Du Bois Review Issue 12.2

Racialized Modernity

In issue 12.2, "Racialized Modernity," scholars embark on the task of resurrecting, fully explicating, and applying and testing Du Bois's foundational ideas on the global dynamics of race. Where it was once erected, although subject to much complexity and change in the modern era, the color line endures almost anywhere one looks around the globe. As ethnic studies scholar Elisa Joy White has put it, "contemporary renderings of modernity are intrinsically flawed because of the structural antecedent of race-based social inequality."

W. E. B. Du Bois tackled this great problem of modernity: namely, the fusing of capitalism, colonialism, and ethnoracial distinction and hierarchy. Despite Du Bois's early emphasis on race as a social cleavage shaping life around the globe, his theoretical, methodological, and empirical observations for too long were shunted to the margins of scholarship. As we witness the color line enduring well into the new millennium, Du Bois's original insights have risen in analytical relevance and importance.

Read Editor Lawrence D. Bobo's introduction to the issue.

Read this issue online.

“In order to understand On the Run in a way that does justice to the hardships of a “fugitive life,” readers should attempt to set aside the colonial tropes that distract from the overall message and diminish the argument. Goffman’s rhetorical strategy is to begin her study from a point of ignorance about “street” life. …[H]er deliberate way of narrating experience…feeds into the colonial fantasy that an adventurous researcher “got lost in the wild,” and was taken in by people from a strange land who bestowed lessons that she will now share with the world. Even though this trope has been criticized in the social sciences, it is still widely deployed.” --Laurence Ralph

“Sociology has made important advances in the study of race. Whether we look at the study of racial attitudes, ethnographies of different racialized groups, the analysis of color-blind racism and race as a structural system, or the study of Whiteness, race has become a central topic in sociology. This has improved American sociology and brought Du Bois’s contributions to light. …Du Bois was a scholar of race, but he was also a theorist of racialized modernity—an aspect of his work that has not received the attention it deserves.” --José Itzsigsohn and Karida Brown

“Our results…show just how pervasive contact with prisoners is for Black Americans—especially Black women—and, in so doing, suggest that mass imprisonment may have fundamentally reshaped American inequality not only for the poor men for whom imprisonment has become so common, or for the children they leave behind, but also for the family members who rally together to support them…, their neighborhood friends who are left to support their families…, and the confidants who bear the stigma of incarceration along with them.” --Hedwig Lee, Tyler McCormick, Margaret T. Hicken, and Christopher Wildeman

“As our nation continues to become more racially and ethnically diverse, understanding the ways in which the lives of individuals in society vary by race and ethnicity becomes more critical. …This requires moving beyond single measures of race and/or ethnicity which are usually constructed through self-identification. …[T]hree specific measures [are] relevant to the race and health literature that have the potential to move us in this direction: skin color, ascribed race, and discrimination experiences. …Our analysis reveals that, among these three factors, both skin color and discrimination experiences are significantly and negatively correlated with Latino self-rated health status.”  --John A. Garcia, Gabriel R. Sanchez, Shannon Sanchez-Youngman, Edward D. Vargas, and Vickie D. Ybarra 

“We cannot finally adjudicate whether biology is implicated in race, or whether single-race or multiracial identity is preferable. …But we can add a new element to long-standing debates over biology and identity by analyzing how Americans understand and respond to DNA ancestry testing.  Do citizens reject it, as coming too close to the old and discredited “racial science,” or do they embrace it as a new tool for learning more about their own and others’ heritage?  Do Americans prefer to understand themselves through a clean, clear single group lineage or do they embrace the messy contingencies of multiracialism? …[W]e focus on the views of African Americans, comparing their views to those of others in order to see what is distinctive and what is shared across groups.” --Jennifer Hochschild and Maya Sen

PLUS: Kevin Loughran; Robert F. Castro and Rihao Gao; Greta Fowler Snyder; Ellen Berrey; Mircea Alexandru Platon; Elizabeth Hinton; and Lawrence D. Bobo

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