Reading at a Distance, But Much Closer: 
 A Study in Humanities Concordancing

Project by Robert W. Williams, Ph.D.,
Science, Bennett College.
Making of
the Humanities
IX Virtual Conference,
Society for the History of the Humanities.
on 20
• DRAFT Version Only •

Outline of the Presentation  
Acknowledgments Many thanks to those listed here:
• Society for the History of the Humanities
• MOH 2021 conference organizing team
• Universitat Pompeu Fabra
• Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
• Dr. Rens Bod
• Dr. Fredrik Ringholm
• Dr. Neus Rotger
• And my thanks to others, too.

The Project


In this project I continue my interpretive work as a political theorist studying W.E.B. Du Bois, the African American civil rights activist and scholar (1868-1963). My overall efforts have focused in general on Du Bois's philosophy of social science and the unknowable. Here I am focusing on his concept of the "science of human action", but not in terms of his social science methods.
Project's interpretive goal:What did Du Bois consider to be important to a "science of human action" especially in terms of what the phrase tells us about his conceptions of science, about the knowledge produced, and about the nature of the actions created by humans?
Du Bois is well known for his long-standing commitment to social research on Africana peoples. His goal was to learn and reform what we would call today the institutional forms of oppression and racism (e.g., N. Chandler 2015; Edwards 2006; Gooding-Williams 2017; Judy 2000; D. Lewis 1993; Monteiro 2008; Morris 2015; Outlaw 2000; Rampersad 1990; Reiland. 2010; R.W. Williams 2006 & 2009; Wright II 2016). Nonetheless, to my knowledge scholars of Du Bois do not indicate that they have examined a corpus of Du Bois's texts and do not indicate they they utilize concordancers to study Du Bois's ideas. I believe that I am the first to do so.
I would like to explore Du Bois's 2,000 pieces of published writings, but creating a corpus is a time-consuming process. As an interim step I created a 230-item corpus, which however is not a representative sample of his works as a whole. This smaller corpus contains over 3,100,000 words.
Project's practical problem to address:How to discover the concept of a "science of human action" in a large number of documents while still remaining atuned to the nuances of word use among the documents? My project must negotiate between distance and closer forms of reading. To accomplish this I am using humanities concordancing, as I designate it. (Note 1 below elaborates on my projects research needs.)
Project's tool and techniques:Humanities concordancing​—​regexes applied via a concordancer​—​facilitate our study into how the words written in the texts of an author's corpus can express the concepts implicated by the author's use of those words.
Project's importance:  I suggest several pertinent dimensions:
a. It sketches the components of a research process designed to explore corpora at a distance, but via including several techniques of closer forms of reading.
b. It broadens our understanding of how Du Bois (potentially) expressed the concept in various different ways, words, or phrases in the documents of the corpus.
c. Although not relevant to my current project, we can verify that Du Bois actually used the specific word or phrase, rather than classify/categorize his work by a concept that he did not specifically use via a particular word or phrase.
In the sections of the presentation that follow,
• I first define humanities concordancing and sketch some of its components.
• Next, come the four research questions pursued by this project, which are answered sequentially in
• four separate sections presenting the research results.
• In the closing section, I discuss the results and also pose a few more questions to explore based on the results.
My presentation adheres to the following conventions:
• I provide in-text citations to Du Bois's works via an abbreviated title and year of publication (e.g., ATLC 1904). The references list his works alphabetically by those abbreviated titles.
• I designate regular expressions via this format: 

• Formatting in the manner of 
human action
 will indicate words (or their fragments) that are part of the research process.
Research Requirements for Humanities Concordancing
My interpretive project requires three vital research components.

First research requirement for the project:
a)  I need an efficient and effective way to access a large number of documents within and across a corpus—something which was scarcely able to be undertaken without computers.
b)  This is the realm that DH calls distance reading, which involves techniques (e.g., topic modeling, n-grams, word frequencies) that focus on the corpus of texts as an ensemble (Jockers 2013; Rockwell & Sinclair. 2016; Underwood 2019). But I also need to access to individual texts, something which is typically considered part of the province of close reading techniques.

