Title

W.E.B. Du Bois and the Antisemitic Blindspot

Lead Author Major

English

Lead Author Status

5th year Senior

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Jeffrey Hole

Faculty Mentor Email

jhole@pacific.edu

Faculty Mentor Department

English

Abstract/Artist Statement

Every year the Anti-Defamation League releases a detailed statistical analysis of anti-Semitism in the United States. In 2017, they reported a 57% increase in anti-Semitic incidents nationwide. In light of these statistics and the long history of anti-Semitism in the United States, my scholarship broadly asks how have studies of race and ethnicity adequately or inadequately responded to anti-Semitism? In this research presentation, I specifically recall the work of renown African American activist and intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois. Even as Du Bois’ had attempted to articulate an anti-racist project and depict the racist treatment of African Americans, I argue, he nevertheless drew upon anti-Semitic discourse. Further reading of Du Bois’ 1903 edition of The Souls of Black Folk, specifically the chapter “Of the Black Belt,” reveals his use of anti-Semitic slurs. Drawing further on the works of Mark H. Gelber, Michael P. Kramer, and David N. Smith, among others, I ask how, with his famed “double consciousness,” Du Bois still suffered from a sort of racial-ethnic blindness. Despite this egregious blind spot, many race theorists and academics, who have been inspired by Du Bois’ theorization of race, have also been ignorant of (or silent on) his shortcomings. It is my hope that attendees of my presentation will leave with a better understanding of how anti-Semitism functions in the U.S.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Start Date

28-4-2018 11:00 AM

End Date

28-4-2018 11:20 AM

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Apr 28th, 11:00 AM Apr 28th, 11:20 AM

W.E.B. Du Bois and the Antisemitic Blindspot

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Every year the Anti-Defamation League releases a detailed statistical analysis of anti-Semitism in the United States. In 2017, they reported a 57% increase in anti-Semitic incidents nationwide. In light of these statistics and the long history of anti-Semitism in the United States, my scholarship broadly asks how have studies of race and ethnicity adequately or inadequately responded to anti-Semitism? In this research presentation, I specifically recall the work of renown African American activist and intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois. Even as Du Bois’ had attempted to articulate an anti-racist project and depict the racist treatment of African Americans, I argue, he nevertheless drew upon anti-Semitic discourse. Further reading of Du Bois’ 1903 edition of The Souls of Black Folk, specifically the chapter “Of the Black Belt,” reveals his use of anti-Semitic slurs. Drawing further on the works of Mark H. Gelber, Michael P. Kramer, and David N. Smith, among others, I ask how, with his famed “double consciousness,” Du Bois still suffered from a sort of racial-ethnic blindness. Despite this egregious blind spot, many race theorists and academics, who have been inspired by Du Bois’ theorization of race, have also been ignorant of (or silent on) his shortcomings. It is my hope that attendees of my presentation will leave with a better understanding of how anti-Semitism functions in the U.S.