W. E. B. Du Bois, Scholar, Activist and Passeur between America, Europe and Africa: Foundations, Circulations and Legacies

Conference, 17-19 October 2019, Paris, France

Trained in Classical languages (Latin and Greek), Philosophy, Sociology and History, both in the US and Europe, W. E. B. Du Bois’s intellectual inquiry into the nature of Blackness covers a wide range of disciplines, from History to Political Philosophy, from Sociology to Literature and Poetry, from Art Criticism to Musicology. The colloquium will embrace this multiplicity of approaches which characterizes Du Bois’s work and, at the same time, capture the profound unity of his thought which can be found in the analysis of the “concept of race.” Special attention will also be given to the determinant role played by W. E. B. Du Bois in the transatlantic circulation of knowledge and intellectual commerce between the US, Europe and Africa.


Thursday October 17, 2019
University of Chicago Center in Paris


9:00 - 9:15 am: Coffee
9:15 - 9:30 am: Welcome remarks

Session 1 W. E. B. Du Bois and the Struggle for Justice
Chair: Aldon Morris (Northwestern University)

9:30 - 10:00 am: Michael Dawson (University of Chicago)
Race, Capitalism and W. E. B. Du Bois’s Struggle for Justice in the Atlantic World
10:00 - 10:30 am: Magali Bessone (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
W. E. B. Du Bois and epistemic Justice
10:30 - 10:45 am: Q&A

10:45 - 11:00 am: Coffee

11:00 - 11:30 am: Sakiko Nakao (CESSMA, Université de Paris Diderot)
The making of Pan-African consciousness in the aftermath of the World War I. Connecting perceptions of Africa: W. E. B. Du Bois, J. E. Casely-Hayford and B. Diagne

11:30 - 12:00 pm: Alioune Fall (Université de Bordeaux)
On W. E. B. Du Bois and the Return of Pan-Africanism

12:00 - 12:30 pm: Q&A

12:30 - 2:00 pm: Lunch


Session 2 “The Color Line” and Visual Arts
Chair: Marie-Jeanne Rossignol (Université Paris Diderot)

2:00 - 2:30 pm: Elvan Zabunyan (Université Rennes 2)
Du Bois's Data Visualization, an Avant-Garde 'Geometric Abstraction' to face Slavery and Racial Discrimination

2:30 - 3:00 pm: Daniel Soutif, Art critic

3:00 - 3:15 pm: Q&A

3:15 - 3:30 pm: Coffee

Session 3 The “Concept of Race” in Philosophy and Literature
Chair: Sarah Fila-Bakabadio (Université de Cergy-Pontoise)

3:00 - 3:30 pm: Anthony Mangeon (Université de Strasbourg)
Was Du Bois Wrong on "Race"? Reading his Works through Alain Locke and Kwame Anthony Appiah

3:30 - 4:00 pm: Kaneesha Parsard (University of Chicago)
The Stories We Tell About Emancipation: Literary Criticism and W. E. B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in America

4:00 - 4:15 pm: Q&A

4:15 - 4:45 pm: Cécile Coquet-Mokoko (Université de Versailles-Saint Quentin)
W. E. B. Du Bois and the « Racial Mountain » of Essentialism

4:45 - 5:15 pm: Joyce Bazile and Sophie Rachmuhl (Université Bordeaux-Montaigne)
W. E. B. Du Bois in School Children’s Readers in Saint Lucia

5:15 - 5:30 pm: Q&A

Friday October 18, 2019
University of Chicago Center in Paris


9:00 - 9:30 am: Coffee

Session 4 Sociology and the Questioning of Race
Chair: Henri Peretz (Senior Fellow at Yale University)

9:30 - 10:00 am: Aldon Morris (Northwestern University)
The Du Boisian Sociology and the Sociological Canon

10:00 - 10:30 am: Stéphane Dufoix (Université Paris Nanterre)
Canon Hesitant. Du Bois’s Place in Sociology

10:30 - 11:00 am: Elijah Anderson (Yale University)
The Enduring American Color Line

11:00 - 11:15 am: Q&A

11:15 - 11:30: Coffee

Session 5: Anthropology, Philosophy and the Questioning of Race
Chair: Sophie Rachmuhl (Université Bordeaux Montaigne)

11:30 - 12:00 pm: Camille Joseph (Université Paris VIII Vincennes-Saint Denis)
W. E. B. Du Bois and Physical Anthropology

12:00 - 12:30 pm: Matthieu Renault (Université Paris VIII Vincennes-Saint Denis)
Deracializing Knowledge: Ethics and Politics of Truth in Du Bois

12:30 - 12:45 pm: Q&A



Session 6: Black History/ Histories
Chair: Claire Parfait (Université Paris 13, Villetaneuse-Bobigny-Saint Denis)

2:15 - 2:30 pm: Claire Parfait (Université Paris 13, Villetaneuse-Bobigny-Saint Denis)
Presentation of the project “Writing History from the Margins: an Anthology of African American Historians, 1855-1965”

2:30 - 3:00 pm: Marie-Jeanne Rossignol (Université Paris Diderot)
Du Bois and His Intellectual Forbears: Black Founder Richard Allen

3:00 - 3:30 pm: Chad Williams (Brandeis University)
W. E. B. Du Bois and The Wounded World: Reckoning with the History and Memory of World War I

3:30 - 4:00 pm: Sarah Fila-Bakabadio (Université de Cergy-Pontoise)
The Future in Retrospect: Imagining Africa’s Becoming from W. E. B. Du Bois to Felwine Sarr

4:00 - 4:30 pm: Q&A

The Bridge #12 + The Turbine !
Howard Sandifer’s After School Matters Jazz Ensemble La Dynamo (Pantin)

Saturday October 19, 2019
University of Chicago Center in Paris


9:45 - 10:00 am: Coffee

Session 7: Jazz and “Double Consciousness”
Chair: Alexandre Pierrepont (Université Paris Diderot)

10:00 - 10:30 am: Travis A. Jackson (University of Chicago)
(Mis)Hearing the Sorrow Songs

10:30 - 11:00 am: Howard Sandifer, (Chicago West Community Music Center Director and Founder)
On James Reese Europe and W. E. B. Du Bois

11:00 - 11:30 am: Xavier Daverat (Université de Bordeaux)
Jazz and Panafricanism

11:30 - 12:00 : Q&A


Théâtre de la Ville de Paris (Espace Cardin)

Panel Discussion 1:
Blacks in France and the US: A Comparative Perspective

Pap Ndiaye (Sciences Po Paris); Michael Dawson (University of Chicago); Elijah Anderson (Yale University); moderator: Nicolas Martin Breteau (Université de Lille)

Panel Discussion 2:
In and Out: Music between Worlds
Nicole Mitchell (University of Pittsburg); Mwata Bowden (University of Chicago); Dana Hall (De Paul University); Douglas Ewart (Art Institute of Chicago); moderator: Alexandre Pierrepont (Université Paris Diderot)

The Bridge #1 + The Bridge #9
Sonic Communion + Transatlantic Amazon Gods Théâtre de la Ville de Paris (Espace Cardin)