Even though W.E.B. Du Bois wrote “The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches” in 1903, the book is still relevant today.
“The Souls of Black Folk” is this year’s annual Reading Across Campus book sponsored by the Literature Committee at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Peter Reim, UW-Stout senior lecturer in the English and philosophy department, said Du Bois talks about colonialism in the whole world. “He questions whether it is more important to develop skills or have the breadth of liberal education,” Reim said. “He still has a lot to say about cultural and racial ideas.”
There will be a panel discussion on Du Bois at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26, in the Memorial Student Center ballrooms. The panel will feature Selika Ducksworth-Lawton, UW-Eau Claire history professor; David Jones, UW-Eau Claire professor of English and Honors Education; and Tim Shiell, the director of UW-Stout’s Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation. Reim will be the moderator.
Lopamudra Basu, professor of English, said for the first time this year the Reading Across Campus selection was made by a campus vote. “We decided if we wanted more campus buy-in, we needed to seek out other opinions,” said Basu, a member of the Literature Committee. “Du Bois is very important to early 20th Century writing.”
In the book, Du Bois proposes that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” He writes of double-consciousness, “this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others.”
Other Reading Across Campus events include the screening of the film “Get Out” at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, in Harvey Hall Theatre. The film screening will be followed by a discussion led by Mitch Ogden, associate professor of English and program director of professional communications and emerging media, emphasizing connections between the film and Du Bois’ theory of double consciousness.
The horror film is the story of a young African-American man who uncovers a disturbing secret when he meets the family of his white girlfriend. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017 and was chosen by the National Board of Review, the American Film Institute and Time magazine as one of the top 10 films of the year
Keynote lecture by Moustafa Bayoumi
Moustafa Bayoumi, writer and professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, will speak at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, in the Cedar Maple Room of the Memorial Student Center. He wrote “How Does it Feel to Be a Problem: Being Young and Arab in America.”
The book traces the experiences of seven young Arab-Americans navigating life in the post-Sept. 11 environment, where complicated public perceptions of the attacks give birth to new brands of stereotypes, fueling widespread discrimination. The title of the book is a reference to part of Du Bois’ book. Bayoumi was awarded the 2008 American Book Award and the 2009 Arab American Book Award for non-fiction.
His presentation is co-sponsored by the Menard CSII as part of the Civil Liberties Symposium. UW-Stout’s Le’Trice Donaldson, assistant professor of history, and Basu will respond to Bayoumi’s lecture. Chancellor Katherine Frank will moderate.
All events are free and open to the public.
Reading Across Campus events are hosted by the university’s Literature Committee, part of the department of English and philosophy. The program also is supported by Chancellor’s Office; Provost’s Office; Center for Applied Ethics; and the Dean’s Office from the College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Sciences.
“The Souls of Black Folk” book cover
W.E.B. Du Bois