Second research requirement for the project:
a)  I need a way to locate the synonymous words by which Du Bois expressed the concept of a “science of human action”.
b)  I must be able to access in the corpus the richness of Du Bois's nuanced expressions.
c)  At the core of this second research element is the word/concept distinction. A concept is expressed by a word(s), but authors also convey the idea via other words and phrases, including metaphorical devices (Grondelaers et al. 2007; Skinner 2002; also Gunnell 2011; Hampsher-Monk et al. 1998).

Third research requirement for the project:
a)  I need a way to examine sufficient textual details in order to disambiguate the uses of words and phrases that any computational technique presents as output. I prefer to disambiguate by reading more closely into the word's co-text​—​the sentences, paragraphs, and even the document itself.
b)  This accords with my vocation as a political theorist: to minutely examine the intricacies of Du Bois's varied expressions of a “science of human action”, even the unique ones, the hapax legomena. Digital humanities techniques that reduce the lexicon to summaries or to statistically derived measures​—​as fruitful as they are for other projects​—​do not suffice for mine.

a)  a concordancer (here AntConc: Anthony 2020) is my software tool of choice for researching a corpus and its component documents (Sinclair 1991 & 2003; Stubbs 2015; Tognini-Bonelli 2010).
b)  In order to locate the words salient to interpreting the concept of a “science of human action”, my technique of choice involves regular expressions (regexes), a notational system permitting us to match patterns of characters, such as a word or even words near each other, within larger spans of text. [Sources are listed in the "Regular Expressions" unit within the "Appendices" section below.]
Close Note

Humanities Concordancing: Overview

Overarching goal:  Humanities concordancing, as I define it, utilizes the affordances of electronic texts and computational tools to study the ideas of an author or authors, while also preserving several assumptions of more traditional humanities research during the course of the inquiry.
a.   Achieving the first dimension: This allows us to access and read a large number of texts as one collection. This necessitates the creation of a corpus and the use of a concordancer. The use of a concordancer software tool and the techniques of regular expression searching will locate the texts with the words we seek and then permit us to read more closely into those documents. [Visit the Note on the "Research Requirements for Humanities Concordancing" (above)].
b.   Furthering the second dimension of the overarching goal: The closer reading of the texts located via concordancing highlights the importance of understanding humans as meaning-creating subjects in their own right so that we can better ground our interpretation of the values manifested by humans in their actions and artifacts. Accordingly, the data of textual artifacts are not treated as discrete words devoid of intrinsic connections with other words and the associated ideas and values of the world of the author. Rather, the words and their implicated ideas and values point us as researchers to artifacts of human experiences, irreducible and meaningful. (cf. Drucker's 2012b ). [Visit Appendix D: "Assumptions of Humanities Concordancing ".]
Analytical scope:Humanities concordancing focuses on the
(author's use of [words) in the corpus]
The "[Words)" term references important components of meaning in human communication (although they are not the only ways that we communicate meaning). In addition, words form sentences and even paragraphs, which are units also conveying the author's meaning. Words, in addition, are part of language systems and discourses in which the authors participate in the creation of their texts (e.g, Andersen 2003; Austin 1962; Fairclough 1995; Sinclair 2004; R. Williams 1983). Words are points of entry into the thinking of others as well as avenues along which their thinking moves​—​especially their understandings of the world and, in the case of Du Bois, how to challenge and struggle against oppression and death. Studying ideas in humanities concordancing starts with words, because ideas are expressed in a word or phrase. Furthermore, our quest for a fuller, but never complete, interpretation of the words and concepts will lead us to other documents in the corpus, and indeed, prompt us to journey into the historical contexts of the authors and the accompanying intertextuality of their thinking.
The "[words in the corpus]" scope of analysis implicates distance reading techniques. Such techniques describe the corpus in numerical ways (e.g., word frequencies) or extract information from the corpus as a whole (n-grams, word clusters). Concordancers typically can provide those techniques. Other distance reading techniques, such as topic modeling, will employ other tools. In general, such techniques will help to locate patterns across the documents of the corpus (Jockers 2013; Underwood, Ted. 2019). Nonetheless, with distance reading the words are shorn of co-text​—​the text that surrounds each word. The words, whether in word lists, or n-grams, or aggregated by statistics, do not contain the sufficient details contained in the surrounding sentences and paragraphs that will help us to better understand how the author crafted meaning from the words situated within those larger semantic units. Here concordancers can greatly assist the research process.
The "(author's use of words)" as a scope of analysis involves the closer reading techniques that concordancers themselves offer. Closer reading becomes vital when considering how, as per onomasiology in linguistics, an author can express the same or similar concept via different words, phrases, or literary devices (Grondelaers et al. 2007; Hampsher-Monk et al. 1998). Practically speaking for the researcher, onomasiology invokes the distinction between word and concept (Gunnell 2011; Hampsher-Monk et al. 1998; Koselleck 2002; Richter 1995). Via concordancing we can locate more instances of the concept than the specific word alone. Similarly, the concordancer will facilitate our disambiguation of the words as to their possible meanings because we are able to read the co-text associated with the matches. From the co-text, ultimately, we can study how Du Bois as the author used words to craft concepts by which he sought to understand the world so as to promote justice in it.
Interpretation & the Word/Concept Distinction
The difference between word and concept is an important aspect of textual interpretation, including the computationally mediated forms of interpretation typical of digital humanities (e.g., Alfano 2018; Danis & Meunier 2012; Davies 2015; Hunston 2010; Tribble 2010). It can delineate alternate ways that a concept can be expressed in different words or phrases over time and/or across documents. Moreover, it can delineate changes of meaning for the word and its related concept(s) over time and/or across documents (e.g., Grotius 1950). The first sense is relevant to my project here.

