Abstract: W.E.B. Du Bois was one of a handful of scholars of the 20th century with a sustained global impact on sociological, literary, and political knowledge. In this talk, Morris will draw on evidence from his recently published book, The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology (University of California Press, 2015), to demonstrate that Du Bois was the founding father of scientific sociology in the United States; that is, American scientific sociology was founded in a segregated black university by a black man. This research disconfirms the accepted wisdom that American scientific sociology was founded solely by white sociologists in elite, white universities. This talk will explore the methods Du Bois pioneered and his novel theorizing that laid the foundations for subsequent sociological analyses. Morris will offer an account of the dynamic forces that generate scientific schools of thought and that undergirded knowledge production in social science during Du Bois’s era.
About the speaker: Aldon Morris is the Leon Forrest professor of sociology and African American studies at Northwestern University. His interests include race, social inequality, religion, politics, theory, and social movements. Morris is the author of the award-winning book, The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1986, it earned him the Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association. He is co-editor of the volumes, Frontiers in Social Movement Theory and Opposition Consciousness. He has published widely on a variety of topics. His book, The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology, was published in 2015 by the University of California Press. Morris is working on a project on the civil rights movements throughout the United States, rather than focusing exclusively on the Southern Civil Rights Movement. In 2006, Morris won the Association of Black Sociologists’ Joseph Himes Award for Lifetime Achievement for a Career of Distinguished Scholarship. Morris was the 2013 recipient of the Association of Black Sociologists’ A. Wade Smith Award for Teaching, Mentoring and Service. In 2009, Morris was awarded the Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award for a lifetime of research, scholarship, and teaching from the American Sociological Association. Morris is a former chair of sociology, director of Asian American studies and interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University.