texts (and a few of the secondary sources) cited in this pres­en­ta­tion, especially those that reside on my Du Bois website.

b.

My website also provides links to various other DuBoisian primary sources. One can check the site map or visit the Sources page.

0.4. Acknowledgments


0.4.1.

I wish to thank those who helped to make this presentation a reality:

a.

Dr. Tiffany Ruby Patterson, who chairs the 2017 AAIHS conference panel entitled "W.E.B. Du Bois and the Production of Black History", and Dr. Philip Luke Sinitiere, who invited me to participate on it.

b.

Prof. Yamu Kurewa and the Bennett College Faculty Development Committee.

c.

My department chair, Dr. Gwendolyn Bookman.

d.

Ms. Nadine McCain-Smith, the Administrative Assistant for the Division of Sciences and Mathematics at Bennett College.

0.4.2.

Copyrights and Fair Use

a.

The various image files found in this presentation are copyrighted by their respective owners or registrants. The image files herein are used for edu­ca­tion­al purposes only and in accordance with the guidelines of "edu­ca­tion­al fair use".

b.

If anyone has a concern regarding an image file, please contact Dr. Robert W. Williams.

0.5. Dr. Robert W. Williams: Who I Am


0.5.1.

Various biographic details

a.

A brief bio: www.webdubois.org/wdb-rw.html

b.

My C.V.: www.webdubois.org/rwcv.htm

0.5.2.

My academic websites

a.

www.webdubois.org

b.

www.nightspaces.org

0.5.3.

My page at www.academia.edu

a.

https://bennett.academia.edu/RobertWilliams

0.6. Sub/Section Outline of the Presentation

Section 1: Introduction
1.1. W.E.B. Du Bois on Knowledge and Its Horizon
1.2. Presentation: General Themes
1.3. Presentation: Specific Goals
1.4. R.Williams's Research Agenda
1.5. Presentation: Layout

Section 2: Nescience and Science
2.1. The Lack of Knowledge
2.2. Epistemological Dynamic of Science & Nescience
2.3. What We Can Know About
2.4. What We Can Know Directly
2.5. Individuals in the World

Section 3: Du Bois's Ne/Science: Implications for Research
3.1. The Knower/Known Relationship
3.2. Reductionism in the (Social) Sciences
3.3. Studying Human Agency

Section 4: Du Bois's Ne/Science: Implications for Politics
4.1. Governance and Policymaking
4.2. A Role for Citizens
4.3. Du Bois's Democracy of Differences

Section 5: Du Bois's Ne/Science: Implications for Activism
5.1. Two Implications for Activism
5.2. Activism as "Positive Propaganda"
5.3. Activism and the Literary Imagination

Section 6: In Closing and References
6.1. The Production of Knowledge(s)
6.2. Informing Democracy and Its Conceptions
6.3. Caveats: W.E.B. Du Bois's Unpublished Texts
6.4. Caveats: W.E.B. Du Bois on Science and Nescience
6.5. References: Works Written or Edited by W.E.B. Du Bois
6.6. References: Works Written or Edited by Others

© 2017 Robert W.Williams

SECTION 1:  Introduction

Jane Addams
Du Bois, Talented Tenth Chapter
William James

SECTION 1:  Introduction

1.1. W.E.B. Du Bois on Knowledge and Its Horizon


[Section 1.1. Summary.]
Du Bois has become more widely recognized for his con­tri­bu­tions to scholarly research and activism that challenge White suprem­a­cist ideas and prac­tices.
Du Bois conducts historical and socio­log­i­cal schol­ar­ship involv­ing both case studies and lon­gi­tu­di­nal research.
Du Bois indicates that (social) science faces lim­i­ta­tions in terms of uncer­tain­ty and unknow­a­bil­ity.

1.1.1.

W.E.B. Du Bois is recognized for his research, especially for his production of knowledge that challenges White supremacist views and policies.

a.

For example, read Horne 2010; D. Lewis 1993 & 2000; Outlaw 2000; R. Williams 2006; Wright 2002 & 2016; Young & Deskins 2001.

1.1.2.

Du Bois utilizes two basic research designs: longitudinal and case study. He does not consider the two designs to be mutually exclusive. The research designs are oriented to providing the bases for inductively derived generalizations about the status of African Americans (Du Bois TPN 1899: Preface).

a.

Longitudinal studies: e.g., the Atlanta University Publications.
[Elaboration.]
Longitudinal studies are exemplified in the Atlanta University Publications (AUPs), the majority of which are edited by Du Bois, who coordinates the conferences on which the AUPs were based. They are longitudinal in intent, but Du Bois is not able to fully replicate the later studies in exactly the same ways as the earlier ones within the overall scheme of Atlanta University research project. Nevertheless, according to Du Bois, the studies do document signs of progress over time amidst areas requiring attention (TAUC 1903; ATLC 1904; LSAU 1903).

b.

Case Studies: e.g., "The Negroes of Farmville, Virginia: A Social Study" (NFVA 1898) and "The Negro Landholder of Georgia" (NLGA 1901).
[Elaboration.]
The case study design is found in Du Bois's various inquiries into specific localities. The Philadelphia Negro is well known, as are his Department of Labor studies, including "The Negroes of Farmville, Virginia: A Social Study" and "The Negro Landholder of Georgia." Comparative works by Du Bois, include those where he compares African Americans in the North and the South (e.g., NISN 1901; TNSN 1905; BFTN 1939; GBF 1924). Comparative studies also include projects where he focuses on a particular region, such as his "The Black North," which is a five-part series comparing New York, Boston, and Philadelphia published in the New York Times in 1901 (BN1S, BNS2, BNS3, BNS4, BNS5).

1.1.3.

Knowability, unknowability, and later secondary scholarship:

a.

Du Bois expresses his conception of knowledge not only in terms of the evidence for human actions and events (as well as their trajectories and effects), but also in terms of uncertainty and unknowability.

b.

Later scholars are aware of Du Bois's nuanced insights into knowledge and its limits. Yet they have not explored extensively his perspectives on what we cannot know (i.e., nescience) in conjunction with what we can know via rigorous research methods and protocols (which include history and sociology, according to Du Bois).
Scholars have examined "Sociology Hesitant" in terms of the "uncalculable": e.g., Chandler 2015; R.A. Judy 2000.
Also, scholars have discussed Darkwater's "Of the Ruling of Men" chapter with regard to unknowability: e.g., Balfour 2011; Bromell 2011 and 2013; Gooding-Williams 2009; C.E. Mitchell 1997.
Moreover, scholars have analyzed the concept of the unknowable found in Du Bois's 1956 letter to Aptheker (LHA): e.g., Monteiro 2008: 605-606.

1.1.4.

I have developed a typology of Du Bois knowledge claims derived from numerous works across his life; see my 2016 CAU presentation online.

1.2. General Themes of the Presentation


[Section 1.2. Summary.]
For Du Bois, what we cannot know is as important as what we can know about now or in the future.
The lack of knowledge — nescience — derives from the limits of our evidence and research methods, but also derives from what we cannot know directly.
For Du Bois, we cannot know directly the expe­ri­ences and feel­ings of others.
This knowledge, or "excluded wisdom," possessed by others is vital for democracy.
I reconstruct Du Bois's understanding of the rela­tion­ship of science with nesc­ience in terms of a ne/science frame­work.

1.2.1.

Overarching theme: For Du Bois, understanding what we cannot know — and indeed that we will never know some things — is as phil­o­soph­i­cally mean­ing­ful and po­lit­i­cally conse­quential as what we can know about now or may know about in the future.

1.2.2.

Du Bois's implicit concept of nescience is better grasped as being vitally implicated within the process of knowing, a process that for Du Bois involves an epistemological dynamic of science and nescience (or DuBoisian ne/science, so to speak).

a.

At the horizon of our research is ne/science: the realm of what we can know about human actions and experiences extends to the boundary of our methods and evidence.

b.

But the knowable does not extend to the domain beyond that boundary, wherein are embodied the uncertain and unknowable dimensions of human actions, experiences, and values.

1.2.3.

Du Bois's implicit concept of nescience does not obliterate knowledge or undermine its value. Indeed, the concept concentrates on the strengths of knowledge production via scientific means but also emphasizes other means of producing knowledge.

1.3. Specific Goals of the Presentation


[Section 1.3. Summary.]
Using published and unpublished works by Du Bois, I will recon­struct and illus­trate the abiding theme of science and nesc­ience in his thinking.
I will set forth sev­er­al impli­ca­tions of Du Bois's ne/science frame­work for research, pol­i­tics, and activism.
Various caveats are located in Sections 6.3 and 6.4 below.

1.3.1.

...To reconstruct Du Bois's thinking on the relationship between knowledge and its limits by encompassing previously studied facets of his works—e.g. excluded wisdom—into a more comprehensive interpretation focused on his distinction between what we can know about via science and what we cannot know at all (nescience).

1.3.2.

...To ultimately highlight Du Bois's dynamic of ne/science as an abiding theme across his life and works.

1.3.3.

...To utilize Du Bois's published and unpublished texts as primary sources.

a.

This is important because Du Bois did not publish much of his thinking on matters pertaining to the philosophy of social science.
Exceptions include such important publications as "The Study of the Negro Problems" (SNP 1898) and "My Evolving Program for Negro Freedom" (MEPF 1944).

b.

The caveats for using unpublished works in scholarship are located in Section 6.3.

1.3.4.

...To set forth the implications of the ne/science dynamic for research, politics, and activism (Sections 3, 4, and 5).

1.3.5.

...To provide critiques and caveats to Du Bois's thinking on the science/nescience framework in Section 6.4.

1.4. Robert W. Williams's Research Agenda


1.4.1.

This presentation continues my previous research and also is part of a larger research agenda: C.V. at http://www.webdubois.org/rwcv.htm

1.4.2.

My related lectures online: www.webdubois.org/lectures/rwlectures.html.

1.5. The Layout of the Presentation


1.5.1.

First, I outline Du Bois's views on the relationship between science and nescience via reconstructing the relationship of knowledge production with its attendant limitations in terms of knowing about versus knowing directly.

1.5.2.

Next, I set forth in three different sections the philosophical implications and practical consequences of the DuBoisian ne/science framework: scholarly research, politics and governance, and social-political activism.

1.5.3.

I close with several themes of political and social theorizing that resonate with Du Bois's ne/science framework. The closing section also includes various caveats to Du Bois's understanding of the sciences and to my use of unpublished primary sources.

SECTION 2:  Nescience and Science

Blade Runenr, Tears in Rain

SECTION 2:  Nescience and Science

2.1. The Lack of Knowledge


[Section 2.1. Summary.]
Du Bois discusses the lack of knowldge, i.e., nescience, in several works, including "Of the Ruling of Men"​ (Darkwater).
Herein, DuBoisian nescience refers most often to our lack of any direct knowl­edge of the "excluded wis­dom" of indi­vid­u­als.
However, Du Bois's views on the rela­tion­ship between knowl­edge pro­duc­tion and a lack of knowl­edge is typically less emphasized by later scholars.

2.1.1.

We recognize that in a few works Du Bois discusses the lack of knowl­edge, i.e., nescience.

a.

The archtypical example comes from his "Of the Ruling of Men"​ (OROM), Chapter VI in Darkwater (DARK 1920). There Du Bois discusses both the knowledge necessary for governance and also our nescience of individuals' knowledge and experience.

b.

Specifically, Du Bois indicates that our nescience of the vital knowl­edge possessed by women, African Americans, and the "submerged tenth" of the working classes will hinder the effective governance of our political systems (OROM 1920: ¶ 27):
[Quotation.]

[26]  "So soon as a nation discovers that it holds in the heads and hearts of its individual citizens the vast mine of knowledge, out of which it may build a just government, then more and more it calls those citizens to select their rulers and to judge the justice of their acts.

[27]  "Even here, however, the temptation is to ask only for the wisdom of citizens of a certain grade or those of recognized worth. Continually some classes are tacitly or expressly excluded. Thus women have been excluded from modern democracy because of the persistent theory of female subjection and because it was argued that their husbands or other male folks would look to their interests. Now, manifestly, most husbands, fathers, and brothers will, so far as they know how or as they realize women's needs, look after them. But remember the foundation of the argument, — that in the last analysis only the sufferer knows his sufferings and that no state can be strong which excludes from its expressed wisdom the knowl­edge possessed by mothers, wives, and daughters. We have but to view the unsatisfactory relations of the sexes the world over and the problem of children to realize how desperately we need this excluded wisdom.

[28]  "The same arguments apply to other excluded groups: if a race, like the Negro race, is excluded, then so far as that race is a part of the economic and social organization of the land, the feeling and the experience of that race are absolutely necessary to the realization of the broadest justice for all citizens. Or if the "sub­merged tenth" be excluded, then again, there is lost from the world an experience of untold value, and they must be raised rapidly to a place where they can speak for themselves. In the same way and for the same reason children must be educated, insanity prevented, and only those put under the guardianship of others who can in no way be trained to speak for themselves.