Because I am a political theorist, let me quote Quentin Skinner on this subject:
[....] Suppose, for example, that I am studying Milton's thought, and want to know whether Milton considered it important that a poet should display a high degree of originality. The answer seems to be that he felt it to be of the greatest importance. When he spoke of his own aspirations at the beginning of Paradise Lost, what he particularly emphasized was his decision to deal with "things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme." But I could [p.8] never have arrived at this conclusion by examining Milton’s use of the word originality. For while the concept is clearly central to his thought, the word did not enter the language until a century or more after his death. Although a history of the word originality and its various uses could undoubtedly be written, such a survey would by no means be the same as a history of the concept of originality​—​a consideration often ignored in practice by historians of ideas. [Skinner 1989: pp.7-8]
Digital humanities techniques allow for an efficient exploration of concepts and their words, and even vice versa.
Close Note

Research Questions

In this paper I address four research questions about Du Bois's concept of a "science of human action" via humanities concordancing.
Question 1:  How widespread across the documents of the corpus is the phrase "science of human action"? That is, in which types of texts—academic essays, periodical or newspaper articles, books, etc.—does this phrase appear. What is the time period of the publication?
Question 2:  Is this phrase the only way that he expressed the goal of a "science of human action"? That is, does Du Bois convey the phrase in synonymously equivalent expressions?
Question 3:  How does adding the co-text (via concordancing) help us to interpret Du Bois's use of "science of human action" as a concept rather than as a sequence of words in the corpus? In short, how does Du Bois define and apply the concept?
Question 4:  What nuances surface when exploring the context of Du Bois's concept of a "science of human action" across his documents over time? Such nuances would include implications for our understanding of Du Bois's views on human nature and capabilities, as well as on the natural and social sciences.

Research Question 1: Findings

Where and when did Du Bois use the phrase "science of human action"?
Using distance reading techniques like n-grams (4-grams, 5-grams, 6-grams) we do find "science of human action". AntConc does not associate file names with n-grams, so we can list them via a regex:
(?i)science of human action
Figure 1 displays the eight matches in the corpus.
Figure 1: Regex matching
science of human action

(?i)science of human action

Du Bois used the phrase "science of human action" across his life span in academic works not fictional works. A well know example from "The Atlanta Conferences" (1904):
Now the work of the next fifty years is to bring theory and practice in sociology nearer together, to connect more logically the statement and the demonstration and to make in truth the science of human action a true and systematic statement of the verifiable facts as ascertained by observation and measurement. [ATLC 1904: ¶2]
But other documents also contain the phrase:
Black Reconstruction (BREC 1935)
Book review of Charles S. Johnson, Patterns of Negro Segregation (RSEG 1943)
• "Phylon: Science or Propaganda" (PSOP 1944)
• Du Bois's Autobiography (A68 1968)
We note that such texts were published in Du Bois's later years, with his autobiography published posthumously.

