What Would WEB Du Bois Tell Henry Jenkins and Soulja Boy?






As Henry Jenkins and other scholars have observed, contemporary remix culture has disrupted both hierarchies of taste and capitalist models of cultural production. However, less attention seems to have been paid to the degree to which these emergent models of cultural production reinforce oppressive stereotypes and destructive social norms. This essay muses upon efforts to create socially responsible media in the current environment.

Reflections en route to the ASALH Convention






(Richmond Va. September 29 ) — I am on an Amtrak train barreling south toward Raleigh, North Carolina for the 95th annual convention of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. It is a strange time to be in Raleigh in some ways, so near Duke University, where the towering scholar […]

The Forethought: Du Bois the Journalist






Author’s note: This part of an unpublished 2002 essay, “Not the Subject but the Premise: Postcards from the Edge of Du Bois’ Black Belt,”  is reproduced here for comment and as fodder in the body of work upon which I am drawing for my sabbatical project. I consider it to be a failed work with […]

Of interest: A New Sociological Critique of The Souls of Black Folk






The 1903 publication of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois’ Souls of Black Folk is considered a watershed in the history of American arts, letters and politics. Du Bois (1868-1963), then a sociologist at Atlanta University, offered his theory of “double-consciousness” – the notion that black Americans are deprived of agency and self-awareness because survival in […]

How stories and network science could improve educational equity and diversity






[This thinkpiece is from 2003.] In all of the research, debate and analysis surrounding affirmative action, I have become convinced that we are missing a golden opportunity to be more innovative in our thinking about ways of achieving educational equality. I believe that if we analyze some of the voluminous data we have using emerging […]