[29]  "The real argument for democracy is, then, that in the people we have the source of that endless life and unbounded wisdom which the rulers of men must have. A given people today may not be intelligent, but through a democratic govern­ment that recognizes, not only the worth of the individual to himself, but the worth of his feelings and experiences to all, they can educate, not only the individual unit, but generation after generation, until they accumulate vast stores of wisdom. Democracy alone is the method of showing the whole experience of the race for the benefit of the future and if democracy tries to exclude women or Negroes or the poor or any class because of innate characteristics which do not interfere with intelligence, then that democracy cripples itself and belies its name." [OROM 1920]

2.1.2.

Scholars have studied "Ruling" and "excluded wisdom", especially with regard to Du Bois's conception of democracy: e.g., Balfour 2011; Bromell 2011 and 2013; Gooding-Williams 2009; Monteiro 2008.

2.1.3.

However, such scholars have not emphasized the dynamic of knowability and unknowability.

a.

How might we understand science and nescience in the thought and activism of Du Bois?

b.

Scholars of Du Bois typically have not reconciled within his thought the production of knowledge, on one hand, and the lack of knowledge, on the other.

2.2. Epistemological Dynamic of Science & Nescience


[Section 2.2. Summary.]
For Du Bois science and nescience are not mutually ex­clus­ive, but rather are com­ple­mentary.
Du Bois's ne/science framework involves an epis­te­mo­log­i­cal dy­namic based on what we can know about in addi­tion to what we can know directly.

2.2.1.

I suggest herein that for Du Bois science and nescience are not antagonistic.

a.

Science and nescience are not mutually exclusive wherein one is positive and valuable (science), and the other is worthless and to be overcome (nescience).

b.

Rather, for Du Bois science and nescience are complementary.

c.

This complementarity, as I claim, does not obliterate knowledge and does not undermine the value and importance of scientifically derived knowledge and its quest.

2.2.2.

Du Bois's ne/science framework, so to speak, involves an epistemological dynamic.

a.

What we know is conditioned by how we know.

b.

The history of philosophy contains numerous epistemologies, including:
we know by observing and measuring (e.g., empiricism); or
we know via a reasoning process that seeks immutable, foundational truths (e.g., the philosophical rationalism of Plato or Descartes); or
an attempted reconciliation of empiricism and philosophical rationalism (e.g., in terms of Kant's phenomenal and noumenal realms).

2.3. What We Can Know About


[Section 2.3. Summary.]
The natural and social sciences uncover knowledge about phe­nom­ena in the world.
Du Bois's "Sociology Hesitant" distinguishes between knowing about "primary rhythms" (predictable human behavior illustrating social laws), and "secondary rhythms" (human actions modi­fied by "inexpli­ca­ble Will").
Both rhythms are based on evidence of human actions.

2.3.1.

"Sociology Hesitant" can provide us with a useful starting point for understanding how Du Bois framed what we can come to know scientifically and what we cannot know scientifically.

a.

"Sociology Hesitant" is a well known typescript that was unpublished during Du Bois's lifetime. He writes this circa 1904-1905.

b.

"Sociology Hesitant" sets up Du Bois's idea of unknowability which he elaborates on in "The Individual and Social Conscience" which is a published document from 1905.

2.3.2.

In "Sociology Hesitant" Du Bois delineates between what he calls "primary rhythms" and "secondary rhythms".

a.

"Primary rhythms" are predictable human actions, such as birth and death rates. They are expressed via statistics.
That is, they involve regular patterns of human behavior from which we can derive generalizations.

b.

"Secondary rhythms" are not predictable in the same way because they originate from the human capacity for free will and intentional action, as Du Bois argues in "Sociology Hesitant". He illustrates this with the example of decisions made by a "woman's club"

c.

Selection on primary and secondary rhythms from "Sociology Hesitant".
[Quotation.]
"That there are limits is shown by the rhythm in birth and death rates and the distribution by sex; it is found further in human customs and laws, the forms of government, the laws of trade, and even in charity and ethics. As, however, we rise in the realm of conduct, we note a primary and a secondary rhythm. A primary rhythm depending, as we have indicated, on physical forces and physical law; but within this appears again and again a secondary rhythm which, while presenting nearly the same uniformity as the first, differs from it in its more or less sudden rise at a given tune, in accordance with prearranged plan and prediction and in being liable to stoppage and change according to similar plan. An example of primary uniformity is the death rate; of secondary uniformity, the operation of a woman's club; to confound the two sorts of human uniformity is fatal to clear thinking; to explain them we must assume Law and Chance working in conjunction — Chance being the scientific side of inexplicable Will." [SOCH ca.1904-5: ¶ 27; Capitalization in the original]
Du Bois does not explain in "Sociology Hesitant" why secondary rhythms illustrate both uniformity and "inexplicable Will". In another text he briefly discusses organizations and clubs in terms of their regularities as part of society: in the unpublished "A Program for a Sociological Society" (PFST 1897).

2.3.3.

Both types of rhythms involve "knowledge about" others.

a.

Knowledge of or about things or other persons involves observation and measurement.

b.

Observation is a type of experience for the individual conducting the research.

2.3.4.

As with conventional social research methods both "primary rhythms" and "secondary rhythms" depend on evidence.

a.

Across Du Bois's life he supports the gathering of data.

b.

For example, the Atlanta University Publications ranging from the late 1890s and early 1910s until the early 1940s (AUP 21; AUP 22; AUP 23).

2.3.5.

Significantly, Du Bois is also explicit about the limitations of having and finding the evidence needed to study both "primary rhythms" and "secondary rhythms".

2.3.6.

Regarding the limitations when studying "primary rhythms":

a.

Du Bois indicates that because human can develop their capacities, data on human actions and behaviors can change, and thereby will require continual research.

b.

Nevertheless, neither quantitative data ("The Development of a People", TDAP 1904: ¶ 10) nor historical evidence (e.g., "Postscript" to The Ordeal of Mansart, PSOM 1957: ¶¶ 2-3) may be available. (See Section 5.3.2.c. below).

2.3.7.

Regarding the limitations when studying "secondary rhythms":

a.

Du Bois indicates that "Chance" / "inexplicable Will" (SOCH ca.1904-5: ¶ 27) will make human actions somewhat incomprehensible in terms of social laws (or law-like regularities).

b.

Du Bois also discusses a phenomenon similar to "Chance": namely, contingency, as we might call it. Read, for example,
The Souls of Black Folk (SBF 1903),
[Quotation.]

"The silently growing assumption of this age is that the probation of races is past, and that the backward races of to-day are of proven inefficiency and not worth the saving. Such an assumption is the arrogance of peoples irreverent toward Time and ignorant of the deeds of men. A thousand years ago such an assumption, easily possible, would have made it difficult for the Teuton to prove his right to life. Two thousand years ago such dogmatism, readily welcome, would have scouted the idea of blond races ever leading civilization. So wofully [sic] unorganized is sociological knowledge that the meaning of progress, the meaning of "swift" and "slow" in human doing, and the limits of human perfectability, are veiled, unanswered sphinxes on the shores of science. Why should Aeschylus have sung two thousand years before Shakespeare was born? Why has civilization flourished in Europe, and flickered, flamed, and died in Africa? So long as the world stands meekly dumb before such questions, shall this nation proclaim its ignorance and unhallowed prejudices by denying freedom of opportunity to those who brought the Sorrow Songs to the Seats of the Mighty?" [SBF 1903: Ch. XIV]

and the "Evolution of the Race Problem" (EORP 1909).
[Quotation.]
"It is, to be sure, puzzling to know why the Soudan [sic] should linger a thousand years in culture behind the valley of the Seine, but it is no more puzzling than the fact that the valley of the Thames was miserably backward as compared with the banks of the Tiber. Climate, human contact, facilities of communication, and what we call accident have played great part in the rise of culture among nations: to ignore these and to assert dogmatically that the present distribution of culture is a fair index of the distribution of human ability and desert is to make an assertion for which there is not the slightest scientific warrant." [EORP 1909: ¶ 18]

2.4. What We Can Know Directly


[Section 2.4. Summary.]
For Du Bois, nescience arises when we cannot know another's expe­ri­ences directly — they are unknow­able.
We can only know what we our­selves feel.
Many have discussed the nescience of others, but Du Bois expands the sig­nif­i­cance of unknow­a­bil­ity across race and gender lines.

2.4.1.

Du Bois distinguishes between "knowing about" other things and persons, on the one hand, and directly knowing other things and persons, on the other — i.e., experiencing directly another's feelings and thoughts.

2.4.2.

Du Bois in an unpublished typescript "Steps Toward a Science of How Men Act" (SHMA undated, circa 1946) raises the epistemological concern of knowing others and knowing the world.

a.

That is, Du Bois addresses "direct knowledge", as he calls it, rather than "knowing about".
Can we know others? That is, can we know what others are experiencing?
Can we directly know the things in the world — as opposed to "knowing about" such things?

b.

Specifically, Du Bois addresses in "Steps" what we do know directly and how we can know it directly.

1. The only direct knowledge we have of what is true in this world is knowledge of our own emotions or feelings. In fact before the Cartesian "I think, therefore, I am", should stand "I feel, therefore, I am".

2. Feeling is the primary and the only direct knowledge of Truth which mankind has. [SHMA: ¶¶ 1-2]

c.

"Steps" is an undated typescript which the metadata in the Credo repository lists as created circa 1946.

2.4.3.

Steps" amplifies what Du Bois has mentioned in previous works: namely, we cannot know others directly.

a.

"The Individual and Social Conscience" of 1905.

b.

"Disfranchisement" (DISF) in 1912.

c.

"Of the Ruling of Men" (OROM) in 1920.

2.4.4.

Other scholars and activists have discussed this before Du Bois's published works.

a.

For example, William James.
[Quotation.]
William James in his Principles of Psychology (1890) writes:

"Each of these minds keeps its own thoughts to itself. There is no giving or bartering between them. No thought even comes into direct sight of a thought in another personal consciousness than its own. Absolute insulation, irreducible pluralism, is the law. It seems as if the elementary psychic fact were not thought or this thought or that thought, but my thought, every thought being owned. Neither contemporaneity, nor proximity in space, nor similarity of quality and content are able to fuse thoughts together which are sundered by this barrier of belonging to different personal minds. The breaches between such thoughts are the most absolute breaches in nature. Everyone will recognize this to be true, so long as the existence of something corresponding to the term 'personal mind' is all that is insisted on, without any particular view of its nature being implied. On these terms the personal self rather than the thought might be treated as the immediate datum in psychology. The universal conscious fact is not 'feelings and thoughts exist,' but 'I think' and 'I feel.' No psychology, at any rate, can question the existence of personal selves. The worst a psychology can do is so to interpret the nature of these selves as to rob them of their worth." [1890: 226; footnote omitted; emphasis in the original]

Also note: James's "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings" also deals with this topic but uses less psychological terminology (James 1900).

b.

However, Du Bois explicitly expands the racial, gender, and class scope of those whose experiences and knowledge should count.

c.

I will discuss this in a later section (Section 4.1.).

2.5. Individuals in the World


[Section 2.5. Summary.]
For Du Bois, nescience does not for­swear the impor­tance of the sci­ences.
Attempting to avoid solipsism, Du Bois op­ti­mis­ti­cally indi­cates that we all use (to some ex­tent) the sci­entific method to test our ideas of the world with real­ity itself in order to ap­prox­i­mate what is true.

2.5.1.

In the works "Steps Toward a Science of How Men Act" and in "The Individual and Social Conscience" Du Bois indicates that we can only know ourselves directly.

a.

"Steps" (SHMA) cited previously.

b.

"The Individual and Social Conscience" (IASC 1905).
[Quotation.]
"Here in this my neighbor stand things I do not know, experiences I have never felt, depths whose darkness is beyond me, and heights hidden by the clouds; or, perhaps, rather, differences in ways of thinking, and dreaming, and feeling which I guess at rather than know; strange twistings of soul that curve between the grotesque and the awful." [IASC 1905 ¶ 3]
Note: For more details on, and an analysis of, "The Individual and Social Conscience" read Williams & Du Bois 2012 (available on this site as a PDF preprint version).

2.5.2.

In "Steps" Du Bois sets forth an individual path to knowledge about the world and others — a knowledge which is tentative, even if it is the best knowledge that we have at the time.

a.

In other texts, he more clearly delineates and illustrates other dimensions of his epistemology: what is uncertain and what is unknowable.

b.

My presentation for a 2016 symposium at Clark Atlanta University (online) offers a typology of Du Bois's knowledge claims and their philosophical and activist consequences for him.

