(Comments in brackets should be understood as words not directly taken from Woodson's writing. "Negro" can be understood to represent all "Others.")

East vs. West video:

Can't embed, so here's the link:

Humanizing the Institution (and Music)

There is so much to say about Du Bois—comparison to Booker T Washington, the color line, double consciousness, etc. This is an extremely rich text by all accounts. But, based on our discussion last week, I wanted to continue looking at how the Institution functions in these texts. As we saw, Booker T Washington effectively (or not depending on how you want to read it), takes our negative impression of the concept of the institution as slavery and transforms it to a positive view or the institution of education for his audience.

The Great North Hope

I'm trying not to cut too much into my presentation, so here's a sample of what I'll be talking about tonight:

I find it peculiar that considering both Washington's and DuBois' texts originally appeared in newspapers and other periodicals, Washington's text follows a more traditional and serialized nature than Dubois'. Nevertheless, DuBois’ narrative structure does allow him to address specific pressing topics with more focus without having to concern himself with an overarching theme.

A Blues for Josie

While I am certainly in agreement with most of what has already been said about W.E.B. Du Bois and The Souls of Black Folk, one of the elements of this book that struck a chord with me was the very humanness of it. Last week we talked a great deal about BTW and his incessant narcissism, (is that what we called it, oh wait, that was me!), and the ways in which that his stories seemed impersonal and often a bit contrived. For me, Du Bois’s stories were just the opposite.

uplift, downfall, downtrodden

I don't get DuBois. This is almost certainly indicative of a personal failing in me, because skimming Amazon reviews suggests that the overwhelming majority of readers find Souls of Black Folk uplifting and inspiring (excepting only complaints DuBois's forays into anti-Semitism and fancy-word usage).

Washington, DuBois, and the Future of Higher Education

In order to begin to understand the relationship between Booker T. Washington’s political ideology, as espoused in Up From Slavery, and W.E.B. DuBois’ ideology, as espoused in The Souls of Black Folk, I use the same methodology I ask students in the first-year composition classroom to employ when beginning to analyze texts: I address questions context, audience, and purpose. While the structure of my paper may be overly simplistic, the rationale is not. This initial foray teases out a discussion of how each text reflects a different teaching pedagogy and conception of higher education.

And now, a rebuttal.

I thought I'd start with Du Bois' calling out of Booker T. Washington. Du Bois gives a fair assessment of Washington's narrow focus, arguing that his focus on industrial schooling and deference to southern whites would only hold African Americans from advancing further in America. I'd like to think our reading last week shows a more nuanced version of Washington, but Du Bois actually says that Washington wants African Americans to give up political power, civil rights, and higher education (87) to submission.

The Color Line

The premise of Vijay Prashad’s book The Karma of Brown Folks is that while blacks are, as W.E.B. Du Bois states on page 5 of The Souls of Black Folks, treated like problems, Asians are framed as solutions. If Du Bois sees the problem of the twentieth century as being “the problem of the color line” (p.1), is it possible to trace that line back through the nineteenth century and into the twenty-first in order to understand the ways different races have placed and/or sought to place themselves on the problem or solution side?

Remember: Pragmatism not idealism

Though there are very many issues to take up with in Washington's narrative, I think it's important to look at how kairos occassioned him to take a more pragmatic approach to race relations.

One could criticize the pedagogical approach of Tuskeegee, or rather the emphasis on manual labor as well as "book" education. One could say that doing so further could have further entrenched blacks into a different type of slavery-a slavery of only manual labor.

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