Research Question 2: Findings

How did Du Bois express the concept of a "science of human action" in synonymously equivalent expressions?
Techniques like 4-grams as well as regexes potentially locate synonymous expressions:
Matches include
• "scientific study of human action" (LHA 1956: ¶5)
• "scientific treatment of human action" (A68 1968: p.141)
• "a new view of the social sciences is necessary, as comprehending the actions of men and reducing them to systematic study and understanding." [APLP 1940: p.4=¶8]
Figure 2 displays other matches.
Figure 2: Regex matching
science of human action


Research Question 3: Findings

From the co-text of "science of human action" and its variations how did Du Bois define and apply the concept?
Du Bois used as we might expect various dimensions of scientific language, including to record, measure, and experiment, as well as related aspects like laboratory and truth. Du Bois's research focused on studying the accurate conditions facing African Americans, especially their progress in terms of educational attainment and financial prosperity. Such details, Du Bois hoped, would be a guide for policy and to hopefully persuade White Americans towards promoting racial justice. Previously quoted passages document Du Bois's definition (notably "The Atlanta Conferences" (ATLC 1904: ¶2).
Consider Figure 3, which displays two paragraphs from a Phylon essay:
Figure 3: File View of
science of human action

(?i)science of human action

The two paragraphs demonstrate the value of concordancing as a way to interpret an author's definition and application of a concept.
a.   Paragraph 13: The general statement of pursuing a "science of human action" is linked as a syntagmatic sequence to important historical events and foregrounds the African slave trade and the role of African Americans in the promotion of democracy (this is an intertextual reference to Black Reconstruction (BREC 1935)).
b.   Paragraph 14: Du Bois expands on other aspects of research, especially matters of bias, and on the issue of whether topics on communities of color merit discussion and study.

Research Question 4: Findings

What nuances do we learn from the co-text of "science of human action" and its variations (including "human action")?
Although Du Bois consistently sought the data of what we would call law-like regularities in human behavior, he regularly acknowledged that there were several unpredictable aspects to a "science of human action".
Consider this quotation as presented in the File View feature of the AntConc concordancer. Figure 4 displays the entirety of an unpublished manuscript, "A Proposed Definition of Sociology" [Undated, ca.1936]:
Figure 4: File View of
human action

(?i)human action
The role of chance must be considered and this put doubt on fully deterministic human behavior (APLP 1940: ¶8; SOCH ca.1904-5). Du Bois's statement on "that incalculable element in the action of living beings" points us to another concept to pursue in relation to his understanding of knowing and science.
I will also note that when addressing one research question the resulting matches and their associated textual passages can point to answers for other questions. I have often experienced such an interweaving of questions and corpus texts when concordancing.