2.5.3.

In "Steps" Du Bois relates an individual's interactive path with the world around him/her in terms of the scientific method, especially what we would call hypothesis testing.

"8. Here the great scientific tool of the Hypothesis is discovered; we assume that certain things are true; we act as though this assumption is Truth. The ensuing facts of our experience arrange themselves in accord with our assumption. Therefore our assumption is True; or the facts agree except in certain particulars; we rearrange our assumptions to fit the new experience or more fully to explain the old. The new Hypothesis becomes accepted Truth. But all Truth, save our own feeling, we hold tentatively and watchfully, ready to change our conception, once a new explanation or phenomena fits the facts more perfectly." [SHMA undated, ca. 1946: p.2; Capitalization in the original; paragraph number 8 in the original]

a.

Further material from "Steps Toward a Science of How Men Act" (SHMA undated, ca. 1946).
[Quotation.]

"7. The doubt, the paradox of the possibility of knowledge beyond our own feeling and thought, remains forever. Everything may be fantastic mirage, beyond what we now feel. But the very statement of this is contradictory, since I must assume that you exist; and whatever your emotion is, you assume that I also feel; and our assumptions in the main work, they click, they correspond with our thinking. It is possible to go so far in this search for reality that language[,] that tool of thought, fails us; its words lose and shift meaning and we fail ln logic and precision.

"8. Here the great scientific tool of the Hypothesis is discovered; we assume that certain things are true; we act as though this assumption is Truth. The ensuing facts of our experience arrange themselves in accord with our assumption. Therefore our assumption is True; or the facts agree except in certain particulars; we rearrange our assumptions to fit the new experience or more fully to explain the old. The new Hypothesis becomes accepted Truth. But all Truth, save our own feeling, we hold tentatively and watchfully, ready to change our conception, once a new explanation or phenomena fits the facts more perfectly.

"To illustrate this abstract statement: we look out from our window and see a flat world with curving dome of heaven; ergo, the world is flat and the sky bends above it. That is obvious truth. But on a voyage to Europe, we see an approaching ship "rise" from the ocean; we descry its smoke, then its funnels, than its hull; manifestly the earth curves too; it is not flat. The ship is coming up over a vast curving surface. We alter our concept of the shape of the Earth. It is not flat."​ [SHMA undated, ca. 1946: pp.2-3; Cap­i­tal­i­za­tion in the original; para­graph numbers 7 and 8 in the original]

b.

Another example of Du Bois's understanding of hypotheses is found in his unpublished typescript "A Science of Sociology" (SOST undated). Note the similarity between this work and "Steps".
[Quotation.]
"On this hypothesis of physical existence outside our direct apprehension we have built a solid material world, which responds to extraordinary and intricate Natural Law. This is what we call the Science of Matter and it is true even if we cannot "prove" its actual existence. In fact in our limitations of knowledge and existence, what is "proof" anyway, except the fact that the Hypothesis works. Now and then, but not often our hypothesis breaks down in some spot — Light bends instead of going straight; that does not bother us; we re-adjust our hypothesis in that small but significant particular and proceed to greater discoveries of physical law." [SOST undated: p.1; Capitalization in the original; spelling has been corrected; Du Bois's hand-written additions, insertions, and deletions have been incorporated in the quotation.]

2.5.4.

Several dimensions of "Steps" (SHMA) can be highlighted:

a.

Du Bois is not abandoning the sciences, natural or social.
"Steps", as well as "Of the Ruling of Men" and "The Nature of Intellectual Freedom" (IFRE 1949), emphasize Du Bois's assertion of the importance of scientific knowledge.
Du Bois is connecting scientists and non-scientists via the implicit or explicit use of hypotheses. Individuals as well as scientists can compare available information with the external world.
Read also Du Bois's unpublished typescript "A Proposed Definition of Sociology" (PDOS undated, possibly 1936).
[Quotation.]
"A Proposed Definition of Sociology": [Unpublished typescript by W.E.B. Du Bois (undated) at the Credo Repository]

[1]  "Sociology is the science which measures the element of the incalculable chance in the action of living beings. Natural science assumes the invariable operation of natural laws, but admits that when the phenomena of life and consciousness appear, then more and more laws have to be expressed as tendencies and even probabilities. Sociology grants the rule of law in the natural sciences, but assumes that when the phenomena of life and consciousness appear, that an incalculable element enters. And that it does not seem at present as though the resultant phenomena can be explained without assuming an element, which for lack of a better name, we called, chance or will, or creative impulse. Sociology is certain that the area in which this incalculable element is present, is not nearly as wide as earlier ages have assumed, but tends, under the careful research of natural science, to be more and more narrowed. But nevertheless, sociology sees no way in which we can maintain the logic of our present language, our present education, ethics and law, unless we cling to the assumption that natural law does not occupy the whole field of force, but that somehow force is acted upon and deflected and re-directed by other force which can not be accounted for by the axiom of the conservation of energy. It has always been assumed that this is the case, and it is not unscientific that in modern, rational, scientific research, we should continue to assume such a realm of chance until the universality of natural law is absolutely proven.

[2]  "Physics and chemistry, therefore, study the action and re-action of matter. Biology studies the laws of life. Psychology, the action and re-action of matter in the form of nervous energy. History records the facts of human action, so far as ascertainable, while sociology studies and measures with all possible exactitude and with the use of historic data, and the results of all science, the limits of the action of natural law, and of that incalculable element in the action of living beings, which for want of a better name, we call chance." [PDOS undated: p.1]

b.

Similarly, Du Bois seeks to avoid solipsism and philosophical skepticism via the interaction of the individual in relation to society and the world.
Read, for example, his 1956 letter to Aptheker where he emphasizes a pragmatic method of discovering truth.
[Quotation.]

[4]  "For two years I studied under William James while he was developing Pragmatism; under Santayana and his attractive mysticism and under Royce and his Hegelian idealism. I then found and adopted a philosophy which has served me since; thereafter I turned to the study of History and what has become Sociology.

[5]  "I think in general I agree with your conclusions and criticism; but I would express my philosophy more simply. Several times in the past I have started to formulate it, but met such puzzled looks that it remains only partially set down in scraps of manuscript. I gave up the search of "Absolute" Truth; not from doubts of the existence of reality, but because I believe that our limited knowledge and clumsy methods of research made it impossible now completely to apprehend Truth. I nevertheless firmly believed that gradually the human mind and absolute and provable truth would approach each other and like the "Asymtotes [sic] of the Hyperbola" (I learned the phrase in high school and was ever after fascinated by it) would approach each other nearer and nearer and yet never in all eternity meet. I therefore turned to Assumption — scientific Hypothesis. I assumed the existence of Truth, since to assume anything else or not to assume was unthinkable. I assumed that Truth was only partially known but that it was ultimately largely knowable, although perhaps in part forever Unknowable. Science adopted the hypothesis of a Knower and something Known. The Jamesian Pragmatism as I understood it from his lips was not based on the "usefulness" of a hypothesis, as you put it, but on its workable logic if its truth was assumed. Also of necessity I assumed Cause and Change. With these admittedly unprovable assumptions, I proposed to make a scientific study of human action, based on the hypotheses of the reality of such actions, of their causal connections and of their continued occurrence and change because of Law and Chance. I called Sociology the measurement of the element of Chance in Human Action." [LHA 1956 ¶¶ 4-5]

c.

The lack of direct knowledge of others means that something is lacking in our overall knowledge of the world.
Du Bois wishes to add this type of direct knowledge from our particular selves to that which science is gathering.
I will discuss this more fully in Section 4.1.

2.5.5.

The next sections will cover the implications of Du Bois's idea of ne/science for research, governance, and activism.

SECTION 3:  Du Bois's Ne/Science: Implications for Research

Title page: Suppression of the African Slave-Trade
Title page: The Philadelphia Negro

SECTION 3:  Du Bois's Ne/Science: Implications for Research

3.1. The Knower/Known Relationship


[Section 3.1. Summary.]
Du Bois's ne/science implicates the knower/​known rela­tion­ship, as well as reduc­tion­ism and human agency.
Conventionally, the knower/​known relationship is di­chot­o­mous so as to enhance ob­jec­tiv­i­ty.
For Du Bois, researchers can be objective, but not neutral.
Objectivity involves the evidence gathered, even "unpleas­ant" facts.
All researchers are embodied, and this mediates their neu­tral­i­ty. For Du Bois, African American researchers cannot be fully detached from racial issues and White researchers can be too distant to fully under­stand the con­cerns of other com­muni­ties.
Ne/science indicates that the research­ers can know some­thing about humans as so-called objects of study, but cannot directly know other humans in their own subjectivity.

3.1.1.

DuBoisian ne/science implicates the knower/known rela­tion­ship of many conven­tional quanti­ta­tive methods, in addi­tion to impli­cating...

a.

...the reductionism of such methods and...

b.

...the (social) scientific inquiry into human agency.

3.1.2.

The knower/known relationship involves the researcher vis-à-vis the object of research.

a.

In many formulations of conventional research this relationship is dichotomous, a binary opposition.

b.

The knower "removes" her/himself while researching what is to be known. Researchers conduct the studies, but are supposedly not involved in what is studied. That is, researchers do not have any personal, financial, or professional stake in what or who is studied, all so as to avoid conflicts of interest.

3.1.3.

The separation of knower from the known is designed to enhance neutrality.

a.

Neutrality and objectivity are often conflated.

b.

Thomas Haskell, discussing the historical profession, distinguishes between neutrality and objectivity. Neutrality involves "detachment, an undeniably ascetic capacity to achieve some distance from one's own spontaneous perceptions and convictions, to imagine how the world appears in another's eyes, to experimentally adopt perspectives that do not come naturally...." (Haskell 1998: 148-149).

c.

For Haskell, objectivity is the result, or "product", of detachment, fairness and honesty (Haskell 1998: 150). Neutrality is not possible because of the passions and interests as well as the political commitments that scholars bring to their studies. However, as Haskell writes: "Detachment functions in this manner not by draining us of passion, but by helping to channel our intellectual passions in such a way as to ensure collision with rival perspectives." (Haskell 1998: 150)

d.

Read more of Haskell on the distinction between neutrality and objectivity.
[Quotation.]
The very possibility of historical scholarship as an enterprise distinct from propaganda requires of its practitioners that vital minimum of ascetic self-discipline that enable a person to do such things as abandon wishful thinking, assimilate bad news, discard pleasing interpretations that cannot pass elementary tests of logic, and most important of all, suspend or bracket one's own perception long enough to enter sympathetically into the alien and possibly repugnant perspectives of rival thinkers. All of these mental acts . . . require detachment, an undeniably ascetic capacity to achieve some distance from one's own spontaneous perceptions and convictions, to imagine how the world appears in another's eyes, to experimentally adopt perspectives that do not come naturally.... (Haskell 1998: 148-149; Emphasis in the original)

3.1.4.

Du Bois offers a similar distinction between neutrality and objectivity, without using the same language as Haskell.

a.

For Du Bois, researchers must accept the objectivity of the facts themselves — even the unpleasant truth" (SOPE 1937: ¶ 5) — all the while being aware that their embodiment means they cannot be fully neutral.

b.

Because embodiment influences, even mediates, neutrality, Du Bois indicates that he, as an African American scholar, will start with those he knows. He writes in "Phylon: Science or Propaganda" (PSOP 1944):
"The field of social science is one. It must be pursued without reference to personal interests. But it must begin with the near and known as a starting point; and then despite temptation, set goals of dispassionate and ruthless adherence to truth. It can no longer find scientific refuge in detachment from its subject matter; nor just as surely, none in refusal to regard its own personal problems as subjects of scientific investigation." [PSOP 1944: 6-7]

c.

Du Bois as a Black man is not distant from fellow African Americans. He faces similar problems in a racist world. His education and profession probably will not save him from violent and rioting Whites. He has a stake in the outcome of research to promote justice, even if he simultaneously will adhere to the facts uncovered.

d.

In addition, Whites cannot be fully neutral because they are also embodied. In an attempt to secure funding for his proposed Encyclopedia of the Negro Du Bois writes a 1937 memorandum to Anson Phelps Stokes, arguing that White researchers may not have had sufficient interactions with Blacks to develop an understanding of the pressing race issues of the time (MSEN 1937: 161).

e.

Du Bois also writes in the memorandum that a multi-racial team can generate objective research insofar as Whites and Blacks will provide "balance", so to speak, to each other's perspectives (MSEN 1937: 161). Conclusions from such a team will be based on factual evidence that any fair-minded researchers regardless of race will presumably acknowledge.

3.1.5.

The ne/science dynamic problematizes the knower/known relationship of research practices.

a.

Researchers and government officials do not know all that is relevant. They might know about some things and persons, but they do not know directly the full range of knowledge and experiences of other individuals.

b.

