Presented by the Department of Sociology
W.E.B. Du Bois was one of a handful of scholars of the 20th century with a sustained global impact on sociological, literary, and political knowledge. In this talk, Morris will draw on evidence from his book, The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology (University of California Press, 2015), to demonstrate that Du Bois was the founding father of scientific sociology in the United States; that is, American scientific sociology was founded in a segregated black university by a black man. This research disconfirms the accepted wisdom that American scientific sociology was founded solely by white sociologists in elite, white universities. This talk will explore the methods Du Bois pioneered and his novel theorizing that laid the foundations for subsequent sociological analyses. Morris will offer an account of the dynamic forces that generate scientific schools of thought and that undergirded knowledge production in social science during the Du Bois era.
Aldon Morris '80 received his PhD in Sociology from Stony Brook University and is currently the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University. His interests include race, social inequality, religion, politics, theory, and social movements. Morris is the author of the award-winning book, The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement. He is co-editor of both the Frontiers in Social Movement Theory and Opposition Consciousness. He has published widely on a variety of topics. His book, The Scholar Denied: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology, was published in 2015, University of California Press. This book has received a dozen awards. Morris was also a consultant for the award-winning film, “Eyes on the Prize.” A film, “The Scholar Affirmed,” on Morris’ work and life was released in 2018. Morris has lectured widely both nationally and internationally.