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Michael Saman
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar (Asheville, NC 28803-2218)
Classical German Thought in W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk

A book-length study of German intellectual influences in W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk.

W.E.B. Du Bois stands as one of the most important American intellectuals of the 20th century, yet his literary frame of reference, his modes of sociological and historical analysis, and his principles of political activism are not limited to English-speaking traditions, but are founded in significant part on ideas of German thinkers of the 18th and 19th centuries. These paradigms provided him an intellectual vantage point outside of American conventions of racial bias, and afforded him the critical distance to think in an original, methodical, and farsighted way about concrete steps toward social change. My book project is a detailed and innovative study of The Souls of Black Folk (1903), using interconnecting readings of selected chapters to bring forth Du Bois’s conceptual and intertextual dialogue with Herder, Goethe, Schiller, Wagner, and Hegel. Without this dimension, our understanding of Du Bois’s social thought and literary practice remains incomplete.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
African American Studies; Comparative Literature; Intellectual History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018