Hence, more inclusivity of individuals as subjects of knowledge production, not only objects of research is warranted, even while also utilizing science to gather and analyze data by which to govern.

c.

In Section 4 below I will elaborate more on the implications of DuBoisian ne/science for governance.

3.2. Reductionism in the (Social) Sciences


[Section 3.2. Summary.]
Reductionism in the quantitative sciences decreases the num­ber of vari­ables studied and/or seeks a more fun­da­men­tal bio­log­i­cal or physical pro­cess so as to pro­vide a more gen­er­al­iza­ble ex­pla­na­tion for social and po­lit­i­cal phe­nom­ena.
Implication of DuBoisian nescience: re­duc­tion­ism obscures the in­di­vid­ual's ex­pe­ri­ences and the poten­tial knowl­edge derived there­from.

3.2.1.

Du Bois's ne/science dynamic tackles the reductionism found in much of the con­ven­tion­al quantitative sciences, both social and natural.

a.

There are two types of reductionism, as I delineate herein.

b.

Reductionism as Parsimony of Variables and Reductionism as Explanatory Unity.

3.2.2.

Reductionism as Parsimony of Variables

a.

This type reduces the number of variables in order to derive more generalizable laws (or law-like explanations) that are applicable to a wider range of cases and/or to create a model of the phenomena under study.

b.

This is related to scientific principles of abstraction and parsimony.

c.

Example: political actions defined with regard to rational-choice.

3.2.3.

Reductionism as Explanatory Unity (or Consilience)

a.

This type reduces the explanation of phenomena to other, more fundamental processes, such as biological or physical causes. Ultimately, one scientific theory (or a few theories) are said o explain everything natural and social.

b.

Example: socio-biology which is characterized as holding that social and political actions primarily result from biological, including evolutionary, causes. This thereby renders non-biological factors as less significant and less explanatory.

c.

For criticisms read, for example, Lewontin 1991.

3.2.4.

Critique of reductionism in terms of Du Bois's Ne/science Framework

a.

Reducing processes and actions to fewer variables or to more fundamental processes may be useful for generalizing.

b.

Du Bois supports generalization for the purpose of deriving laws of social living.

c.

However, Du Bois also recognizes that such reductionism obscures the individual's experiences contribution and even potentially demeans that individual as not valuable.

3.3. Studying Human Agency


[Section 3.3. Summary.]
Although we can study humans like rocks and trees via the sciences, humans remain unique.
Humans generate meanings and have capacity to develp and to act intentionally with the world.
Hence, some dimensions of individual humans will elude scientific inquiry.

3.3.1.

Du Bois's ne/science dynamic retains the conceptual distinction of differences between humans and rocks, trees, and (most) animals.

a.

According to Du Bois, humans and their agency can be described in terms of their uniqueness as beings who generate meaning about themselves and the world and cosmos, such as ideals (e.g., NIOL 1905; TCAR 1933) and who have to the general capacity to develop their capacities and to act intentionally with and in the world (e.g., TDAP 1904).

b.

Du Bois reiterates this in the prefatory note to Black Reconstruction (BREC 1935).
[Quotation.]
"It would be only fair to the reader to say frankly in advance that the attitude of any person toward this story will be distinctly influenced by his theories of the Negro race. If he believes that the Negro in America and in general is an average and ordinary human being, who under given environment develops like other human beings, then he will read this story and judge it by the facts adduced. If, however, he regards the Negro as a distinctly inferior creation, who can never successfully take part in modern civilization and whose emancipation and enfranchisement were gestures against nature, then he will need something more than the sort of facts that I have set down. But this latter person, I am not trying to convince. I am simply pointing out these two points of view, so obvious to Americans, and then without further ado, I am assuming the truth of the first. In fine, I am going to tell this story as though Negroes were ordinary human beings, realizing that this attitude will from the first seriously curtail my audience." [BREC 1935]

3.3.2.

As mentioned previously, Du Bois writes about secondary rhythms in "Sociology Hesitant".

a.

Although Du Bois uses the term "rhythm", this would not restrict us from studying the unique aspects of humans.

b.

The term "rhythm" indicates that patterns can be found but that singular, unique aspects are not necessarily excluded.

3.3.3.

Du Bois discusses free will in several places.

a.

For example, in "Sociology Hesitant" [SOCH], unpublished typescript, ca. 1904-1905: ¶ 9):
"For the Great Assumption of real life is that in the deeds of men there lies along with rule and rhythm — along with physical law and biologic habit, a something Incalculable." [Capitalization in the original]

b.

For a discussion of the interaction of human free will with what I call Du Bois's geo-historical contingency, please read my 2016 Clark Atlanta conference presentation at Section 2.3.2.

SECTION 4:  Du Bois's Ne/Science: Implications for Politics

SECTION 4:  Du Bois's Ne/Science: Implications for Politics

4.1. Governance and Policymaking


[Section 4.1. Summary.]
Du Bois's ne/science implicates gov­ern­ance and the cit­i­zens's role in a democ­ra­cy of dif­fer­ences.
In governance, direct knowledge should aug­ment the "knowl­edge about" that is gen­erated by science.
For Du Bois, only a sufferer directly knows her/​his suf­fer­ing.
Hence, the "excluded wis­dom" of mar­gin­al­ized groups should be included in gov­ern­ance.

4.1.1.

DuBoisian ne/science implicates not only governance and policymaking, but also implicates...

a.

...a role for citizens within...

b.

...a democracy of differences.

4.1.2.

Direct knowledge as a mode of knowing is not conventionally a part of the knowledge base, understood and framed in conventional scientific terms.

a.

However, for Du Bois direct knowledge should be included in the policymaking of governments. His two notable primary sources:
"Disfranchisement" [DISF]. Ca. 1912. NY: National American Woman Suffrage Association.
"Of the Ruling of Men" [OROM]. 1920. Chapter VI in his Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil. NY: Harcourt, Brace and Howe.

b.

From "Ruling" (OROM 1920: ¶ 29):

"The real argument for democracy is, then, that in the people we have the source of that endless life and unbounded wisdom which the rulers of men must have. A given people today may not be intelligent, but through a democratic government that rec­og­nizes, not only the worth of the individual to himself, but the worth of his feelings and experiences to all, they can educate, not only the individual unit, but generation after generation, until they accumulate vast stores of wisdom. Democ­ra­cy alone is the method of showing the whole experience of the race for the benefit of the future and if democracy tries to exclude women or Negroes or the poor or any class because of innate characteristics which do not interfere with intelligence, then that democracy cripples itself and belies its name." [OROM 1920: ¶ 29]

c.

More from "Ruling": "in the last analysis only the sufferer knows his [her] sufferings" (¶ 27).
[Quotation.]

[27]  "Even here, however, the temptation is to ask only for the wisdom of citizens of a certain grade or those of rec­og­nized worth. Continually some classes are tacitly or expressly excluded. Thus women have been excluded from modern democracy because of the persistent theory of female subjection and because it was argued that their husbands or other male folks would look to their interests. Now, manifestly, most husbands, fathers, and brothers will, so far as they know how or as they realize women's needs, look after them. But remember the foundation of the argument, — that in the last analysis only the sufferer knows his sufferings and that no state can be strong which excludes from its expressed wisdom the knowl­edge possessed by mothers, wives, and daughters. We have but to view the unsat­is­fac­tory relations of the sexes the world over and the problem of children to realize how desperately we need this excluded wisdom.

[28]  "The same arguments apply to other excluded groups: if a race, like the Negro race, is excluded, then so far as that race is a part of the economic and social organ­i­za­tion of the land, the feeling and the experience of that race are absolutely necessary to the realization of the broadest justice for all citizens. Or if the "sub­merged tenth" be excluded, then again, there is lost from the world an experience of untold value, and they must be raised rapidly to a place where they can speak for themselves. In the same way and for the same reason children must be educated, insanity prevented, and only those put under the guardianship of others who can in no way be trained to speak for themselves.

[29]  "The real argument for democracy is, then, that in the people we have the source of that endless life and unbounded wisdom which the rulers of men must have. A given people today may not be intelligent, but through a democratic gov­ern­ment that rec­og­nizes, not only the worth of the indi­vid­u­al to himself, but the worth of his feelings and experiences to all, they can educate, not only the indi­vid­u­al unit, but genera­tion after genera­tion, until they accumulate vast stores of wisdom. Democ­ra­cy alone is the method of showing the whole experience of the race for the benefit of the future and if democ­ra­cy tries to exclude women or Negroes or the poor or any class because of innate char­ac­ter­is­tics which do not inter­fere with intelligence, then that democracy cripples itself and belies its name."​ [OROM 1920]

4.1.3.

Progressive Era: In early 20th Century Du Bois is writing within the U.S. context of the Progressive Era. A major theme is that science is necessary for governance.
[Elaboration.]
Indeed, during the early 20th Century — often called the Progressive Era — scholars and activists such as Jane Addams, Frances Kellor, Walter Lippmann, and Woodrow Wilson, among numerous others, argue for an increasing role of science in the making of government policies to solve social problems and ameliorate the conditions of poorer Americans (e.g., see Forcey 1961; Fitzpatrick 1990). Many scholars deem the Progressive era as characterized by a tension between science and democracy (for example, see Recchiuti 2007). However, other scholars argue that there was broad acceptance that science and governance, including representative forms of democracy, could work together (see Jewett 2012). This idea of a positive relationship between science and democracy is illustrated by Herbert Croly in Progressive Democracy (1915). Croly writes in a way that parallels some of Du Bois's comments in "Ruling":
"Democracy can never permit science to determine its fundamental purpose, because the integrity of that purpose depends finally upon a consecration of the will, but at the same time democracy on its spiritual side would be impoverished and fruitless without science. The fulfilment of democratic purposes depends upon the existence of relatively authentic knowledge, the authority of which a free man may accept without any compromise of his freedom. [. . . .] Yet just because science is coming to exercise so much authority and be capable of such considerable achievements, a completer measure of industrial and political democracy becomes not merely natural, but necessary. The enormous powers for good and evil which science is bringing into existence cannot be intrusted [sic] to the good-will of any one class of rulers in the community. The community as a whole will not derive full benefit from scientific achievements unless the increased power is widely distributed and until all of the members share in its responsibilities and opportunities." [Croly 1915: 404-405]

4.2. A Role for Citizens


[Section 4.2. Summary.]
Du Bois argues for securing the fran­chise for Afri­can Amer­i­can males and for extending it to women.
Also, Du Bois's support for the expanded fran­chise exceeds that of many in the Pro­gres­sive Era.

4.2.1.

As opposed to some in the Progressive Era, Du Bois argued that we need knowledge and experiences from non-scientists, such as could be obtained via extending and enforcing the electoral franchise.

a.

In "Ruling" Du Bois expands the number of groups possessing knowledge.
[Quotation.]

[50]  "The persons, then, who come forward in the dawn of the 20th century to help in the ruling of men must come with the firm conviction that no nation, race, or sex, has a monopoly of ability or ideas; that no human group is so small as to deserve to be ignored as a part, and as an integral and respected part, of the mass of men; that, above all, no group of twelve million black folk, even though they are at the physical mercy of a hundred million white majority, can be deprived of a voice in their government and of the right to self-development without a blow at the very foundations of all democracy and all human uplift; that the very criticism aimed today at universal suffrage is in reality a demand for power on the part of consciously efficient minorities, — but these minorities face a fatal blunder when they assume that less democracy will give them and their kind greater efficiency. However desperate the temptation, no modern nation can shut the gates of opportunity in the face of its women, its peasants, its laborers, or its socially damned. How astounded the future world-citizen will be to know that as late as 1918 great and civilized nations were making desperate endeavor to confine the development of ability and individuality to one sex, — that is, to one-half of the nation; and he will probably learn that similar effort to confine humanity to one race lasted a hundred years longer." [OROM 1920: ¶ 50]

b.

Also, in "Ruling" Du Bois relates governing to the role of citizens.
[Quotation.]
"On the other hand, in the valleys of the hard, unyielding laws of matter and the social necessities of time production, and human intercourse, the limits on our freedom are stern and unbending if we would exist and thrive. This does not say that everything here is governed by incontrovertible "natural" law which needs no human decision as to raw materials, machinery, prices, wages, news-dissemination, education of children, etc.; but it does mean that decisions here must be limited by brute facts and based on science and human wants." [OROM 1920: ¶ 57]

4.2.2.

In extending the franchise Du Bois is not alone.

a.

For example, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
[Elaboration.]
We may point to a famous exemplar of feminism, Elizabeth Cady Stanton (who was also infamous for her prejudices against uneducated Black and immigrants whom she believed should not be able to vote until they become literate). In 1892 Stanton delivers the "Solitude of Self" at a U.S. Congressional committee hearing. She says that each individual, including each woman, is utterly unique, because each is born alone as an independent being and each will die alone. Such uniqueness requires, she argues, that each individual have the means, such as voting, to do what that person believes is necessary for life (read Stanton 1892).

b.

