Renowned Scholar on W.E.B. Du Bois and Black Lives Matter to Visit U of A

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Renowned author and scholar Aldon D. Morris will visit the University of Arkansas on Wednesday, Oct. 12, to talk about his new book, The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology, and discuss historic events that led to today's Black Lives Matter movement.

His lecture, titled "W.E.B. Du Bois at the Center: From Science, to the Civil Rights Movement, to Black Lives Matter" will take place in Giffels Auditorium. The evening is free and open to the public and will start with a reception, refreshments and book signing at 5:30 p.m. before the lecture begins at 6:30 p.m.

In The Scholar Denied, Morris breaks new ground by arguing that Du Bois was central in producing the first major empirical sociological studies in America and building the first school of American sociology. The book explores the sociological, theoretical and institutional factors responsible for Du Bois' work being marginalized by the sociology profession.

According to Morris, the book calls into question the prevailing narrative of how sociology developed and probes the way in which the history of the discipline has traditionally given credit to Robert E. Park at the University of Chicago, who worked with the conservative black leader Booker T. Washington to render Du Bois invisible. In the book, Morris uncovers the seminal theoretical work of Du Bois in developing a "scientific" sociology through a variety of methodologies and examines how the leading scholars of the day disparaged and ignored Du Bois' work.

"We are proud and honored to have Dr. Morris lead us in a dynamic discussion on this critical moment in society, and to increase our understanding of the profound legacy of W.E.B. Dubois that transcends disciplines," said Pearl K. Dowe, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and interim director of the African and African American Studies Program in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. "This is a can't miss event."

Morris is the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University and his areas of academic interest include social movements, theory, the sociology of W.E.B. Du Bois, the civil rights movement, race, religion, social inequality and political sociology. His previous book, Origins of the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for Change, which received several prizes including the American Sociological Association Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award, emphasized the organizational and cultural basis of social protest.

Morris is co-editor of Frontiers in Social Movement Theory and co-editor of Oppositional Consciousness: The Subjective Roots of Social Protest. Morris has received praise for The Scholar Denied, with colleagues calling the book "a must‑read for anyone interested in American history, racial inequality, and the academy" and "a stunningly original history that should inspire both debate and self-refection within and beyond the discipline of sociology for years to come."

The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology was published by the University of California Press.  

Morris's lecture is sponsored by African and African American Studies, the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences


Pearl K. Dowe, interim director
African and African American Studies Program

Andra Parrish Liwag, director of communications
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

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