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Troubling the Monoracial Du Bois

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Celena Simpson
University of Oregon
United States

The aim of this paper is to suggest that, based most clearly on his later work in Dusk of Dawn, Du Bois was keenly aware of his mixed-race background to the extent that we can destabilize the monoracial reading of Du Bois for the purposes of a future project which aims at reinterpreting Du Bois as a mixed-race intellectual. This paper challenges the uncritical monoraciality of Du Bois in two main parts. The first is dedicated to presenting and analyzing the conception and experience of race in “The Concept of Race,” chapter 5 of Dusk of Dawn: an Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept. The second suggests areas of further research and reinterpretation, based on the compelling evidence in section one, and addresses what is at stake in and the implications of this destabilization and what we may gain from the re-interpretive project proposed.


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