For example, Elsie Cole Phillips.
[Elaboration.]
Elsie Cole Phillips offers us another example of female suffrage being linked to the unknowability of women (to use a concept of this essay): only women, she testifies in a 1912 U.S. Senate hearing on suffrage, can express their particular needs as females, and only women can provide the wisdom that comes from their particular experiences (Phillips 1912: 12).

c.

In addition, Jane Addams went beyond including women to include immigrants, too.
[Elaboration.]
In her Newer Ideals for Peace Jane Addams suggests that immigrants to America carry with them experiences and knowledge that can be useful to city governments (Addams: Newer Ideals 1907: 65). In her essay "Why Women Should Vote" she continues: "In a complex community like the modern city all points of view need to be represented; the resultants of diverse experiences need to be pooled if the community would make for safe and balance progress." (Addams 1913: 157)
Aileen Kraditor indicates that Addams's ideas illustrate the expediency doctrine for suffrage: females (and others who are politically excluded) possess skills and insights from their social positions as women that qualify them to vote, all in order to assist the national and state governments in addressing social problems. Kraditor distinguishes this from the justice doctrine which concentrates on the natural rights of equality between males and females as the central justification for women's suffrage (Kraditor 1981: Ch. 3). It is important to note the greater degree of social inclusion that Addams and Du Bois exhibit, seeking to incorporate immigrants, women, Blacks, and others who are not White males into the body politic. Although often claiming to believe in fairness as a general principle, many scholars and politicians in the Progressive Era express negative and prejudiced views of such demographic groups (see Schäfer 2001).

4.2.3.

Importantly, Du Bois in "Disfranchisement" and "Of the Ruling of Men" went further than most in the Progressive Era by incorporating African Americans and laborers, thereby specifically adding race and class to gender when discussing all who could contribute the information needed for governance.

a.

Read "Ruling" (OROM 1920: ¶¶ 28-29).

b.

Also read Section 4.1.2. above.

4.3. Du Bois's Democracy of Differences


[Section 4.3. Summary.]
DuBoisian ne/science supports a demo­cra­cy of dif­fer­ences.
The individual is not reduc­i­ble to stereo­types or to essen­tial­ist def­i­ni­tions of human­ity.
The individual is both similar to others among her/his dem­o­graph­ic group, but also can dif­fer per­sonal­ly.
No elite cannot can supplant the indi­vid­u­al because s/he can pos­sess expe­ri­ences and knowl­edge not encom­passed by the elite.
Thus, individuals need the fran­chise to express their con­cerns and to pro­vide their knowl­edge to gov­ern­ance.

4.3.1.

A consequence of DuBoisian nescience — the direct unknowability of others — is a democracy of differences, supporting political inclusion and suffrage.

4.3.2.

The concept of unknowability allows us to outline the contours of Du Bois's political theorizing on democracy. Here I note several implications of unknowability for a DuBoisian(-inspired) theory of participatory, inclusive democracy. As a caveat, these implications are my reconstruction of Du Bois's ideas which are arranged in one possible logical order. My arrange­ment does not convey how he develops these ideas over time in published and unpublished works.

a.

The individual is neither reducible to a social stereotype, nor statically typified by any biological or cultural essentialisms of race, sex, or class. Du Bois's conception of autonomous and volitional individuals conveys their agency. Race is vitally important because it is how Africana persons experience life in a White supremacist world, and because all races have something to contribute to world civilization as a result of their experiences over time (TCOR 1897). Gender is important because Black women, not only contribute to racial uplift, but also are individuals themselves who should be able to develop their own particular talents (e.g., "The Damnation of Women" in Darkwater (DARK 1920)). Some have argued that he expresses some form of proto-inter­sec­tion­ali­ty in his writings (Hancock 2005; P. Taylor 2010).

b.

Any similarities of an individual with his/her demographic groupings or sex do not supersede the fact that the individual differs from, even while also a member of, one or more groups, communities, and/or identities. For example, in "The Negroes of Farmville, Virginia" Du Bois documents the class differences among Blacks in that community (NFVA 1898).

c.

An elite (however defined) does not and cannot supplant individuals in the expression of knowledge and interests because it cannot encompass all of the diverse and aggregated information that is embodied in the manifold experiences of the citizenry, either separately or together (OROM 1920).

d.

Thus, individuals themselves need to participate in the electoral process. Elites cannot speak for them in the electoral spaces of a democracy (OROM 1920).

e.

A democracy needs to be demographically inclusive to be both just and enduring. The avenues of participation, including voting, need to be open and secure (OROM 1920).

4.3.3.

I will note that the listed implications of unknowability must be read with the recognition that Du Bois's language and formulations still convey aspects of elitism and masculinist biases that others have described (Carby 1998; Griffin 2000; J. James 1996; West 1996), even while arguably weakening the charges, and showing us a Du Bois who supports some facets of democratic participation and inclusion for those hitherto marginalized from political and social power.

SECTION 5:  Du Bois's Ne/Science: Implications for Activism

Silent Protest March, NYC, 7-28-1917 [NYPL]

SECTION 5:  Du Bois's Ne/Science: Implications for Activism

5.1. Two Implications for Activism


[Section 5.1. Summary.]
Du Bois's ne/science implicates activism in terms of "pos­i­tive prop­a­gan­da" and the use of the lit­er­ary imag­i­na­tion.
Du Bois's "Criteria of Negro Art" offers us insights into ne/science: artists use truth not as sci­entists seek­ing knowl­edge based on facts, but as a means to pro­mote under­stand­ing and sym­pa­thy.

5.1.1.

We can discern at least two interrelated implications of Du Bois's ne/science dynamic for activism: "positive propaganda" and the literary imagination.

a.

For Du Bois, "positive propaganda" points to the role of art in social struggles.

b.

The literary imagination highlights the creativity to be used when evidence is not known and cannot be recovered.

5.1.2.

The two interrelated implications can be located in the "Criteria of Negro Art" (CNA 1926), among other works.

a.

The epistemological differences between the sciences and the arts emphasize for Du Bois how artists should use their imaginations in order to create "positive propaganda" about African Americans, especially in the pursuit of justice.

b.

Also, the literary imagination is fueled by the evidentiary and methodological limitations of scholarly research.

5.1.3.

Du Bois's essay, the "Criteria of Negro Art" (CNA 1926), boldly states his views.
[Quotation.]

[27]  "Thus it is the bounden duty of black America to begin this great work of the creation of Beauty, of the preservation of Beauty, of the realization of Beauty, and we must use in this work all the methods that men have used before. And what have been the tools of the artist in times gone by? First of all, he has used the Truth — not for the sake of truth, not as a scientist seeking truth, but as one upon whom Truth eternally thrusts itself as the highest handmaid of imagination, as the one great vehicle of universal understanding. Again artists have used Goodness — goodness in all its aspects of justice, honor and right — not for sake of an ethical sanction but as the one true method of gaining sympathy and human interest.

[28]  "The apostle of Beauty thus becomes the apostle of Truth and Right not by choice but by inner and outer compulsion. Free he is but his freedom is ever bounded by Truth and Justice; and slavery only dogs him when he is denied the right to tell the Truth or recognize an ideal of Justice.

[29]  "Thus all Art is propaganda and ever must be, despite the wailing of the purists. 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. I do not care a damn for any art that is not used for propaganda. But I do care when propaganda is confined to one side while the other is stripped and silent."​ [CNA 1926; Cap­i­tal­i­za­tion in the original]

5.2. Activism as "Positive Propaganda"


[Section 5.2. Summary.]
Science investigates what is, but for Du Bois, sci­ence cannot study all that is mean­ing­ful about values and ideals.
For Du Bois, propaganda can be both nega­tive or pos­i­tive.
"Positive Propaganda" would depict Afri­can Amer­i­cans as "human, lovable and inspired with new ideals for the world".

5.2.1.

For Du Bois, the tenets of science (presumably the natural and social sciences) do not arrive at the Truth (with a capital T):

a.

Capital-T Truth is "the one great vehicle of universal understanding. Again artists have used Goodness — goodness in all its aspects of justice, honor and right — not for sake of an ethical sanction but as the one true method of gaining sympathy and human interest." [CNA, 1926: ¶ 27]

b.

Note that in his first novel The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911) Du Bois capitalizes Truth in a literary context.
[Quotation.]
In his prefatory "Note" to The Quest of the Silver Fleece Du Bois wrote:

"HE who would tell a tale must look toward three ideals: to tell it well, to tell it beautifully, and to tell the truth. The first is the Gift of God, the second is the Vision of Genius, but the third is the Reward of Honesty.

"In The Quest of the Silver Fleece there is little, I ween, divine or ingenious; but, at least, I have been honest. In no fact or picture have I consciously set down aught the counterpart of which I have not seen or known; and what ever the finished picture may lack of completeness, this lack is due now to the story-teller, now to the artist, but never to the herald of the Truth." [QSF 1911; Cap­i­tal­i­za­tion in the original]

5.2.2.

Science investigates what is.

a.

What do we wish to observe and measure? Operationalization is necessary so that we can measure the empirical manifestations of what we are studying.

b.

What is not measurable is excluded from scientific method and thereby from knowledge because it cannot be studied.

c.

In the stark words of David Hume, an 18th Century thinker who is still integral to the philosophy of social science, only mathematics and the conventional sciences generate knowledge — all else is "illusion".
[Quotation.]
"When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles [dis­cussed in the book], what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school meta­physics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning [via mathe­matics] concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experi­mental reasoning [via science] con­cern­ing matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion. [Hume, An Enquiry Con­cerning Human Under­standing 1748/1777 [2008], Section 12.34; Italics and punctuation in the original]

5.2.3.

However, Du Bois disagrees that science with its operationalizing procedures can capture all that is worthwhile about ideals such as freedom and equality.

a.

Read, for example, his "The Church and Religion" (TCAR 1933).

b.

A different method would be needed: namely, the arts as a form of social activism that would mediate between the current situation and a potential future condition that might arise based on the struggles to promote marginalized ideals, such as equality and freedom for all.

5.2.4.

For Du Bois, "positive propaganda", as he called it in "Criteria of Negro Art", would portray African Americans as humans who were "lovable and inspired with new ideals for the world":
[Quotation.]
"[I]t is not the positive propaganda of people who believe white blood divine, infallible and holy to which I object. It is the denial of a similar right of propa­ganda to those who believe black blood human, lovable and inspired with new ideals for the world." [CNA 1926: ¶ 32]

a.

Du Bois commented on his editorship of The Crisis that started in 1910: "my career as a scientist was to be swallowed up in my role as master of propaganda" (Dusk of Dawn 1940: Ch.4).

b.

Du Bois also used the term propaganda in a negative way. For example, read the last chapter of his Black Reconstruction, which he entitled "The Propaganda of History" (BREC 1935: Ch. 17).

5.3. Activism and the Literary Imagination


[Section 5.3. Summary.]
Du Bois supports and practices his­tor­i­cal research across his life.
However, Du Bois indicates that his­tor­i­cal evi­dence can be lacking com­plete­ly or else lacking in detail.
Hence, Du Bois advocates liter­ary imag­i­na­tion as a way to sup­ple­ment the avail­a­ble evid­ence; he sug­gests using the "fiction of inter­pre­ta­tion" so as to create a "rea­son­a­ble story".

5.3.1.

Du Bois is known for his historical research, including his infusion of history in his social science works.

a.

E.g., books such as The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade (SAST 1896), The Phila­delphia Negro (TPN 1899), The Negro (TN15 1915), Black Recon­struc­tion (BREC 1935), and The World and Africa (WAA 1947).

b.

Numerous articles and essays, including "The African Roots of War" (AROW 1915), "An Essay Toward a History of the Black Man in the Great War" (HBGW 1919), "The Freeing of India" (TFOI 1947), and "Africa and the French Revolu­tion" (AAFR 1961).

5.3.2.

As important as rigorous historical research was for Du Bois, he indicated that our knowledge of history would be limited by the lack of evidence or the evidence's lack of credibility.

a.

I called this dimension of nescience Du Bois's implicit idea of historical unknowability. See my 2016 CAU presentation online at Section 6.0.

b.

Du Bois set this forth these views on the limits of historical sources in the "Postscript" to The Ordeal of Mansart (PSOM 1957: ¶¶ 2-3).
[Quotation.]

"It may well be asked, and as one who has done some historical research I join in the asking, why should one tamper with history at all in order to write truth? The answer of course is Never, if exact truth can otherwise be ascertained. But every historian is painfully aware how little the scientist today can know accurately of the past; how dependence on documents and memory leaves us all with the tale of the past half told or less. The temptation then comes to pretend we know far more than we do and to set down as accurate history that which is not demonstrably true. To me it seems wiser and fairer to interpret historical truth by the use of creative imagination, provided the method is acknowledged and clear.

