Monday, April 07, 2008

Du Bois in the Lone Star State 2.0

Last Thursday SDSU's Edward J. Blum gave a lecture/book talk at the University of Houston's Central Campus. The History and African American Studies departments co-sponsored the event. Thanks to Dr. Bob Buzzanco and Dr. James Conyers for making this event happen.

Ed's talk was titled "The Noose and the Cross: Race, Religion, and the Redemption of Violence in the Works of W. E. B. Du Bois," and discussed lynching and the way W.E.B. Du Bois worked to find redemptive value in this violent expression of white supremacy. Ed discusses this in great detail ch. 4 of his book W.E.B. Du Bois, American Prophet. (On a side note, the University of Pennsylvania Press has a unique deal for adopting Ed's book for your course--open access to the author who could conduct an email exchange about the book, conference call dialogue, or face-to-face interaction with your students.) The lecture also covered Du Bois's short stories, religious art from the Harlem Renaissance, Jeremiah Wright, and even religiously-themed artwork relating to the life of Tupac Shakur and Barack Obama (and here), among other topics.

Listen to the lecture here (53.5 MB). Ed used the image below--"Christmas in Georgia, A.D., 1916," by Lorenzo Harris, and taken from the December 1916 issue of The Crisis (pp. 78-79)--to begin the discussion. The caption reads: "Inasmuch as ye did unto the least of these, My brethren, ye did it unto Me."

As I remember it, these were the Q&A question topics (question are hard to hear on audio):

1) religion/hip-hop/"G" not gangsta but reference to "God/deity"

2) LeBron James/messianic images

3) Du Bois's use of religion for strategic, pragmatic purposes only

4) religious imagery/Nation of Islam/civil religion

5) Du Bois's "lost voice" prior to/during the Civil Rights Movement

6) Is Du Bois spiritual and/or religious? Neither? Religious not spiritual; spiritual, but not religious?

7) religiously-sanctioned violence (Christianity)

8) secularization and narratives of American religious history

Ed Blum, Baldblogger, and The Proletarian.

[Photographs courtesy of Caleb Alexander, African American Studies Department, U. of Houston.]


Anonymous said...

Great post phil; I was writing one but think I will just create a link to your blog.

Phil said...

Thanks, man. Look forward to more conversation soon. Also, did you get a chance to see Dyson on CSPAN on Sunday?

Anonymous said...

I missed it. Did you tape it? The great thing about CSPAN is that they re-run programs. Did you see it?

Phil said...

Taped it; hopefully will finish it soon.