In Closing & the Future Questions

Did my humanities concordancing project locate new material and/or new insights that were not previously discussed or examined by other scholars of Du Bois?
I sought with this humanities concordancing project to delineate techniques that have not been employed in previous research on Du Bois and to emphasize their value in systemic studies of an author's documents within a corpus. My research generated several results that reinforce what other scholars have previously located via what I assume were close reading techniques. Nonethe­less, there were a few important discoveries resulting from humanities concordancing.
My research did locate a few primary sources that are not usually cited with regard to Du Bois's idea of a "science of human action": for example, Du Bois's fictional works in the Black Flame trilogy (BF1-OM 1957, BF3-WC 1961), as well as one of his book reviews (RSEG 1943). Moreover, my project did not locate several works that are typically cited by Du Bois scholars with regard to his social research: for example, "The Afro-Ameri­can" (AFAM ca.1895) and "The Study of the Negro Problems" (SNP 1897).
This project also emphasized the importance of seeking the synonymous ways in which Du Bois expressed his efforts to define and pursue systematic inquiries into the lives of Africana peoples and communities, the social conditions in which they lived, and the consequences of those conditions. If I had only sought the exact phrase, a "science of human action", I would have missed the various synonymous ways in which Du Bois conveyed his research goals through his long life. Moreover, exploring the Du Bois corpus allows us insights into his thinking about the characteristics of human action: humans are as much subjects, with the human capacity to understand and change their conditions, as they are objects of scholarly research about them and their (causally influencing) circumstances.
Humanities concordancing in my experience​—​and to my great fascina­tion​—​prompts further explorations of the texts of the Du Bois corpus.
The a posteriori basis for later research projects emerges from evidence read in the words of the co-texts discovered during the inquiry.
• What are other synonyms of "human action" in addition to "human conduct" or "human behavior"?
• What do we learn by search for "human action" vis-à-vis, for example, "chance", "free will", or "rhythm"? [This would allow us to explore chance and free will, which other scholars have highlighted (e.g., N. Chandler 2015; Judy 2000)].
• What do we learn by seeking various aspects of "science", such as hypotheses or experiment", or even particular academic fields like "sociology" or "history"?
The a priori basis for my future scholarly projects arises from my earlier inquiries and previous knowledge of documents relevant to Du Bois's research but which are not found in the list of files containing regex matches.
• One case is "The Study of the Negro Problems" (SNP 1897). That important program­matic essay (R.W. Williams 2006) does not contain the phrase "science of human action" or its variants. This prompts me to further inquire into the alternate ways that Du Bois conveyed research in that particular essay.
Words and the concepts expressed are the legacy of those who wrote them. Later generations and future interpretive projects, some utilizing digital tools and techniques, will explore those legacies anew​—and perhaps will create some legacies of their own.
• •   •••   • •


A. The Concordancer
With concordancers, we can
• view a word, or a part of one, within its surrounding passages (KWIC, or Keyword in Context);
• count the frequency of words or characters in a document;
• list adjacent words by groups of 2, 3, 4, or 5 (n-grams);
• discover the words in the vicinity of a search term (collocations).
In addition, AntConc and others incorporate statistical tools to perform various quantitative measures.

Numerous concordancers are available in both free and paid versions. Useful websites listing such tools are:
• http://martinweisser.org/corpora_site/concordancers.html
• https://corpus-analysis.com/tag/concodrdancer.html
I use AntConc which is coded and maintained by Dr. Laurence Anthony:
• https://www.laurenceanthony.net/software/antconc
#Lancsbox is a powerful concordancer, or "corpus toolbox", as the developers at the University of Lancaster indicate:
• http://corpora.lancs.ac.uk/lancsbox
CasualConc (for MacOS) coded by Yasu Imao:
• https://sites/google.com/site/casualconc

For a description of AntConc's features and the regexes that the concordancer implements, read (Anthony 2020b). View the AntConc interface below (Figure 5).
Figure 5: AntConc Concordance: Interface

B. Corpus Creation

Corpus creation is one of the more time-consuming parts of DH research. Decisions have to be made regarding standardization of the documents as well as what to retain from the texts and what to remove. For use by concordancers one or more of the following choices must be made on the plain-text file:

converting characters that do not render correctly when displayed (ex., accent marks [é è ï ñ etc.], curved ‘single' and double "quotation" marks, en and em dashes [–  —], and ellipsis…) to their counterparts in the less varied character set of ASCII;

adding paragraph numbers and/or retaining pagination—both of which might not have occurred in the original versions; and both of which could be [bracketed] in the processed version; and

designating typos, misspellings, and outdated words by "[sic]" (and also in some cases specifying conventional spellings, so as to enhance the possibility of matching the word in a search);

excluding graphics, drawings, photographs, because there is little or no text per se (we can retain captions or add them); as well as excluding tables if their data is not relevant to the research inquiry itself (again, adding or retaining a label describing what is omitted). Note that by excluding tables, graphics, photographs, etc. we have lost not only some information that the original document conveyed, but also we are not fully presenting what the author had intended. Ultimately, we must decide whether the losses are an acceptable trade-off in the name of digital analysis and interpretation.

C. Regular expressions (Regexes)

Regexes are extremely versatile. They are used by computer programmers for numerous purposes. Regexes are a tool to find and replace code and they can be used as part of the computer program itself to validate customer input, such as checking whether there are alphabetical characters in telephone numbers or dates.