"When in this world we seek the truth about what men have thought and felt and done, we face insuperable difficulties. We seldom can see enough of human action at first hand to interpret it properly. We can never know current personal thought and emotion with sufficient understanding rightly to weigh its cause and effect. After action and feeling and reflection are long past, then from writing and memory we may secure some picture of the total truth, but it will be sorely imperfect, with much omitted, much forgotten, much distorted." [PSOM 1957: ¶¶ 2-3]

c.

Also, Du Bois mentioned the limitations of historical sources in an unpublished work available as a typescript, "A Science of Sociology" (SOST undated). The "study of history", Du Bois writes, is the study
"of what men have done in the past. Here we immediately encounter greater difficulties. Of all that individuals have done in the past we have but infinitesimal knowledge in the present. What we call 'History' is not a carefu account of human action, but only of that part which has been often accidentally preserved in monuments, in writings, and in memories of men with such interpretations of motive and circumstance as have been recorded down and of such part of that as we today for various reasons want to have thought true and {---} believed by our children." [SOST: p.1; Cap­i­tal­i­za­tion in the original]
[Editorial Note.]
[The dashes within curly brackets indicate an illegible hand­writ­ten inser­tion located in the left margin. All other hand­writ­ten addi­tions, inser­tions, and dele­tions made by Du Bois to the typescript have been incorporated into the quota­tion without so noting. Spelling has been cor­rected.]

5.3.2.

As a consequence, the inadequacies of historical evidence prompts Du Bois to argue for using the imagination of fiction in the "Postscript" to The Ordeal of Mansart.

a.

Selection from that "Postscript" (PSOM 1957: ¶¶ 4-8).
[Quotation.]

[4]  "This is the eternal paradox of history. There is but one way to meet this clouding of facts and that is by the use of imagination where documented material and personal experience are lacking.

[5]  "In the great tragedy of Negro slavery in the United States and its aftermath, much of documented history is lacking because of the deep feeling involved and the fierce desire of men to defend their fathers and themselves. This I have sought to correct in my study of the slave trade and of Reconstruction. If I had had time and money, I would have continued this pure historical research. But this opportunity failed and Time is running out. Yet I would rescue from my long experience something of what I have learned and conjectured and thus I am trying by the method of historical fiction to complete the cycle of history which has for a half century engaged my thought, research and action.

[6] "I have personally lived through much of the history of the American Negro from 1876 to 1956. Yet wide as my experience has been, by travel, seeing, hearing and knowing, I of course actually knew but an infinitesimal fraction of all that happened. The gaps of knowledge I can in part supply by the memory of others, by reading published and unpublished matter. Yet with all this I am far from being able to set down an accurate historical account of those fatal eighty years.

[7]  "Therefore I have assayed first to gather such verifiable facts as I can. This body of knowledge I have compared with the reports of others. But even with all this, much, indeed most, is missing: just what men thought, the actual words they used, the feelings and motives which impelled them — those I do not know and most of them none will ever know. These facts are gone forever. But it is possible for the creative artist to imagine something of such unknown truth. If he is lucky or inspired, he may write a story which may set down a fair version of the truth of an era, or a group of facts about human history.

[8]  "This I have attempted to do: adhering as closely as I can to historic fact so far as I can ascertain. I have added the fiction of interpretation so as to make a reasonable story. I may have blundered in places; I may have widely misinterpreted what seemed truth to me. But I have tried and I believe the effort was worth while." [PSOM 1957: ¶¶ 4-8]

b.

Du Bois wrote numerous fictional works, both published and unpublished: e.g., Dark Princess (DRKP 1928); Mansart Builds a School (BFMB 1959); and Worlds of Color (BFWC 1961); as well as the unpublished science fiction typescript, "The Princess Steel" (TPST undated; possibly 1905).

SECTION 6:  In Closing & References

SECTION 6:  In Closing & References

6.1. The Production of Knowledge(s)


[Section 6.1. Summary.]
For Du Bois, both science and nescience involve knowl­edge pro­duc­tion.
Science is "knowledge about" and nescience includes the self-knowl­edge that is not pos­sible via con­ven­tional sci­en­tific means.
DuBoisian ne/science has con­se­quences for the prac­tices of research, politics, and activism.

6.1.1.

Via my intellectual reconstruction of several DuBoisian primary sources, we glimpse knowledge and knowledge production framed as "knowing about" and knowing directly — two knowledges, or perhaps two dimensions of knowledge, that are significant for Du Bois.

a.

"Knowing about" is the conventional form of knowledge, which Du Bois never abandons over his lifetime of research and activism.

b.

Du Bois also investigates direct knowledge which is unattainable via conventional methods of research. Accordingly, the sciences reach the horizon, or the limits, of their effectiveness in producing knowledge.

c.

My presentation's imagery of the horizon is intended to recall Du Bois's imagery of the mountain and valley within "Of the Ruling of Men" (OROM 1920: ¶¶ 56-57).

6.1.2.

To know other persons directly would involve experiencing the other persons' emo­tions. You and I cannot do this because you and I are not any other person than who we are.

a.

Nevertheless, Du Bois also considers knowing directly as important because it involves gaining the experiences of others — especially marginalized groups, who have been excluded from social and political justice.

b.

Such marginalized knowledges can inform governance and policymaking, and augment the "knowing about" that also characterizes governing, in Du Bois's view.

6.1.3.

The epistemological dynamic underpinning the distinction between knowing directly and "knowing about" derives in part from an under-studied typescript composed by Du Bois, "Steps Toward a Science of How Men Act" (SHMA undated, ca. 1946).

a.

In that unpublished work Du Bois sets forth direct knowledge of oneself as the starting point of knowledge production about others, society, and the world.

b.

But he does not retain the individualist method of a Descartes. Rather, Du Bois situated the individual knower in the world testing her/his idea about reality with the phenomena of reality per se.

c.

With this method, Du Bois acknowledges the pragmatism of William James (e.g., Du Bois's 1956 letter to Aptheker: LHA ¶¶ 4-5).

6.1.4.

Du Bois's ideas of science and nescience occupy his atten­tion through­out his life and also have sig­nifi­cant impli­ca­tions for the prac­tices of research, politics, and activism.

6.1.5.

Note that Sections 6.3. and 6.4 below contain various caveats to Du Bois's idea of ne/science and to the use of his unpub­lished works.

6.2. Informing Democracy and its Conceptions


[Section 6.2. Summary.]
DuBoisian ne/science highlights him as a theorist of democracy.
Citizens vary demo­graphically and in their ex­pe­ri­ences.
Scientific knowledge and the "excluded wis­dom" of the cit­i­zens help to pro­mote a dem­o­crat­ic gov­ern­ance that is both more inclu­sive and just.

6.2.1.

Du Bois's ne/science framework can inform several concerns found across various concepts of democracy.

6.2.2.

Science and nescience can be discussed in public debates — both dependent on analyzing our ideas of reality in rela­tion to reality itself.

a.

This interaction between science and nescience helps to avoid solely deterministic conclusions, and also helps to validate the worth of various forms of knowledge production, including scientific research and the direct knowledge derived from the people themselves.

b.

Citizens should be both informed par­tic­i­pants and also inform­ing part­ic­i­pants in pol­i­tics because they are not machines.

6.2.3.

Du Bois's ne/science framework allows us to examine the role of difference at the heart of participation.

a.

We move from an uncontested monolithic view of a citizen as constituted by a homogeneity of a specific race, ethnicity, religion, class, and so forth.

b.

We move to a perspective where being recognized as both different and also a citizen is an active and vital part of the process of governing in a complex world.

6.2.4.

Du Bois's ne/science framework focuses our attention on what governments, including democracies, require in the forms of knowledge that will allow them to both govern well and to govern justly.

a.

This is a debate of long standing in political theorizing.

b.

Accordingly, our attention is not solely directed toward citizen participation in a democracy, but also on what constitutes good and just democratic governance itself.

6.2.5.

The framework also allows us to broaden the discussion of citizen participation to include the scope of democratic control.

a.

For Du Bois, one of the next areas to exert democratic oversight should be industry: e.g., "Ruling" (OROM 1920: ¶¶ 53-62).

b.

Such concerns call to mind the many debates over what should be subjected to political oversight in the public sphere and what should be left to individuals and groups to decide in the private sphere.

6.2.6.

Understanding Du Bois's abiding ideas of ne/science helps us to document another, somewhat less noticed, side of Du Bois as a social and political theorist of democracy.
— FINIS —
¿Proceed to the END PAGE, skipping over the Caveats and the References?

6.3. Caveats: W.E.B. Du Bois's Unpublished Texts


6.3.1.

There are many types of unpublished works composed by Du Bois, and which are located in various repositories:

a.

Correspondence (although some of the letters have been published in anthologies).

b.

Drafts of published works.

c.

Unique (or relatively unique) works that consist of passages not wholly found in the published works, such as "Sociology Hesitant" (SOCH ca. 1904-1905), "A Science of Sociology" (SOST undated), "A Proposed Definition of Sociology" (PDOS undated), and "Steps Toward a Science of How Men Act" (SHMA undated, ca. 1946). Thus, these are not draft versions of publications.

d.

Items from his education in the USA and abroad, such as the "Philosophy IV Notebook (P4NM ca. 1889) and "The Renaissance of Ethics" (TROE 1889), a seminar paper for a course taught by William James, with the professor's comments written in the margins.

e.

Repositories also contain materials — secondary sources — gathered by Du Bois in the process of research.

6.3.2.

The preceding items encompass both typescripts created by typewriter as well as manuscripts in Du Bois's handwriting.

a.

Often the works contain corrections and changes to both typescripts and manuscripts, inserted above the line or in the margins or on the back of the sheet or on a separate page.

b.

Sometimes the handwriting is illegible.

c.

The typescripts and manuscripts may be incomplete.

d.

The typescripts and manuscripts may not explicitly indicate the date of composition or correction. Archivists sometimes provide a possible date in the item's metadata.

e.

One may view the examples of the undated "A Program for a Sociological Society" which are placed at the start of this Section: one is a manuscript in Du Bois's hand (PFSM undated) and the other is a corresponding typescript (PFST undated).

6.3.3.

What do the unique unpublished texts represent? That is, what do the unpublished texts tell us about Du Bois's ideas and thinking? Several possible answers emerge:

a.

The work could represent speculative thinking: Du Bois jots down ideas or composes arguments that he perhaps does not believe should or could be published for whatever reason (e.g., the argument could not be sustained, justified, or documented).

b.

The works perhaps are not published because the text is unfinished and incomplete, according to Du Bois's view.

c.

In the press of events Du Bois might not submit them for potential publication.

d.

The works might have been rejected by a publisher.

6.3.4.

We must ask: are unpublished works reliable indicators of an author's actual thoughts on a topic?

a.

Does an unpublished work represent Du Bois's thinking, even if he does not deem it ready for publication for whatever reason?

b.

Perhaps the unpublished work represents an elabora­tion or clari­fica­tion of his thinking?

c.

"Sociology Hesitant" has become a well known and much quoted, unpublished text by Du Bois. Later scholars often cite this work as an amplification of his thinking on sociology and the study of human behavior.

6.3.5.

What are the criteria by which to evaluate unpublished works? That is to ask: do the unpublished works comport with other works, published or unpublished?

a.

Are similar ideas and themes present in a range of other such published or unpublished works?

b.

Are similar ideas and themes found in published and unpublished texts spread over time?

c.

Example: "Sociology Hesitant" (SOCH ca. 1904-05) contains passages on free will and chance that appear in "The Atlanta Conferences" (ATLC 1904) and in Du Bois's post­humously published autobiography (A68 1968).

d.

Example: The term "hypothesis" is located in various unpublished works over time, such as "Sociology Hesitant" (SOCH ca. 1904-05), "Steps toward a Science of How Men Act" (SHMA undated, ca. 1946) and "A Science of Sociology" (SOST undated), as well as in Du Bois's 1956 letter to Aptheker (LHA).

6.3.6.

Does an unpublished work differ from other such works and/or from published texts by the author?

a.

Is there a contradictory statement or viewpoint expressed?

b.

Do any differing statements vary by date of composition?

c.

If a discrepancy exist, then this should be addressed with reference to related works, both published and unpublished.

6.3.7.

Because I am reconstructing Du Bois's thoughts in this presentation I am mindful that my argument is only one among other possible interpretations of Du Bois's published and unpublished works.

6.4. Caveats: Du Bois on Science and Nescience


6.4.1.

Du Bois's view of science requires several caveats to be listed.

a.

Du Bois assumes that science is relatively non-controversial, and that scientists are in general agreement on a topic and also that they will pursue the public good.

b.

