U.S. Intellectual History Blog

Du Bois 50th Anniversary Commemorative Conference


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Call for Papers, Panels & Posters
W. E. B. Du Bois 50th Anniversary Commemorative Conference
W.E.B. Du Bois and the Wings of Atlanta:
A Commemorative Conference at Clark Atlanta University
The year 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois. On his birthday in February of that year, it is fitting that Clark Atlanta University (CAU) celebrate his life and scholarship: Dr. Du Bois wrote his most influential works in the 23 years he spent as a professor at Atlanta University. Serving as faculty of the Departments of History and Economics, he taught at Atlanta University from 1897 to 1910, and then returned from 1934 to 1944 as chair of the Department of Sociology. Dr. Du Bois also had impact in the area of social work and as a novelist, poet and short story writer. The W.E.B. Du Bois and the Wings of Atlanta Conference will serve as a meeting at the crossroads of various paths of Du Bois’s work. Conference participants will engage in an interdisciplinary and international introspection of the life, scholarship and activism of one of the most influential intellectuals of the 20th century. 

In a four-day conference, beginning on February 20, 2013 and concluding on Du Bois’s birthday of February 23, Clark Atlanta University will host panels that highlight his countless contributions, especially those produced in the 23 years of his tenure. Central works to be discussed include the Phylon  journal (founded in 1940) and the Atlanta University Publications (which he directed 1898-1914), where he covered topics including African Americans in higher education, art, the Black church, urbanization, health, business, economics, and race relations in Georgia. Books published while in Atlanta are also central to the CAU discussion: The Souls of Black Folk (1903), Black Reconstruction (1935) and Dusk of Dawn: An Essay toward and Autobiography of a Race Concept, the second of his three autobiographies (1940).
               The Wings of Atlanta conference seeks to bring together local, national and international scholars to explore themes in Dr. Du Bois’s publications and collected papers in order to illuminate his experiences at Fisk University, Harvard University, University of Berlin, Atlanta University, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, New York, Chicago, Ghana and other areas where Du Bois lived and worked. Especially welcome are panels addressing the multitude of Du Boisian intellectual legacies and implications of his myriad research agendas.
               This conference will be held as a conclusion to the year-long W. E. B. Du Bois Major Works Seminar Series hosted by the Clark Atlanta University Office of the President, Office of the Provost, School of Arts and Sciences, and the Department of History. The W.E.B. Du Bois and the Wings of Atlanta Conference, held on CAU’s campus, offers a uniquely significant locale from which to commemorate, interrogate, and celebrate the life and work of this exquisitely educated and distinctly complex man.
               As interest is wide but space limited, individual conference papers will be considered, but panels of 4-6 papers will be given preference. Panel proposals should be no more than 4 pages long and individual paper proposals no more than 2 pages. Panel submissions must identify the panel chair, names, phone numbers, email addresses, and institutional affiliation information for the chair and all panelists.
One-page proposals for undergraduate and graduate student posters are also encouraged.
Send proposals to Dr. Stephanie Y. Evans at [email protected].
For questions or additional information, call Dr. Evans at 404-880-6352.
Conference proposals will be accepted between January 1, 2012 and July 1, 2012.
Acceptance notification: August 15, 2012.
Excerpt from “Of the Wings of Atlanta,” chapter five in The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
The function of the university is not simply to teach bread-winning, or to furnish teachers for the public schools, or to be a center of polite society; it is, above all, to be the organ of that fine adjustment which forms the secret of civilization.
CAU History Department Website: http://www.cau.edu/Academics_History_Main.aspx
CAU History Department Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/CAUHistoryDepartment


2012 W.E.B. Du Bois Major Works Seminar Series
In 2012, Clark Atlanta University will host a year-long reading seminar on the major works of W.E.B. Du Bois.
The CAU President, Provost, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and Chair of the Department of History will engage in a sustained consideration of Du Boisian texts in preparation for the 2013 On the Wings of Atlanta Commemorative Conference. We encourage scholars of all levels to join the CAU campus, Atlanta University Center, and Atlanta-metro institutions in a nation-wide Sankofa sojourn into the writing of the most profound, relevant and complex scholar of our generation.
Spring 2012
Jan 20, 2012                                     SOUL OF DU BOIS: A CAU PERSPECTIVE
The Souls of Black Folk (1903); The Gift of Black Folk (1924)
February 24, 2012                           RACE RESEARCH             
The Study of the Negro Problems (1898); The Philadelphia Negro (1899); Bibliography of the
Negro American (1905); Select Discussion of Race Problems (1916)
March 23, 2012                               CRIME & HEALTH            
Some Notes on Negro Crime, Particularly in Georgia (1904); Health and Physique (1906)
April 27, 2012                                   LITERATURE & ART        
The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911); Dark Princess: A Romance (1928); The Negro Artisan (1902
& 1912)
Fall 2012
July 13, 2012                                    AUTOBIOGRAPHY           
The Autobiographies Darkwater: Voices From Within the Veil (1920), Dusk of Dawn: An Essay
Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept (1940), and The Autobiography of W. E. Burghardt
Du Bois (1968)
August 31, 2012                              AFRICA                             
The World and Africa, an Inquiry into the Part Which Africa Has Played in World History (1946/
1965); Africa, Its Geography, People and Products: Its Place in Modern History (1930)
September 28, 2012                       RECONSTRUCTION & RESISTANCE          
John Brown: A Biography (1909); Black Reconstruction: An Essay toward a History of the Part
Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880 (1935)
October 26, 2012                            CHURCH, FAMILY & UPLIFT
Some Efforts of American Negroes for Their Own Social Betterment (1897 & 1909); Morals and
Manners (1914); The Negro Church (1903); The Family (1908)

November 23, 2012                       BUSINESS & ECONOMICS           
The Negro in Business (1899); Business and Business Education (1947, Joseph Pierce Ed.);
Economic Cooperation (1907 & 1917)
January 23, 2013                             EDUCATION      
College Bred Negro (1900 & 1910); The Common School (1901 & 1911)
February 22, 2013                           BLACK FOLK, THEN & NOW         
The Negro (1915); Black Folk, Then and Now (1939)

6 Thoughts on this Post

  1. I’m a little surprised to see the CFP reference “The Wings of ATLANTA.” I am assuming this is just an unfortunate spelling auto-correct. DuBois’s essay — marvelous, marvelous prose — is built around a discussion of the myth of Atalanta, and the lessons it may hold for African-Americans in the bustling city of Atlanta. It’s an important trope.

    In any case, this conference looks incredible. The Souls of Black Folk has joined the short list of books that have rocked my world, and I am looking forward to keeping company with DuBois for a long time to come.

  2. Here is a link to the essay — so worth a read.

    http://books.google.com/books? id=VuUtAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA75

    (I realize that “Atlanta” in the conference title is intentional. But it’s unfortunate that Atalanta does not appear in the title of the excerpted essay. Such a magnificent work!)

  3. “His death was announced at the March on Washington.”

    Obviously I either don’t know as much about the March as I should, or I totally wasn’t paying attention. Same result either way.

  4. Also, what do you all think about the whole “anniversary conference” genre? It seems really big right now, but does it somehow make the subject more important because of some mathematical quirk? I mean, next year is the tercentenary of Rousseau’s birth, so there are a ton of conferences planned to commemorate it. But I doubt he’ll be more important next year than he was this year or will be in 2013.

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