For my purposes as a scholar of W.E.B. Du Bois regexes can locate a single word in a corpus of his texts exactly as specified or can allow for variant spelling. In addition, they are useful for proximity searching because they can locate one word within a specified number of characters near a second word.

The sources listed below are valuable guides to deciphering the intricacies of regexes. I have benefitted from several very useful sources of information on regular expressions, including:
• Jan Goyvaerts and Steven Levithan, Regular Expressions Cookbook, 2nd Edition. (Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly, 2012).
• Jeffrey E.F. Friedl, Mastering Regular Expressions, 3rd Edition (Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly, 2006).
• Jan Goyvaerts at https://regular-expressions.mobi.
• https://www.rexegg.com
• https://regular-expressions.mobi
• http://regextutorials.com
• https://riptutorial.com/?regex
• Microsoft: .NET Regular Expressions
• Ryan's Tutorials: Regular Expressions

D. Assumptions of Humanities Concordancing

The assumptions that underpin humanities concordancing are many and influence what it is that we are doing when we concordance.

First assumption: The electronic texts accessed by the concordancer are artifacts created from from the original documents themselves. Digitalization processes the original material object into the bits and bytes of files, which express the words of the author (Dobson 2019; Rockwell & Sinclair 2016: Ch.2). During the process of creating a digital text we choose what we will preserve from the original artifact (e.g., line-break hyphens; pagination; added commentary; manuscript deletions, substitutions, additions, and transpositions; tables, charts photos, illustrations, etc.). We must also decide whether to standardize variant original spellings, misspellings, and typographical errors.

Second assumption: The preceding assumption directly involves the collection of documents into one assemblage, or corpus. Concordancer-mediated research can only be as good as the corpus that was produced (Reppen 2010; Sinclair 1991).

Third assumption: As discussed above, an author's words and ideas/concepts are not coterminous. An idea is conveyed by a document's word(s), but is not reduced to any specific word. This assumption permits us to examine related words and synonyms which are part of idea in the first (and indeed last) instance. This is onomasiology, which linguists research.

Fourth assumption: An author expresses, defines, adapts, and applies a concept in a document, but to the extent that an author wrote more that one document on the topic, then more than one document may be needed to more fully understand the author. This is auto-intertextuality. This augments intertextuality which indicates that the author's ideas are part of more than a large set of texts by others.

Fifth assumption: Concordancing allows us to study a concept—we can derive the constituent parts of Du Bois's idea of a "science of human action" ("science", "human", "action")—and locate them separately and in other arrangements in the corpus. The components of an idea can involve ideas in their own right, which could also be explored.

Sixth assumption: The preceding assumption would employ proximity searching for words near each other. The assumption of such proximity searching is that the author, when discussing the relationship of idea A and idea B, will mention, discuss, explain, connect them within a certain distance from each other in the overall flow of the document. This is Firth's distributional hypothesis, which holds that words in a meaningful relationship with one another will be close together (Firth 1962; also Manca 2012). The distance between words will vary, hence the regexes will need to accommodate this by experimenting with variable word or alphanumeric character distances via the regexes (as well as with other regex adjustments).

Seventh assumption: It is important to note that the scholar, although basing the interpretations on the words and concepts of an author, is not the author. Thus, an author may not have intended such connections and interconnections that the scholar is exploring.

Eighth assumption: Interpretive research, even when conducted via concordancing using textual evidence, does not assume the neutrality of the researchers. Visit the sixth caveat below.

E. Caveats of Interpretation

The first five caveats are based on, and are my extension of, Adolph Reed's admonitions about interpreting Du Bois (Reed 1997). The caveats are applicable to domains other than political theory and authors other than Du Bois.

Caveat 1: We must not assume that there is a necessary coherence to the person's or school's thought. There may be contradictions and inconsistencies between and within particular works.

Caveat 2: Common themes in an author's works may be directly expressed by the author her-/himself or else inferred by later scholars, but only insofar as there are textual bases for the inferences.

Caveat 3: We must not assume that there is some singular and/or "pre-destined" path to the development of the author's or school's thought.

Caveat 4: We must not assume that the author had the same purpose or goals as later readers and scholars. (cf. Borges 1965).