In a similar vein, Du Bois does not address the potential manipulation of science for partisan ends or the manipulation of citizens via miscommunicating research results.

c.

Du Bois does not indicate how to reconcile potential conflicts between citizens, politicians, and scientists.

6.4.2.

Du Bois's understanding of nescience also merits various caveats.

a.

In "Steps toward a Science of How Men Act" Du Bois seeks to avoid the dangers of solipsism via a pragmatic conception of truth: specifically, we test our ideas against reality and must continuously do so.
Nevertheless, humans may cease testing ideas with reality and believe that they have arrived at the truth.
Du Bois addresses this failure to test ideas with reality in "Steps".
[Quotation.]
"Often we do not surrender our conception of what is true. We refuse to face the newly discovered facts. We declare that they are false and we will not allow persons to talk about them or advocate them. Why do we do this? It is because of fear. We fear the ghosts of our fathers. These fathers said this and we always follow what they said. what they said must be true - we dare not alter it, even if we know it is false. Or again we fear for the future of our children. We are asked by these children to tell them what is true; can we dare tell them that we do not know? That we think that this or that is true, but that [it {rww}] is possible that we are misled? That we can only be certain as we continue to search for facts and as those facts confirm what we have called the truth?" [SHMA undated, ca. 1946: pp.3-4]

b.

Du Bois does not specifically address the delusional aspects of feeling wherein we believe that we are seeing or hearing something that is not present.
Perhaps he considers that the constant testing of our ideas about reality with reality itself will help to dispel us of delusions.

c.

In addition, Du Bois does not consider the extent to which different values might influence how we interact with the world and how we interpret such interactions. Max Weber can illuminate the relationship of values to human action in terms of what he called "wert­rational­ität" (value rationality) and "zweck­rational­ität" (instrumental rationality) (Weber 1978: 24-25).
[Elaboration.]
The distinction between value rationality and instrumental rationality is not based on a dichotomy between values and means. The former can involve the means to promote the ultimate values, while the latter will contain at the very least implicit values. Indeed, the means/​ends calculations of zweck­rational­ität include values such as the effectiveness and/or efficiency of the means to achieve a goal, which itself presumably would be deemed of value (see Marcuse 1968: 217, 220-1). Those using wert­rational­ität, in a similar way, would seek the instrumental means to promote those ultimate values.
Rather, a distinction emerges between the two rationalities here: with value rationality the ultimate value prevails over the effective­ness of the means of acting. Indeed, it will make no dif­ference if the value does or does not yield the result, because it is the ultimate value which is para­mount and which is used to interpret the world. An instru­mentally rational approach, on the other hand, when faced with a nega­tive result, presumably would change any ineffec­tive means so as eventually to achieve the end goal.
For example, if the goal of government policymakers is to curtail the spread of HIV/Aids, then an instrumentally rational approach might establish needle exchanges for intravenous drug users. The value informing such a policy might be that public health should prevail over the morality or immoral­ity of illegal drug use. However, if the value espoused by the policy­makers holds that illegal drug use is morally wrong, then a value-rational approach might emphasize "Just say no." The means to achieve such a value might stress drug abstinence education or advertising campaigns focused on the dangers of illegal drug use, rather than imple­menting IV needle exchanges for drug users.

d.

Also, there is the possibility of the underdeter­mina­tion of knowledge, which may occur when we examine whether the hypothetical ideas comport with reality (i.e., "work with reality").
[Elaboration.]
That is to say: the underdeter­mina­tion of knowledge means that more than one explanation might account for the relationship between the hypothetical idea and the phenomenon of reality (Stanford 2016). Accordingly, we may base our actions on the wrong under­stand­ing of reality—to which Du Bois might respond: hence, that is why we need constantly to evaluate our ideas with reality so as to more strongly corroborate an explanation.

6.5. References: Works Written or Edited by Du Bois


Note: The in-text citations to W.E.B. Du Bois's works typically include an abbreviated title and year of publication. Below, the works are alphabetized by their abbreviated titles, not by their complete titles.

A68. 1968. The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century. NY: International Publishers.

AAFR. 1961. "Africa and the French Revolution." Freedomways, 1 (Summer): 136-151.

AROW. 1915. "The African Roots of War." The Atlantic Monthly, 115:5 (May): 707-714.

ATLC. 1904. "The Atlanta Conferences." Voice of the Negro, 1:3 (March): 85-90. URL: www.webdubois.org/dbAtlantaConfs.html

ATTC. 1906 [1995.] "Address to the Country." Pp.367-369 in David Levering Lewis (Ed.), W.E.B. Du Bois: A Reader. NY: H. Holt and Co.

AUPs. 1896-1916. Atlanta University Publications, various years. [Links to the AUPs are available at www.webdubois.org/wdb-AtlUniv.html].

AUP 21. 1941. "The First Phylon Institute." Edited by W.E.B. Du Bois. Phylon, v.2, 3rd Quarter; pp.275-288. URL: http://hdl.handle.net/​2027/​wu.89069505717?​urlappend=%3B​seq=187 [HathiTrust Digital Library].

AUP 22. 1943. The First Conference of Negro Land-Grant Colleges for Co-ordinating a Program of Cooperative Social Studies. Atlanta, GA: The Atlanta University Press.

AUP 23. 1944. The Second Conference of Negro Land-Grant Colleges for Co-ordinating a Program of Cooperative Social Studies. Atlanta, GA: The Atlanta University Press.

BFMB. 1959. Mansart Builds a School [Black Flame, Vol. 2]. NY: Mainstream Publishers.

BFOM. 1957. The Ordeal of Mansart. [Black Flame, Vol. 1]. NY: Mainstream Publishers.

BFTN. 1939 [4th Printing 1945]. Black Folk Then and Now: An Essay in the History and Sociology of the Negro Race. NY: Henry Holt and Company.

BFWC. 1961. Worlds of Color. [Black Flame, Vol. 3]. NY: Mainstream Publishers.

BLFO. 1939. Black Folk, Then and Now: An Essay in the History and Sociology of the Negro Race. NY: Henry Holt and Company.

BNS1, BNS2, BNS3, BNS4, BNS5. 1901. "The Black North: A Social Study." Five-part series published in the New York Times.

BREC. 1935. Black Reconstruction: An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880. NY: Harcourt Brace & Company. URL: http://archive.org/details/blackreconstruc00dubo

DARK. 1920. Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil. NY: Harcourt, Brace and Howe. URL: www.webdubois.org/wdb-darkwater.html

DISF. Ca. 1911-12. "Disfranchisement". In Pamphlets in Favor of Womman Suffrage, Vol. 4. NY: National American Woman Suffrage Association, ca. 1912. Online at HathiTrust: start page.

DRKP. 1928. Dark Princess. NY: Harcourt, Brace and Co.

DUSK. 1940. Dusk of Dawn. In W.E.B. Du Bois, Writings. Nathan Huggins (Ed.). NY: Library of America, 1980.

EORP. 1909. "Evolution of the Race Problem." Pp.142-158 in the Proceedings of the National Negro Conference. NY: s.n. URL: www.webdubois.org/dbEvolOfRaceProb.html

GBF. 1924. The Gift of Black Folk: The Negroes in the Making of America. Boston: Stratford Co. [NY: Washington Square Press, 1970].

HBGW. 1919. "An Essay Toward a History of the Black Man in the Great War." Crisis, 18:2 (June): 63-87.

IASC. 1905. "The Individual and Social Conscience" [Originally Untitled]. Pp.53-55 in Religious Education Association, The Aims of Religious Education. The Proceedings of the Third Annual Convention ..., 1905. Chicago: Executive Office of the Religious Education Association. URL: www.archive.org/details/proceedingsofann03reliuoft [Or www.webdubois.org/dbIASC.html]

IFRE. 1949. Du Bois, W.E.B. 1949. "The Nature of Intellectual Freedom." P.78 in Gillmor, Daniel S. (Ed.), Speaking of Peace. [An edited report of the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace, New York, March 25, 26, and 27, 1949 under the auspices of National Council of Arts, Sciences and Professions]. New York: National Council of Arts, Sciences and Professions, 1949.

LCH. 1943. "Letter from W.E.B. Du Bois to American Philosophical Association, December 13, 1943." [Letter to Charles W. Hendel]. W.E.B. Du Bois Papers. Special Collections & University Archives. University of Massachusetts Library. URL: http://credo.library.umass.edu/view/full/mums312-b099-i286

LHA. 1956. Letter from W.E.B. Du Bois to Herbert Aptheker, 10 January 1956. Pp.394-396 in W.E.B. Du Bois, The Correspondence of W.E.B. Du Bois, Vol. III: Selections, 1944-1963. Herbert Aptheker (Ed.). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1978.

LSAU. 1903. "The Laboratory in Sociology at Atlanta University." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 21:3 (May): 160-163. URL: www.webdubois.org/dbLabSocAtUni.html

MEPF. 1944. "My Evolving Program for Negro Freedom." Pp.31-70 in Rayford W. Logan (Ed.), What the Negro Wants. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. URL: www.webdubois.org/dbMyEvolvingPrgm.html

MSEN. 1937. "Confidential Memorandum Regarding the Significance of the Proposed Encyclopedia of the Negro" [Letter sent to Anson Phelps Stokes, 1937]. Pp. 160-164 in W.E.B. Du Bois, Against Racism: Unpublished Essays, Papers, Addresses, 1887-1961. Edited by Herbert Aptheker. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1985.

NBBS. 1899. "The Negro in the Black Belt: Some Social Sketches." Bulletin of the Depart­ment of Labor, No.22. (May): 401-417. URL: http://books.google.com/​books?​id=P2JZAAAAIAAJ....

NFVA. 1898. "The Negroes of Farmville, Virginia: A Social Study." Bulletin of the Depart­ment of Labor, No.14. (January): 1-38. URL: https://books.google.com/​books?​id=-MtGAQAAIAAJ....

NIOL. 1905. "The Negro Ideals of Life." The Christian Register, 84.43 (October 26): 1197-1199.

NISN. 1901. "Negro in the South and the North." American Society for the Extension of University Teaching; Academic Years 1899-1901.

NLGA. 1901. "The Negro Landholder of Georgia." Bulletin of the Depart­ment of Labor, No.35. (July): 647-777. URL: https://archive.org/.../​bulletinofdepart00unit#​page/647....

OROM. 1920. "Of the Ruling of Men." Ch. VI In W.E.B. Du Bois, Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil. NY: Harcourt, Brace and Howe.

P4NM. Ca. 1889. "Philosophy IV Notebook, ca. 1889." W.E.B. Du Bois Papers. Special Collections & University Archives. University of Massachusetts Library. URL: http://credo.library.umass.edu/​view/​full/​mums312-b230-i008 [Metadata indicates "circa 1889" as the possible date of creation]

PDOS. Undated, 1936 [?]. "A Proposed Definition of Sociology" [Typescript]. W.E.B. Du Bois Papers. Special Collections & University Archives. University of Massachusetts Library. URL: http://credo.library.umass.edu/​view/​full/​mums312-b077-i175 [Metadata indicates "1936?" as the possible date of creation].

PFSM. Undated, Ca. 1897. "A Program for a Sociological Society." [Manuscript]. W.E.B. Du Bois Papers. Special Collections & University Archives. University of Massachusetts Library. URL: http://credo.library.umass.edu/​view/​full/​mums312-b196-i034 [Metadata indicates "ca. 1897" as the possible date of creation].

PFST. Undated, Ca. 1897. "A Program for a Sociological Society." [Typescript]. W.E.B. Du Bois Papers. Special Collections & University Archives. University of Massachusetts Library. URL: http://credo.library.umass.edu/​view/​full/​mums312-b196-i035 [Metadata indicates "ca. 1897" as the possible date of creation].

PSOM. 1957. "Postscript". Pp.315-316 in Du Bois, The Ordeal of Mansart. NY: Mainstream Publishers.

PSOP. 1944. "Phylon: Science or Propaganda." Phylon, V:1 (First Quarter): 5-9.

QSF. 1911. The Quest of the Silver Fleece. Chicago: A.C. McClurg. URL: www.webdubois.org/wdb-quest.html

RTCA. 1911. "Races." The Crisis, 2:4 (August): 157-158.

SAST. 1896. The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870. NY: Longmans, Green,

SBF. 1903. The Souls of Black Folk. Chicago: A.C. McClurg.

