HSS4: WEB Du Bois Black Reconstruction JOURNAL GUIDE

These questions are a guide to the readings and a prompt for the intellectual journal assignments. Journal responses should be 1-2 typed pages that reflect your comprehension of the assigned readings and issues raised in class discussions. The intellectual journal is a forum to demonstrate your assimilation of concepts and issues contained in the course materials and to raise your own questions and formulations. Ultimately, the intellectual journal should serve as a reservoir of concepts that will be useful for and incorporated into the final research paper.

Introduction: (In class) Why are you taking this class? What kinds of issues interest you—what are some topics you might consider for your research paper? How much background do you have with the topics of the course, with writing research papers?

Jan 18: Assignment 1

Describe some of the major elements of Du Bois’ contribution to social science, particularly in light of the historical context in which he was writing.


What were the dominant ideological and research paradigms of the era? What was Plessy v Ferguson? What are the names of some of Du Bois’ most important works and why are they considered significant?

(Du Bois)

What are some of the assumptions that Du Bois is writing against? What are the aims of this work—what are the most significant issues is he addressing?


Jan 22: Assignment 2

How was race thought about in the nineteenth century? How do contemporary social scientists think about race and ethnicity (what does it mean to say that race and ethnicity are socially constructed)?


Describe the ethnological, Lamarkian, polygenist, and evolutionist traditions—what did they have in common? How did they differ from eighteenth century social thought? How would these traditions begin to change after 1900?


How does Yetman define race and ethnicity? What are "primordial" and "situational" explanations of racial and ethnic groups? What is an open system of stratification? What is the difference between attitudinal and institutional discrimination?


What is the relationship between racial categories and genetics?


Jan 29: Assignment 3

What kinds of ideological issues surround Civil War historiography, and how does Du Bois’ work challenge and illuminate these issues?


Describe the Dunning, the revisionist, and the postrevisionist schools of Civil War historiography—what were the main themes of each school and what kinds of social and cultural contexts shaped their interpretations? Describe the five themes Foner outlines for contemporary Civil War scholarship.


Why did Du Bois set out to write a history of Reconstruction? Describe his research methodology—in what ways was it limited? What were some concerns of Marxist scholars about Du Bois’ application of Marxist theory? How did the work represent "a genuine paradigm shift"?


Feb 5: Assignment 4

Describe the development of seventeenth century American social stratification—how was colonial settlement and society organized? Describe the significance of the black worker outlined by Du Bois.


Describe the status of the first Africans in America. How was the cultural identity of the British in America described during this period? What was the major social division in colonial society?


What have sociologists described as a major component of ethnic stratification? How does religion relate to culture in this period? How are the Irish relevant to the English ideology of colonization in America?


What are Marx’s conceptions of historical materialism and alienation?

(Du Bois)

How is the black worker the fulcrum of the Industrial Revolution (see also Lewis)?


Feb 12: Assignment 5

Describe some of the issues that surrounded the formation of a white working class in the nineteenth century.


What time period does Roediger describe as the formation of the working class and what kinds of socio-economic forces and ideological issues attend this formation? What are the "wages of whiteness?"

(Barrett, Roediger)

How were the "new" southern and eastern European immigrants in Progressive-Era America regarded by the state, reformers, employers, and workers? How did they see themselves?

Feb 20/22: Assignment 6 Research Proposal and Outline

Feb 26: Assignment 7

According to Genovese, Du Bois, and Berlin, what is paternalism (what is its function) and how is it resisted? What factors shaped the course of slavery’s demise? Describe the balance of power between master and slave.

Mar 5: Assignment 8

How does Barkley Brown’s analysis of southern black women’s economic and political behavior during Reconstruction challenge traditional assumptions of liberalism?

Mar 12: Assignment 9

Why and how does a new racialized organization of American society become manifested after Reconstruction? How does industrialization and the growth of consumer culture intersect with physical and ideological racial segregation. (What are some of the ideologies and technologies driving this process?)

Mar 26: Assignment 10

Describe contemporary sociological approaches to the study of poverty. What kinds of assumptions do they make, what kinds of remedies do they suggest? How does this scholarship compare to that of Du Bois?


What does Wilson mean by "the declining significance of race"? Explain his notion of the preindustrial and industrial stages of race relations and how they differ from the modern industrial one. What are the structural underpinnings of poverty? How are economic factors [see also Yetman 35-36], demographic changes (affecting both structural and cultural resources), and state policy [see also Massey & Denton 191-202] implicated by Wilson?

According to Wilson, how are "ghetto related" behaviors and attitudes related to social structure (opportunities and constraints)?


What are the implications of Hartigan’s findings for the study of poverty?

Apr 2: Assignment 11

Describe the economic, social, and political forces that shaped the social and spatial organization of 19th century urban America and the construction of the ghetto in the 20th.

(Massey and Denton)

Describe the socio-spatial organization of 19th century American cities and how the economic/technological order helped to shape it. What two developments eroded integrated living conditions after 1900? How and why were class and ethnic segregation heightened during this period? How, when, and why did racial segregation become a permanent structural feature of the spatial organization of American cities? (What are restrictive covenants, redlining, and urban renewal?)

Apr 9: Assignment 12

Why, according to Oliver and Shapiro, is a "sociology of wealth" a better way to understand material inequality than income?

(Oliver and Shapiro)

Explain the three concepts the authors use to explain racialized material inequality. How does institutional and policy discrimination in the public and private spheres function to maintain wealth disparity? How does inheritance function to maintain wealth disparity? How does Oliver and Shapiro’s argument challenge and/or complement Wilson?

Apr 16: Assignment 13 Research Paper Rough Draft

Apr 23: Assignment 14

How do Hollinger, Jacoby, and Patterson see the future of race and ethnicity in America? What do you predict for the future of ethnic relations?

Apr 30: Assignment 15 Oral Presentations

May 7/8: Assignment 16 Research Papers due