This collection of essays reflects a new, distinctively rigorous engagement with W. E. B. Du Bois' theoretical and philosophical thought. It includes the first publication of Du Bois' important critical essay on the conceptual foundations of sociology as a science, "Sociology Hesitant". Taking its title from that 1905 essay, "Sociology Hesitant: Thinking with W. E. B. Du Bois" draws attention to the ways in which Du Bois' thinking about the 'Negro problem' was an explicit effort to think about the problem of historical agency. Spanning a wide array of disciplines, from German studies and sociology to literary criticism, philosophy, and anthropology, with contributions from some of the most outstanding scholars in the field, "Sociology Hesitant" contributes to the recognition of Du Bois as an important historical figure by focusing on the complexity of his theoretical work. These essays offer an extended interaction with the ideas and projects Du Bois formulated in a series of essays written between 1887 and 1910 that take up intricate questions concerning the nature of methodology and the theory of knowledge. Using Du Bois' work as a point of departure, contributors explore current thinking such as geopolitics and postcolonialism. Demonstrating that engaging the question of race requires rethinking the historical nature of theoretical understanding, this collection brings to light the notion that the struggle for equality is a struggle for freedom of thought in pursuit of truth. Ronald Judy is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh and a member of the boundary 2 editorial collective.
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