Campus

Gainesville

Publication date

2020

Publisher

Caribbean Philosophical Association

Book or Journal Information

CLR James Journal. Vol 26. No 1 & 2 Fall 2020. p259-286.

Keywords

Racial Capitalism, Black Economic Development, Cultural Framing of Race, Black Entrepreneurs, Black Workers, Black Professionals, Black Economy, Racialization of Markets, De-racializing Black economies, Poetic Historicist, Racial Socialism, Imperialism.

Abstract

In spite of being well represented in many of DuBois’s major texts, his theory of economic development in African American communities remains one of the under-thematized areas of his extensive corpus. This is due in major part to the fact that DuBois was not an economist. As a result, his writings on Black economic development are embedded in several texts that were more directly focused on the racial, sociological, political, historical, literary or biographical aspects of the lives of people of African descent. Consequently, in this paper, we will attempt to systematize Du Bois’s writings on Black economic development—drawing primarily from The Philadelphia Negro, Black Reconstruction in America, The World and Africa, Dusk of Dawn and some additional essays. From these texts, we will show the ways in which DuBois’s thinking on this subject moved from an early racial culturalist framing to a systematic notion of racial capitalism as the broad but changing framework within which he examined the challenges and prospects of black economic development. However, this culturalist framing was not a passing epistemic phase. As we will see, particularly in its poeticist form, this framing remained with DuBois to the end.

Author Biography

PAGET HENRY (Ph.D. in Sociology, Cornell University, 1976) is a Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at Brown University, and served as Director of Afro-American Studies, 1993- 1999. He is the author of Caliban's Reason: Introducing Afro-Caribbean Philosophy (Routledge, 2000), Peripheral Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Antigua (Transaction Books, 1985), co-editor of C.L.R. James's Caribbean (Duke UP, 1992) and New Caribbean: Decolonization, Democracy, and Development (Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1983). His more than fifty articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in such journals as The American Journal of Sociology, Caribbean Quarterly, Social and Economic Studies, The Encyclopedia of the Left, Sociological Forum, Studies in Comparative International Development, Third World Affairs. Henry is editor of The C.L.R. James Journal and co-editor of the Routledge Series Africana Thought. His awards and fellowships include Research Fellow at the Bildner Center for Western Hemispheric Studies, and Research Fellow at the Center for Inter-American Relations. GEORGE K. DANNS ((Ph.D. in Sociology, SUNY at Stony Brook, 1976) is a Professor of Sociology at the University of North Georgia. He was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship for Doctoral Research in Latin America and the Caribbean. He was a Visiting Fulbright Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Guyana; and serves as Chair of the Editorial Board, University of Guyana Press. Danns has conducted extensive research in Latin America and the Caribbean region, and has published in areas such as diaspora engagement, political leadership, race and ethnic minorities, military and the police, entrepreneurship, and development issues. Among his publications are Dynamics of Caribbean Diaspora Engagement: People, Policy, Practice, (University of Guyana Press, 2018); Domination and Power in Guyana, (Routledge 2017); and co-editor with Brenda Gill Comparative Assessment of Social Issues in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean (Lexington Books/Rowman Littlefield, forthcoming).

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W.E.B. Du Bois, Racial Capitalism and Black Economic Development in the United States.”

In spite of being well represented in many of DuBois’s major texts, his theory of economic development in African American communities remains one of the under-thematized areas of his extensive corpus. This is due in major part to the fact that DuBois was not an economist. As a result, his writings on Black economic development are embedded in several texts that were more directly focused on the racial, sociological, political, historical, literary or biographical aspects of the lives of people of African descent. Consequently, in this paper, we will attempt to systematize Du Bois’s writings on Black economic development—drawing primarily from The Philadelphia Negro, Black Reconstruction in America, The World and Africa, Dusk of Dawn and some additional essays. From these texts, we will show the ways in which DuBois’s thinking on this subject moved from an early racial culturalist framing to a systematic notion of racial capitalism as the broad but changing framework within which he examined the challenges and prospects of black economic development. However, this culturalist framing was not a passing epistemic phase. As we will see, particularly in its poeticist form, this framing remained with DuBois to the end.