SHMA. Undated, Ca. 1946 [?]. "Steps Toward a Science of How Men Act, ca. 1946."​ [Typescript: 4 pages, plus 3 pages of handwritten notes by Du Bois]. W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. URL: http://credo.library.umass.edu/​view/​full/​mums312-b213-i071 [Metadata indicates "Circa 1946" as the possible date of creation]

SNP. 1898. "The Study of the Negro Problems." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 11 (January): 1-23. URL: www.webdubois.org/dbStudyofnprob.html

SOCH. Ca. 1904-1905. "Sociology Hesitant." W.E.B. Du Bois Papers. Special Collections & University Archives. University of Massachusetts Amherst Library. URL: http://credo.library.umass.edu/​view/​full/​mums312-b212-i003 [Metadata indicates "ca. 1905" as the possible date of creation]

SOPE. 1937. "On the Scientific Objectivity of the Proposed Encyclopedia of the Negro and on Safeguards against the Intrusion of Propaganda." [Memorandum to Anson Phelps]. Pp.164-168 in Against Racism: Unpublished Essays, Papers, Addresses, 1887–1961. Edited by Herbert Aptheker. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1985.

SOST. Undated. "A Science of Sociology" [Undated typescript]. W.E.B. Du Bois Collection, 1867-1963. Fisk University Archives: Box 18, Folder 30.

SWFD. 1920. "The Souls of White Folk", Ch. II in Darkwater (1920).

SWFI. 1910. "The Souls of White Folk." The Independent, Vol. 69, No. 3220 (August 18, 1910): 339-342. Online at Archive.org: start page

T10. 1903. "The Talented Tenth." Pp. 33-75 (Ch. 2) in The Negro Problem: A Series of Articles by Representative American Negroes of To-day, by Booker T. Washington, et al. NY: James Pott and Company, 1903.

TAUC. 1903. "The Atlanta University Conferences." Charities, 10:18 (May 2): 435-439.

TCAR. 1933. "The Church and Religion." The Crisis, 40:10 (October ): 236-237. URL: www.webdubois.org/dbChurchAndReligion.html

TCOR. 1897. "The Conservation of Races." The American Negro Academy Occasional Papers, No. 2. Washington, D.C.: American Negro Academy. URL: www.webdubois.org/dbConsrvOfRaces.html

TDAP. 1904. "The Development of a People." International Journal of Ethics, 14:3 (April): 292-311. URL: www.webdubois.org/dbDevOfAPeople.html

TFOI. 1947. "The Freeing of India." Crisis, 54:10 (October): 301-304.

TN15. 1915. The Negro. NY: Henry Holt & Company.

TNSN. 1905. "The Negro South and North." Bibliotheca Sacra, 62:262 (July): 500-513.

TPN. 1899. The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study. Philadelphia: Ginn. URL: www.webdubois.org/wdb-phila.html

TPON. 1903. "The Possibilities of the Negro: The Advance Guard of the Race." Booklover's Magazine, 2:1 (July): 3-15.

TPST. Undated, Ca. 1905 [?]. "The Princess Steel, 1905 ?" W.E.B. Du Bois Papers. Special Collections & University Archives. University of Massachusetts Amherst Library. URL: http://credo.library.umass.edu/​view/​full/​mums312-b236-i002 [Metadata indicates "1905 ?" as the possible date of creation]

TROE. 1889. "The Renaissance of Ethics: A Critical Comparison of Scholastic and Modern Ethics." [Thesis in Philosophy IV; Harvard University. William James, Professor]. W.E.B. Du Bois Collection (JWJ MSS 8, Box 3, Folder 57). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Yale University. URL: http://brbl-dl.library.yale.edu/​vufind/​Record/​3490101

TRS. 1912. "The Rural South." Quarterly Publications of the American Statistical Association, v.13 (March): 80-84.

TSRE. 1923. "The Superior Race (An Essay)." The Smart Set: A Magazine of Cleverness, 70:4 (April): 55-60.

TTMA. 1948. "The Talented Tenth Memorial Address." Nineteenth Grand Boulé Conclave. The Boulé Journal, 15:1 (October). URL: http://www.sigmapiphi.org/​home/​the-talented-tenth.php

WAA. 1947. The World and Africa. NY: Viking Press.


6.6. References: Works Written or Edited by Others


Addams, Jane. 1907. Newer Ideals of Peace. NY: Macmillian Company.

Addams, Jane. 1913. "Why Women Should Vote." Pp.139-158 in Frances Maule & Annie Porritt (Eds.), Woman Suffrage: History, Arguments, and Results. NY: National American Woman Suffrage Association.

Aptheker, Herbert. 1973. Annotated Bibliography of the Published Writings of W.E.B. Du Bois. Millwood, NY: Kraus-Thomson.

Balfour, Lawrie. 2011. Democracy's Reconstruction: Thinking Politically with W.E.B. Du Bois. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bromell, Nick. 2011. "W.E.B. Du Bois and the Enlargement of Democratic Theory." Raritan, 30:4 (Spring): 140-161.

Bromell, Nick. 2013. The Time is Always Now: Black Thought and the Transformation of US Democracy. NY: Oxford University Press.

Carby, Hazel. 1998. Race Men. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Chandler, Nahum D. 2015. "Introduction." In W.E.B. Du Bois, The Problem of the Color Line at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: The Essential Early Essays. Edited by Nahum D. Chandler. Bronx, NY: Fordham University Press.

Croly, Herbert. 1915. Progressive Democracy. NY: Macmillan Company.

Fitzpatrick, Ellen. 1990. Endless Crusade: Women Social Scientists and Progressive Reform. NY: Oxford University Press.

Forcey, Charles. 1961. The Crossroads of Liberalism: Croly, Weyl, Lippmann, and the Progressive Era 1900-1925. NY: Oxford University Press.

Gooding-Williams, Robert. 2009. In the Shadow of Du Bois: Afro-Modern Political Thought in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Gordon, Lewis. 2000. "Du Bois's Humanistic Philosophy of Human Sciences." Annals, AAPSS, 568, (March): 265-280.

Gordon, Lewis. 2008. An Introduction to Africana Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Griffin, Farah. 2000. "Black Feminists and Du Bois: Respectability, Protection, and Beyond." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 568 (March): 265-80.

Hancock, Ange-Marie. 2005. "W.E.B. Du Bois: Intellectual Forefather of Intersectionality?" Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, 7:3-4; pp. 74-84.

Haskell, Thomas L. 1998. Neutrality Is Not Objectivity: Explanatory Schemes in History. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Henry, Paget. 2006. "Africana Phenomenology: Its Philosophical Implications." Worlds & Knowledges Otherwise, Vol. 1, Dossier 3 (October): 1-22. URL: globalstudies.trinity.duke.edu/​wp-content/​themes/​cgsh/​materials/​WKO/​v1d3_PHenry.pdf

Horne, Gerald. 2010. W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press.

Hume, David. 1748/1777 [2008]. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Edited by Peter Millican. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

James, Joy. 1996. "The Profeminist Politics of W. E. B. Du Bois with Respects to Anna Julia Cooper and Ida B. Wells-Barnett." Pp.141-160 in Bernard W. Bell, Emily R. Groshoz, & James B. Stewart (Eds.), W. E. B. Du Bois on Race and Culture. NY: Routledge.

James, William. 1890. Principles of Psychology, Vol. 1. NY: Henry Holt & Co.

James, William. 1900. On Some of Life's Ideals; On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings; What Makes a Life Significant. NY: Henry Holt and Company.

Jewett, Andrew. 2012. Science, Democracy, and the American University: From the Civil War to the Cold War. NY: Cambridge University Press.

Judy, Ronald A.T. 1994. "The New Black Aesthetic and W.E.B. Du Bois, or Hephaestus, Limping." Massachusetts Review, 35.2 (Summer): 249-82.

Judy, Ronald A.T. 2000. "Introduction: On W.E.B. Du Bois and Hyperbolic Thinking." boundary 2, 27:3; pp.1-35.

Kraditor, Aileen S. 1981/1965. The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement, 1890-1920. NY: W.W. Norton & Company.

Lewontin, Richard. 1991. Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine fo DNA. Massey Lectures Series. Ontario: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Lewis, David Levering. 1993. W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919. NY: Henry Holt and Co., Owl Books.

Lewis, David Levering. 2000. W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century 1919-1963. NY: Henry Holt & Company, Owl Books.

Marcuse, Herbert. 1968. "Industrialization and Capitalism in the Work of Max Weber." Pp. 201-226 in H. Marcuse, Negations: Essays in Critical Theory. Translated by Jeremy J. Shapiro. Boston: Beacon Press.

Mitchell,Charles E. 1997. Individualism and Its Discontents: Appropriations of Emerson, 1880-1950. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.

Monteiro, Anthony. 2000. "Being an African in the World: The Du Boisian Epistemology." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 568 (March): 220-234.

Monteiro, Anthony. 2008. "W.E.B. Du Bois and the Study of Black Humanity: A Rediscovery." Journal of Black Studies, 38:4, (March): 600-621.

Outlaw Jr., Lucius T. 2000. "W.E.B. Du Bois on the Study of Social Problems." Annals of the American Academy of Political & Social Science, v.568 (March): 281-297.

Phillips, Elsie Cole. 1912. "Statement of Mrs. Elsie Cole Phillips, of Wisconsin." Pp. 10-12 in "Woman Suffrage. Hearings before a Joint Committee of the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Woman Suffrage, United States Senate, Sixty-Second Congress, Second Session, on Woman Suffrage. Hearings on March 13, 1912." U.S. Senate. [62d Congress, 2d Session.] Document No. 601. Washington, GPO. URL: https://books.google.com/​books?​id=wuZTAAAAIAAJ....

Rabaka, Reiland. 2008. Du Bois's Dialectics: Black Radical Politics and the Reconstruction of Critical Social Theory. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Rabaka, Reiland. 2008. W.E.B. Du Bois and the Problems of the Twenty-First Century: An Essay on Africana Critical Theory. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Rabaka, Reiland. 2010. Against Epistemic Apartheid: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Disciplinary Decadence of Sociology. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.

Recchiuti, John Louis. 2007. Civic Engagement: Social Science and Progressive-Era Reform in New York City. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Schäfer, Axel. 2001. "W.E.B. Du Bois, German Social Thought, and the Racial Divide in American Progressivism, 1892-1909." Journal of American History, 88:3 (December): 925-949.

Stanford, Kyle. 2016. "Underdetermination of Scientific Theory." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2016 Edition). Edited by Edward N. Zalta. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/​archives/​spr2016/​entries/​scientific-​underdetermination

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady. 1892. "Solitude of Self: Address Delivered by Mrs. Stanton before the Committee of the Judiciary for the United States Congress, Monday, January 18, 1892." Library of Congress. National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection. URL: http://hdl.loc.gov/​loc.rbc/​rbnawsa.n8358

Taylor, Paul C. 2010. "W.E.B. Du Bois." Philosophy Compass, 5:11 (November): 904-915.

Weber, Max. 1978. Economy and Society. Edited by Guenther Roth & Claus Wittich. Berkeley: University of California Press.

West, Cornel. 1996. "Black Strivings in a Twilight Civilization." In Henry Lois Gates & Cornel West, The Future of the Race. NY: Vintage Books.

Wilson, Woodrow. 1913. The New Freedom: A Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. NY: Doubleday, Page & Company.

Williams, Robert W. 2006. "The Early Social Science of W.E.B. Du Bois." Du Bois Review, 3:2 (September): 365-394.

Williams, Robert W. 2014a. "W.E.B. Du Bois and Positive Propaganda: A Philosophical Prelude to His Editorship of The Crisis." Pp.16-27 in Amy Helene Kirschke & Phillip Luke Sinitiere (Eds.), Protest and Propaganda: W.E.B. Du Bois, The Crisis, and American History. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press.

Williams, Robert W. 2014b. "Embracing Philosophy: On Du Bois's 'The Individual and Social Conscience'." Phylon, 51:1 (Fall): 42-56.

Williams, Robert W. & W.E.B. Du Bois [Primary source]. 2012. "'The Sacred Unity in All the Di­ver­si­ty': The Text and a Thematic Analysis of W.E.B. Du Bois's 'The Individual and So­cial Con­science' (1905)." Journal of African American Studies, 16:3 (September): 456-497. [Available on this site as a PDF preprint version).

Wright II, Earl. 2002. "The Atlanta Sociological Laboratory 1896-1924: A Historical Account of the First American School of Sociology." Western Journal of Black Studies, 26:3 (Fall): 165-174.

Wright II, Earl. 2016. The First American School of Sociology: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Atlanta Sociological Laboratory. Farnham, U.K.: Ashgate Publishing.

Young, Jr., Alford A. & Donald R. Deskins, Jr. 2001. "Early Traditions of African-American Sociological Thought." Annual Review of Sociology, v.27: 445-477.


Thank You (photo)

© 2017 Robert W.Williams
♦—♦♦—♦

"The morning breaks over blood-stained hills.
We must not falter, we may not shrink.
Above are the everlasting stars."
— W.E.B. Du Bois, "Address to the Country" (ATTC 1906)
Thank you for your time.
— Robert W. Williams


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