Caveat 5: We must not assume that the writer's ideas allow for only one interpretation or only one set of meanings and implications.

Caveat 6: Neutrality and Humanities Concordancing
6.a. Humanities research typically seeks to understand humans as subjects in their own right in order to interpret the meaning and values manifested by humans in their actions and artifacts (Hirsch 1967). In the quest for understanding, interpretive research asks questions of the texts. Addressing the questions will help us to make sense of how the authors understand their world, which also might include debates between several views about the world. Allow me to illustrate this with an example other than Du Bois, but one which I have discussing in my undergraduate political theory classes. In the case of Sophocles's "Antigone", what do the actions of Antigone, who buries her brother despite the ruler's edict against it, tell us about which has higher authority: the political laws of humans, or the moral laws of the gods that govern life and death? Here we can interpret Antigone's decision as demonstrating Sophocles's claim that a religiously based cosmic order overrides a political order on Earth.

6.b. In addition, by so engaging in interpretive acts, we as researchers create some semblance of meaning for ourselves—meanings by which we understand and live in the world of today, a world which is not necessarily that of the authors we are reading (Gadamer 2004; Taylor 1971). What is it that, as interpretive researchers studying Sophocles, we also learn for ourselves about our own world? Antigone was a fictional character in a drama written millennia ago, but her struggles of moral conscience against political order resonate today.

6.c. Indeed, what we study in the play "Antigone" or how we might characterize the gender relationship of Antigone and her sister would reflect what we nowadays consider salient, and may not have been as relevant or framed in those ways when the play was composed and presented thousands of years ago. Interpretive researchers, thus, cannot not stand completely distinct from the objects, and subjects, of research, We are all part of, and participants in, unfolding history, and thereby we draw lessons for ourselves, even while also studying others.

6.d. Even if we attend closely to the textual evidence, by considering the authors as subjects in their own right means that there is no guarantee that we understand the works as the creators understand their creations. Biases can and do occur. Hence, although our scholarly arguments might be plausible, our interpretations are not definitive. The potential persists for other interpretations to be put forward, all based on the same objects of study. Scholars can be solitary in their efforts, but the results of those activities speak with and of other communities, who are our interlocutors.
• •   •••   • •


A. Works Written or Edited by Du Bois

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.

AFAM. Ca.1895. "The Afro-American, ca. 1895". Credo Repository [Unpublished typescript in the Papers of W.E.B. Du Bois, Special Collections and University Archives]. URL: http://credo.library.​umass.edu/​view/​full/​mums312-b211-i124.

APLP. 1940. "Apology." Phylon, v.1 (First Quarter): 3-5.

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

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

BF1-OM. 1957. The Ordeal of Mansart. NY: Mainstream Publishers.

BF2-MB. 1959. Mansart Builds a School. NY: Mainstream Publishers.

BF3-WC. 1961. Worlds of Color. NY: Mainstream Publishers.

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.

IFRE. 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.] Pp.267-268 in Herbert Aptheker (Ed.), Writings by W.E.B. Du Bois in Non-Periodical Literature Edited by Others, a volume in The Complete Published Works of W.E.B. Du Bois. Millwood, NY: Kraus-Thomson Organization Limited, 1982.

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.

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.

NCCJ. 1930. "The Negro Citizen." Pp. 461-470 in Charles S. Johnson. The Negro in Civilization (NY: Henry Holt and Company, 1930).

PDOS. Undated. "A Proposed Definition of Sociology" [Undated, 1936??]. 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

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

PSST. 1897. "A Program for a Sociological Society" [Typescript]. Credo Repository. URL: http://credo.library.​umass.edu/​view/​full/​mums312-b196-i035.

RSEG. 1943. Book review of "Johnson, Charles S. Patterns of Negro Segregation. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1942." The review was initially published in Phylon, v.4, 3rd Quarter (1943), and was reprinted in Aptheker (ed.), Book Reviews by W.E.B. Du Bois, pp.219-221.

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." Credo Repository. URL: http://credo.library.​umass.edu/​view/​full/​mums312-b212-i003 [Metadata indicates "ca. 1905" as the possible date of creation].

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

B. Works Written or Edited by Others

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